Embark on an epic adventure where you get to explore the rich wildlife of Sandakan as well as tour the city for the best of both worlds.
Day 1 – Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre / Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary
After the meet and greet session at the hotel lobby, we will take a leisurely 35 minutes’ drive towards Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where orphaned and injured Orangutans are brought to be rehabilitated to be returned to the wild. Sepilok features a primary lowland forest which is also a fine showcase of Borneo’s remaining rainforests; this gives visitors a perfect opportunity to view the elusive Orangutans in their natural habitat. There is a boardwalk which leads to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the apes are fed milk and bananas at 10 am.
After that, we will embark on a 2.5 hours’ drive through a charming countryside peppered with quaint villages. After a short boat transfer, you will be brought to your lodging for this tour, the Borneo Nature Lodge. After a quick check-in, lunch and briefing to get you settled, we will journey up-river at 4:00 pm along Kinabatangan—Sabah’s longest river—and enjoy the lush verdure of the virgin rainforest that is home to elusive wildlife and birds. If you’re fortunate, you may catch a glimpse of Proboscis Monkeys lazing about on treetops. If you’re an animal lover, you are in luck as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is a prime location in Southeast Asia to be in close proximity with animals. After dinner, we will settle in for the night at the lodge and prepare for a full day.
Day 2 – Kelenanap Ox-Bow Lake / Jungle Walk
Rise up to the cheery chirpings of birds, insects and the calls of nocturnal animals turning in with the rising sun. At 6:00 am, we will enjoy a morning cruise up the Kinabatangan River, heading towards Kelenanap Ox-Bow Lake for a bird-watching session. If the weather is kind, we will undertake a jungle walk and experience the Bornean wilderness before returning to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. After that, you will have ample time to explore the surrounding areas or head to a nearby village to see what’s what. At 4:00 pm, we will once again hop on a boat in search of the unique flora and fauna along the river before calling it a day.
Day 3 – Gomantong Cave / Central Market / Sim-Sim Water Village / Puh Jih Syh Buddhist Temple
The dawn of a new day heralds a grand adventure ahead. We will expend our replenished energies by venturing into the Gomantong Cave; a limestone cave famed for its edible birds’ nests. Following a 15-minute boardwalk, we will arrive at the opening of Simud Hitam cavern. Take your time seeing the sights but do watch out for bat guanos. Next, we will proceed to Sandakan city to enjoy some authentic Sarawakian food. After lunch, we will begin our city tour to explore numerous landmarks that make up the city.
The Central Market offers an assortment of fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood while the Sim-Sim Water Village will offer you a fascinating view of the sea as the houses are suspended close to the water surface. Lastly, we will visit the Puh Jih Syh Buddhist Temple to get an insight into the Sarawakian culture as well as enjoy a stunning view of the Sandakan Bay—situated on the hilltop of Tanah Merah. Fun fact: this temple was once featured in the American television series, ‘The Amazing Race Season 4’ back in 2003! After that, you will then be transferred back to your hotel, signalling the end of the tour.