Misty mountains and jungle-shrouded rivers, spectacular cave systems and rain forests teeming with rare species: few places on Earth offer such a bounty of natural wonders as Borneo. Uncover the rich biodiversity of Malaysian Borneo on a journey to the wild interiors of Sarawak and Sabah. Explore the world’s largest underground cave chamber in Gunung Mulu National Park, and meet members of the hunter-gatherer Penan people. Stay in jungle lodges nestled within wildlife reserves, surrounded by canopy walkways suspended through the treetops. Set out on day and night hikes and river safaris to search for orangutans, proboscis monkeys, leopard cats, and much more.
Arrive in Sabah's capital city, Kota Kinabalu—known locally as KK—on the northwestern coast of Malaysian Borneo. Check into your hotel in the heart of the city and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu
Catch a morning flight to Gunung Mulu National Park, home to an astonishing network of underground caves set amid jungle-clad mountains, deep canyons, and rivers. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its biodiversity and karst features, the park is dominated by the peaks of Gunung Mulu and Gunung Api. Enter one of the largest-known cave passages in the world to explore the enormous Deer Cave, and venture into nearby caves adorned with unusual subterranean flora and limestone formations. Twelve species of bats have been recorded at Deer Cave; we’ll return at dusk to witness the spectacle of over a million bats exiting the cave in swirling black clouds.
Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa (B, L, D)
Return to the park this morning to explore the Clearwater Cave and the Cave of the Winds. Later, visit a village of the forest-dwelling Penan people—one of the last surviving hunter-gatherer tribes in Malaysia. Learn about the Penan’s ancient way of life, which is under threat from commercial logging and deforestation. This evening, set out on a nighttime walk to observe the forest’s nocturnal inhabitants.
Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa (B, L, D)
Fly to the city of Sandakan on Borneo’s eastern coast, and check into your hotel upon arrival. The next morning, head to the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and visit the orangutan rehabilitation center, where orangutans rescued from captivity are reintroduced to the wild. Watch the morning feeding and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Later, board a local boat for a two-hour ride along the Kinabatangan River. Your destination is Sukau Rainforest Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge built by native Borneans to celebrate—and help protect—the riverine rain forest and the communities that depend upon it. Settle into your garden-view room, then depart at dusk in an electric-motored boat to look for orangutans, pygmy elephants, and proboscis monkeys.
Sheraton Four Points Sandakan, Sukau Rainforest Lodge (B, D; B, L, D)
Awaken to the calls of gibbons and hornbills, and watch the sun rise during a guided wildlife cruise. Return to the lodge for breakfast, followed by a short drive to Gomantong Caves, home to thousands of bats and swiftlets. Accompanied by a guide, venture into limestone passageways to discover the cave’s unique ecosystem, and explore the surrounding rain forest in search of a variety of wildlife. Have lunch back at the lodge and take advantage of a free afternoon to wander the lodge’s elevated boardwalk, tour its eco-friendly facilities, or unwind by the pool. As a National Geographic guest, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the lodge’s in-house orangutan expert. At dusk, embark on another river safari to search for monkeys, owls, and crocodiles.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge (B, L, D)
Travel overland to the valley of the Danum River, known for its 169 square miles of virtually undisturbed primary rain forest—which offers exceptional wildlife viewing. Spend two days exploring the many nature trails on your own or with a guide. Keep an eye out for rare species, including the leopard cat, Bornean gibbon, clouded leopard, and maroon langur. Bird life is equally diverse, with some 275 recorded species. Rise early to explore the canopy bridges and boardwalks around the lodge; hike to a nearby waterfall to swim in rock-sculpted pools; and take guided night hikes when the forest comes alive with nocturnal species.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge (B, L, D Daily)
Venture into the jungle on an early morning nature walk. For the remainder of the morning, explore the rain forest on your own or take advantage of the lodge’s amenities before departing on an afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu. Check into your hotel upon arrival, and enjoy a final evening to celebrate your Borneo adventures.
Hyatt Regency Kota Kinabalu (B, L, D)
Transfer to the airport after breakfast and catch your international flight home.
Never miss a Nat Geo moment
Join our curious community and you'll have access to some great features!
Personalised content reflecting your interests on the site
Watch exclusive videos before anyone else
Favourite content that you like or want to check out later
Free SMS and Email reminders so you never miss a show
Get notified when content that interests you is published
Share your photos on Snap! that could appear on TV
Share your thoughts and opinions on various matters
Receive a monthly newsletter with loads of great content