Day : 1 Start Sepilok; optional night walk
Those on the group flights generally land in Sandakan early afternoon and from here are taken to nearby Sepilok. Passengers who are making their own way can arrive at Sepilok anytime today. There will be an initial group briefing with your leader later this afternoon. There should be the opportunity for an optional night walk this evening (please ask your leader upon arrival) before dinner. If there’s no time this evening we may be able to do the night walk tomorrow evening.
Day : 2 Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary; optional visit to the Sunbear sanctuary
Set up in 1964, the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary is set within 43 square kms of primary forest. It is the largest Orang-utan sanctuary in the world and aims to rehabilitate and release orphaned and captured Orang-utans into the wild. We visit the informative headquarters and go see the Orang-utans at feeding time.Next we visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre with its impressive canopy walkway offering great views over the Sepilok Reserve. This is a great place to see birds, including hornbills and the Borneo bristlehead, and during fruiting season we may spot the odd Orang-utan along the way.There is an option to return to the Orang-utan Sanctuary for the second feeding session this afternoon as well as the nearby Sunbear Conservation Centre
Day : 3 Travel via the Gomantong Caves to Kinabatangan; afternoon river cruise
Our first stop this morning is the bizarre Gomantong Caves. These caves are a major source of swiftlet bird nests that are a Chinese delicacy. During the season workers climb up large ladders to harvest the vulnerable nests. We continue to Borneo’s third longest river – Kinabatangan. The wildlife reserve is home to an astonishing array of wildlife including Pygmy elephants, wild Orang-utans, gibbons, Proboscis monkeys and rare birdlife. As dusk approaches we take to the river in search of some of the local fauna.
Day : 4 Explore Kinabatangan river
Up early we head out on a dawn wildlife cruise on the river in search of more wildlife. After breakfast we head out on a walk on one of the surrounding nature trails. The hike will take about 1- 1.5 hours in total.
This afternoon we will learn a bit more about local conservation efforts and contribute ourselves by taking part in tree-planting. Later we return to the river to look for crocodiles and other residents of the forest. There should be the opportunity, this evening, for an optional nightwalk where we may see night owls or even Western tarsiers.
Day : 5 Drive to Sandakan via the War Memorial
Leaving after breakfast we make our way to Sandakan (approximately 2.5 hours drive) stopping at the Sandakan War Memorial en route.
After checking in at our centrally located hotel close to the water, the rest of the day is free for you to relax, swim in the hotel pool, enjoy some local cuisine or explore the vibrant, compact streets of Sandakan.
Day : 6 Fly to Kuala Lumpur and on to Malacca
After breakfast we transfer to Sandakan Airport and bid farewell to Borneo to check in for our flight to Kuala Lumpur on the Malaysian Peninsula (please note there is a 15kg restriction but it is possible to pay for excess luggage at the airport).
Upon arrival into KL, we will meet our leader for this section of the trip. We then take a 2 hour transfer to Malacca, stopping for lunch along the way in local restaurant.
Upon arrival at our hotel in Malacca in the afternoon, there will be time to relax and explore this historic and cuturally rich city.
Day : 7 Rickshaw tour of the old town of Malacca and exploration of the town
Malacca is a well preserved colonial town boasting a mix of Portuguese, British and Dutch architecture and is a melting pot of different cultures. The quaint China Town neighbourhood is home to numerous antique shops as well as a Hindu temple, Taoist temple and a mosque, whilst Malaysia’s oldest functioning church is nearby across the canal. We explore the city using its colourful and distinctive rickshaws.
This evening we go out to try some of Malacca’s local cuisine. Known as Baba Nyonya, it is a blend of Chinese, Malay and Portuguese flavours and is a speciality of the town.
Day : 8 Transfer to Kuala Lumpur; afternoon city tour
From Malacca’s sleepy charm we head to Malaysia’s bustling capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Known as KL for short, this vibrant city shows a completely different side of the country. Upon arrival we take in some of the city’s sites including the nearby Batu Caves, the iconic National Monument which is dedicated to those who died in the struggle for Malaysia’s freedom during World War 2 and the Malaysian Emergency (which lasted until 1960); the modernist National Mosque and the National Palace (Istana Negara) which is now a museum.
The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the city further, visit the Petronas Towers (please note these are closed on Mondays) or go do a spot of shopping.
Day : 9 Explore Malaysia's cuisine on a food tour of the city
Malaysia prides itself in its diversity and this is reflected in its capital, Kuala Lumpur with its mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese traditions and people. One of the best ways of exploring this diversity is through a food tour of city. We discover different neighbourhoods with their distinct sights, sounds, smells and, of course, delicacies. Following a ride on the LRT monorail to Bangsar, we start our 3-hour tour exploring hidden back alleys on foot and learning about Malaysia’s wonderful street food traditions.Wandering through the Indian influenced neighbourhood of Brickfields our senses are assaulted by loud and colourful architecture, music and food. We sample delicious Indian dishes served on banana leaf and seek out sweet vendors for sugary treats such as banana fritters, sticky, sweet gulab jamun or the local favourite, cendol (shaved ice, plum sugar, kidney beans and coconut milk jelly).We then take to KL’s sky-high local transport system and are transported from the colour of India to the bustle of China. Exploring the city’s vibrant China Town we tuck in to wonderfully tasty noodles and sample refreshing lime juice whilst taking in the fast pace action all around us.Our food adventure ends with a coffee at a traditional coffee house where we can trace the evolution of the city through charming photographs of days gone by.The rest of the day is free to explore more of the city at your own pace. You can go shopping in its malls, go to one of the museums or take in the views from the KL Tower (please note some sites and museums are closed on Mondays, such as the Petronas Towers and Bridge, please see details under optional excursions in the trip notes).
Day : 10 Catch the train to Penang
Today we head north by train as we make our way to Butterworth (about 4 hours). From here it’s a short transfer across the bridge to the island of Penang and the town of Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architectural and cultural landscape. Upon arrival we have an late afternoon orientation tour before an optional dinner at one of the many street-food markets.
Day : 11 Have a city tour of Georgetown
This morning we explore more of Malaysia’s diversity on a city tour of Georgetown. We take in Fort Cornwallis, the site of the original British settlement built by the British East India Company in the late 18th Century. From here we continue to Kek Lok Si, one of the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Built in 1891, the temple boasts millions of images of Buddha as well as various murals and sculptures.We then have a free afternoon to explore further on your own, perhaps go up to the top of Penang Hill or the Botanical Gardens or take a stroll down to the Eastern and Oriental Hotel which has been perfectly restored to its past grandeur. The perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea or gin and tonic.
Day : 12 Fly to the island of Langkawi
Today we take a short flight from Penang to the island of Langkawi. (Please note there is a 15kg restriction on checked luggage but it is possible to pay for excess luggage at the airport). Officially known as ‘Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah’, it is actually an archipelago of almost 100 tropical islands surrounded by the turquoise Andaman Sea with pristine beaches and jungles. After checking in to our hotel we make our way to the cable car for spectacular views over the islands.
Whilst we endeavour to take a flight earlier in the day, please note, flight schedules can be subject to change at short notice. If it is not possible to ride the cable car this afternoon upon arrival, it will be scheduled for the following morning.
Day : 13 Free day to explore the island or just relax on the beach
Today is a free day to relax on the beach or partake in one of the various optional activities on offer. These options include going on a mangrove tour, exploring the island by bike or taking a cooking class.
Day : 14 Trip ends this morning in Langkawi for land only clients
For land only passengers, the trip ends after breakfast today in Langkawi. Passengers on the group flight will be taken to the airport in time for their flight, normally late afternoon.