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Borneo: Rainforest and Reef Wilderness Adventure

Explore the incredible and unique jungle of Borneo and snorkel world-class reefs at Sipadan on this exciting expedition.

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  • Spend 3-days in the untouched Danum Valley, with the chance to see orangutans, red leaf langurs, Bornean gibbons, clouded leopards, civets, slow loris, pygmy elephants, and all 8 species of hornbill.
  • Our forest and sea itinerary includes a private tour of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and time spent snorkeling the volcanic islands near Mataking.
  • Snorkel the world-class coral reefs at Sipadan, famous for large pelagics and abundant sea turtles.

Join us on an unforgettable adventure to explore the outstanding terrestrial and ocean wilderness of Malaysian Borneo. Often overlooked by nature travelers, Borneo offers one of the world's best combinations of forest and ocean wilderness. Its forests harbor exceptionally high levels of species diversity and endemism, including many rare and unique species, and, as part of the Coral Triangle region, its reefs are among the world's most diverse and spectacular.

Our itinerary begins in the jungle, with multiple excursions along the winding Kinabatangan River to look for proboscis monkeys, orangutans, hornbills, crocodiles, and other wildlife. We'll also visit the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where orphaned orangutans are rehabilitated and released back in to the wild.

Next we’ll explore Danum Valley Conservation Area—43,800 hectares of protected lowland rainforest that is home to an astonishing variety of plants and wildlife, including more than 340 species of birds, 124 species of mammals, 72 species of reptiles, 56 species of amphibians and 200 species of plants per hectare. Rare and endangered species such as the Sumatran rhino, Borneo pygmy elephant, clouded leopard, orangutan, and proboscis monkey can all be seen here, plus much more.

We end our expedition with 3 days on Mataking Island to snorkel the world-class reefs of nearby Sipadan and Tun Sakaran Marine Park, located in one of the richest marine habitats in the world. These reefs are famous among divers and snorkelers for outstanding hard and soft corals, diverse fish and macro life, as well as large pelagic species and abundant sea turtles.

Trip Dates & Cost

2019: September 23 – October 2. From $6,895 per person.* Group limit 10. Note: There are just 2 spaces remaining on this departure.

2020: September 22 – October 1. From $6,995 per person.* Group limit 10.

* Trip prices do not include international airfare. Limited single supplements are available for a fee of $975. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions. Note: This trip can be done back to back with our Banda Sea: Reefs, Blue Whales, and Hammerhead Sharks expedition.


Wayne Sentman is our director of conservation travel programs and an Oceanic Society naturalist since 1998. He is an experienced guide with a diverse background in marine mammal, seabird, and marine debris research. Wayne also co-teaches undergraduate field programs in Kenya on human-wildlife conflict and on the use of social media and art to raise public participation in conservation. He recently received a Master's in Environmental Management from Harvard University.

Roger Harris is a long-time Oceanic Society naturalist with 30 years of experience working as a guide. In addition to working with Oceanic Society, Roger has frequently worked as a naturalist for Lindblad Expeditions and the National Audubon Society. As a naturalist he has led eco-tours in Honduras, Belize, Kenya, Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos, Baja California, and SE Alaska. Roger is also a professional conservation biologist specializing in endangered species, wetlands, and native habitat restoration. He earned a graduate degree in ornithology from U.C. Berkeley, and is both a NAUI diver and an expert world birder.

Joy Marzolf is a lifetime ocean lover and avid scuba diver who is a naturalist and education coordinator at the Mass Audubon Society. For more than 10 years Joy has assisted with marine animal stranding teams, and she is also on the boards of the Boston Sea Rovers and the New England Aquarium Dive Club. She is an experienced guide, as well as a wildlife photographer and photography teacher.


The following itinerary is provided for informational purposes and is subject to change.

Day 1: Sandakan – Sepilok
Upon arrival in Sandakan, we will transfer to Sepilok Nature Resort and check-in to our rooms. In the evening, your guide will give you a trip briefing before our welcome dinner. After dinner, we will head out for an optional night walk in the forest to search for nocturnal wildlife. Our lodging tonight is at Sepilok Nature Resort.

Day 2: Sepilok – Kinabatangan
We will take a private tour of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre before it opens to the public. Our group will then continue on to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where captive orangutans are reintroduced into the wild. After lunch, we’ll depart on a 1.5 hour boat trip up the Lower Kinabatangan River, and pass by pristine mangrove forests as we search for wildlife. Our group will arrive at the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort in the afternoon, and head out for an afternoon river cruise in search of proboscis monkeys, orangutans, langurs, birds, and other wildlife. Everyone will return to the lodge for dinner. After dinner, there will be an optional night walk. Our lodging tonight is at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort.

Day 3: Kinabatangan
We will take an early morning cruise up the river and stop at a local village for breakfast, as we visit their forest restoration site. In the afternoon, our group will head out for another boat trip for more wildlife viewing. In the evening, there will be an optional night cruise or walk. Our lodging tonight is at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort.

Day 4: Kinabatangan – Danum Valley

Today, we will have an early departure for a 1.5 hour ride up the river. We will then transfer to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, which is situated along productive tracks for wildlife viewing. After lunch, we will go on guided walks on a nature trail (400 m boardwalk circuit) and a canopy walkway. In the evening, we will have dinner at the lodge. If weather permits, we can go for a night drive / walk to spot wild animals. Our lodging tonight is at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

Days 5–6: Danum Valley
We will hike in a pristine jungle setting and look for abundant wildlife. On one of the mornings, we will visit the Danum Valley Field Centre, one of the first research centers in Borneo. Here, we will spend time learning about their active research projects. Our mornings, afternoons, and evenings will be spent maximizing our opportunities to spot the rare fauna of this region. Our lodging on these nights is at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

Day 7: Danum Valley – Mataking Island
After a final morning exploring the forest, we will depart for Semporna and take a boat ride out to Mataking Island on the edge of the Sulu Sea. In the afternoon, our group will head out to go snorkeling in the pristine reefs surrounding Mataking Island. Our lodging tonight is at Mataking Island Reef Dive Resort.

Day 8: Sipadan
After breakfast, we will depart by boat for Sipadan. Sipadan is known as one of the greatest snorkel/ dive sites in the world, famous for large pelagic fish, sharks, and sea turtles. It was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop. Sipadan is located in the Coral Triangle, the center of one of the richest marine habitats in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified in this ecosystem. We will spend the day snorkeling the beautiful reefs here, and have lunch on an isolated island. In the late afternoon, we will return to Mataking. Our lodging tonight is at Mataking Island Reef Dive Resort.

Day 9: Tun Sakaran (Semporna Islands) Marine Park
After breakfast, we will depart for the island of Bohey Dulang, a beautiful volcanic island in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park. We will take a short hike up to see a stunning view of the surrounding islands and reefs (approximately, 1 mile round trip). From here, we will continue to the island of Kalapuan, where we will explore a Bajau Laut village, and visit a school to learn about the nomadic sea faring culture. The Bajau Laut still live a very traditional life, where their entire lives are connected to the sea. On the way back, we will stop at Timba Timba island to snorkel its pristine shallow reefs before returning to Mataking for lunch. While at Mataking, there may a chance to release baby sea turtles from a hatchery, and watch them start their long journeys out to sea. Our group will then enjoy a relaxing evening on the island. Our lodging tonight is at Mataking Island Reef Dive Resort.

Day 10: Mataking – Tawau – Fly Home
We will have the option to spend our last morning relaxing on the island, or snorkeling on the house reef. We will then depart for Tawau to catch our international flights back home.


We will stay in comfortable, double-occupancy rooms at unique hotels and resorts throughout our program, such as Sepilok Nature Resort, Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, Borneo Rainforest Lodge, and Mataking Island Reef Dive Resort.

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