Green sea turtles, forest orangutans and limestone caves are just some of the highlights on this extraordinary 3-day tour from Sabah to Sandakan, including 4-star overnight stays at Selingan Island Resort and Borneo Nature Lodge. All meals and transportation, including boat tours, are included as you're expertly guided to some of the region's best natural and cultural attractions.
Day 1: Sabah – Selingan Turtle Island (L, D)
Following pickup at your Kota Kinabalu hotel you’re taken to the airport for your flight to Sandakan (not included, please see Additional Info for details). Upon arrival, transfer to the jetty for a scenic 1-hour boat ride to Selingan Turtle Island, a major nesting area for green sea turtles.
After you check in to your hotel and have lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore the island at your own leisure. Take a dip in the ocean, soak up the sun on the beach or discover marine life while snorkeling (own expense). The island offers a variety of fun activities — just ask your friendly guide.
After dinner, enjoy a unique nighttime experience as you listen to a park ranger explain how Selingan Island is a conservation area that protects turtles’ newly laid eggs from predators. If you’re lucky, you may witness workers collecting eggs from the nesting site and planting them in the hatchery, observe the awe-inspiring process of turtles eggs hatching, or see the magnificent sight of baby turtles scrambling on the beach to the open sea.
Overnight: 4-star Selingan Island Resort on Selingan Island
Day 2: Selingan Turtle Island – Sandakan (B, L, D)
After breakfast, board a boat and travel along the Sulu Sea back to Sandakan, where you’ll be picked up for a short drive to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here, watch a video about the center’s important work of rehabilitating injured and orphaned orangutans.
Then follow your guide on an easy trek along a wooden boardwalk through the lowland rainforest to a viewing platform to witness the feeding of orangutans.
Next, enjoy on a scenic 2.5-hour drive through the rustic countryside studded with villages, and then take a short boat transfer to your hotel for check-in.
You’ll have time to relax by the river before embarking on a 1.5-hour boat safari along the Kinabatangan River, Sabah's longest river. Travel through lush mangrove and rainforest habitats, spotting native wildlife along the way. Your guide will help point out a few primates such as proboscis monkeys as they settle onto treetops.
After your boat journey, return to the lodge for dinner.
Overnight: 4.5-star Borneo Nature Lodge in Sandakan
Day 3: Sandakan – Sabah (B, L)
After breakfast at the lodge, venture to Gomantong Cave, located in a large limestone outcrop, for an adventurous exploration of this massive cave complex famed for its edible birds' nests. Then walk for about 15 minutes along a boardwalk to the opening of Semut Hitam cavern and explore the cave system with your guide.
Return to Sandakan for lunch and then head on a city coach tour beginning with a visit to a bustling market to peruse its stalls offering fresh seafood and unique local delicacies.
Visit historic sites like the Agnes Keith House, where the American author lived and where the British government was housed. Walk inside and see reproductions of colonial furniture and authentic antiques.
Next, visit Sandakan Memorial Park, commemorating the life of Australian and British prisoners of war during World War II. Tour the beautifully maintained park and the museum to learn about the heroic efforts of these POWs.
Afterward, you’ll be taken to the airport for your evening flight (not included) with a transfer back to your Kota Kinabalu hotel.