Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)
Flight from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian Airlines.
We arrive into Kuala Lumpur in the morning. On our way to the hotel, we will have a brief tour of Putrajaya, Malaysia’s federal administrative centre. The architecture in Putrajaya is predominantly modern Arabic in style and we will visit many places of interest including Putra Jaya Government Centre, Putra Bridge, Putra Perdana and Putra Mosque. This pinkish mosque incorporates architecture from Turkestan, Kazakhstan and Morocco, making it the most imposing structure in the area. Once we arrive at the hotel, we have some time at leisure before discovering Malay Kuala Lumpur. We'll be accompanied by a local guide on a walking tour in the late afternoon to lead us through the village surrounded by the high rise buildings of the city. The Malay culture, heritage and traditions are prominent in the village. We'll sample the local street food and explore places such as Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kelab Sultan Sulaiman Gallery and Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa Sikh temple. We'll finish our first evening here with dinner in a local restaurant.
We will start the day with a Kuala Lumpur Heritage walk with a local guide. We will discover the heritage trails of the early cultures in Malaysia where we will gain knowledge of Malaysia’s multi-cultural society. Located in the midst of the hustle and bustle of China town is Sri Mahamariamman Temple, one of the oldest and most intricate Hindu temples in the country. We will continue to the oldest Taoist Temple, Sze Ya Temple in Jalan Cheng Lock. It was built in 1880 by one of the founding fathers of Kuala Lumpur, Yap Ah Loy. We then pass through the Central Market, now a leading crafts centre in the city. We'll continue to Little India, where we visit the banking area Leboh Pasar Besar and Lebuh Ampang. The streets are filled with Indian restaurants, textile shops and sundry stores. We visit the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur, Jamek Mosque, built in 1909 and the oldest surviving mosque in the city. We'll also visit the renowned Independence Square. In the afternoon we'll visit the limestone hills of Batu Caves where we climb a flight of 272 steps to the sacred Hindu temple cave where the shrine of Hindu deity, Lord Murugah lies. Please see the kit list for further details regarding dress code. We then finish the evening with dinner at the hotel.
We depart to Kuala Selangor, the home to one of the largest firefly colonies in the world. Silvered-leaf Monkeys, rare species of bird and butterflies can be found in this area. At the old fishing village of Sekinchan, we may see migratory birds from Sumatra and take in the gorgeous view of the paddy fields. In the afternoon we continue our journey towards Cameron Highlands where we'll try the local steamboat dinner at the hotel.
We'll explore the Cameron Highlands today. We will venture to Gunung or Mount Brinchang, the highest peaks in the highlands at 2031m. We will take the boardwalk through the tropical rainforest into the Mossy Forest to experience the unique flora such as the carnivorous Pitcher Plant, primitive Ferns, wild Orchids, Ti Trees and Rhododendrons. We will view the most scenic tea plantation, the Sungei Palas Boh estate. This is the largest and best known tea station in the region. We will take a guided tour of the factory to learn about the processes and maybe try some tea at your own leisure. We will visit a strawberry farm and you can pick fresh strawberries by hand at an extra charge. We will also visit a Butterfly and Reptile Farm. Some species of butterfly will be well known and some will be rarer. We will visit a day market where the majority of the local produce can be found. We can spend some time here at leisure exploring the many delightful stalls. We will finish the afternoon in Tanah Rata, the largest town in the Cameron Highlands before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
We'll travel to Kuala Tembeling Jetty to catch a motorized long boat for a 3 hour ride to Kuala Tahan, the headquarters of Taman Negara National Park. We may be joined by locals as the boats are open to the public too. You'll sail past local villages and meander through the tropical rainforest. We may be lucky enough to see Birds, Monkeys, Monitor Lizards and even Water Buffalo. Once we arrive at the Taman Negara Resort, we will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax and enjoy the jungle atmosphere. In the evening, we will meet a guide to take us on our first adventure in the National Park, a night jungle walk in the 130 million year old tropical rainforest! We will take a boardwalk through the jungle to try to spot nocturnal insects and wildlife.
Today we will take a boat to Kampung Dedari with a local guide where we will immerse ourselves in the local culture as we spend a day with the Orang Asli of Batek tribe. It is believed that their ancestors migrated out from Africa about 80,000 to 70,000 years ago and have arrived in Peninsular Malaysia for at least 25,000 years. The descendants can be traced as far as Australia and Papua New Guinea. We will learn how to gather raw foods, dig two-metre soil for wild tapioca, recognise medical plants and learn the traditional way of cooking. We'll enjoy lunch with the tribe before we learn how to start a fire through traditional methods, make darts for blowpipes and even learn how to use the blowpipes! We will finish our adventure by tasting traditional roots tea with the tribe. We can reflect on our unique and exciting day over dinner at the hotel. It is encouraged to bring simple gifts when visiting a native settlement, a normal Asian custom. Simple gifts can include exercise books, pencils, rice or biscuits. Food in non-biodegradable plastics are not encouraged. Our Tour Leader will supply some gifts on behalf of the group but please feel free to bring items if you wish.
We will start the morning with a jungle walk (1 ½ hours) up to Teresek Hill where we can capture panoramic views of the tropical rainforest. If it is a clear day you may even be lucky enough to see Mount Tahan, the highest mountain in Peninsula Malaysia. We will learn about the rich flora found during the walk. We will follow a canopy walkway 40 metres above the ground where you'll get the unique opportunity of experiencing the rainforest from a different perspective, close to the top of the trees! We will take a short boat ride across to Kuala Tahan Jetty and transfer back to Kuala Lumpur. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. You can explore Kuala Lumpur some more or sit back and relax. Dinner will be at the hotel this evening.
We will take an early flight from Kuala Lumpur airport to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. On our arrival, we will transfer to the city centre and proceed with the Kota Kinabalu Heritage Walk (2 ½ hours). We will start at the Padang Merdeka and make our way around other historical sites such as the Atkinson Clock Tower, Sabah Tourism Building, Malaysia Monument and North Borneo War Memorial. We will learn about Kota Kinabalu’s pre-war, post-war and post-independence. We will also have a short stop at one of the oldest coffee shops in Jln Pantai. We will continue to discover Kota Kinabalu as we have dinner at a local restaurant.
We transfer to Kinabalu National Park (2 hours 15 minutes). The park covers an area of 468 square miles and is 1623m above sea level. There is a rainforest at its lower levels, montane vegetation at its medium level and conifers and other alpine flora at the summit. Here the group will divide. Those who are not climbing Mount Kinabalu will visit Poring Hot Spring where we will discover nature trails and the canopy plank walk for fantastic views of the rainforest. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of reptiles, small mammals or insects! Have a relax in the open air style bathtubs with running sulphured water flowing natural from the earth’s crust. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before dinner at the hotel.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu Option Day 1:
We will be transferred to the Park Headquarters to get registered for the climb before making our way to the Summit Trail at 1866m. 1 piece of luggage per person can be stored at the headquarters during the trip. Any additional bags requiring storage are at a charge. Today’s walk will take approximately 5-7 hours and starts with a descent to Carson’s Falls before we follow the trails to climb to the summit. The Nepenthes Lowii is found along the trail, Borneo’s most unusual pitcher plants. Expect to see mossy forests of mixed bamboos, tree ferns and Rhododendrons. Today the walk will finish at approximately 3080m. Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure and we will eat dinner at the accommodation.
Today we will follow a guided forest trail to the Mountain Garden to view some endemic and medicinal plants found within the Kinabalu National Park. This afternoon will be free at leisure to explore the park independently. Dinner will be at our accommodation.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu Option Day 2:
Today we make the final climb to the summit. It is an early 2am wakeup call but catching a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise at the summit is magical and worth the early rise! The ascent will take approximately 3 hours and the descent down to the park is approximately 3-4 hours. You’ll re-join the main group after the descent.
Today we will transfer to Sandakan. On our journey we will stop at the Kundasang War Memorial and the Sabah Tea Garden for a factory tour and lunch. We'll also stop by Luanthi Village where you have the opportunity to dip your feet into the river and see all the fish gather and gently nibble away at any scaly and dead skin! On arrival in Sandakan, we will have some free time before enjoying dinner at the hotel in the evening.
Visit the Rainforest Discover Centre for an early morning 147m long canopy walk to get a fantastic view of Borneo Rainforest before and during sunrise. Later in the morning we will visit the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary where the centre helps to support rescued, injured and orphaned Orang-utans. The sanctuary helps to rehabilitate and prepare them to be sent back into the wild. We will learn about the process and even observe feeding the Orang-utans.
Please be aware there is a camera fee of approximately £2 per person should you wish to take your camera to the feedings with you. This is not included in the holiday cost.
Our visit here will lead onto the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre where we will learn about the smallest bears in the world. The Sun Bears are only found in Southeast Asia but continuous deforestation, illegal hunting and poaching threatens the species and their natural habitat. There are currently 44 rescued ex-captive Sun Bears at the centre where the large forest enclosures provide a natural environment to rehabilitate them back into the wild.
We'll transfer to Bilit village (2-3 hours depending on traffic) where we will take a short boat trip to reach our lodge for the night. We'll explore Kinabatangan River by an afternoon river cruise. This area has the greatest concentration of wildlife in Borneo so you may be lucky to spot lots of wildlife including the most famous creature of all, the bizarre looking Proboscis Monkeys. We will return to the lodge for dinner and have the rest of the evening at leisure.
An early 6am boat trip along Kinabatangan River will allow us the chance of capturing some of the bird species such as the elegant Egrets, several species of Kingfishers, the oriental Darter, the Bee-eaters or even the Hornbills. The quiet early morning scene will give us the best chance of seeing these beautiful species of bird plus a front row seat to the dramatic change of colours in the horizon as dawn sets in, a truly magical experience.
After breakfast we will spend the rest of the morning trekking in the jungle where you will learn about the flora and fauna as well as potentially spotting some insects and frogs! We will enjoy a late morning lunch at the lodge and spend the early afternoon at leisure before joining a Menanggul River cruise towards Sakau to discover more wildlife! We'll finish the evening with dinner at the lodge.
Today we will visit Batu Tuluq Cave, a part of the Labang limestone formation shaped 20-25 million years ago. The cave is a remote part of the limestone hills and reaches 40m in height. It was used as an ancient log coffin burial site between 500-900 years ago. There are three main caves, Agop Sawat (the upper cave), Agop Lintanga (the middle cave) and Agop Suriba (the lower cave). The caves here contain more than 125 ancient log coffins which represent Sabah’s unique cultural heritage.
Later today we visit the Orang Sungei community which translates as the River People. Here we'll learn about the community and learn much of their diverse cultural heritage. We finish the day with a trip to Gomantong Caves. We will walk through the jungle on a wooden walkway before reaching the caves. There is a strong and maybe unpleasant aroma in the caves but we will have the chance to watch the incredible bad exodus!
Today we will transfer to Sandakan airport for a flight to Kota Kinabalu. The rest of the day is at leisure. Our final dinner together will be in a local restaurant.
Say farewell to Malaysia and Borneo. Return back to the UK.
Arrive in the UK.