• Discover orangutans and oither wildlife in their natural habitat
  • Visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
  • Cultural immersion program with Suku Kaum Sungai ethnic tribe
  • Cruise the Kinabatangan River viewing wildlife
  • Explore Gomantong Rainforest Reserve and Caves
  • Explore Sandakan

Sabah, located in the north of Malaysian Borneo offers the ideal base for exploration of indigenous cultures, jungles, forests and an array of wildlife. Sabah is famous for many things including being covered in impenetrable tropical rainforest where the rafflesia – the world’s largest flowering plant, thrives together with an eclectic mix of other unusual plants and wildlife. However, it is the wildlife for which Sabah is best known and on this trip we we will have the opportunity to join conservation service programs, learn and discover the rich diversity of this incredibly bio-diverse island, seeing Orangutans, Sun Bears and Elephant conservation in action as well as spending time with the Suku Kaum Sungai "people of the river" ethnic tribe.


Start and Finishing Point:

Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan


Grading:Introductory to Moderate   


After all the planning and preparation the wait is finally over! Today we board our flight to Kota Kinabalu to begin our Borneo program. On arrival our team will be waiting and transfer you to your hotel for check in. We have a full safety and trip briefing before we start exploring the cultural highlights of this vibrant city. To gain an appreciation of the ethnic tribes of Malaysia we visit the Mari Mari cultural Heritage village and the city markets. Tonight we will enjoy our first Malaysian meal at a welcome dinner. Overnight hotel

Meals:  D

This morning we rise for lunch and pack our gear for the drive to our nature lodge at Sepilok. The ride should take around 4 1/2 hours and we will make stops for snacks and toilet breaks. Sepilok is a natural paradise and one of the best places in the world to see the Orangutan in its natural habitat. It is home to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Borneo Sunbear Centre and the Borneo Rainforrest Discovery Centre. On arrival, we will have time to check into our rooms and explore the incredible nature surrounds. We then will have a in country briefing and project orientation to go over our program for the next 2 weeks. We will then enjoy a delicious local Sabahan cuisine. Overnight Sepilok nature lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

After a delicious breakfast, we will depart for our Borneo Lowland Rainforest introduction at the Rainforest Discovery Center. We will take part in an extensive learning about the great forest and wildlife surrounding us. We will learn more about the various plant and animal species and navigate through the dense forest to observe nature at its best! After lunch we head out on a jungle walk through the canopy and stop at observations tower. The tree top canopy walk towers 30 m (10 ft) above the ground and stretches for over 350 m (116 ft). It gives you a wonderful birds eye view of the jungle tree tops and wildlife in the park. This afternoon we join a program to locate and carry a data collection to the species we can observe. As we wrap our day at the rainforest discovery center, we head out to dinner to try some local delicacies! Then it’s off to bed to get a good night sleep for our service work. Overnight Sepilok nature lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Over the next two days we will spend most of our time at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, the first orangutan sanctuary in the world. This facility is one of only four orangutan sanctuaries worldwide, providing medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Over at the center, we will get the opportunity to observe and appreciate the orangutans and understand their life cycles and the intricate biodiversity roles that they have. We will also learn and understand more of the underlying threats to the habitat and wildlife. We assist the center with enrichment and welfare programs to help improve the playground and area area the Orangutans live and play in their daily life. Orangutans need to be able to climb and maintain some physical fitness whilst in a pre-release enclosure. We will help get a chance to aid with nesting material and enclosure enrichment such as tires, barrels, flexible rubber-ropes and other toys can be used to increase activity levels of the orangutans. During the afternoon we return back into our lodge for dinner. Overnight Sepilok nature lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we join the second part of our conservation work and service program. Malayan sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and are only found in Southeast Asia. These bears continue to be threatened by forest degradation, illegal hunting for bear parts and poaching to obtain young cubs for pet trade. The results of these threats has caused young sun bears found to be living in unnatural captive conditions in Sabah, with no access to outdoor areas. There are currently 42 rescued ex-captive sun bears residing at the BSBCC. The facility includes large forest enclosures to provide a natural environment suited to the needs and welfare of the sun bears and facilitate their rehabilitation back into the wild. Our program will include participation in the bears welfare program as well as the nursery for endangered species. Overnight Sepilok nature lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we embark on a trek in the Virgin Jungle Reserve to see this magical area first hand and to learn of its current predicament. Home to tropical highland forests, lowland forests and lowland mangrove swamps this ancient forest is a vitally important area once known as the lungs of South East Asia. Despite being one of the largest and oldest forests in the world much of the lowlands rainforest is being wiped out due to intense deforestation. with much of its carbon rich peatlands being destroyed the effects are threatening to the community, environment and endangered wildlife. We learn about the current state of the forest and the good work that several NGO groups to help protect this wilderness area. Overnight Sepilok nature lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we have early breakfast, checkout and make our drive to Sukau to start our cultural immersion program. Borneo is known for their diverse culture, and one of the main ethnic groups comes from a tribe known as the Suku Kaum Sungai, also known as the “People of the River.” We settle into our nature lodge and enjoy a traditional local cuisine from the village. After lunch, we join the local village community of the gentle Orang Sungai (River People). We will join a village and tribe orientation and join a number of cultural activities in the surrounding jungle. The activities may include such programs as the Seni Silat (Indigenous Martial Art), Seni Tari (traditional dance), traditional craft and carvings. The Orang Sungai are known for Bird’s Nest Supply, we will also take part in learning of the process and importance of birds nest. Overnight village lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will have a full day exploration through the magnificent scenery of the Kinabatangan River and mangrove forest. The Kinabatangan is the second longest river in Malaysia and is known for its high biodiversity and excellent wildlife spotting opportunities. We will explore this area collecting data and identifying animal and plant species. We hope to spot the Proboscis Monkey, Pygmy Elephant, Gibbons, Orangutans, Macaques along with hundreds of bird species. We learn of the many conservation efforts afoot in this protected area. Tonight we will venture out on a night safari as we witness the forest coming to life! Overnight village lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

For centuries, the intricate and complex caves at Gomantong have been renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested. The caves and surrounding areas are a protected area for wildlife, especially orangutans. The caves themselves are magnificent and we explore the large entrance and surrounds. During our caving experience, we may be able to witness the Prang Sungai harvesting the birds nests inside the cave, a remarkable sight. The locals with licenses climb to the roof of the caves, using only rattan ladders, ropes, and bamboo poles, and collect the nests. Overnight village lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we have breakfast and say goodbye to our lodge hosts as we head out on the short drive to Sandakan. Here we will stop at the local central markets to see goods being traded. We will then join the heritage house walk to understand the various historical and cultural iconic sights in the area. Many of the stops include historical structures built in the 18th century that had survived during the WWII bombing. This afternoon we drive back to Sandakan for your outbound flight

Meals:  B,L,D

Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Decent Work And Economic Growth:  Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs.

Climate Action:  Climate change is a global challenge that affects everyone, everywhere.

Life On Land:  Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Industry Innovation And Infrastructure:  Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development.

Learning outcomes for students

World Expeditions Schools journeys are designed to encourage positive personal development and the learning of life skills, while leaving the communities and environments we travel to, in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to:
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers, their teachers, and the local people they meet.
• increase the confidence to engage with new people, and collaboratively make informed decisions.
• discover the benefits of working cooperatively together as a cohesive team, to achieve a common objective.
• Increase the ability to face, and cope with, mental and physical challenges and therefore increase resilience.
• give students a chance to appreciate and care for the natural world. The environments we travel through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment.
• Learn personal skills i.e., time management, personal hygiene, responsibility for personal gear, patience, tolerance, and public speaking.
We help encourage students to learn what it means to be a true global citizen.


  • All meals as per itinerary
  • Expert local guide (English speaking) throughout
  • All land transfers required within the program in private air conditioned vehicles
  • National park permit fees and sightseeing and entry fees as per itinerary
  • Pre Departure Information kit and evening meeting to help you prepare and pack
  • River safari cruise

  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, email etc
  • Travel Insurance


Introductory to Moderate

Customise your program

We can fully customise a School Travel Program to suit your students' learning objectives and budget. Whether you require a Service Learning program, physical challenge, cultural immersion or certain curriculum targets - talk to one of our educational travel experts about the elements you need in your itinerary. We pride ourselves on developing unique itineraries to meet the learning requirements for schools.

World Expeditions Schools is a division of one of the world's leading adventure travel companies, World Expeditions. We can develop itineraries in any destination that is offered by World Expeditions, which is to every continent on earth.

Use our simple Expedition Design Form to contact us with your requirements and an educational travel expert will be in touch to assist.

Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.


Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

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