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Borneo Hike, Bike, and Kayak Adventure
Borneo is known for beautiful beaches, towering mountains, and steamy rainforests. The Sabah region is a natural paradise and the country’s tropical playground. This active Borneo hike, bike and kayak adventure will take you cycling through small villages, searching for wildlife in the jungle, ascending the summit of Mt. Kinabalu, and kayaking through the crystal clear waters of Tunku Abdul Marine Park.
- Hike up Mt. Kinabalu
- Cycle through paddy field, rubber plantations, fruit orchards and up challenging hill climbs
- Explore the intriguing and modern capital of Kota Kinabalu
- Swim in pristine rivers and kayak the crystal clear waters of Tunku Abdul Marine Park
- Enjoy local hospitality in homestay accommodation
- Soak your tired muscles at the ‘Poring Hot Springs’
- Camp overnight at Lupa Masa Rainforest Camp
The journey starts in Koto Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital, where the cycling begins straight away. If you’re a competent cyclist you’ll find the route moderate on most days with a few challenging sections throughout. You’ll cycle up to 20km per day as you ride through stunning landscapes and charming villages. Sights to see along the way include the terraced paddy fields next to the Kiulu River, picturesque hanging bridges, rubber plantations, fruit orchards, and the natural rock formation of ‘Mini Kinabalu.’
Once you arrive at the base of Mt Kinabalu, you’ll have several days of hiking. On summit day, you’ll start out at 2:30am in order to greet the stunning sunrise from Summit Low’s Peak (4095m). On the way down you’ll take the via ferrata route which was specifically designed to allow access to scenic parts of the mountains that could previously only be seen by experienced rock climbers.
Kayaking is the best way to see Manukan Island. You’ll island hop over the calm and crystal clear water of Tunku Abdul Marine Park and have the opportunity to snorkel so you can enjoy the breathtaking views both above and below water.
You don’t need to be an outdoor expert to enjoy the adventure and your guides will keep you safe and having fun, but the activities do require that you’re relatively fit. With two home stays you’ll also have opportunity to hang out with the locals, feast on spectacular local cuisine, and spend ample time soaking up ancient island culture.
Enquire today to find out more.
Day 1 Kota Kinabalu
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. If you arrive early, you can immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, excellent for swimming and snorkelling.
Day 2 Kiulu Homestay
Travel out of Kota Kinablu by road (approximately 1 hour), then enjoy a day of cycling (approximately 18 km, finishing in Kiulu around 4 pm). There will be a support van, but the route is not difficult for a competent cyclist. Pack an overnight bag (which can travel in the van), as you will leave your large luggage in Kota Kinabalu and it will be brought back to you on Day 3.
The route today is a mix of asphalt and gravel, through villages and over picturesque hanging bridges. The first section of the trip is a leisurely ride towards Tuaran Town to get used to the bikes. There will be a photo opportunity at the pretty pagoda if you’d like to stop. Then you will continue riding through the countryside, stopping for a picnic lunch where there is a good spot.
Kiulu is a cool and hilly area of terraced paddy fields with the Kiulu River running through the valley below. Tonight is your first homestay of the trip. Bedding is provided and rooms are multi-share with a shared toilet and cold-water bucket showers. Dinner is included.
Day 3 Tanak Nabalu
Today you will continue cycling (approximately 20 km), leaving nice and early after breakfast at your homestay. Passing through rubber plantations and fruit orchards, wind your way through the backroads. The trails are more challenging today as there are more hill climb sections, and the toughest section is the final 12 km from our ending point – a steady, gradual uphill stretch. Again, the support vehicle is there if it’s needed.
The aim is to arrive at the end point, Kg Togop, by 2 pm. Here you might have worked up enough of an appetite to try a local specialty: smoked wild boar. From here, drive about 1 hour to our homestay which is close to the base of Mt Kinabalu at Tanak Nabalu. Take a refreshing dip in the river and visit ‘Mini Kinabalu’, a natural rock formation that locals say looks like the peak of the real thing. Accommodation here is multi-share with a shared toilet and cold water bucket showers. Bedding is provided. An optional activity tonight is a cultural performance in the village.
Day 4 Mt Kinabalu
Drive to the base of Mt Kinabalu and begin your climb, which starts at Timpohon Gate and takes 5–7 hours. The trek passes by different vegetation zones from oak & chestnut trees to moss covered rocks and eventually only alpine vegetation. It’s an intense yet scenic and rewarding trek to the Laban Rata rock slab where the lodges that accommodate climbers are situated.
On the way back down you will take the via ferrata route, one of the most exciting ways to experience the mountain. Arrive at Pendant Hut (3,289 m) at around 3 pm and rest up. Here there is a briefing with your Mountain Torq guides this afternoon. Enjoy an included buffet dinner at the restaurant at Laban Rata, then bunk down for an early night.
Accommodation is dormitory-style and unheated. As it is only a short night’s sleep here, most people will sleep in the clothes they will trek in the next day. Bathroom facilities are shared and have cold water only.
Day 5 Mt Kinabalu / Poring Hot Springs
Today it’s time to summit. Wake up in time to leave for your trek to the top at around 2:30 am. Summit Low’s Peak (4,095 m) and catch the sunrise. The climb from Laban Rata to the summit takes 2–4 hours. Descend from the Peak and meet your via ferrata guide at Sayat Sayat Hut (3668m) ready for your via ferrata experience. Feel the natural surroundings, the exhilaration, and sense of personal achievement when you complete the circuit. You’ll be back at Pendant Hut at around 9:30 am for a well-earned breakfast and to check out. After breakfast it’s time to make your way back down the mountain to Timpohon Gate again where we can have lunch.
Once everyone is down from the mountain, we continue to Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Soak your weary limbs in these famous outdoor thermal pools, perhaps spotting a giant Raffelsia flower nearby if they’re in season. Tonight you will stay at a hostel in Poring Hot Springs. Some rooms have bunk beds or multiple beds and the bathroom is shared. Rooms are fan cooled and hot water is usually available. The hostel is located right inside the springs complex itself and has a light and airy lounge room for us to relax in.
Even if you are very fit you may find summit climb difficult due to the altitude. It can make you feel quite nauseous and short of breath. The trail is marked by a white rope that’s also useful to help you up some of the steep sections. Waterproof gloves are recommended to protect your hands from rope burn (as well as to keep them warm) and you will also need a head torch as you ascend in the dark.
Day 6 Lupa Masa
Enjoy a free morning. There are optional activities available at Poring Hot Springs. Walking paths lead through rich lowland forest to mountain rivers, and there are waterfalls and bat caves to visit, with birds and other wildlife often seen along the trails. A walkway in the tree canopy provides magnificent views. The butterfly farm is another great option.
After lunch you will leave your large bags behind and make the short trek (30–40 minutes) to the Lupa Masa Rainforest Camp where you will stay tonight. Watch out for the odd leach on this walk (knee-high socks you can tuck into your pants are recommended). There’s the chance for a swim in the pristine river to explore some of the nearby trails. Tonight you’ll sleep on raised camp decks in the stunning primary rainforest. It’s basic accommodation but in an amazing location. Tents, sleeping mats and blankets are provided, but bringing your own sleep sheet or locally-bought sarong is recommended. Dinner is included at camp, and a night-lit jungle walk in search of wildlife will follow.
Day 7 Kota Kinabalu
After breakfast this morning there’s a little more time to spend enjoying your surroundings before you walk back to Poring. From here you will drive back to Kota Kinabalu (approximately 3 hours). The evening in Kota Kinabalu is yours to spend as you please. You will stay tonight in your start-point hotel.
Day 8 Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Drive the short distance to Jesselton Point (approximately 10 minutes), then take a boat out to Manukan Island in Tunku Abdul Marine Park (approximately 20 minutes). Manukan Island is where you will begin your kayaking adventure, island hopping across the calm and crystal-clear waters of the Tunku Abdul Marine Park in double-seater kayaks. There’s a full day to spend out on the water and you will have a mask on hand so you can stop for some snorkelling. A support boat will be with you the whole day, should you need a break from paddling. Later, head back to land and back to Kota Kinabalu for your final night with the group.
This activity is dependent on weather conditions. If kayaking is not possible due to storms or high winds, your leader will discuss with the group what alternatives are on offer.
Day 9 Kota Kinabalu
Your trip ends this morning after breakfast. There are no activities included today and you are free to depart at any time.
Parts of your trip go above 2,800 metres and it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects at this altitude, regardless of age, gender or fitness.
Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and can be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss any pre-existing medical conditions with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please provide passport details at time of booking, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please see trip notes for further information.
This is a very active trip and includes time at high altitude. You will need to have an excellent level of fitness to take part in all activities.
Price from £1,100 per person (land only). Contact us for availability and prices for specific dates.
Trip length: 9 days
1 Jan 2018 – 9 Jan 2018
19 Feb 2018 – 27 Feb 2018
26 Mar 2018 – 3 Apr 2018
23 Apr 2018 – 1 May 2018
28 May 2018 – 5 Jun 2018
2 Jul 2018 – 10 Jul 2018
6 Aug 2018 – 14 Aug 2018
10 Sept 2018 – 18 Sept 2018
15 Oct 2018 – 23 Oct 2018
19 Nov 2018 – 27 Nov 2018
24 Dec 2018 – 1 Jan 2019
7 Jan 2019 – 15 Jan 2019
18 Feb 2019 – 26 Feb 2019
25 March 2019 – 2 April 2019
29 April 2019 – 7 May 2019
27 May 2019 – 4 June 2019
7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Homestay (2 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (3 nights)
We love this operator for the freedom and flexibility they give travellers to get off the tourist trails and really experience local cultures. Their grassroots style of travel ensures the impact on the communities they visit is minimised. They use local leaders, local accommodation & transport and support local community projects, ensuring sustainability is at the centre of everything they do.
This operator is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. However, these values are more than just words on a page; they are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every office and tour. In addition, they expect their staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel – respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.
Borneo Hike, Bike and Kayak Adventure
- Trip code: AWA319
- Dates: various dates in 2018
- Price: from 1,100 GBP
- Depart: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
- Arrive: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
- Length: 9 days
- Adventure: An active hike, bike and cycle adventure through Borneo’s stunning natural landscapes