Canberra Grammar School: Borneo Adventure 2019

Canberra Grammar School: Borneo Adventure 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Learn about the the unique cultural, historical, bio diversity and local indigenous communities of Borneo
  • Relive the nostalgic romance by riding on the British North Borneo steamtrain
  • Witness orangutans and wildlife in their natural habitat
  • 2 days of service at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre & Borneo Sunbear Conservation Centre
  • Enjoy a cruise on the Kinabatangan River
  • A day of snorkeling among beautiful coral reefs
  • And much more

Trip Summary

This unique, custom designed itinerary features many fascinating aspects of Borneo, the ideal base to explore indigenous culture as well as jungles and forests and an array of wildlife endemic to this region. We enjoy a day of snorkeling at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, just a short distance from Kota Kinabalu where we will find beautiful coral reefs, without the crowds. We fly to Sandakan where we turn our attention to participating in conservation focused service, spending a day at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and another day at the Borneo Sunbear Conversation Centre, where we work alongside the carers to support their important conservation work to improve the plight of the Malayan sun bear and the orang-utans. We take morning and late afternoon cruises on the Kinabatagan River, in search of wildlife and bird-life along Sabah’s longest river, look out for orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, langur monkeys, macaques, gibbons, crocodiles, bearded jungle pigs, hornbills, pygmy elephants as well as a plethora of over 220 bird species. This is such a wonderful learning experience, jam-packed with adventure, cultural immersion, conservation service and fun.


The Canberra Grammar School Borneo Adventure is graded as Introductory. Introductory graded trips involve walking and sightseeing for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. Being prepared for the heat and humidity will make your experience more comfortable and enjoyable.


After many months preparing and planning for your Borneo Adventure, the departure day has finally arrived. Please arrive at Canberra airport at least 3 hours prior to departure. Depart Canberra on a Singapore Airlines flight at 23:15, arriving in Singapore at 05:15 on 16 April. 15 APR SQ288 CBR SIN 23:15 05:15+ 16 APR MI392 SIN BKI 08:45 11:20 ( flights subject to change )

Meals:  Nil

We arrive into Singapore at 05:15, and then depart again just a few hours later at 08:45, arriving into Kota Kinabalu at 11:20. Upon arrival into Kota Kinabalu International Airport we are met by our World Youth Adventure guide and transferred by private couch 15 minutes to the hotel. The guide does a trip briefing at the hotel. Head out on a walk along the harbour front and nearby markets. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Overnight Jesselton Hotel 16 APR MI392 SIN BKI 08:45 11:20 (flights subject to change)

Meals:  D

Today we take a ride on the North Borneo Railway and relive the nostalgic romance of British North Borneo of the 1900’s. Chugging along the tracks from Tanjung Aru, through Kinarut before arriving in the Rice Bowl of Sabah, Papar. Along the way we will soak in the green vistas of sprawling paddy fields, traditional stilt homes and watch buffaloes ambling in the distance. On board, we are treated to a rare delight: A Tiffin-style breakfast and lunch, comprising of Asian and Continental dishes. The train features five fully refurbished colonial-style passenger train carriages that can accommodate a total of 180 passengers. The North Borneo Railway is built and operated to the highest of international standards and is fully compliant with modern safety standards. In the afternoon we will have an opportunity to visit the bustling harbour front markets which sell everything from live eels to household goods. Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight Jesselton Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

The Snorkel Safari day trip Gaya Island at a PADI 5 STAR CDC Dive Centre is perfectly located within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, just 5-10 minutes from Kota Kinabalu City. There are beautiful coral reefs without the crowds providing swimmers and snorkelers an ideal location for enjoying the tropical underwater world in a safe, comfortable environment. Qualified snorkel guides will assess the conditions on the day and choose the best islands and location to suit the environment and your comfort level in the water. After your orientation session you will be spending the day jumping from the boat onto sites otherwise not accessible. If jumping into the water is rather daunting, don’t worry you can use our boat ladder for easy access or you can snorkel the shallow bays if you are nervous about deep water. Between each session of approximately 45 minutes you will return to our paradise PADI 5 Star Dive & Adventure Centre nestled in a secluded bay on Gaya Island where you will enjoy refreshments and a freshly cooked lunch. Accommodation: Jesselton Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast, we take a flight from Kota Kinabalu city to Sandakan. Upon arrival we visit the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), founded in Sabah, Malaysia in 2008. The purpose of the BSBCC, is a two-stage effort to provide for the care, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and captive sun bears, as well as address the lack of knowledge and awareness of this little-known bear both in Malaysia and internationally. The Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), found only in south-east Asia, is the world’s smallest bear species. Volunteers will be working with our groups of rescued bears. The enclosures are very natural and have large rocky outcrops, native fauna, climbing frames and platforms, pools and other enrichment’s. It is a safe and happy home to bears that have been rescued from a range of different situations including poachers, the black market, the bile farm industry and businesses using them for entertainment and trades which often leave behind very young orphaned cubs. In the late afternoon, we will return to our accommodation. Accommodation: Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. 19APR MH2042 BKI SDK 07:05 07:45 (flights subject to change)

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we drive to Sepilok Forest Reserve, upon arrival we assemble at the restaurant walkway to Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre (approx. 5 mins walk). The sanctuary is surrounded by virgin tropical lowland Dipterocarp forest. A short nature walk through the lowland forest will lead you to a viewing platform where you will be able to witness the wild Orang Utans swing from branch to branch for their morning feedings. You can also view a short documentary about the orphaned orang utans that were brought in for rehabilitation until they are ready to be return to the wild. Meet with the ranger team for service briefing. Service may involves cleaning cages and feeding, some daily maintenance work such and learn how to conduct facility maintenance checkups. Accommodation: Sepilok Forest Edge Resort.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we overland transfer to Kinabatangan River (2 hours), en route visiting the Gomantong Caves which are world famous for the incredibly valuable bird nests of thousands of cave swiftlets that live in the limestone cave system. This edible bird nest, crafted by the birds from their saliva, are the most expensive animal products consumed by humans. It has been used in Chinese cooking for centuries, most commonly as Bird’s Nest Soup. We proceed to Bilit Adventure Lodge for check in and lunch. This afternoon we take a 2 hour afternoon river cruise - to search for the wildlife and bird-life along Sabah’s longest river Kinabatangan, look out for orangutans, proboscis monkeys, langur monkeys, macaques, gibbons, crocodiles, bearded jungle pigs, hornbills, a variety of birds, pygmy elephants and more. Accommodation: Bilit Adventure Lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

We wake early for an early morning boat cruise at 6am, after that, return back to resort for breakfast. Mid morning we begin work on the tree planting project to give back to nature, and then return to the lodge for lunch. A tea break is served at around 3.30pm, before joining a 2 hour afternoon cruise along Kinabatangan River in search for more wildlife. We return to the lodge for dinner, followed by lessons in traditional dance. Accommodation: Bilit Adventure Lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

Wake up for the last time in the jungle, after breakfast transfer 3 hours overland to Sandakan. Learn about the city's history as a trading port for South East Asia, optional visit to the Australian Memorial Park. This site commemorates a tragedy and atrocity which struck Sandakan between January and August 1945. The park also includes a small museum that serves as a memorial to the thousands of Australians, Malaysians and British who lost their lives during WWII. After lunch, proceed to Sandakan Airport to board the Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur. We overnight at an airport hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Accommodation: Sama-Sama Express KL International Airport Hotel guests do not need to clear Malaysian Customs and Immigration if they are on a layover between flights. 23 APR MH2711 SDK KUL 14:10 17:00 ( flights subject to change )

Meals:  B,L

Depart Kuala Lumpur at 07:35 and arrive in Singapore at 08:35. Depart Singapore at 10:30 and arrive in Canberra at 22:20. MI 319 24APR KULSIN 0735 0835 SQ 288 24APR SINCBR 1030 2220 ( flights subject to change )

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • Singapore Airlines economy class flights from Canberra to Kota Kinabalu via Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Canberra via Singapore
  • One-way Malaysian Airlines economy class flights from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan and Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur
  • 07 breakfasts, 07 lunches and 07 dinners (based on Asian Buffet Style or Set Menu with Soft Drinks)
  • Expert guide (English speaking) throughout from day 2 to day 9 plus additional expert local guides for specialist commentary
  • All land transfers required within the program in private air conditioned minivans
  • Entrance fees to sites and activities as listed in itinerary
  • 04 nights accommodation (twin) in hotels in Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur
  • 02 nights accommodation (twin) at Sepilok Nature Resort and 02 nights at Bilit Adventure Lodge (twin)

What's Not Included

  • Meals and beverages not indicated in the program
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, email etc
  • Camera and video entrance fees
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory
  • Visa (if required)


Duration:10 Days
Starting Point:Canberra
Activities:Adventure Touring
Service Learning
Wildlife Safari
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG5606