Explore Borneo & Malaysia
- Discover something different on this 12-night guided holiday to Borneo & Malaysia.
- Take an exhilarating tour on a traditional trishaw to see Penang Island’s highlights.
- Visit the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands & enjoy a guided forest walk.
- Cycle through the narrow streets & hidden alleyways of Kuala Lumpur.
- See local wildlife at an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre & on a night time jungle walk.
- Enjoy a river cruise to Pitas Oxbow Lake & visit a rural village in Borneo.
- Immerse yourself in the Malaysian way of life with a trip to Mari-Mari Cultural Village.
- Includes 7 nights on a bed and breakfast basis, 3 nights on a half board basis.
Book Your Trip From £2578pp
Book Your Trip From £2149pp
Your Guided Explore Borneo & Malaysia Holiday Overview
Travel with us to experience all that Borneo & Malaysia have to offer. From colourful urban centres, unspoilt landscapes, interesting architecture, beautiful beaches, biodiverse rainforests and native wildlife, this guided group holiday has something for everyone. We’ll explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town on a walking tour, learn about the local tea trade in the rural Cameron Highlands and jump on the saddle to discover the buzzing city of Kuala Lumpur by bicycle before taking an internal flight to the rugged island of Borneo. During this small group tour, we’ll visit an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, embark on a night time jungle walk and cruise along remote rivers in search of wildlife. Join us to explore this exciting region of South East Asia and see for yourself why Borneo & Malaysia are the ultimate travel bucket list destinations.
Activity Level: Challenging
Depart for Malaysia
Fly to Penang International Airport
Begin your adventure with an overnight flight to Penang International Airport, located on Penang Island, in northwest Malaysia.
Arrive in Penang
Upon arrival in Penang you will be met by your local expert guide and transferred to your hotel. Penang Island is a location that offers historic charm and a kaleidoscope of cultures. At the heart of Penang Island is the diverse UNESCO Heritage Site of George Town, a colourful urban centre with a strong street art scene. Beyond George Town there is a mix of past and present, with British colonial buildings, Chinese shop houses as well as impressive mosques and towering skyscrapers. You will have the remainder of the day at leisure to settle in to your new surroundings. Your local expert guide will be happy to suggest nearby local restaurants so you can sample some Malaysian cuisine in your free time.
3 star hotel in Penang (2 nights)
Explore Penang Island
This morning you will explore the streets of Penang Island by trishaw. The trishaw, a light three-wheeled vehicle with pedals, is the city’s oldest mode of transportation. Afterwards, you will visit the charmingly chaotic wet market in George Town, where everything from fresh food to clothes and trinkets are sold. The bustling nature of this local market is the perfect way to immerse you in to the local Malaysian life. Take a stroll through the various market stalls with your guide, soaking up the buzzing atmosphere.
George Town walking tour
In the afternoon you will explore Penang Island further during a walking tour of George Town. There is no better way to get to know this charming, colourful UNESCO World Heritage Site than by foot. Starting from St. George’s Church, the oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia, you will walk towards the Goddess of Mercy Temple, passing through colourful flower garlands stalls along the way. Your guide will take you to see the temples on King Street before continuing towards Market Street, which is full of spice shops, saree shops and food stalls. You will also wander down Queen Street to visit the Sri Mariamman Temple. The final stop will be Khoo Kongsi, a large Chinese clan house with elaborate and highly ornamented architecture.
Free time at leisure
You will have the remainder of the day free to continue exploring Penang Island independently. You may shop, sightsee or sample local cuisine at your leisure. The choice is all yours. Your local expert guide will be on hand to make suggestions to suit your taste.
Transfer to Cameron Highlands
This morning it will be time to say goodbye to Penang Island as you leave for mainland Malaysia via the Penang Bridge. Your journey will take you south from Butterworth, towards the Perak State, travelling through Simpang Pulai towards the hill station resort of Cameron Highlands. This rural region of Malaysia is named after William Cameron, a British surveyor who stumbled across the plateau in 1885 during a mapping expedition. Sitting at 1524 metres above sea level, Cameron Highlands is well known for its emerald green tea plantations.
Explore Cameron Highlands
Mossy Forest walk
This morning you will explore the picturesque rolling tea gardens of Cameron Highlands at Gunung Brinchang. You will drive up the highest mountain accessible by road in South East Asia, which on a clear day will give stunning views over the magnificent area below. Following a “tea-talk”, while enjoying breathtaking view of a tea planation, you will continue on a guided walk through the Mossy Forest. Discover the exotic flora, such as the pitcher plant and orchids, as well as spices and medicinal plants, as you walk along an elevated platform. (Approximate duration 45 minutes / 2km)
BOH Tea Factory tour
In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of the BOH Tea Factory. BOH is a Malaysian owned tea business that has been in operation for over 80 years. Start with a tea bush walk at the planation before you will learn from the tea experts how tea is made during a tour of the factory. The visit will end with time to sample some of the teas as well as local snacks at the cafe.
Local farm visits
In the afternoon you will continue exploring Cameron Highlands with visits to the local vegetable, fruit and flower markets. Your local guide will also take you to the Butterfly & Insect Farm, which is designed to teach visitors about the dynamic balance among the biodiversity of flora in the Malaysia. You will also visit a local Strawberry Farm, the Sam Poh Buddhist Temple and the Time Tunnel mini museum, a collection of memorabilia from Cameron Highlands. You will return to your hotel in the early evening where you will have the remainder of the day at leisure to relax after your busy day of sightseeing.
Transfer from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur
Depart the Cameron Highlands, descending down the winding mountain road towards Tapah, before continuing south towards Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. En route, you will visit Batu Caves, a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples, and is home to the shrine of Lord Murugah, a Hindu deity. 272 steps must be climbed in order to reach the temple cave. (Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur 210km / 3.5 hours)
Arrive in Kuala Lumpur
In the evening you will arrive in Kuala Lumpur. You will have the remainder of the evening at leisure to settle in to your new surroundings. Kuala Lumpur is a lively city combining colourful street food stalls with giant shopping centres, and ancient temples with soaring skyscrapers. We recommend exploring the bustling Bukit Bintang area, which is filled with bars, restaurants and shops, the ideal part of town if you are interested in culture, shopping and nightlife.
Explore Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur by bicycle
This morning you will embark on a Kuala Lumpur city tour with a difference. Enjoy a cycling tour taking in the iconic highlights such as KL City Gallery, Kuala Lumpur’s downtown area, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Petaling Street. You will have the chance to sample a traditional Hainanese coffee before exploring the nooks and crannies of this bustling city by bicycle. Get to grips with the fascinating sights, sounds and smells as you discover some of the hidden gems that lie within Kuala Lumpur’s labyrinth of secluded alleyways. Cycle past local junk markets, interesting architecture and see how the locals go about their daily lives. Your local expert guide will show you the side of Kuala Lumpur that you do not often find in guide books, sharing with you not only the history of the area, but also a glimpse into the daily rituals and cultural insights of the area. The total distance covered by bicycle this morning will be 10km on mostly flat terrain with some inclines. This cycling tour will be at leisurely pace with a maximum of 20 minutes cycling at a time between sightseeing stops. You should have a reasonable level of fitness for this cycling tour.
You will have the remainder of the day at leisure in Kuala Lumpur. This is the ideal time to do some independent sightseeing or shopping. Your local expert guide will be happy to suggest activities to suit your taste.
Optional Kuala Lumpur Food Trail Excursion
Kuala Lumpur is a foodie’s paradise, an inspiring city, which is home to some of the finest food produce in the world. Your expert guide will take you on a walking tour through the city, using public transport to get from place to place, so you can travel like a local as well as eat like one. Sample savoury and sweet delicacies at local restaurants, the Central Market, and the night market on Petaling Street, the biggest Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Culinary guide and food tastings included (From €42 per person. This excursion is subject to minimum numbers)
Fly to Borneo
This morning it will be time to say goodbye to mainland Malaysia as you take a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan, a city on the northeast coast of Borneo. Borneo is a rugged island in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago. It is well known for its beaches, its ancient biodiverse rainforest, and its native orangutans.
Arrive in Sandakan
Upon arrival in Sandakan you will transfer to your lodge accommodation and will have the remainder of the day at leisure to unpack and unwind. Located at one of the oldest tropical forest in the world, this lodge is a perfect base for outdoor enthusiasts. During your free time you may independently explore the lodge’s boardwalk nature trail or simply relax and soak up the calming atmosphere in the heart of nature.
Orangutan and Sun Bears
This morning you will have the opportunity to learn about Borneo’s most famous resident, the orangutan, during a wildlife excursion to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. The Centre was founded in 1964 to rehabilitate orphan orangutans. Located on protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve, it is home to over 60 orangutans. Stroll along the walkways and watch from the platform as the Rehabilitation Centre’s staff feed the orangutans. Afterwards you will visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a wildlife conservation and research centre for improving animal welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan sun bear. Next up is a 1 hour boat cruise up to the Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary, passing through magnificent Mangrove forests
Enjoy lunch at a jungle restaurant before continuing to your lodge accommodation. You will have some free time to settle in before a late afternoon wildlife cruise. Head out in search of proboscis monkeys, birds and other animals, before returning to the jetty to sample a cup of coffee over sunset. Afterwards cruise back to your lodge in time for dinner. After dinner you will experience the jungle by night during a guided walk along the nature boardwalk trail. Keep your eyes peeled for birds, snakes, insects and other wildlife!
Pitas Oxbow Lake & local village visit
Early this morning, you will take a river cruise along the Kinabatangan River towards Pitas Oxbow Lake. This is the perfect time of the day to observe local wildlife, which can include proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and crocodiles, as they come out from their night time hideaways in search of food and water. Afterwards, return to your lodge for breakfast.
Local village visit
This morning you will visit a local village to get an insight in to daily life in Borneo. Your guide will tell you about a local community initiative, the Tree Planting Project, which was designed to help the people of Abai Village. Afterwards you will learn about “The Most Beautiful House Competition”, a community initiative designed to make the village self-sustaining. During this fun interactive local experience you will be invited into various homes and asked to vote for your favourite one and at the end the winning house will be chosen. Afterwards you will have some time to enjoy a simple lunch, made with local produce and prepared by the villagers
Free time at leisure
Later this afternoon you will have the remainder of the day at leisure for independent exploration. Check out the nature boardwalk at the lodge or simply relax and recuperate before dinner is served. The choice is all yours.
Fly to Kota Kinabalu
This morning you will have a boat transfer from your lodge, travelling along the Kinabatangan River, back towards Sandakan, before continuing the journey to the airport for your internal flight to Kota Kinabalu. Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state, located in the northern part of the island of Borneo. A coastal city partly surrounded by rainforest, Kota Kinabalu is well known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk, beaches and waterfront area. It is a melting pot of cultures and while the city has moved in to the 21st century, the old world charm is still very much alive here. Upon arrival in the afternoon you will transfer to your hotel where you will have some free time to settle in.
Mari-Mari Cultural Village
This evening you will have an excursion to Mari-Mari Cultural Village, with the aim of getting a unique insight into the cultural diversity and soul of Sabah. The journey from the city to this village will take you along roads that are surrounded by rich greenery. Upon arrival at the village, you will be greeted by the Chief of the village who will lead you across a suspension bridge towards the homes of the villagers. Enjoy a tour of the various homes, which represent the different ethnicities of Sabah, and were built by descendants of these Sabah tribes. Giving the feeling of stepping back in time, you will learn how each tribe lived in the olden days. Learn about blow piping, traditional tobacco cutting, starting a fire from bamboo trees and the symbolism of tattoos within the tribe. You will have the chance to witness the locals as they prepare Jala, a traditional Sabah cake, and Pandan juice before enjoying a buffet dinner as well as cultural performances.
Kota Kinabalu & return home
Free time at leisure
You will have the morning free to explore independently at your leisure in the city of Kota Kinabalu. Check out some of the chaotically charming local markets for some last minute souvenir shopping or take a stroll along the waterfront. The choice is entirely yours. In the afternoon you will transfer to Kota Kinabalu airport for your overnight flight home.
Arrive home to Dublin following your once in a lifetime adventure to Borneo & Malaysia.