Borneo, Malaysia, offers adventure-seeking families access to secluded waterways and tribal villages ripe for exploration and rainforests all nestled in safety and comfort. Waterways, 4x4, car trips and domestic flights make getting around this part of the world quite effortless and convenient. Pack your Seafolly bikini and read on... In addition to having a lot to explore, all the practical facilities you need are available in local hotels. More importantly, there is always something to do. From walking across intricate ropeways in the jungle with older kids to checking out the local wildlife, including the unique proboscis monkey, with young ones, Borneo continuously offers up a variety of fun and exciting activities for you to engage in.
Exploring Wildlife Sanctuaries in Sepilok
A collection of well priced domestic flights are the perfect alternative to road travel when it comes to travelling around the country especially considering the restrictive nature of Borneo’s thick forests. To explore Sabah, a state located on the eastern side of the country, visitors can fly direct from Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu, to Sandakan. Before you set out into the Borneo wilds, you can get an introduction to the local wildlife by spending a few days in Sepilok, which is only half an hour away from Sandakan by car. The local orangutan sanctuary has made Sepilok quite famous. About seventy orangutans, which are due to be released back into the wild, are sheltered at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. A sun bear reserve and a rainforest discovery centre have both been established thanks to the success of the sanctuary. Young ones that have lost their parents and any confiscated animals are all housed in an extensive nursery designed to hold new arrivals. Visitors can watch the orangutans swinging and playing happily from ropes and on tires, respectively, through a glass wall that is designed to protect the animals from human diseases. You will be just a stone’s throw away from the sanctuaries if you choose to stay in one of Sepilok Nature Resort’s reasonably sized chalets.
Visit Kinabatangan River for Some Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
You can then head over to Kinabatangan River, and stay in a lodge along the river, from Sepilok. In addition to a variety of fun activities, most lodges offer a 2-night stay that includes dining. Individual chalets, made of wood, offer a lot of space to run around in these simple but comfortable lodges. You will most likely have the opportunity to engage in the planned activities with just one other family as they are organized for small groups averaging 8 to 10 people. From Sandakan, you will travel to your lodge by boat. You can set out on a trip along the river at dusk, after settling in. You will be guided by naturalists who will be looking out for wildlife as you coast along the quieter tributaries of the Kinabatangan. You can spot the odd hornbill from the horizon, while countless proboscis monkeys hang from the trees above. You can spot fireflies that light up the jungle like Christmas trees if you choose to stay at Abai Jungle Lodge, where you can stay out on the river until dark. At dawn and dusk, when the wildlife is most active, you will be taken on two additional boat rides the next day. This is a convenient way to explore the wildlife - especially for families with younger kids. You can view monkeys and birds using a pair of binoculars, or glimpse at animals along the river banks, such as monitor lizards, by simply looking over the side, as the boats are quite low in the water.
Check Out One of the Many Beaches in Borneo
Head to the coast, after sampling everything the inland has to offer. You can fly to Kota Kinabalu, in the northern coast of Borneo, from a tiny airstrip in Lahad Datu. The Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, a Shangri-La beach hotel, is a great classic option just 20 minutes from the airport by car. You will find a children’s pool with slides, a horse riding school, a putting green and a children’s club in this beach hotel set on a private beach stretching over 3 kilometres. You can take part in guided walks each day along the trails located in the forest ridge behind the resort, which is also a protected reserve. Gaya Island Resort is a better fit for families with older children. As one of the islands making up the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Gaya is just a short boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. With an expansive jungle behind it, the hotel is located in its own bay. You can almost make out the villas, made of wood, protruding from the jungle as you set foot onto the tiny jetty leading to the property. With knowledgeable biologists on hand to help you identify marine creatures, you can take part in the daily snorkelling trips to the gardens.