In 1947, a British pilot flying through thick cloud emerged from it to find a solid wall of rock directly in front of him. He veered hard and narrowly avoided the wall, which rose 915m above the jungle floor. This was the first modern human contact with what is now called the Sabah’s Maliau Basin, or the Lost World of Borneo.
Picture exotic wildlife evolutionarily distinct from the rest of Asia, remote Indiana Jones-worthy jungles, extreme biological diversity and some of the richest ecosystems – both on land and underwater, 140 million years old in the making. Welcome to Borneo, the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world, of which most is still unexplored.
While Borneo is split amongst three countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei), we will take you on the adventure of a lifetime in the Malay part, Sabah, picked, after extensive field research, for its variety of environments, its great mix of high-end wilderness lodges and its ease of transfers.
This adventure is for those who seek wilderness and nature and are not afraid of heat and humidity.
We designed the itinerary with a progression in mind, moving from one specific environment to another. You can expect river safaris looking for pigmy elephants and crocodiles; guided walks in the untouched lowland rainforests to look for orangutans, the great apes native to Borneo (the most intelligent of all primates, with distinctive cultures and tool use within specific populations) or the proboscis monkeys, those mischievous big-nosed hooligans.
You will practice your sense of smell (macaques pee a lot and pythons smell like fish). You’ll sharpen your hearing (tree tops rustling and swinging wildly are red leaf monkeys, branches cracking are orang-utans) and extend your night-vision during well-designed hikes in the largest caves in the world.
And every time, return to your butler, to an exotic and delightful dinners and private plunge pools. We also think no vacation is complete without a few days at the end to relax on a beach very close by (or we may even suggest an extension to the remote islands of Mabul, Sipadan or Layang-Layang with their whale sharks, hawksbeak sea turtles and rainbow-coloured reefs?) and slowly realise how amazing the previous 12 days of wilderness were.
February to August
WHERE DOES IT START?
Many take the opportunity to fly to Kuala Lumpur for a few days and get rid of jet lag while experiencing the fantastic Malay cuisine. Then it is a short flight to the main hub and modern airport of Kota Kinabalu on Sabah where many daily flights link the island to Kuala Lumpur.
DID YOU KNOW?
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is part of 3 countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.