Seacology expedition to Borneo
Covid-19 Update: We have postponed this expedition until summer 2021, when we expect travel restrictions and health concerns to have eased. We will post exact dates as soon as we can.
On this expedition to the world’s third-largest island, you’ll visit a Seacology project, meet gentle great apes in an orangutan rehabilitation facility, and see more amazing wildlife in Borneo’s spectacular rainforests.
The calls of birds and monkeys echoing through the forest. Vast labyrinths of rivers and streams. Green mountains disappearing into the fog. Hundreds of communities speaking distinct languages. Few places on Earth can match the biological, cultural, and geographic diversity of Borneo, the world’s third-largest island.
Seacology invites you to a ten-day journey through Malaysian Borneo, our first public trip to the island in many years.
As Borneo’s ancient rainforests face unprecedented threats from expanding oil palm plantations and logging, our visit is part of the solution. Borneo’s growing eco-tourism sector presents a path to sustainable economic development and long-term opportunity for its indigenous communities. Our expedition combines the comfort of some of the island’s best eco-lodges with the adventure of exploring Sabah state’s dense jungles and winding rivers. We will visit one of our partner communities to see up-close how Seacology is protecting irreplaceable forest habitat while supporting sustainable livelihoods. And we will meet with local conservation experts to tour sanctuaries for some of Borneo’s iconic wildlife including orangutans and sun bears.
The New York Times named this part of Borneo as one of its top places to see in 2020, and our travel package will be a unique and intimate way to experience this unforgettable destination. We hope you’ll join us.
On the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa will host us for the first four nights of our expedition. Enjoy the resort’s six restaurants and bars while taking in stunning views of the South China Sea.
A short walk from the boundary of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, The Sepilok Nature Resort combines local style and contemporary luxury. Between visits to the surrounding wildlife reserves, relax in your bungalow or enjoy the large deck overlooking the Kinabatangan River.
Nestled in Sabah’s dense rainforest, the Sukau Rainforest Lodge is a model of the modern eco-lodge. Recognized by National Geographic as one of the Unique Lodges of the World, the Sukau upholds the highest standards for sustainable business practices and maintains partnerships with conservation experts and local communities.
In 2019, Seacology began a partnership with the people of Kolosunan, a small village in the mountains of northern Borneo. With limited economic opportunities, such communities often face pressure to sell off their precious forest lands to make ends meet. But this community came up with an unconventional but potentially lucrative solution: birds’ nests!
Bird’s nest soup is a delicacy in east Asia. Its namesake key ingredient is the abandoned nest of a species of swiftlet abundant in Borneo. The birds usually nest in caves, and people have collected their nests for many years. But the birds will also nest in structures built just for them. With a Seacology grant, the community is building a swiftlet hut, a small, dark building where the birds can nest and raise their young. After the babies fledge, community members will collect the nests and sell them—for a good profit—on the international market. This will bring much-needed income to the village.
In exchange for our support, Kolosunan’s people have agreed to protect more than 4,000 acres of forest, an important watershed and wildlife habitat, for 15 years. Our expedition will visit this beautiful mountainous area and meet the local leaders committed to protecting it.
Itinerary [will be updated for 2021]
Thursday, August 13: Arrive in Kota Kinabalu. Overnight at Shangri’s La Tanjung Aru Resort – Kinabalu Sea View.
Friday, August 14: Meet former Seacology Prize recipient Banie Lasimbang at our nonprofit partners’ micro-hydro workshop, meet with PACOS Trust, which supports indigenous communities. Overnight in Kota Kinabalu. B
Saturday, August 15: Visit Seacology project site. Overnight in Kota Kinabalu. B
Sunday, August 16: Drive to Mt. Kinabalu, visit Kinabalu Natural History Gallery and Mountain Garden. Guided trail walk if weather permits. Overnight in Kota Kinabalu. B L
Monday, August 17: Flight to Sandakan. Overnight at Sepilok Nature Resort. B D
Tuesday, August 18: Visit Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Kinabatangan River cruise to view birds and other wildlife. Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. L D
Wednesday, August 19: Kinabatangan River cruise to Kelenanap oxbow lake for wildlife viewing. Orang Utan talk with naturalist. Second river cruise. Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. B L D
Thursday, August 20: Menanggol River cruise. Drive to Gomantong Cave area, hike boardwalk trail to view wildlife. Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. B L D
Friday, August 21: Two cruises on Kinabatangan River. Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. B L D
Saturday, August 22: Return to Sandakan by boat. Visit Sandakan Memorial Park. Return flight to Kota Kinabalu. Optional visit to Rainforest Discovery Centre. Departure. B L
B Breakfast included L Lunch included D Dinner included
Book your spot
Single occupancy: $3,600
Double occupancy: $2,600
The above is an approximate cost for your proposed trip. It is based on current prices and exchanges rates. The rates may change due to currency fluctuations. The price includes nine nights lodging, meals indicated in itinerary, ground and boat transportation, English-speaking guides and entrance fees. Does not include airfare, camera fee, travel insurance,tourism tax and items not mentioned. Trip-cancellation insurance is recommended.
Deposits and cancellations
Nonrefundable $500 per-person deposit due upon booking. Final balance due by June 13, 2020. For cancellations more than 120 days before the departure date, all payments will be refunded, less the deposit.
To reserve your spot or for more information, please contact Mike Hoppe, Reef & Rainforest Dive & Adventure Travel:
+1.503.208.7452 or email@example.com