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Kinabalu Rainforest Trek

Borneo Trek TOUGH
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About the Challenge

Borneo is known for its vast tracts of ancient rainforest and high biodiversity, harbouring many endangered animals including the orang-utan. Malaysian Sabah occupies the north-eastern corner of Borneo, and is a land of mountains, dense jungle, rushing rivers and friendly traditional villages.

Our challenging trek takes us through the lush rainforest of the Crocker Range before tackling the highest mountain in Malaysia and Borneo – the spectacular and demanding Mount Kinabalu (4095m). Combining varied and demanding trekking with rewarding cultural discoveries and spectacular natural beauty, this is truly a trip to remember!


Kinabalu Rainforest Trek

9 DAYS
  • We arrive in this bustling city, known widely as KK, and transfer to our hotel for dinner and a full trip briefing! Night hotel.

     

    (Lunch not included)

  • An early start sees us loading up the vehicles for the hour’s drive to the Crocker Range National Park – stunning jungle-covered mountains which separate the coast from the interior. Our trek takes us downhill on jungle paths, passing native villages with some cultivated land, and into primary rainforest with rushing streams and dripping, steamy vegetation tangled with creepers. It’s very atmospheric, with insects buzzing and melodic bird-calls high up in the canopy. We reach our host village and enjoy a wonderful insight into the local people’s everyday lives. Night community hall.

     

    Trek approx 5 hours

  • Our route takes us through more dense jungle, experiencing this incredible and remote habitat close-up! The paths we trek on are old trading paths used by villagers who crossed the mountains to the coastal markets to trade for goods such as salt. Some of the remote villages in this region have no road access and still rely on these paths. We cross rushing streams and jungle ridges as our route takes us up and down through the jungle; the paths get muddy and overgrown and, although the paths are not too steep, it’s hard work and a great warm-up for our Kinabalu summit trek. We spend the night in a native village beside the river. Night village house.

     

    Trek approx 6-8 hours.

     
  • Our last day of jungle trekking takes us through more dense vegetation into secondary rainforest, past more small villages and photogenic rice-paddies. The scenery is wonderful!  We have lunch at the end of the trail, and transfer back to our hotel in Kota Kinabalu for a well-appreciated shower and bed! Night hotel.

     

    (Dinner not included)

  • After an early, energising breakfast, we drive (approx 2 hours) to Kinabalu Park, the gateway to the mountain. We complete Park formalities and start our trek (1866m), initially on easy terrain. We then trek steadily up through lush vegetation, which provides welcome shelter from the hot sun. The landscape around us gradually changes to conifers, shrubs and mosses as we ascend, and becomes steeper and more demanding. Kinabalu is one of the most biologically diverse spots on the planet and has World Heritage Site status. Many of the incredible ferns and orchids are endemic, and provide plenty of distraction from weary legs! Coming out of the vegetation onto a clear rocky plateau at around 2500m, we can see the mountain-top above us, an impressive sight with waterfalls cascading down the bare slopes. It’s not far now to Laban Rata, where we will have time to relax before retiring early. Night mountain hut (3270m).

     

    Trek approx 5-6 hours

  • We start in the early hours and trek up to the summit in the dark, using our head-torches to light the way.  A series of steps cut into the rock takes us through low shrub, and then out ontobare granite rock.  It is hard-going, especially if you are feeling the effects of being at altitude, so we trek slowly and steadily.  Some parts are very steep but we use the permanent rope bolted into the rock to pull ourselves up when we need the extra help!   After optimistically ascending a number of ridges to see only more rock ahead of us, we finally see the distinctive marker of the summit of Low’s Peak (4095m.).  A magnificent sunrise awaits us, and in clear conditions we can enjoy views which stretch for miles – a well-earned reward for our efforts. We descend the same way, stopping for breakfast back at Laban Rata and returning to the Park Gate and Kinabalu Park.  Night cabins.

     

    Trek approx 6-8 hours (3-4 hours ascent, 3-4 hours descent)

  • Leaving the mountain behind, we depart Kinabalu Park and start our journey back to Kota Kinabalu. En route we stop at Poring Hot Springs, one of Sabah’s chief attractions and a great way to relax any aching muscles. We can take a dip in one of the soothing, hot mineral springs set in beautifully landscaped gardens, and walk along the canopy walkway 100ft above the forest floor – a fantastic way to observe the flora and fauna. We then return to Kota Kinabalu for a great evening of celebrations to mark our achievements this week.

     

    (Dinner not include)

     

    Drive approx 2 hours

  • We transfer to the airport for our early morning flight home via Kuala Lumpur.


Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £299 Fundraising target £4,150 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £299 Fundraising target £3,150 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £299 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,850 Airline Taxes £225.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED 

    • All transport from London to Kota Kinabalu return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation & camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, porters, cooks and drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Permits and entry to any reserves or other sites included as part of the itinerary (e.g. Poring Hot Springs)

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Two meals as specified in itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
    • Tips for local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions

     

    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £349 Fundraising target £4,200 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £349 Fundraising target £3,200 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £349 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,875 Airline Taxes £225.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED 

    • All transport from London to Kota Kinabalu return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation & camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, porters, cooks and drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Permits and entry to any reserves or other sites included as part of the itinerary (e.g. Poring Hot Springs)

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Two meals as specified in itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
    • Tips for local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions

     

    Download Challenge Details
  • Available pricing options

    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £349 Fundraising target £4,200 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £349 Fundraising target £3,200 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £349 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,875 Airline Taxes £225.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 weeks prior to trip departure

    WHAT'S INCLUDED 

    • All transport from London to Kota Kinabalu return
    • All meals except where specified, accommodation & camping equipment
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides, porters, cooks and drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Permits and entry to any reserves or other sites included as part of the itinerary (e.g. Poring Hot Springs)

    WHAT'S EXCLUDED

    • Two meals as specified in itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat
    • Tips for local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so that £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions

     

    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

  • Some accommodation (in hotels or camp) will be twin-share. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller.

    On some nights we are likely to sleep in more communal accommodation such as dormitories, huts, local homestays or monasteries, depending on the trip, and you may be sharing with a larger number of participants or the whole group; this type of accommodation cannot always be single-sex.

  • We stay in good tourist-style hotels in the cities, and Park cabins which are clean and comfortable; rooms are twin-share. In jungle home-stays we bed down on the floor in shared rooms – more basic but a great cultural experience. On the mountain we stay in a guesthouse in dorm rooms.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • An expedition doctor or medic accompanies the group (dependent on group size.) Their role is to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly, and encourage you when things get tough. The total number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but at Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: participant ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. 

    Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. The more training that you do the more you will enjoy the experience! Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is up-to-date and any visas are obtained in good time. For further information please see our Factsheet and Visa information page.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

  • For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow participants and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!

Extension

Orang-Utans & River Safari

This wonderful trip offers a fabulous way to experience Borneo’s spectacular rainforest and wildlife, and to unwind after your trek!

Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary is one of the highlights of any visit to Sabah. Surrounded by a 43km2 Forest Reserve, the centre was set up in 1964 and re-introduces rescued or orphaned orang-utans to the wild. The released apes often retain the habits they have learned at the centre and regularly come back to the feeding stations, giving us a wonderful opportunity to observe them.

We continue our wildlife discovery with a river safari on Kinabatangan River. Malaysia’s second-longest river, the Kinabatangan flows across Sabah; the lower Kinabatangan was designated a Wildlife Sanctuary in 2005. This protected eco-system is widely considered to be one of the best places to view wildlife in South-East Asia.

We cruise the waterways, exploring rainforest, ox-bow lakes and mangrove swamps, looking out for proboscis monkeys, orang-utans, gibbons, crocodiles and pygmy elephants, and birdlife such as hornbills and kingfishers. We stay for two nights in an eco-friendly river lodge, designed to blend in with its natural surroundings – a wonderful place to enjoy the serenity of the river and rainforest surroundings.

This trip is remote and fairly adventurous with some early starts to maximise wildlife-spotting, but there’s plenty of time to relax and watch the river go by!

Extension

Tropical Retreat

Just ten minutes from Kota Kinabalu, treat yourself to some 5* luxury at this wonderful beach hotel, set among 25 acres of exotic gardens overlooking a wide sweeping bay on the South China Sea. The hotel’s marina offers a variety of boat trips and watersports; a highlight is a trip to the neighbouring tropical islands, part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, where the clear blue water offers fascinating snorkelling amongst the colourful coral. Or simply relax and enjoy the beach cabanas, swimming pool with infinity area, and fabulous sunset bar. For ultimate pampering, there’s also a luxury spa. This is the perfect way to relax after the rigours of your trek!

Once in resort, this extension does not have an organised itinerary. You can arrange activities through the hotel and are free to spend your time as you wish.


Testimonials

Susan


I'm absolutely thrilled to have made it , even if at a slow & steady pace.We had a great bunch of people on the trip, and I'd like to say that Eva did a great job of seeing us all through with patience, humour, professionalism and a caring concern for us. I'm
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thinking about  what I can do for next year now, Patagonia is top of the list!
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Laura


The trek, mountain climb and especially the extension (because that was my main reason for going!) was fantastic, thank you!  I think we were very lucky with the weather and a great group, especially Eva! I almost thought I wouldn’t make the summit due to a
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bad back but I did it! Eva was just fantastic, as it was my first trek, I wasn’t sure what to expect but she made everything clear and less worrying! She was very supportive and felt more like a friend than the tour leader very quickly. She has a great personality for her job and was motivating and funny as well as sensitive to anyone who may have been struggling or feeling sore, worried or overwhelmed. Thanks again – I believe our trust is already planning another one for next year!
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Laura


This was my first such experience and challenge and I only wish I hadn't waited so long!

Georgie


The Kinabalu Rainforest Trek was truly stunning. Being immersed in the jungle, completely out of my comfort zone was totally exhilarating. I always felt the support of our Tour Leader, Eva, and the local crew. The trek was made even more spectacular with the climb of
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Mount Kinabalu. I'm so pround of what we as a group achieved that day, pushing past what we were thought were our limits and realising they were not even close. The river safari extension is highly recommended. I was blown away by the wildlife we saw on Kinabatangan River!
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Jane


The challenge left me physically and emotionally exhausted and excillarated. I was terrified before I started and amazed that DA helped me achieve so much. Thank you.

Carole


As always I had a great time. The DA leader and the local guides were excellent. All in all a great trip with a great bunch of people.

Trek Training Weekend

Snowdon_Training_Trekking

£160 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.

MORE INFORMATION

GRADE | tough (3)

This trip involves more rigorous days; weather, altitude or basic living conditions will add to the challenge. We will supply you with a thorough training guide when you have registered. Training for the challenge is all part of the preparation and requires commitment! Without it, you will find the challenge less enjoyable - and we want you to have the time of your life!
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