Discover Borneo



Gapforce programForming part of our Discover Range, get ready for an action packed 2-week jungle and mountain expedition! Known as the ‘lungs of the earth’, Borneo is renowned for its lush equatorial rainforests, stunning biodiversity, and exotic wildlife. A true adventure travel destination, Borneo offers everything from mountain hikes and wildlife conservation, to snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters of the South China Sea.

Our 2-week expedition takes you from the lush and dense jungle of Crocker National Park, to the summit of Mount Kinabalu, Borneo’s highest mountain at 4,095m. There will be plenty of time to sun yourself on golden beaches, experience Borneo's vibrant culture and, to top it all off, catch a glimpse of Orangutans and Bornean Sun Bears. A perfect balance between physical challenge, wildlife conservation, and cultural exposure, this is the ultimate Borneo experience!   

Suitable for: Adventure TravelSummer Programs and Wildlife Conservation.

For more of our Discover Range, check out: Discover Morocco & Discover Nepal.

Highlights

  • Volunteer on a variety of wildlife and environmental conservation projects
  • Jungle Skills Training and multi-day Trek
  • White Water Rafting
  • Hike to the summit of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Borneo
  • Soak up the sun and spot stunning marine life on Gaya Island
  • Catch a glimpse of Orangutans and Bornean Sun Bears at animal welfare centres 

Day 1: Kota Kinabalu

On arrival into Kota Kinabalu, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your accommodation. The afternoon will be free time, giving you a chance to acclimatise to the weather and environment, whilst enjoying the hospitality and facilities of your accommodation.

Days 2 & 3: Jungle Conservation Project

The adventure starts with some volunteering on a jungle conservation project in the Crocker National Park. You will make a difference straight away, assisting with re-forestation work whilst learning about the regions unique and rich biodiversity.

Days 4, 5 & 6: Jungle Skills & Trek

Remaining in the national park, the expedition ramps up with the start of your jungle skills training and 3-day jungle hike. Over varied and challenging terrain, learn bushcraft skills, foraging and animal tracking, become familiar with the local flora & fauna, and emerge back into civilisation slightly smellier!

Day 7: White Water Rafting

The first week ends with a white-water rafting trip down Borneo’s wide and panoramic Padas River. Just reward for your physical and mental excursions!

Days 8, 9 & 10: Mount Kinabalu Hike

The final week of your adventure starts with a bang, summiting Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Borneo at 4,095m. A physical challenge, but with the support of our leader and your fellow travellers, you can look forward to reaching the top in time for a beautiful sunrise and unforgettable views across Borneo!

Day 11: Gaya Island Escape

To celebrate your amazing achievement, escape to Gaya Island, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and covered by dense, virgin rainforest. Relax on the golden beaches and marvel at the reefs flourishing with marine life.

Day 12: Travel to Sandakan

Today will be a travel day, as you make your way to the cityof Sandakan in the state of Sabah, on the north-eastern coast of Borneo. Sandakan itself is a hub for wildlife, culture, and historical tourism, making it a perfect platform on which to launch the last few days of your expedition.

Day 13: Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Get acquainted with Orangutans and learn more about these fascinating and beautiful animals, and the great work being done to protect them from extinction. In the afternoon, you will visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre where you can explore numerous nature trails and join a number of educational tours!

Day 14: Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Your final adventure will be a visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a wildlife research and conservation centre aimed at improving animal welfare and the continued rehabilitation of the Bornean Sun Bear - the world’s smallest bear. A perfect send-off!

Day 15: Depart from Sandakan Airport

The Basics

Pre-departure support Airport pick-up • Gapforce Expedition leader • All volunteering projects • Local project staff All accommodation for the duration of the trip • 3 meals a day Project equipment and training Program transfers 24/7 emergency back-up Return airport transfer

Included Trips & Activities

Jungle Conservation Project • Jungle Skills & Trek • Mount Kinabalu Summit Hike • Gaya Island Trip • White Water Rafting• Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre • Rainforest Discovery Centre • Sun Bear Conservation Centre

What is not Included?

Flights to/from destination • Travel Insurance • Visa & Vaccinations • Spending Money • Tipping & Gratuities

How much spending money do I need?

Knowing how much to budget can be troublesome, because it’s hard to predict exactly how many optional activities you’ll want to take part in, and you can do the trip on a shoestring or more opulently depending on your preference. We advise you to budget approximately £40-£60/$50-$70 a week to cover items not included in the itinerary such as additional meals, drinks, snacks, and gratuities. 

What is the food like?

Typical Bornean food includes lots of fried rice, fish, noodles, vegetables, and fruit. Whilst there will be some international options depending on where you are, regional dishes vary, and local specialities will always be made available! Vegetarian and vegans are easily catered for given the nature of the local cuisine.

What type oftransport will I be using?

The arrival airport is Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). The departure airport is Sandakan Airport (SDK). You are responsible for booking these flights. During the trip, airport transfers are included. Internal travel throughout the trip will consist of a range of transport types, including private buses, boats, and taxis. Please give us a call for more information on individual journey details.

Where will I be staying?

You will stay in a variety of diverse accommodation throughout your trip including local hotels, hostels, and volunteer guesthouses. Most accommodation will be twin style with shared bathrooms.

Who takes part in this program?

This program is for anyone looking to volunteer and backpack through Borneo’s most sought-after destinations.There is no prior experience required, although the minimum age is 18 and you must also have your doctor sign our medical form confirming you are medically fit to participate. 

Who will be supervising me?

Throughout your trip you will be accompanied by a Gapforce Expedition Leader. At various stages of your trip we utilise the services of local support staff including project coordinators, drivers, and guides.

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View dates
  • Malaysia
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Departures: March, July

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