10D/9N Reefs & Rainforests
Not everyone who visits Sabah wants to dive and not everyone who dives wants to visit the rainforest. Luckily for those of you out there who love to do both, we have the perfect combo itinerary for you! Start your adventure at the wildlife sanctuaries in Sepilok before continuing South to the Kinabatangan river. Spend a couple of days cruising the river in search of Sabah's iconic wildlife before putting on your trekking shoes and heading into Danum Valley, a 130 million year old rainforest home to orangutans, pygmy elephants, wild cats, exotic birds and more. Take a quick boat ride from Semporna to Mabul island for the final leg of your journey, 4 nights of diving & snorkelling bliss on the doorstep of Sipadan Island, one of the world's best diving destinations.
Want more wildlife, more diving, a lodge upgrade or even the whole itinerary in reverse? Just ask and we'll be happy to help plan a custom itinerary for you.
B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner
Day 1: Arrive into Sandakan airport (SDK), transfer to Sepilok (optional Rainforest Discovery Centre visit) (D)
Day 2: Vist Sepilok, transfer to Kinabatangan river (B, L, D)
Day 3: Full day at Kinabatangan river (B, L, D)
Day 4: Depart from the Kinabatangan and transfer into Danum Valley (B, L, D)
Day 5: Full day in Danum Valley (B, L, D)
Day 6: Depart Danum Valley to Semporna, 2.30pm boat transfer over to Mabul island (B, D)
Day 7: Mabul diving or snorkelling (3 dives) (B, L, D)
Day 8: Mabul / Kapalai / Sipadan diving or snorkelling (3 dives) (B, L, D)
Day 9: Mabul / Kapalai / Sipadan diving or snorkelling (3 dives) (B, L, D)
Day 10: 10.30am boat to Semporna, transfer to Tawau airport (B)
DAY 1: SDK airport - Sepilok
Pick up from Sandakan airport SDK (flight ticket at own expense) and transfer to the Nature Lodge Sepilok. Guests arriving before 2pm can join an optional guided visit to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RM150 per person) or explore the centre at their own leisure. (D)
There are multiple daily direct flights to Sandakan from both Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, please refer to Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines websites for flight schedules.
DAY 2: sepilok - kinabatangan river
Pick up from your accommodation in Sepilok between 8.45 - 9am. Head first to the orangutan sanctuary to watch the younger, playful orangutans in the nursery before catching the 10am feeding. Around 11am your guide will take you to the sunbear sanctuary to watch the sunbears (the world’s smallest species of bear!) from raised walkways. After a lunch stop at a local restaurant, start your journey to the Kinabatangan river around 1pm, After check-in, welcome drinks and an orientation to the lodge you’ll join your first boat cruise in search of wildlife and bird-like along the banks of the Kinabatangan River into your river. Return to the lodge for dinner and then choose to either relax at the lodge or join the night walk in search of nocturnal animals. (B, L, D)
DAY 3: kinabatangan river
As day dawns, join the early morning boat cruise in search of pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, hornbills, orangutans and more before returning to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast join a trek along the river banks looking for wildlife before returning to the lodge for lunch and the chance to relax surrounded by nature. Once the afternoon sun cools down, join the cruise boat for more wildlife spotting opportunities. After a buffet dinner there will be another chance for a night walk looking for tarsiers, frogs, insects, flying squirrels and other nocturnal wildlife. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: KINABATANGAN RIVER - DANUM VALLEY FIELD CENTRE
Wake up to the sounds of hornbills & gibbons and take your last chance to join our boat for a final wildlife spotting dawn river cruise or enjoy a well deserved lie-in before breakfast. Depart from the lodge around 8.30am, make a brief stop in Lahad Datu for lunch, then continue onto Danum Valley to check in. After check in, your guide will give you an orientation to the field centre before embarking on a mid-afternoon walk. The area surrounding the center teems with wildlife and it is not unusual for you to spot resident orang utan, hornbills etc. Return to center before sundown and enjoy dinner at 7pm. After dinner, go on an included night walk with your guide or arrange for an optional 4x4 night drive (own costs). (B, L, D)
DAY 5: DANUM VALLEY
Wake up early for an early morning nature walk nearby DVFC to see the forest come to life. Alternatively, you can also pre-arrange a 4x4 drive to Bukit Atur for a breathtaking sunrise experience atop a canopy of trees – please tell your guide in advance that you are interested in this and he can assist with booking accordingly. Return to center for breakfast and embark on a trail in the area if you wish. Spend late morning resting before having lunch. After lunch, take a dip at the Ulu Segama river before heading off for another trek with your guide. Return to the center in late afternoon, in time to watch the sky change colour as the sun sets. After dinner, go on an included night walk with your guide or arrange for an optional 4x4 night drive. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: DANUM VALLEY - SEMPORNA - MABUL ISLAND
Wake up early for early walk and more wildlife sighting possibilities. Return to field centre for breakfast. At 9am you will begin your journey from the Field Centre to Semporna, arriving in time for lunch and Scuba Junkie's boat to Mabul at 2.30pm. Lunch is at your own expense this day and Scuba Junkie's staff will be happy to recommend a local restaurant for you on arrival in Semporna. After a 1 hour speedboat ride to Mabul, check-into your room at Mabul Beach Resort and snorkel on the house reef or enjoy a cocktail at the sunset bar before dinner (B, D)
DAY 7: MABUL
After breakfast, make your way to the dive centre and meet up with your divemaster for the day. Divers who need to refresh their skills can do a refresher dive at no extra cost as their first dive today. After 2 morning dives around the reefs at Mabul, return to the resort for lunch. Head back out for a third dive in the afternoon before finishing your diving day around 4pm. Snorkelers will follow the same schedule as the divers with 3 snorkelling sessions around the reefs of Mabul throughout the day. Optional night dives may be booked on arrival. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 & 9: MABUL / KAPALAI / SIPADAN
The schedule for these 2 days will be discussed with you after arrival at Mabul. Typically you will spend 1 day diving or snorkelling around Mabul & Kapalai islands (returning to the resort for lunch) and 1 day diving or snorkelling at Sipadan island (full day trip with lunch on the island). Guests who have opted to upgrade to 2 days at Sipadan will spend both of these days diving or snorkelling around Sipadan Island.
Please note that Sipadan permit availability is very limited and dives must be pre-booked with us well in advance
DAY 10: MABUL - SEMPORNA - TAWAU AIRPORT
After breakfast and your final chance to explore Mabul, catch Scuba Junkie's 10.30am boat to Semporna, arriving by 11.30am. From Semporna it is a further 75min taxi ride to Tawau airport (TWU) in time to catch your departure flight at 3pm or later.
There are daily flights from Tawau airport to Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur & Sandakan and flights to Johor Baru depart a few times a week. As schedules are subject to change, please refer to Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines websites for current flight times.
Price per person
10D9N Reefs & rainforests -
From RM7420 per person based on private twin share room (min 2 pax)
Standard room types:
- Tourism tax: RM10 per private room per night (payable in cash at check-in)
- Flights / transfers other than stated
- Meals other than stated
- Optional 4×4 activities at Danum Valley such as night safari and sunrise trip at Bukit Atur (these can be shared up to 8pax for a total price of 160RM per 4×4)
- High season supplement if applicable to your dates
- Camera fees at Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre:For any camera with zoom lens from 100 to 400mm, video camera or other video recording equipment for personal use are chargeable at RM10.00 per unit. For any camera (fixed-lens – 400mm and above ) or any film-making equipment are chargeable at RM1,000.00 per unit.
What should I bring? Binoculars, insect repellent, sunscreen, long sleeve shirts & long pants, raincoat, sun hat, swimwear, comfortable trekking shoes, torch light, water bottle, personal toiletries, leech socks and some cash (no ATMs in Sepilok, Kinabatangan, Danum Valley or on Mabul island)
All divers must bring proof of certification (minimum PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent) and carry out a refresher dive if deemed necessary by Scuba Junkie staff. A full set of dive equipment is included with the exception of a dive computer, these can be rented at the resort if required. Click here to learn more about diving with Scuba Junkie.
Staying connected: Charging points are available at all lodges and are 3 pin UK style plugs. Danum Valley Field Centre has limited electricity hours from 7am to 11pm, other areas usually have 24 hour electricity but power cuts do happen. Phone & 3G signal is usually good around Sandakan, Sepilok and on Mabul island but can be limited in the Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley. Wifi is not readily available during this trip, if you need to stay connected please purchase a local SIM card on arrival in Malaysia.
Medical advice: Please consult your physician for up to date advice on vaccinations & anti-malarials and any pre-existing medical conditions that may affect your ability to join the trip or your ability to scuba dive. Guests are advised to always take out appropriate travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances during your trip.