Borneo Impact Expedition: 2 Weeks

Spend time exploring one of the world’s most stunning natural gardens – Borneo. A unique ecosystem of vibrant jungle and unexplored tropical wilderness, teeming with exotic wildlife. Work side by side with the local community on projects that help transform lives.

  • Location Borneo, Asia
  • Duration 2 weeks
  • Expedition Type Service Expeditions

This two week expedition gives a real taste of all that Borneo has to offer. Learn about Borneo’s culture and history, experience life in the rainforest, enjoy some of the most spectacular sunsets on Mantanani island and spot fish as you snorkel off Mamutik Island. You will also help to make a positive impact for local communities and the environment through sustainable project work.

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A fully supported expedition, from start to finish

Your expedition cost is comprehensive and covers the incredible activities you’ll be taking part in, as well as the extensive support you’ll receive in the lead up to, and during, your expedition.

Don’t forget you’ll also need your vaccinations, visas, kit and some spending money. You can find guidance on all of these on your personal Traveller Gateway once you sign up.

  • Ongoing pre-expedition support
  • Flights and in-country transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Food and accommodation
  • Project costs
  • Leader and staff costs
  • Camps t-shirt
  • Orientation and language lessons
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Reserve location

This sample itinerary will give you an insight into what you’ll be getting up to. Please note, the exact projects, activities and camps may change closer to the time of your expedition.

Day Activities More details
Day 1 Arrive in Kota Kinabalu Upon arrival in Kota Kinabalu you will be met by one of our team and travel the short journey to your accommodation for an expedition briefing. You will then head out to lunch in the town followed by some time to explore the local area. Dinner will be had at a traditional local restaurant before you head back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Day 2 Camp Mantanani After a much-needed sleep and a good breakfast, you will travel to the beautiful island of Mantanani by boat. Upon arrival you will be met by the Camp Mantanani team, including the Camp Manager, who will give you a tour of the island and a briefing on what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your new beach longhouse home and enjoy a sunset walk along the beautiful white sandy beach.
Day 3 – 4 Island life Over the next two days, you will be getting your hands dirty as you get stuck into some of the vital project work that is taking place on the island. Mantanani faces challenges with poor waste management and trash accumulating on the beaches, which threatens marine life. The local people also struggle with a lack of funding for community and education facilities. Over the next two days you could be working on any of our current projects that support these key issues.
Day 5 Transfer to Camp Bongkud You will start today with a sunrise walk along the beach, then it will be back to camp for breakfast and a chance to say your final goodbyes to the team before heading back to the mainland and traveling to your new camp – Camp Bongkud. En route to our flagship camp you will stop off at the Kundasang War memorial where you will learn about the fate of British and Australian soldiers during WWII. Upon arrival at Camp Bongkud you will have a chance to settle into your new accommodation before joining in the safety briefing by our Camp Manager. After a tasty lunch you will head off to the local village for a tour and project orientation. It will then be time for dinner and a chance to relax as you enjoy a cultural welcoming performance by the local community.
Day 6 Sunrise walk Today you will have another early start as you take a walk up Bongkud hill to enjoy a spectacular sunrise across the surrounding countryside, before heading back down and getting stuck into some vital project work. After a good day work you will be able to unwind and play some friendly sports matches against the local community children.
Day 7 Poring Hot Springs After breakfast you will head to Poring Hot Springs. Here you will get a stunning view of the jungle as you walk high above the trees on the canopy walkway. When you return to camp, you will enjoy a traditional dinner and cultural farewell from the Camps crew and local community.
Day 8 Transfer to Batu Puteh Today you will set off early to the jungle region of Batu Puteh. Here you will be met by the team at KOPEL – a local environmental organisation – who will explain the projects that you will be involved with over the next few days. In the afternoon you will travel along the river to our jungle camp where you will spend the night sleeping in hammocks under the stars.
Day 9 – 10 Forest regeneration work Over the next few days, you will be getting involved in vital forest regeneration work such as seed collection, forest restoration and learning about ethnobotany. You’ll also have the chance to spot some incredible wildlife on a river safari and night safari walk.
Day 11 Orangutans and sun bears Today you head to Sepilok to visit the Orangutan Sanctuary and explore the rainforest seeing orangutans up close and personal in their natural habitat. We’ll also take you to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre – the only one of its kind in the world – where you can learn about the conservation work taking place to protect these unique bears.
Day 12 Kota Kinabalu After a tasty breakfast you will travel back to Kota Kinabalu stopping off en route at the Sandakan War Memorial. Upon arrival at Kota Kinabalu (time permitting) you will have a chance to explore the local souvenir markets.
Day 13 Mamutik island This morning you will take the short boat ride over to Mamutik Island, a beautiful small island surrounded by turquoise waters. Here you will have a short safety briefing before heading out to snorkel in some of the clearest waters you will ever see – the perfect ending to an incredible expedition.
Day 14 Goodbye Borneo Time to say your goodbyes to the local Camps crew before being transferred back to the airport in time for your flight home.

How you’ll make a difference

You’ll work on a range of projects throughout your expedition, each aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and designed to make a significant and lasting impact on the region’s most critical issues.

Village enhancement projects

Village enhancement projects

You’ll get involved in a number of projects to improve facilities for the rapidly growing population of Bongkud. Projects may include constructing a youth centre, improving the drainage system to ensure cleaner and healthier living and establishing a community farming programme to improve food security and encourage self-sufficiency within the village without needing to transport supplies from larger towns.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Habitat conservation

Habitat conservation

Batu Puteh is an incredible haven for a large majority of Borneo’s wildlife including orangutans, elephants and proboscis monkeys, and is one of the world’s most important natural habitats. However, it’s also one of the most threatened. You’ll get involved in activities to help safeguard this wildlife paradise for future generations by helping to tackle deforestation.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

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Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Ecotourism and recycling initiatives

Ecotourism and recycling initiatives

Waste management is a big problem for the small island of Mantanani, and the natural environment is suffering as a result. You’ll work with a local NGO on a recycling centre which gives local people a place to recycle plastic waste so it doesn’t end up on the beaches. You may also participate in constructing eco-tourism stalls and structures to raise awareness of environmental issues.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Experience the local way of life in our authentic camps

Our camps are the heart of our expeditions. Built and staffed by locals in the traditional style, and located within the heart of communities, they are the perfect place to relax after a day of project work. You’ll get to stay in a number of camps during your expedition, which could include those featured below.

Camp Bongkud

Camp Bongkud

Set in the shadows of the mighty Mount Kinabalu, Camp Bongkud is surrounded on all sides by lush picturesque scenery. It’s hillside location gives it a pleasant breezy climate which makes it the ideal hillside retreat after a hard day’s project work.

Being in the heart of the village also has its advantages; all your project sites are only a short walk away and you can challenge the locals to a friendly game of volleyball on the community court during your downtime.

  • Location: 127 km (3-3.5 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 160 km from Kudat
  • Accommodation style: Traditional longhouses
  • Bed type: Comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net.
  • Toilets: Flushing toilets,
  • Showers: Cold water showers & sinks
  • Power: Mains electricity backed up by generator (between 18:00 – 22:00). British 3 pin power sockets
  • Social area: Chilling hut, volleyball court, badminton & board games
  • Signature dish: Banana fritters & steamed banana cake
Camp Mantanani

Camp Mantanani

For those who love white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and their own remote tropical island (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), Mantanani might just be the perfect location.

The island lies about 80km north of Kota Kinabalu and is home to around 800 permanent residents. The surrounding coral reef and lagoon are home to juvenile turtles, rays, a variety of tropical fish and even the occasional dolphin passes by.

The camp itself is set right on the beach a little way from the main village where many of our community projects are based, allowing you to feel part of this amazing community for the time that you’re here.

  • Location: 80 km north of Kota Kinabalu. (around 1.5 hrs drive from KK to Kuala Abai Jetty, then 1 hr boat ride to Mantanani Island)
  • Accommodation style: Beautiful open sided driftwood bunk houses
  • Bed type: Comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net.
  • Toilets: Asian style toilets
  • Showers: Cold water showers & sinks
  • Power: Generator (between 18:00 – 06:00). British 3 pin power sockets
  • Social area: Beach, campfire, volleyball courts
  • Signature dish: Stewed beef in soy sauce & pumpkin in coconut milk
Camp Batu Puteh

Camp Batu Puteh

Batu Puteh is all about getting back to nature! Our jungle camp is set in the heart of one of Borneo’s most ancient forests along the banks of the Kinabatangan river where you’ll get the chance to live alongside elephants and orangutans for an experience that’s hard to beat.

Our camp offers three types of accommodation and you’ll hopefully get a chance to try them all:

Jungle camp: Get back to basics and experience true adventure. Learn how to rough it in the jungle with local guides accompanying you and showing you the ropes. Sleep in a hammock and cook over a camp fire before falling asleep to the soothing sounds of the forest.

Eco camp: A little more luxury but still an exciting wilderness experience. This camp offers raised camping platforms where you can enjoy camping in the great outdoors.

  • Location: 350 km (6 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 60 km from Lahad Datu
  • Accommodation style Jungle Camp: Hammock, tarpaulin & mosquito net. No toilet or washing facilities – completely back to nature!
  • Accommodation style Eco Camp: Tents with comfy mattresses & bedding. Flushing toilets, cold showers & sinks
  • Power: Mains electricity in homestay only (British 3 pin power sockets). Gas lighting available in eco camp
  • Signature dish: Local cakes – Linggang & Gelang

Without a doubt, this amazing adventure has enriched the students’ lives, and provided them with a wealth of memories that will last for years to come.

Imna, Travelling Teacher 2019

Our local camp legends

Our camps are staffed by members of the community who will make you feel like a local in no time. These legends will make your expedition spectacular and will show you the very best of their home country.

Eve

As a Camps traveller, you’ll get to learn about our rich Bornean culture and experience its spectacular beauty – from mountains to coasts and jungles full of flora and fauna. Many people in rural villages in Sabah don’t have the opportunity to travel to other countries, so having travellers come to stay at camp is an amazing opportunity for cultural exchange (both ways!) and inspires the younger generations to study hard and see the world.

Interested in this expedition?

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