Experience the mountain and the sea in one trip! Go camping at a little-known area in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu at Sayap Substation, on the perimeter of Kinabalu National Park. The campsite is situated along a beautiful mountain-fed river in a mossy forest, surrounded by an abundance of biodiversity. Hike jungle trails during the day in search of montane birds, swim in a cascading waterfall, go on a night walk, and watch the night sky before falling asleep to the sound of the forest.
Spend the second half of the trip on the coast, with a choice between a trip to the Tip of Borneo in Kudat, or an island escape off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. The Hibiscus Beach Retreat in Kudat offers long stretches of empty white sand beaches, while the luxury villas at Gaya Island Resort off the coast of Kota Kinabalu are quite an ideal stay after several nights of camping.
The beach portion of this trip is without guide services and activities. At both Kudat and Gaya Island, you have the flexibility of signing up for activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, bike rentals, snorkeling or diving, with the accommodation provider at additional costs.
Accommodation is in spacious tents with air mattress, meals are cooked by our ground support crew consisting of simple communal style meals, the cold water showers and bathrooms are communal, and the nature guide accompanies guest on all nature walks. No Wi-Fi and mobile phone signal.
The Hibiscus Beach Retreat accommodation ‘Clifftops’ or ‘Treetops’ consist of 1 bedroom chalet with Queen-sized bed (max occupancy 2A + 2A/C additional) en-suite toilet and shower facility, air-conditioning and ceiling fan, stereo with iPOD dock, toaster and kettle, and house-keeping services. Daily continental breakfast is provided and other meals can be self-catered; drinking water, coffee & tea are provided throughout. F&B ordering service prior to stay and takeaway service for lunch and dinner is possible. You can also pre-book BBQ that will be prepared by a local chef. There are several restaurants nearby the Tip of Borneo. No Wi-Fi and mobile phone signal at accommodation but flows in and out of reception throughout the surrounding areas.
‘Bayu Villa’ consists of a spacious bedroom, writing desk, safe box, flat screen television with satellite channels, large open bathroom with oversized bathtub and two vanity units, and an outdoor verandah with day beds. In-house restaurants at the resort include Feast Village, Fisherman’s Cove, Omakase, Pool Bar & Lounge and Tavajun Bay. Equipped with swimming pool, private beach bay, and daily activities such as kayaking to the mangroves, paddle boarding, and movies under the stars.
Met by our driver at your Kota Kinabalu hotel at 9:00 AM for a 2 hour drive to the Kinabalu Park substation. We will set up camp and then eat lunch, before departing on a trek to Kemantis Waterfall. Swim in the cool waters that is fed by the top of Mt. Kinabalu. We will return to camp for dinner, before heading out on a night walk to search for reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.
Lunch / Dinner
Today, you will trek on one of the many great trails around the substation. Follow the beautiful mountain rivers, as we do a 6 km trek to discover the flora and fauna of Mt. Kinabalu. Return for lunch and spend the afternoon on short walks, or relaxing by the river. After dinner, head out for night walk.
Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Take an early morning birding walk, return for breakfast and depart for your beach getaway. Upon arrival at Kudat or Gaya Island, check into your accommodation and unwind for the day.
Spend the entire day at leisure.
After breakfast, check out and journey back to Kota Kinabalu.
Return land transfers, tents, bedding, nature guide and all activities during camping, meals as specified, drinking water, accommodation at Kudat or Gaya Island (if at Gaya Island, return scheduled boat transfer from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Park fees and PURE resort activities are included).
Optional additional activities at Kudat or Gaya Island such as snorkeling or diving, bike rentals, tips and gratuities.
Head lamp, insect repellent, sunscreen, hat, raincoat, binocular, dry-bag, swimwear, good walking or trekking shoes, sandals, personal toiletries including a towel, a warm jacket (the Kinabalu substation is at 1000 meters asl so it gets chilly in the evening), sunglasses, water bottle.
Daily based on minimum 2pax. Single supplement applies for solo travelers.
Families, couples, nature enthusiasts, birders, and adventurous travelers wanting to get away from the mass. This program can be suitable for children 8 years and above if comfortable camping in nature, as the trails surrounding the area are not too challenging.
Be aware that you will be in a reserve area and a sensitive environment. Consider your actions:
• Cut out plastic – remove and recycle plastic packaging before coming into the area,
• Bring rechargeable batteries as disposable batteries leach toxic chemicals as they degrade in landfill, and recycling facilities are scarce in areas like the Malaysian Borneo,
• Bring your own metal water bottle – you can fill up at the eating area instead of purchasing bottled water,
• If you smoke, never throw your cigarette butts on the ground or in the forest – dispose of them in ashtrays or bins,
• During outdoor and nature activities, take your cues from the expert local guides. Follow their instructions when observing wildlife. Be aware that you may need to take extra care in these areas to respect the natural environment.