Sabah Itinerary 7 Days – Things to Do in Sabah Borneo – We Seek Travel

Out of all the epic greatest issues to do in Sabah Borneo, it’s virtually not possible to cram it all the pieces right into a one-week itinerary. Nevertheless, should you’ve bought extra sense of journey than time, then following this Sabah itinerary 7 days will be sure you cowl as a lot journey floor as attainable.

At the start, as that is an journey journey weblog, the itinerary caters extra to these extra fascinated about hikes, wildlife, and out of doors adventures than KK procuring. That being mentioned, even luxurious vacationers will nonetheless get some nice journey concepts from this Sabah itinerary weblog.

Issues to Observe When Planning Your Itinerary for a Sabah Journey

Firstly, as I’ve already talked about, as a way to tick each single merchandise on the record the perfect issues to do in Sabah Borneo, you’re going to want extra time.

What many individuals don’t know is that Borneo is, the truth is, the third-largest island on this planet. Whereas northern Sabah is just a comparable chunk, that chunk nonetheless covers a complete land space of over 73 630 sq. kilometers.

Sadly for the long-distance-travel-weary backpacker, this implies you’ll have to spend a big quantity of your time on buses, or on home flights.

Nevertheless, I suppose that’s the value we pay if we need to benefit from our restricted time in Sabah.

Do I Want Journey Insurance coverage for Sabah Borneo?

Honestly, I by no means journey with out journey insurance coverage. And, since I’m all the time touring, I suppose I’ve all the time bought journey insurance coverage cowl. Ever since I had my total backpack (all the pieces I personal) stolen at a Barcelona airport again in 2015, I vowed to all the time buy journey insurance coverage.

The insurance coverage that I exploit is World Nomads as a result of I imagine they’ve the perfect cowl for journey vacationers. If you happen to’re following this Sabah itinerary for 7 days, then you definately’ll be spending your days climbing within the jungle, sleeping alongside the banks of rivers, island hopping, snorkeling and perhaps even scuba diving. Not like most insurance coverage corporations, World Nomads covers all of this.

For longer journeys and for those who work on-line, you may additionally need to contemplate Safetywing, which frequently works out as one of many most cost-effective insurances obtainable worldwide (plus protection for Covid19).

Itinerary Highlights

To offer you an thought of what to anticipate, listed below are some Sabah itinerary 7 days highlights.

  • Hike within the foothills (or summit) of South East Asia’s tallest mountain
  • See the endangered Bornean Orangutans and Solar Bears on the unimaginable Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre
  • Spot proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants on one of many world’s most biodiverse jungle river programs
  • Go island-hopping off the coast of Semporna
  • Dive in one of many world’s greatest dive websites

7 Day Sabah Itinerary Map

Right here’s an interactive map that you should utilize for reference or save to assist visualize your Sabah itinerary.

Getting Round Sabah Borneo

Protecting such huge distances over the course of a single week goes to be a little bit tiring. So as to add insult to damage, it’s additionally pretty tough to plan transport inside Sabah should you haven’t bought some expertise or ideas.

In the end, you’ll have three choices for getting round Sabah Borneo, overland buses (lengthy), flying (faster however might be dearer), and organizing a personal driver (very costly).

My fashion of journey is nearly all the time budget-oriented. Honestly, I desire leaping on public buses, hitching rides with locals and experiencing the occasional journey mishap, as a result of hey, they make for the perfect tales, proper?

However, should you solely have the time for a Sabah itinerary 7 days, then I perceive that you just need to get it proper. So, right here’s a low down in your choices.

Getting Round Sabah Borneo By Bus

Getting round by overland buses is how I skilled Sabah. There’s a lengthy freeway that connects the capital Kota Kinabalu (KK) to Tawau and Semporna within the southeast. Fortunately, this identical highway connects to many of the highlights on this record of greatest issues to do in Sabah Borneo, together with Sepilok and Sandakan.

If you happen to select the bus route, count on long-distance journeys of round 8 – 12 hours. To maximise time, you’ll be able to all the time catch the early morning buses to unencumber your afternoon, or alternatively, take the evening bus (restricted routes).

Don’t fear, I’ll go into extra element about the way you’ll get from A to B throughout the precise 7 days Sabah itinerary.


For these trying to save time, it’s truly attainable to fly to the most important factors on this itinerary for comparatively low cost.

Air Asia often provides low cost flights beginning at $30 per individual from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan Airport and to Tawau.

Additionally, should you’re trying to get to bypass KK and fly straight into Sandakan, then you may as well discover many funds flights connecting from Kuala Lumpur.

To search out the perfect offers to fly inside Sabah, or anyplace on earth for that matter, I all the time use Sky Scanner. It is a search engine-style comparability web site that routinely combines flight routes so that you’ll remember to all the time get the perfect deal attainable.

Non-public Driver

That is simply going to be the costliest choice. Fact be instructed, I’ve by no means been one to rent my very own private driver, so I can’t vouch a lot for this feature. Nevertheless, under is a listing of helpful sources for locating non-public drivers or organized excursions in Sabah and South East Asia.

The place to Keep in Borneo

Sabah caters for each luxurious and funds backpacker lodging. In fact, the latter received’t be as budget-friendly as different locations in Asia like Indonesia or Thailand. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless attainable to seek out double rooms for underneath $15 USD per evening.

On this Sabah 7 day journey itinerary, the areas the place you’ll keep are:

Kota Kinabalu

The capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu. That is the place, almost certainly, you’ll begin your Sabah journey. This metropolis is a contemporary metropolis with surrounding nationwide parks and a few tropical islands.

For journey journey, I wouldn’t advocate spending an excessive amount of time right here, as a result of it truly is simply one other metropolis.

Nevertheless, a few of the greatest issues to do in Sabah Borneo are simply on the outskirts, together with the well-known Mount Kinabalu and the Kinabalu Park Area.

The place I stayed: SkyPod Hostel – One of many cleanest hostels of late with an epic breakfast and good location.

Evaluate KK lodging on or Agoda.

Kota Kinabalu Sunrise with Mount Kinabalu View

Sepilok or Sandakan

Sepilok is within the northeastern area of Sabah close to the bigger city of Sandakan. Right here is the place you’ll discover the well-known and incredibly-well run Orangutan and Solar Bear rehabilitation sanctuaries.

Sepilok additionally borders a few of the final remaining Bornean rainforests, making it a preferred spot for nature lovers.

The place I stayed: Nature Lodge Sepilok – Most cost-effective dorm beds in Sepilok. Tremendous clear and once more, nice breakfast.

Evaluate Sepilok lodging on or Agoda.


Sukau (Kinabatangan River)

Staying on the Kinabatangan River is a should on any Sabah itinerary. From right here, you’ll be able to take wildlife-spotting boat journeys into the Kinabatangan Conservation Space.

This area is without doubt one of the final remaining sanctuaries for wild orangutans, Bornean pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, to call a couple of.

The place I stayed: RB Lodge – Low-cost rooms proper on the sting of the Kinabatangan River. The actual-deal jungle expertise with free breakfast. These guys additionally manage low cost river cruises.

Evaluate Suaku lodging on or Agoda.



Sabah’s southern coastal metropolis isn’t precisely a prime decide for many lovely locations to go to. Nevertheless, it’s a obligatory cease that serves because the gateway to the encircling island gems.

The place I stayed: Ozzy Lodge – Near the harbor however far sufficient to nonetheless be clear and fewer chaotic. Tremendous pleasant proprietor who can manage low cost island-hopping journeys.

Evaluate Semporna lodging on or Agoda.


Mabul Island

Often known as the Maldives of Malaysia, Mabul Island is an unimaginable coral reef island an hour’s boat journey away from Semporna. Many individuals go to Mabul for diving and snorkeling, and in hopes of doing a diving journey to one of many world’s greatest dive websites; Sipidan Island.

The place I stayed: Mabul Backpackers – Simply the most cost effective place to remain on Mabul with all meals included within the value. All the things was nice in addition to their perspective to plastic and waste. Therefore, I wouldn’t stick with them once more. Pay a bit extra and examine the opposite rooms under.

Evaluate Mabul Island lodging on or Agoda.


Sabah Itinerary 7 Days

Alright, with that out of the best way, let’s get into the entire Sabah Itinerary 7 days.

Do not forget that since all the greatest issues to do in Sabah listed under are a little bit crammed in to satisfy the 7-day itinerary standards. If you wish to skip one or two objects on the record then the plan will nonetheless work properly.

Day 1: Kinabalu Park Hikes

Relying on what time you land in Kota Kinabalu, you would possibly have the ability to get to adventuring right away.

Well-known for being the tallest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu is a good attraction for vacationers in Sabah. Sadly, should you solely have every week to discover, then climbing to the summit is a little bit far-stretched, because the hike itself is a two-day enterprise.

Regardless, you’ll be able to nonetheless get your climbing repair within the Kinabalu Park foothills. There are a great deal of trails you could select from. I’ve written an in depth information on all the trails which can assist you to plan out your first day on the Sabah itinerary 7 days journey.

Buses to Kinabalu Park go away at 6:30 AM from the inner-city bus station close to “Dreamtel”. If that’s too early, then I’d counsel reserving the journey to Kinabalu Park on-line prematurely right here. This journey contains transport, time at Kinabalu Park in addition to a cease on the close by sizzling springs.


End the day without work by returning to Kota Kinabalu and put together for a protracted bus to Sepilok the next morning. Alternatively, you could possibly take a flight to Sandakan to avoid wasting time.

Day 2: Sepilok Nature Walks

Buses depart from the Inanam Bus Terminal on the hour, each hour from about 6 AM to Sandakan. Take the earliest bus you’ll be able to, and hop off on the Sepilok interchange and stroll to your lodging.

For the remainder of the day, you’ll be able to loosen up within the neighborhood of the Sepilok Conservation Space or go to the Sepilok Rainforest Uncover Centre. For an important record of issues to do in Sepilok to fill out your day, Bizzare Globe Trotter has written a really helpful Sepilok weblog.


Day 3: Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Solar Bear Sanctuary

Within the morning, stroll all the way down to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Sanctuary in time for feeding at 10 AM. That is vital because the sanctuary encourages gradual rehabilitation of orangutans by encouraging them to enterprise additional into the jungle, away from the sanctuary.

Which means that they’re often hanging out far into the jungle. In consequence, the orangutan’s who’re additional alongside the rehabilitation course of solely enterprise near get meals within the morning and afternoon.

Orangutan Eating at the Orangutan rehabilitation CENTRE IN SEPILOK, SABAH, BORNEO

After seeing the unimaginable orangutans, head out of the gate and cross the highway the place you’ll discover the Solar Bear Sanctuary. The entire solar bears listed below are being rehabilitated because of a earlier lifetime of exploitation within the unique pet commerce.


Truthfully, you don’t want a information to go to these two sanctuaries. Nevertheless, if you wish to help native tourism and get some nice inside details about the animals and the world, you’ll be able to rent a information for the entire day for underneath $100.

Day 4: Kinabatangan River Cruise

If you happen to’d desire to remain in Sandakan or Sepilok one other evening and nonetheless take part on a Kinabatangan River Cruise, then it’s attainable to rearrange a day journey on-line right here.

In any other case, one of the simplest ways to get to the subsequent vacation spot, Sukau, is to message Mr Choy on Whatsapp. His quantity is 019-536-1889 and he does day by day transfers from Sandakan or Sepilok to Sukau on the Kinabatangan River for 50 RM per individual. For extra info and options to getting right here, I’ve written a whole information right here.

When you’re in Sukau, your lodge will have the ability to manage as many wildlife-spotting river cruises as you’d like. Sometimes, they’ve a dawn, sundown and evening cruise, the place you’ll have the possibility to identify wild proboscis monkeys, orangutans, pygmy elephants, leaf monkeys, crocodiles, hornbills and plenty of, many extra.


If I needed to decide the primary smartest thing to do in Sabah Borneo, then a Kinabatangan river cruise would simply make the highest. Being privileged sufficient to have the ability to see the unimaginable biodiversity of this river system is one thing that I’ll always remember.


I’d additionally advocate staying in Sukau with the intention to expertise an evening cruise and the unimaginable rainforest sounds at evening time. The lodge I stayed at (RB Lodge) is situated proper on the financial institution of the river, which actually makes you’re feeling such as you’re getting essentially the most genuine Bornean jungle expertise attainable.


Day 5: Semporna and Bohey Dulang Island Hopping Journey

For the previous few days of the final word Sabah itinerary 7 days journey, you’ll be soaking within the solar on a few of Sabah’s greatest islands.

If you happen to get transport with Mr. Choy, manage for him to drop you on the restaurant the place you’ll be able to take a bus from Sepilok to Semporna. The journey is just a few hours. Nevertheless, you’ll need to go away early to maximise time for an Island hopping journey in Semporna.

Drop your luggage at your lodging and head to the general public boat jetty to leap aboard a visit. If you happen to’d slightly not go away bookings as much as probability, then you’ll be able to organize a personal journey with transport prematurely right here.


There are a couple of completely different itinerary choices obtainable to select from. Nevertheless, I counsel taking the one which goes to Bohey Dulang, Mantabuan, and Sibuan Island.

Most journeys embrace snorkel gear and lunch and run for about 8 hours.



End the day without work by catching some sleep in Semporna. Nevertheless, you’ll have to be able to depart early the subsequent day for a visit to Mabul Island.

Day 6: Mabul Island and Sipidan Diving

Mabul Island is without doubt one of the most budget-friendly snorkeling and scuba diving islands off Semporna. Most lodges right here double as dive retailers. So, if you wish to dive at Sipidan Island, then I counsel that you just e book prematurely along with your host. This fashion, you’ll lower your expenses and so they also can manage your boat transport from Semporna to Mabul.


The journey to Mabul Island solely takes roughly one hour, that means should you go away early sufficient, you’ll have time to get some dives in and discover a little bit of the island.

If you happen to’re not diving, then there’s nonetheless loads to do. Exploring the inside, the place you’ll be able to mingle with the island locals who’ve migrated right here from the Sulu islands within the Philippines.

All lodges also can organize snorkeling journeys. Additionally, should you’ve ever wished to strive parasailing, then Mabul has one of the inexpensive offers I’ve ever seen at solely $25 should you e book on-line.

For extra info, you’ll be able to learn my full information to Mabul Island right here.


Day 7: Again to Kota Kinabalu

And identical to that, the Sabah itinerary 7 days journey has come to an finish. By now, you’re in all probability wanting ahead to a protracted, properly deserved relaxation.

If you happen to’re flying again from Kota Kinabalu, then you’ll be able to take the overland bus for 12 hours from Semporna Bus Station. Or, to avoid wasting time, I’d additionally counsel taking a flight from Tawau airport, which is just a brief hop from Semporna.

Extra Photographs of Sabah Borneo to Encourage Your Travels

Hopefully this 7 day Sabah Borneo itinerary has impressed you to go to one in all Asia’s greatest wildlife gems. If not, then I hope these images I captured on my travels will persuade you.

In case you have any itinerary questions or strategies for this weblog, then please go away a remark under or electronic mail me personally. Critically, don’t be shy.

Epic Basketball Court docket on Mabul Island – Let me know should you discover it.
SUKAU CAVE, Tomanggong Limestone Area, Kinabatangan
Tomanggong Limestone Area hiking sukau


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