Borneo: Orangutans, Jungles + Tropical Islands

Company : The Leap Overseas
Countries: Borneo / Malaysia
Location : Borneo
Duration: 6 weeks to 3 months
Approx Costs: 1750 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Travel to Borneo's lush rainforests and its tropical islands, to teach indigenous communities, conserve turtles and protect their orangutans.

Borneo is the jewel of Malaysia, an island steeped in history. Whether it’s the charming and laid back town of Kota Kinabalu or KK as it’s known with its bountiful markets selling exotic seafood, fruit and veggies, including the tastiest Chinese food anywhere, or the tropical islands accessible by boat that offer world renowned diving and talcum white beaches or last but certainly not least its primary rainforest jungles with the chance to see the adorable orangutans.

If you are up for the challenge, this team placement will get you off the backpacker trail and into traditional, indigenous communities where you'll live and work alongside some of the world’s most remote cultures and wildlife.



Sabah  | weeks 1 - 6

Plantation Village School: 2 Weeks
The adventure starts in the East of the Malaysian Borneo state of Sabah. Once covered in towering tropical rainforest, much of the lowland forest was cleared in the 1970/80’s for oil palm plantations although some high value areas were preserved as national parks and wildlife reserves. Your placement will be nearby one such reserve, Tawau Hills National Park. After a couple of days acclimatising to the heat and humidity of the tropics in Tawau you will hit the road, bound for your first volunteering project. Leaving the city behind it is a short 1 hour transfer to the Plantation Village School, run by Borneo Child Aid (BCA). This NGO was set up 5 years ago to try and provide education to the thousands of children born inside the palm oil plantations that are not entitled to state education from the government – it is an inspirational story of what can be achieved with little resources.

Sepilok Orangutan Centre: 3 days
After your heart-warming time with BCA you'll travel across East Sabah to Sepilok, home of the world famous orangutan centre. A fabulous forest hostel awaits and there will be plenty of time over the next 3 days to visit the feedings and also explore the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre.

Nuluhon Village: 1 Week
From Sepilok you'll transfer to the Nuluhon village to help with their community tourism programme. The village sits very close to the true centre of Sabah and is surrounded by some of the best preserved rainforest in the state. This new program aims to introduce sustainable and well planned tourism and environmental activities that will offer some alternative income to the local participants.

Rainforest camp and trek: 1 Week
Next it’s time to crack out the antiperspirant and ‘rumble in the jungle’ at the Lupa Masa jungle camp near Poring Hot Springs. Here you will spend a couple of nights in the camp learning forest survival skills before heading off for a 4 or 5 day trek in the surrounding forests.

Mantanani Island: 2 Weeks
Think pristine beaches where turtles come to nest and sea otters play in the surf.

The local village is part of a pioneering new community and environmental tourism program that is attempting to stem the illegal poaching of turtle eggs and bombing of the nearby coral reefs whilst also doing beach clean ups and conservation talks in local schools. Opportunities to teach, improve sustainable fishing methods, beach patrols to protect turtle eggs, water management, vegetable and tree planting.

Sarawak | Weeks 7 - 10

Kuching and Miri: 4 weeks
This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the second state of Malaysian Borneo – Sarawak – Land of the Hornbills, “Where Adventure Lives”.

The cosmopolitan capital Kuching is the gateway and retains fantastic old quarters that were spared from World War Two bombing. Trendy cafes and lodges abound and the Sarawak river provides the cities backdrop. But leaving Kuching behind it is soon another world, and for many Sarawak is the Borneo that they had expected to see.

Vast rivers, the Rejang and the Baram, drain the highland interior West to East to the coast some 600 km away and for centuries prevented all but the most intrepid explorers from travelling very far inland.

Here you'll live in two very remote villages and longhouses 3-4 hours away from Kuching and you will be in a part of the world that receives few outside visitors. Whilst satellite dishes and cars gradually move into rural Sarawak as the economy and infrastructure develops be assured the reality is that traditional village and longhouse life continues much as it has done for centuries.



  • £2330 (6 weeks) - £3545 (10 weeks)


What is Included

  • Three Meals a Day
  • Accommodation For Duration of Program
  • Placement in a Team
  • Safety & Induction Course on Arrival
  • 24/7 Emergency Backup
  • In-Country Project Leader
  • Airport & Project Transport


Start Dates

Jan, April, July and Sept

Booking / Enquiry

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