Borneo Cats Expedition


Known as a Mecca for wildlife lovers, Borneo houses some of the world’s most unique species like Proboscis monkeys, Bornean orangutan, over eight species of Hornbills, Pygmy elephants, wild cats of Borneo, and many more. Sabah, the north-eastern state of Borneo, houses a lot of rugged parks and reserves harboring populations of some of the most baffling species of the world. The guests can get an opportunity for getting sightings of the wild cats of Borneo, namely the Sunda clouded leopard, marbled cat, leopard cat, flat-headed cat, bay cat, etc. A wildlife tour of Borneo will help the guests to explore and witness these baffling species like the wild cats of Borneo, and it will also help them to explore the stunning forests of the different regions of Borneo!

Trip Highlights
  • Track the rare and (some) endemic wild cats of Borneo
  • Go on various trails through the different regions of Borneo
  • Spot various species of Mammals in the Deramakot Forest Reserve
  • Experience the thrill of spotting nocturnal animals during the night drives
  • Enjoy a river cruise at Kinabatangan River
  • Visit the famous Gomantong Cave shown in BBC’s series
  • Trek along various trails in Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary

Day 1

Arrive in Sandakan

After having a pleasant flight, you will arrive at the International Airport in Sandakan, where you will be met by our guides. After arriving, you will start your journey towards Deramakot Forest Reserve. Having an area of 55,000-hectare, the Deramakot Forest Reserve houses Borneo’s iconic species that include elephants, Borneo gibbon, orangutans, banteng, and many other unique species of the world. These species are the highlight of the reserve, and they are largely nocturnal. You will head out during the night for increasing the chances of spotting the famous Sunda clouded leopard, marbled cat, sun bear, and other species like Sunda colugo, banded linsang, Sunda pangolin, etc.

path inside tabin wildlife reserve in sabah, malaysia

Days 2 - 8

Explore the Deramakot Forest Reserve

You will spend the next seven days exploring the Deramakot Forest Reserve. The reserve comprises primary and secondary lowland rainforest, however, the large reserve shares borders with another protected forest that is equal in size. The area has some of the most diverse wildlife, and the world-famous clouded leopards roam freely in the forests and are often spotted by the guests visiting Deramakot. Since a lot of wild cats of Borneo roam around the forests at night, you will undertake many extensive late-night drives regularly to see the charismatic wildlife of the forests. Apart from the cat species, you will get to spot many species of civets, flying squirrels, and maybe the rare sun bear. Apart from the animals, the forest also has over 250 species of birds, out of which, you can get to spot around 70 or 80 species in a day. Some of the unique species of birds inside the forest include Great-billed heron, great argus and crested fireback pheasants, large green, giant, banded, blue-headed, and black-headed pittas, thick-billed and little green pigeons, white-fronted falconet, leafbirds, hornbills, trogons, and malkohas. The local expert guides explain the best ways of heading into the forest for searching for wildlife.

bay cat or catopuma roaming in jungles of borneo, malaysia

Day 9

Immerse in the beauty of Kinabatangan River

On the ninth morning of the trip, you will leave Deramakot and drive towards the Sakau village lying along the banks of River Kinabatangan. After arriving, you will check-in and have lunch. Post lunch, you will proceed towards the river for their first river safari. The Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah, as it measures 560 km from southwest Sabah's Crocker Range to Sabah's east coast at the Sulu Sea. As per the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary is one of only two known places having 10 primate species living on the Earth. The species found here include the Bornean orangutan, proboscis monkeys, long-tailed (or crab-eating) macaque. Other than the primates, the nocturnal mammals found here include sub-species of the Asiatic elephant, the rare Sumatran rhino, and the saltwater crocodile. With all the diversity including the lowland forest and the mangrove swamps, the Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary is the ideal destination for discovering the exceptional wildlife and captivating habitats. According to bird watchers, it is one of the best places for spotting incredible bird species like Borneo's hornbills, Storms storks, etc. After the first afternoon trip, you will return to their camp for dinner and then head out again to search for the semi-aquatic flat-headed cat after dark. The flat-headed cats can be spotted in the tributaries and sections of the main river. You will also get to spot crocodiles, otter civets, and many other species. After having a successful search, you will return to your respective lodges.

deramakot forest reserve in sabah, malaysia

Day 10

Wander around the forests of the Kinabatangan River

You will spend the whole day exploring the river and forest around their lodge. After dark, you will head out on their final search for the famous flat-headed cat.

Day 11

Travel to Gomantong Cave

On the morning of the eleventh day, you will travel to Gomantong Cave. Being one of the most famous caves in the world, it was praised in the BBC’s Planet Earth series because of its huge mountain of guano and the cockroaches and other invertebrates residing here. The forests surrounding the caves house many species of orangutans. Being approximately 90m high, the innumerable invertebrates residing in the cave include the long-legged centipedes, four species of swiftlet, and about 27 species of bats. The ecosystem inside the cave is self-sufficient and the predators like pythons and bat hawks feed on the swiftlets and bats after coming and going from the caves.


After exploring the cave, you will then proceed towards Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary. After reaching, you will check-in, have lunch, and then head out into the forest for a guided walk. In the afternoon, you will visit the active Lipad mud volcano that helps in providing mineral salt lick for the wildlife of the region. After trekking through the rainforest, you will arrive at the elevated bare area of the volcano. The area is frequently visited by wildlife animals namely, elephants, sambar, bearded pigs, muntjacs, etc., and many species of birds. Then, you will trek back to their resort along the elephant trail for experiencing the forest and spotting some unique species. You will also have a pre-dawn drive. After dinner, you will have your first extended night drive for spotting nocturnal animals, including the wild cats of Borneo, flying squirrels, civets, Philippine slow loris, yellow-throated martens, and various reptiles and amphibians.

clouded leopard in borneo, malaysia

Days 12 - 14

Explore the Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary

You will spend the next three days exploring Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary. You will head out in the morning, afternoon, and after dark. You will also trek along different trails, pay a visit to the watchtower, and spend some time at the watchtower to spot some unique animals. Apart from that, you will also go on various drives for spotting the wild cats of Borneo. The long night drives will give you a special edge for spotting various species of mammals, as many species enter the forests to feed. Tabin is undoubtedly the world's best place for spotting unique species.

gomantong cave located in gomantong forest reserve in gomantong mountain, sabah, malaysia

Day 15

Fly Back

After having breakfast, you will be taken to the airport in Sandakan for catching your return flight home with all the memories of spotting varied wildlife including wild cats of Borneo.