A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Mount Kinabalu Extension

May 16 to 19, 2025
Cost: $1,785
Leader: Charlie Ryan
Group Size: 8
Days: 3

Safari Overview

Visit Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its diverse habitats and incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including 18 endemics. Standing as one of the highest mountains in Asia, at 4,095m (13,435ft) above sea level, this granite intrusion is sacred to the locals, and tectonic forces continue to shape and define the landscape and the wide range of habitats you will explore – including rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest, and the scrub of higher elevations. Trek along the numerous trails with the opportunity to observe more than 50% of Borneo’s bird species all in one location – truly a birdwatcher’s paradise.


  • Explore the Kinabalu National Park, a birdwatcher’s paradise with 326 bird species.
  • Enjoy the tropical rainforest mountain views of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain.
  • Trek along various trails at the base of the mountain with your guide through a wide range of habitats, and where over 5,000 plant species are found.


  • This is extension to our Borneo trip from May 3 to 17, 2025.

Updated: September 2023

Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
May 16–17 After breakfast, drive to Kinabalu National Park and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hill Lodge, Kinabalu National Park B, L, D
May 18 Spend one last morning birding and walking through the park. Return to Kota Kinabalu for flights homeward. B, L
May 19 Arrive home.

Our Trip Leaders

Charlie Ryan

After signing up for a volunteer program in Indonesia in 2008, Charlie was re-routed to Sabah, Borneo where he helped set up community initiative programs for the Abai village. He has resided in Sabah ever since. Charlie guides for the National Geographic Adventure groups in Borneo and helps train nature guides, providing them with first-hand knowledge and experience. He is also an avid photographer, which compliments his passion for wildlife, culture, and travel.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Explore Kinabalu National Park

May 16–17

Jambu Fruit Dove
© Charlie Ryan

Bid farewell to those not continuing on this extension. After your last breakfast together, travel the scenic road up to Kadamaian Valley on the way to Kinabalu National Park. Marvel at the massive granite intrusion formed 15 million and propelled upward one million years ago from tectonic movement that continues to shape the landscape. Head into the surrounding park for an afternoon of birding.

Enjoy a full day exploring the various trails at the base of the park while birding. This park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with about 326 species recorded, representing over half the bird species in Borneo (18 are Bornean endemics). As you traverse the beautiful scenery, try spotting some of the endemics (found only in Borneo) which include the mountain black eye, the mountain blackbird, the Bornean treepie, the Kinabalu friendly warbler, the Kinabalu serpent eagle, the Bornean mountain whistler, the Everett’s thrush, and the whitehead’s trio.

Fly home

May 18

Spend the morning birding and walking in the park. Depart Kota Kinabalu for flights homeward.

Arrive home

May 19

Mount Kinabalu Extension

Visit Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its diverse habitats and incredible diversity of flora and fauna,…

6.076017125741783, 116.55908119206012

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $1,785
Single Supplement $230

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.

Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Payment is due with your main trip’s final payment; see its trip itinerary for details.

Payment is due with your main trip’s final payment; see its trip itinerary for details at LINK.


Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.


  • Carbon offsets for the duration of this trip.
  • All leaders, transport, camera fees, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Accommodations for the nights of May 16 through May 17.
  • Meals from breakfast on May 16 through lunch on May 18.
  • Transfers to Kota Kinabalu Airport on May 18.
  • Non-alcoholic bottled beverages throughout the trip.
  • Snacks during travel between locations.
  • Trip Planning Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • Carbon offsets for your flights to/from this trip.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • COVID tests.
  • Divergent airport transfers (arranged by us) and extra hotel nights.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $225 total per participant for the extension.
  • Emergency evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.


Temperatures vary greatly. The lower altitudes are often hot, while the forests and higher altitudes can be surprisingly cool. In May, the average daytime temperature in Borneo is in the mid 80s°F (28°C), with highs in the low 90s°F (33°C); the evenings get down into the mid 70s°F (24°C). There is very high humidity in the lowlands, and it will feel much warmer. Temperatures in the forest and at higher altitudes are only slightly cooler, averaging 60 to 80°F (16 to 26°C). Although May is considered the dry season, rain is still possible.

Fitness Level

Treks in the morning and afternoon will last for about three hours walking slowly while searching for birds. The walking is easy and mostly on paved roads, but some parts of the road has inclines.


Detailed logistical information is included in the Trip Planning Materials we will send you.

Flights you book

  • Arrive in Arrive in Sandakan, Malaysia (SDK) by 3:00pm on May 5
  • Depart from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (BKI) after 4:00pm on May 18.






Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:

  • Ecotourism and Conservation for Borneo.
  • Cheesemans’ Trips are Carbon Neutral.
  • Offsetting your Travel to/from our Trip: We ask you to pledge to offset the carbon emissions for your travel to and from our trips. You can purchase offsets with most airlines (Delta includes them automatically), use our handy carbon calculator and donate to Sustainable Travel International, or contribute to your favorite offsetting organization.


Read our current Terms and Conditions.