About this Cycle Tour
Dense jungles, wild animals and exotic flora will be your introduction to Borneo on this cycling holiday. Rivers, mountains, and beaches are to follow as we bike on dirt and tarmac roads across the north of Borneo.
Suitability: The beginning of this ride is relatively flat, and the riding gets hillier towards the end of our adventure. Although distances are not huge, the heat and humidity of equatorial Sabah ensure things feel hot. This is a journey through the finest terrain and scenery of North Borneo, with the best in nature and wildlife, ensuring you get the very best of everything from your cycling efforts.
Biking Conditions: The road surfaces are mixed: most days we ride on a mix of dirt and bitumen roads, though there will also be some good quality tarmac roads. There are enough rides on dirt tracks to mean you will need a mountain bike, and preferably one with front shocks. However, there is nothing technical involved on this tour, but some off-road riding experience will make this trip more enjoyable. A support truck is available most of the trip to help, though there are a few sections where we will have limited support.
Welcome to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the State of Sabah. After transferring from the airport, check in and rest before we meet for a welcome dinner and trip briefing at a local restaurant.
A morning flight takes us across Sabah to Lahad Datu, and once back on terra firma, we have breakfast before we start our cycling. It’s a quick drive to our starting point, and after making sure the bikes fit, we begin our ride on a rolling dirt road to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. We overnight in the middle of 123,000 hectares of tropical flora and fauna. This rainforest is also home to more than 220 species of birds, the three largest mammals of Sabah -- Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau, nine species of primates, as well as three species of cats. We take an evening jungle trek (weather permitting) to give us a glimpse into the nocturnal life around us.
You may opt to wake up early and join a morning walk to discover some of Tabin’s exotic bird species. After breakfast, we cycle on gravel roads to active and mineral-rich mud-volcanoes, which attract local rain forest wildlife. We'll have time for a quick dip in the nearby Lipad waterfall before riding back to the resort for a late lunch. The afternoon is free to enjoy on your balcony, go for a swim in the nearby rock pool or indulge in a foot soaked spa and mud facial. Once the sun has set there is a night drive to spot more wildlife.
After waking up to the sounds of the jungle, we cycle on a gravel road out of the reserve, hoping to catch one last glimpse of some primates or a horn bill. We then transfer about two hours to Bilit. We arrive early enough to savour a late afternoon boat ride on the Kinabatagan River, where we’ll see the rambunctious proboscis monkeys in their element, and if we are lucky, other wildlife such as orangutans and pygmy elephants.
Following breakfast, we start riding from the resort, cycling 8 km on a mix of tarmac and off-road tracks follwed by 17 km on a paved road to the Gomantong Caves. Here locals collect birds' nests, a prized Chinese delicacy, three times a year. The harvesters climb up to 100 m on rattan ladders to collect the nests of the resident swiftlets. We then a transfer to Sepilok to visit the orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. After watching these mischievous apes eat and play we'll check in to our nearby resort.
Morning wake up and breakfast, then a short drive to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. We arrive in time for a feeding and a chance to see these unique monkeys up close. Time for a 14 km cycle through palm plantations before we transfer for two hours to Telupid. Here we'll check into our hotel and have lunch. After a siesta to beat the heat, we'll go for a late afternoon scenic ride through the district of Tongod, literally, the Heart of Sabah.
We begin the day with a short transfer to the Sandakan Death March track, on a mix of tarmac and off-road tracks though palm plantations have since replaced much of the jungle that the prisoners struggled through in World War II. Today’s riding will be quite hilly and off the beaten path. We cross quite a few small streams and earn our lunch after 18 km of riding. We transfer to our overnight destination for lunch at the Sabah Tea Garden. After a short rest, we head back out for some great off-road cycling around the tea plantation, following the route of the Sabah Tea Adventure Race, taking in great views of Mount Kinabalu. Tonight, we’ll experience what it’s like to sleep in a traditional Rungus Longhouse. Each room has its own sink; however, hot showers are shared.
After breakfast, we tour the tea factory and learn how tea is grown without fertilisers and goes from plant to processed tea. We have a short transfer to avoid the highway, and then it’s an undulating ride on a mix of tarmac and off road that will take us to the village of Langsat. From here we enjoy more quiet country roads we cycle through orchards and rice fields. Our final destination is the Porting Hot Springs. Here, you can go for a dip in the therapeutic waters, go for a canopy walk, or hike to a small waterfall. And if you are lucky, a Rafflesia will be in bloom nearby.
Following breakfast, we transfer 20 minutes to Kibbas to start our adventure. Today’s ride is tough, because as soon as we go down, it’s back up again. All on dirt roads. We ride through small farms beneath the shadow of Mount Kinabalu, which rises to 4,095 m and dominates the landscape. We head to Kundasang and overnight at a hotel with spectacular views of the peak.
We are now leaving the cool mountain air behind for the heat of the coastal plains. We transfer to the district of Tamparuli to start cycling through the countryside and villages. Crossing a magnificent suspension bridge and visiting a Chinese temple with pagoda tower will be some of today's highlights. Lunch will offer up many choices of local dishes. After lunch, you have an option to cycle to the resort or be transferred so that you spend more time relax and leisure in the swimming pool or at the beautiful beach in front of South China Sea. We arrive early afternoon so you can enjoy the resort before we meet up for a farewell dinner.
Transfer to Kota Kinabalu airport to catch your outbound flight, or continue your exploration of Borneo.
Disclaimer: The adventure cycling tours we operate often go beyond the beaten track, and the countries where we ride are not always predictable. Due to these reasons, it is occasionally necessary to reroute or update itineraries. Our guarantee is that we will not change a trip unless for safety or to improve it. Our listed hotels are always accurate at the time of writing, but should we have to change any hotel, it will always be for a similar or better one.
Because some people can't imagine going on a trip without their own beloved bicycle, we do not provide them as part of this tour. However, you can hire bikes locally for the price listed in the tour pricing section. The bikes are brand name mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, disc/v-brakes, and Shimano components and front suspension. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, in good mechanical order.
Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
Wearing a helmet is required on all our biking adventures and is non negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.
You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is 9 people or more we will add another guide to the tour. All our guides are well informed in the history, culture and religions of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Your guide is also medically trained and an experienced cyclist, able to handle most minor repairs en route.
There are no special vaccinations required for Malaysia; however you may want to take Malaria tablets as we will be traveling in Borneo's jungle area. Please check with your doctor prior to departure.
The whole of Malaysia has a classic tropical climate and remains hot and humid throughout the year and rain showers occur almost daily. Average temperature ranges from 15°C/ 59F to 25°C/ 77F at higher elevations and 21°C/ 70F to 32°C/ 90F around the coasts, such as Malacca and surrounding areas. The highlands have a distinctly different climate to the rest of Malaysia. Temperatures average a very pleasant 22°C/ 72F in the daytime and a relatively cool 15°C/ 60F at night – an excellent climate for growing tea, flowers and fruit, and for visitors it offers a pleasant contrast to the hotter lowland areas. A typical day consists of blue skies in the morning, showery afternoons and chilly nights, with rainfall at it’s heaviest between September and early December.
Borneo has an equatorial climate, which is hot and humid year-round. Average daily temperatures are around 30 Celsius and the humidity can be high. Rain is also fairly common though we have scheduled these tours to avoid the monsoon season.
Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are local Malay food and feature noodles, rice, curries and soups. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.
Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit and soft drinks are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. We are riding in a Muslim country and though beer is available, it might not be served in some halal restaurants where we will eat. If you choose to purchase some beer please note it is NOT included in the price.
SpiceRoads does not require you to pay a surcharge for travelling alone. We will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveller of the same gender and if we can not match you up we will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.
We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$10, for incidentals. It is customary to tip local tour guides and drivers, however, the amount you give should be dependent on the level of service you receive. As a general guide we suggest US$ 3-4 per person per day is appropriate.
The official currency is the Malaysian ringgit (RM). Foreign currencies are not generally accepted. The airport is the best places to exchange money. ATMs are widely available in cities and towns, but you’ll need cash in villages and in the jungle. Credit cards can be used only in larger hotels.
If this is the tour for you here's what you need to do to confirm your place:
Just complete our online booking form or send your booking details offline (email or post), and we will confirm your participation. No deposit is needed to confirm your place on a SpiceRoads tour.
There is a minimum number of participants (usually 2) required to enable the trip to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to Depart'. Once a trip is guaranteed to depart you are free to book your flights and make other travel arrangements. If the trip status is ‘Limited’ will mean we have only a small number of spaces available for booking. If you are unsure about the trip status, please email us or call our office.
From the tour page, click the 'Book Now' link. All departures for this tour will appear, just select the date you'd like to travel. For the next steps, you'll need to know the names of the people travelling. If you wish you can also provide extra details such as passport numbers, height (for bike hire), or you can add that later by logging into Manage My Trip (we'll set up an account for you automatically if you don't already have one). Our system will contact you from time to time to fill in the missing information, as it will be required before departure. However, if the trip that you are booking offers a child discount, you will have to fill out the date of birth of each rider (so we can calculate the appropriate discount).
If you are having any problems please send us an email, or give us a call (+66 026 3295) and one of our travel specialists will assist you with your booking.
Just call us or send an email indicating which trip you want to join and we will happily send you a list of questions and process your booking for you.
We do not require a deposit or full payment to book a place for you on a tour.
The balance of the tour’s cost (final invoice) will need to be paid 60 days before the departure date with fees for any bicycle rental(s), single supplement(s) and extra hotel nights.
In the case where a booking is made when there are less than 60 days until the tour departure date, the tour’s cost should be paid in full within 72 hours of receiving an invoice from SpiceRoads. Payment can be made by credit card using our online payment gateway or by bank transfer. When making payment online you will need to confirm that you have read these booking conditions during the "checkout" process, which equates to agreeing to the terms of services and stipulations as indicated in this document.
In all cases, tour fees need to be paid “in full” before participation in a tour. No person(s) will be allowed to join a tour without fully settling their invoice and receiving a confirmation number from SpiceRoads.
The exception can be made for last-minute miscellaneous fees that can be paid locally (visas, additional local hotel bookings, etc.) can be settled on the day of arrival.
If the tour is cancelled or postponed by SpiceRoads because we didn't make the trip numbers and the tour can’t run, we will make a full cash refund (by bank transfer or on your credit card).
If the tour is cancelled for any other reason, including due to Covid related travel restrictions, we will give you a full credit (with no deductions for admin or any other small-print item) to use on any SpiceRoads tour with no time limit. (Exceptions being flights, special permits and other non-refundable items and these will be advised when booking the trip).
Before paying for your tour, you can cancel your booking with no charge and up until 40 days before departure, you can change your booking to another travel date or move your booking onto another SpiceRoads tour with no charges.
If you need to cancel after you have made full payment, please see our cancellation policy.
The information in this document is given in good faith, and covers the average range of conditions likely to be found on this trip. Please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, however, we will always do our best to adhere to this original itinerary