Family Volunteering in Borneo

From £795.00

Help to restore the forest environment, meet indigenous tribespeople and encounter incredible orangutans with your family in Borneo



Project Description


By joining this wildlife safari in Borneo you and your family will become immersed in the local community and fascinating wildlife of the Borneo rainforest.

For the majority of this project you will be staying in the beautiful Sukau village from which you will take part in a variety of conservation activities. These will include taking boat trips on the Kinabatangan River in search or orangutans and pygmy elephants and helping to preserve the incredible 'corridor of life'. As well as wildlife conservation activities you will also spend time interacting with the local Orang Sungai villagers or ‘People of the River’. This will include helping to teach some of the local children in the school. This will give you a great understanding of their way of life and help them improve their english skills!

To round off the tour, you will be taken to visit the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to see these incredible animals up close!

Why This Project Needs Volunteers

Volunteers on this project aim to have a positive and constructive impact on the local environment by helping to rebuild habitats which have been destroyed, and teaching members of the local community about conservation. You’ll be helping plant trees, getting involved with teaching the local school children and observing the endangered wildlife along the river banks, so there’s plenty for you to be doing if you venture to Borneo!

This is a fantastic way to teach your children how rewarding it can be to volunteer, aswell as providing an opportunity for them to experience and witness first hand how important wildlife conservation is.

Without the participation of volunteers, the project will be short on man power and funding, both of which are vital for the continued success of the programme.


Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will arrive in to Sandakan International Airport where you will be met by the project facilitator and will take a private transfer to your first night's accommodation. This will be in a longhouse-style accommodation in Sepilok with unobstructed views of the surrounding forest. You will spend the night learning about the 'Corridor of Life' and the project's aims. This is also where you will enjoy a welcome dinner with your project facilitator.
Day 2-5 - Project Days:
Today you will transfer to the project site at Sukau where, upon arrival, you will have a health and safety briefing followed by an orientation and tour around the village. In the afternoon, you will begin your volunteer activities which you will continue for the next 4 days - why not download your free project guide to find out more about these activities? Accommodation here will be in a beautiful Bornean B&B.
Day 6 - Orangutan Centre & Sun Bear Conservation Centre:
You and your family will wave goodbye to the Orang Sungai before travelling to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, and then the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to observe the orangutans up close and to gain an understanding of the impact of conservation. Your final evening can be spent resting and relaxing in a comfortable city hotel in the heart of Sandakan.
Day 7- Final Day:
Unfortunately, your family volunteering trip has come to an end - take a private transfer from your hotel in the city to Sandakan Airport for your return flight, or to commence your independent travel plans.

What will I be doing?

Boat Trips

Boat Trips

This activity entails cruising in a boat along the river and its tributaries to observe the endangered wildlife roaming the forest along the river banks. On these trips, you will be on a constant lookout for pygmy elephants and orangutans - bring a camera with you, as you'll want to capture this moment forever!

Habitat Restoration

Habitat Restoration

This will involve tree-planting, nursery care and seedling generation, allowing your children to play a real part in protecting the future of Borneo's rainforests. Along the banks, there are areas with very few trees, so it is difficult for animals to pass from one section to another and if they do, it leaves them vulnerable. Therefore, tree planting will take place in sections identified as high priority, and you will work towards the creation of corridors to allow wildlife to move from one section to another.



The tropical rainforest of Borneo is the perfect setting for a family trek. The trek involves an introduction to the flora and fauna of the rainforest, and to what the rainforest traditionally offers the inhabitants in terms of medicine, food, and survival. This is a great chance to ask questions and to learn from an extremely experienced local guide.

School Interaction

School Interaction

As a family, you will spend half a day working with the local school children on conservation issues that they deal with on a daily basis. You will be provided with a framework and the project facilitator will guide you in the planning of this session. The idea is to share information about conservation activities, both in Borneo and in your home country, and also to give the local school children and your own the chance to interact and understand different cultures. (Please note, this activity is dependant on the school calendar.)

Cultural and Community Interaction

Cultural and Community Interaction

Living and contributing to the Sukau community is a big part of this project. As most lunches and dinners will be served in the homes of individual villagers and local families, you may get to hear about their daily lives, chat with the children, learn their family structure, and see how the Orang Sungai have been living off the rivers and jungles for centuries!

Visit To The Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

Visit To The Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

Towards the end of your stay, you will pay a visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, home to captive orangutans who may be in need of sanctuary care. This visit will emphasise the necessity for projects like this one, leaving a lasting impression on all volunteers.

Additional Information

Group Size Up to 12 People
Meals All Meals Included
Duration 6 Nights
Start Dates 11th of Every Month (Except December)
Minimum Age Minimum Age 8
Getting There

You will need to arrive into Sandakan International Airport before 4pm on the start date of your project. You will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred by road to your first night's accommodation. The next day you will travel to the project site at Sukau.

Visa Requirements

Most nationalities do not rquire a visa to enter Malaysia. A tourist visa is provided upon arrival at the airport for up to 90 days, however, please check the Malaysian Immigration website for more information.

Currency and Exchange Rates

The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is approximately 1 MYR to 0.19 GBP.

What's included in the price of the project?
  • A donation to the project
  • Airport transfers
  • Full orientation and support from the project facilitator
  • Accommodation and meals
  • Entrance fees to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
What's not included?
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas(if required)
  • Soft drinks and alcohol


Rebecca Glover - 2017

Our favourite memory was feeling that we have made a positive although small contribution to a very important cause. The kids loved the work, especially using a machete and I think they will remember this fondly!