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:
After arriving into Sandakan Airport, you and your family will be collected by a friendly driver and transferred to your first night’s accommodation. Here, you will be given time to settle into your new surroundings before enjoying a welcome dinner and finally resting up ahead of a busy week!
Day 2 - Arrival into Sukau:
Your morning begins with a brief lie-in, followed by a two-hour journey to the tiny village of Sukau, your home for the next four days. During the drive, your guide will tell you more about the project’s aims and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. The remainder of your day will be spent out on a river cruise in the midst of the rainforest: keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready in case any animals make an appearance!
Day 3 - Sapling Maintenance:
Get ready for an early rise: you’ll be waking up at around 5:30am to enjoy breakfast before heading out onto the river! You will cruise to a sapling maintenance site, where you and your children will be taught how to (safely!) cut away any undergrowth with a machete. By maintaining the forest in this way, any previously-planted saplings will have more room to grow. Later in the day, you’ll head out on another exciting river cruise in the hope of spotting a pygmy elephant…or thirty!
Day 4 - Tree Planting:
You’ll head out bright and early once more as you head back to the sapling maintenance site. Here, you and your children will have the opportunity to plant your very own trees, which will someday grow and provide both shelter and food for the animals of the rainforest. Later on, you’ll join a local family for a meal in their home, and may even be treated to a performance of traditional music or dance!
Day 5 - Rainforest Trek:
A trek through the magnificent Malaysian rainforest awaits you today, so listen closely as your guide tells you all about the wonderful flora and fauna found in the region. You’ll take part in another river cruise in the afternoon in the hope of spotting some of Borneo’s most impressive wildlife species, such as proboscis monkeys, hornbills and even orangutans (if you’re lucky!).
Day 6 - Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Centre:
The time has come for your family to leave Sukau, but there are more animal encounters to look forward to as you head back to Sepilok! Here, you’ll pay a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Centre and the Bornean Sun Bear Sanctuary, but the stand-out moment of the day will take place at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. It is here where you and your children will witness the orangutans’ feeding times, offering a spectacular view of the great apes up close.
Day 7 - Final Day:
Unfortunately, your family volunteering experience has come to an end. You will take a private transfer back to Sandakan Airport in time to catch your flight home or to continue with your independent travel plans.

What will I be doing?

Boat Trips

Boat Trips

Over the course of the project, your family will embark on a number of boat trips in search of Malaysia's remarkable wildlife! Whether up in the trees, down on the river banks or even in the water below, there are animals to be discovered at every turn. Your expert guide will be on hand to share facts on all creatures big and small, making this an excellent opportunity for your children to learn more about the vibrancy of the rainforest.

Habitat Restoration

Habitat Restoration

One of the most rewarding ways for anybody to make a difference to conservation efforts can be found when planting trees! You and your children will be shown how to plant and maintain saplings on a dedicated site, where plant life had previously been removed as a result of logging or deforestation activities. Your efforts here will not only help to create a safe passageway for the animals to use as they move throughout the 'Corridor of Life', but will also ensure that the forest will sustain Borneo's wildlife for many years to come.



What greater adventure could there be, than a trek through the Bornean rainforest? This is an educational experience for the whole family, as you will learn all about the forest's flora and fauna from up close. Additionally, your guide will explain how the communities here have relied on the rainforest for food, shelter and even medicine for generations, allowing you to gain a further understanding of the very people you'll be living alongside throughout your time in Sukau.

School Interaction

School Interaction

Depending on the time of year that you take part, you may be invited to pay a visit to the local school! You will be provided with a framework and encouraged to plan a lesson which covers topics such as conservation and the environment. Whilst the main purpose of this activity is to help educate the Malaysian youth, you'll also experience great pride when watching your children build on their confidence and make new friends!

Cultural and Community Interaction

Cultural and Community Interaction

During your time on this project, you will live alongside the members of a local community known as the ‘Orang Sungai’. You will exchange stories of your daily lives, will learn about each other’s family structures, and will gain an understanding of how they have lived off of the land for centuries. You might even be invited to join in with some traditional activities, such as crafting, making music or dancing!

Visit To The Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

Visit To The Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

Towards the end of your time on the project, you will pay a visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, which is home to a number of orangutans which may require care for the remainder of their lives. This visit will only emphasise the need for conservation projects like this one and is sure to be a memorable part of your time in Borneo.

Additional Information

Group Size Up to 6 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!