$3760 USD

View all dates and prices


Difficult ? Not for the faint of heart! This trek is full of steep climbs, long hikes, and yes, leeches (leech socks included). It will push you, but we'll be there to help you push back!


Max 11


Tenting, Hotels, Homestay

Discover Borneo

Have Questions? Ready to Book Your Spot?

Please Note: This trek is part of the Inside Track series of adventures rather than a true G’WA. With Inside Track, you get to travel with Sam as she “road tests” new treks for future G’WAs. Sam talks more about this below.

Must Love Bushwhacking, Climbing Shit, Flying Squirrels, and Boss Babes (Leech Socks Included)

Did you ever drink wine at 3 a.m., buy a pair of leech socks on Amazon, then wonder when you would ever wear them?

Well, do I have the adventure of a lifetime for you! (Even if you haven’t, but you could see yourself doing something just as crazy, read on dear friend!)

The Maliau Basin in Malaysian Borneo is one of the most isolated and rugged places in the world you can go without a parka. Often called “The Lost World of Sabah”, it was “discovered” in 1947 but wasn’t explored by outsiders until Yayasan Sabah and WWF Malaysia mounted an expedition in 1988. This self-contained ecosystem exists in a caldera-like geological depression where flora and fauna flourish in harmony. (If you’re familiar with the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, you’ll have some idea of what Maliau is like with its deep basin surrounded by high cliffs – but with many more beasties and plants!)

This is hardcore, dude. Like, seriously. No messing around – you need to be fit and really REALLY comfortable with hanging out in the hot, humid outdoors without showers or bathrooms. This trek will push you in ways you’ve never been pushed before. But the reward usually equals the challenge – and this offers one of the greatest rewards of all…

The great news is that you’ll be trekking right beside me and my good friend Jamie Owens – the wildest, craziest chick I’ve ever met in my life! Jamie owns her own sustainable adventure company, TropEcoTravel. We first met while travelling and hit it off immediately. Every time we step off the plane on some trip, I’m peeing myself just a little bit from laughing so hard.

If you’re ready for the craziest, zaniest, and toughest challenge of your life with a couple of fun-lovin’ boss babes who know how to make every time a great time, drop everything right now and sign up below!

Get the “Inside Track”

Discover Borneo is not your typical G’WA – in fact, it’s not a G’WA at all! My Inside Track series of adventures are an opportunity for you to travel with me (and in this case Jamie) as we explore new destinations for possible future G’WAs. The main differences are:

  • I’m not leading the trek – I’m a traveller just like you
  • There won’t be any “official” She Walks the Walk programming, but you can bet there’ll be some awesome convos along the way!
  • This won’t be a women-only trek – we’ll be joining others including (possibly) men

You can read more about the differences on the main Global Walking Adventures page here.

So, Want To Be Travel Buddies?

I’m so excited to share this with you! Scroll down to see all the deets. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime using the form below.

Borneo Group Trek

2024 Dates & Prices (USD Taxes Included)

DatePriceMin/Max PeopleDeposit
July 15-24$3,760 / person6/11$500 / person

Final payment due April 1st, 2023.    

What’s Included

Woman standing in the tall trees in the Borneo jungle.

The Maliau Basin in Borneo is no walk through the park! But we’ll be prepared for everything, thanks to our (literally) Intrepid tour guide. Here’s what’s included:

  • 10-day guided group trek through the Maliau Basin with local guides, cooks and porters 
  • All permits and fees 
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities from our base at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (airport transfer included on a group basis*)
  • Accommodations/camping-style (Hotel x 3 nights, Homestay x 1 night, Hostel x 1 night, Camping-style x 3 nights, Chalet x 1 night)
  • 9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners (Allow $100-$150 for meals not included)
  • Leech socks
  • Unscripted laughter
  • Facing your fears (see, among other things, leech socks above)
  • And new friends for life

*Airport transfer is included when we all get on the same shuttle. Those arriving before or after the main group may need to pay for tranportation. We will discuss in great detail closer to the date.


  • International airfare to/from Malaysia
  • Applicable tourist visas (Please bring one passport photo for Cambodia visa process)
  • Incidentals 
  • Mandatory Travel Insurance 
  • Airport taxes 
  • Tips or gratuities 
  • Beverages 
  • Meals not mentioned above
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Late checkout at hotels

Cancellation Policy

Please note the following cancellation policy, which accompanies She Walks the Walk’s Travel Terms & Conditions:

  • Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Loss of deposit 
  • Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% loss 
  • Cancellation within 30 days of departure = 100% loss 
Discover Borneo and all its dramatic beauty!


Discover Sabah’s Lost World (Maliau Basin)

Day 1 MONDAY, Jul 15

Arrival (BKI) – Kota Kinabalu
Meals Included:

Woman in Kota Kinabalu, Boreno.

Arrive before 6pm for the welcome meeting, but we highly suggest arriving a day earlier to acclimate to the time zone.

Welcome to Borneo, Malaysia!

Your exciting journey commences with a warm greeting – Selamat Datang! Join your leader for a welcome meeting at 6pm this evening. In the meantime, if you happen to arrive early, seize the opportunity to delve into the captivating history of this remarkable city nestled between the lush Borneo jungle and the mesmerizing South China Sea. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage by visiting the Sabah State Museum, where the intriguing tales of this region come to life.

Arrival Transfer

  • Included (Group Basis)

Special Information

Attending the welcome meeting is of utmost importance, as tour leader will be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you anticipate being late, please inform your travel agent or hotel reception promptly. Additional information about the meeting location can be found by inquiring at the reception or checking for a note in the lobby. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.


Hotel Shangri-la (Deluxe) or Similar

Day 2 TUESDAY Jul 16

Meals Included:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Bridge in Maliau Basin. Adventure awaits! Discover Borneo with She Walks the Walk.

Get ready to embrace the anticipation of your first full day of adventure! If the season is right, we’ll begin with an exciting walk near the Tambunan Rafflesia Centre, accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, in search of the renowned Rafflesia Flower—the world’s largest flower. After bidding farewell to the urban comforts of Kota Kinabalu, we’ll head towards tonight’s homestay, nestled in the enchanting district of Tambunan.

Upon arrival in Sunsuron Village, you’ll have the pleasure of meeting your welcoming Dusun hosts. While officially considered part of the Kadazandusun indigenous group, the Dusun people possess a distinctive culture that sets them apart from the Kadazan community. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the local way of life as you embark on a captivating walking tour of the village, including visits to a traditional bamboo house and a skull house. After taking in the sights, treat yourself to a refreshing dip in a nearby river to cool off.

As the evening descends, indulge in a delectable feast of homemade culinary delights, lovingly prepared by your gracious hosts. This is an opportunity to savour the flavours of authentic local cuisine and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the Dusun community.

Included Activities

  • Tambunan – Tambunan Rafflesia Center
  • Tambunan – Kampung Sunsuron village tour

Special Information

During our stay, the group will be accommodated in several local homes, all conveniently located within walking distance of each other. The rooms are designed for twin sharing, and each home comprises one to three bedrooms. As we’ll be experiencing authentic local hospitality, the style and facilities of the homes may differ. Some rooms may have en suite toilets, while others may share facilities within the main house. The toilets can be either squat or sit-down style, reflecting the local customs and practices.


Homestay, Guesthouse or similar. Single supplement not available. 

Day 3 WEDNESDAY Jul 17

Maliau Basin Conservation Area
Meals Included:
Breakfast, Dinner

Taking in the views of the Maliau Basin Conservation Area. Discover Borneo with She Walks the Walk.

After enjoying breakfast this morning, we will begin our journey to the captivating Maliau Basin Conservation Area via a private vehicle. As today’s travel time is relatively long, it’s advisable to bring along a book, podcast, or prepare some questions for your leader about the area’s history to make the journey more enjoyable. In the late afternoon, we will arrive at the basin and settle into the Study Centre, a dormitory-style accommodation that serves as a research base. Later, we’ll venture to the Maliau Observation Tower, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the vast area that you’ll be exploring over the next few days. Take in the scenery and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure.

Included Activities

  • Maliau Basin – Maliau Rim Observation Tower

Special Information

Today’s drive will take approximately 6-7 hours, including a lunch break.

For the next three days, be prepared for challenging trekking through the wilderness. It requires a high level of fitness. Accommodations during the trek will be basic camping-style huts with stretchers or bunk beds, and squat-style toilets. Meals will consist of simple, filling options like rice, eggs, canned food, and curries.

Porters are available at an additional cost, and you can store your main luggage at the study centre before starting the trek. Remember to bring a suitable day pack for hiking and essential items. Travel insurance with emergency helicopter evacuation coverage is mandatory for all hikers entering the Maliau Basin Conservation Area.


Homestay, Guesthouse or similar. Single supplement not available. 

Day 4 THURSDAY Jul 18

Trek to Lost World of Sabah
Meals Included:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Overlooking the Maliau Basin. Discover Borneo with She Walks the Walk.

After breakfast, we’ll embark on a drive to Agathis camp, which serves as the starting point for your trek. Here, you’ll receive a briefing from a local trekking guide or ranger before commencing your hike towards Nepenthes Camp. Brace yourself for the challenging but rewarding adventure ahead.

The initial leg of the trek is the most demanding, encompassing a 4.67miles (7.5KM) uphill hike to the rim of the basin at an elevation of 1300 metres. Depending on the conditions, you can expect to spend around 6 hours hiking today. As you traverse through dense detritus, you’ll find yourself surrounded by majestic towering trees, with opportunities to spot fascinating insects, flowers, and mammal species that call this area home.

During today’s hike, you will encounter your first set of metal ladders, which will be a recurring feature in the upcoming days. These ladders are not suitable for inexperienced trekkers and require an adventurous spirit. They are securely fixed to the ground, rocks, or tree trunks, aiding you in navigating the steep terrain. Some ladders may even have near-vertical angles. Fallen tree trunks serve as bridges to cross rivers. While the challenges may be demanding, the sheer beauty of the environment will make it all worthwhile.

If time permits, there may be opportunities to make stops at the terraced Giluk Falls or the cascading Takob Akob Falls. These natural wonders offer delightful sights along the way. In the late afternoon or early evening, you will reach Nepenthes Camp, where you can rest and recharge after a fulfilling day of trekking.

Included Activities

  • Maliau Basin – Stargazing activity

Optional Activity

  • Trek from Agathis Camp to Nephentes Research Station – Free of charge

Special Information

Today’s hike covers a distance of approximately 4.67miles (7.5KM) and is expected to take around 5 to 6 hours to complete. The duration may vary depending on the conditions and the pace of the trek. Prepare yourself for a fulfilling day of walking through the captivating wilderness. Accommodation

Camping-style (under basic shelter) or Similar

Single supplement not available. 

Day 5 FRIDAY Jul 19

Trek to Lost World of Sabah
Meals Included:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Fowzi Waterfall in Maliau Basin. Discover Borneo with She Walks the Walk.

Get ready for an exciting day of exploring not one, not two, but three breathtaking waterfalls. The best part is, you’ll hike your way to each of them, making the cascading rewards at the end even more fulfilling.

After approximately 2 hours of trekking, you’ll arrive at the first falls, Takob-Akob Falls, plunging an impressive 38 metres into the lush rainforest below. Take a moment to soak in the mesmerizing beauty of this natural wonder.

Next, continue along the trail towards Fowzi Waterfall, where you’ll have a delightful picnic lunch amidst stunning panoramic views. Relish the peaceful surroundings while enjoying your meal.

Finally, you’ll make your way to Giluk Waterfall, the last stop of the day. This easy trek will lead you to another picturesque waterfall, providing the perfect conclusion to your adventure-filled day.

As the day comes to a close, return to Nepenthes Camp, your base for the night. Take this opportunity to relax and rejuvenate your tired legs, as tomorrow promises another exciting day on the trails.

Included Activities

  • Maliau Basin – Takob Akob Falls, Fowzi Falls & Giluk Falls trek

Special Information

Today’s hike covers a distance of approximately 4.97miles (7.5KM) and is expected to take around 6 to 7 hours to complete. The duration may vary depending on the conditions and the pace of the trek. Prepare yourself for a fulfilling day of walking through the captivating wilderness. Accommodation

Camping-style (under basic shelter) or Similar

Single supplement not available. 

Day 6 SATURDAY Jul 20

Sabah’s Lost World trek
Trek to Lost World of Sabah
Meals Included:
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Walking along a trail in the Maliau Basin. Discover Borneo with She Walks the Walk.

Today’s trek will take you to Maliau Waterfall, with the journey continuing to Ginseng Camp in the evening. This 10-kilometre hike follows a relatively gentle trail, leading you to the magnificent seven-tiered falls. Keep your ears attentive for the calls of Borneo gibbons, as they are abundant in the area, although spotting them can be challenging. Depending on recent rainfall, you may even hear the thunderous sound of the falls before catching sight of them. The highest tier stands at an impressive 28 metres, with each section beautifully separated from the last, creating a captivating sight to behold. Prepare to be enchanted by the natural splendor of the Maliau Waterfall during today’s trek.

Included Activities

  • Maliau Basin – Trek to Maliau Falls & Ginseng Camp
  • Maliau Basin – Stargazing activity

Special Information

Today’s hike covers a distance of approximately 9.94miles (16KM) and is expected to take around 10 hours to complete. The duration may vary depending on the conditions and the pace of the trek. Prepare yourself for a fulfilling day of walking through the captivating wilderness. Accommodation

Camping-style (under basic shelter) or Similar

Single supplement not available. 

Day 7 SUNDAY Jul 21

Kota Kinabalu (Borneo)
Back to Kota Kinabalu
Meals Included:
Breakfast, Lunch

Pitcher plant in Borneo. See new things on your adventure trek with She Walks the Walk.

Start your day by embarking on the final leg of the trek to Agathis Camp, covering approximately 9 kilometres. The trek is expected to take around 5 to 6 hours to complete. Enjoy the scenic surroundings as you make your way towards the camp hut.

By around 1 pm, you’ll arrive at Agathis Camp, where you can rest and relax after the fulfilling trek. Take some time to unwind and soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Later in the day, you’ll board a private vehicle for the return drive to Kota Kinabalu. The journey back will provide an opportunity to reflect on the incredible experiences of the past few days.

Upon reaching Kota Kinabalu, you’ll arrive at the hotel at around 7 pm. Refresh yourself with a well-deserved shower, allowing you to rejuvenate after the trek.

In the evening, you have the option to join your group for an optional dinner together. It’s a chance to celebrate the completion of the trek.

Included Activities

  • Maliau Basin – Trek from Ginseng Station to Agathis Camp

Special Information

Today’s hike covers a distance of approximately 5.59miles (9KM) and is estimated to take up to 6 hours to complete.

During the trek, you will be reunited with your main luggage, as our driver will transport it to the designated pick-up point. It’s advisable to keep a change of clothes in your main bag, allowing you to switch out of any wet or sweaty clothes as needed. This way, you can ensure your comfort throughout the journey.

Please note that the first opportunity for a shower will be back at your hotel in Kota Kinabalu. You can look forward to refreshing yourself and washing away the day’s exertions upon your return to the hotel.


Hotel Shangri-la (Deluxe) or Similar

Day 8 MONDAY Jul 22

Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) – Sandakan – Selingan Turtle Island

Newly hatched sea turtles at Selingan Turtle Island - a once in a lifetime experience! Discover Borneo with She Walks the Walk.

Today we’ll depart early to Kota Kinabalu International Airport, for a flight to Sandakan.

Upon arrival, we will embark on an exciting journey to Selingan Turtle Island from CQ Jetty. Follow by motorized boat ride to the island will take approximately 1 hour.

You will have lunch at island and then have the opportunity to explore the beautiful beach. Keep an eye out for the abundance of juvenile marine life that can be found in the area. Alternatively, you can choose to simply relax and soak up the sun on the pristine shores. In the evening, before dinner, you will be treated to a captivating slide show providing valuable information about the turtle park and its inhabitants. Learn more about these fascinating creatures and their conservation efforts.

After dinner, be prepared at the cafeteria as you await the signal from the Park Ranger. Once signaled, you will proceed in small groups to the egg-laying site, where you will witness the awe-inspiring sight of mother turtles laying their eggs. Observe the careful transfer of these precious eggs to the hatchery, ensuring their safety and survival. Finally, witness the magical moment as hatchlings are released into the vast sea.

Important remarks for the turtle laying eggs activities on Turtle Island: These guidelines to protect the turtles and support conservation efforts.

a) Timing: Turtle laying eggs activities usually occur between 8 pm and 5 am, depending on turtle arrivals.

b) Follow instructions: Follow instructions from your leader and local rangers to minimize impact on the turtles. Strict action will be taken for rule violations.

c) Conservation practices: Only cameras with unaided flash are allowed for photography (no video cameras). A fee of RM10 per camera applies. Visitors must not roam the island from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.

d) One turtle sighting: Visitors are allowed one turtle sighting per night on Turtle Island.

Included Activities

  • Private Land transfer
  • Sharing Return Boat transfer to/from Selingan Island
  • Turtle Viewing


Selingan Island Resort or similar

Single supplement not available. 

Day 9 TUESDAY Jul 23

Sepilok & Labuk Bay tour

After breakfast, Return to the mainland. Hop into a minivan proceed to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC). After registration, follow a guided boardwalk that will lead you to the Feeding Platform, a chance for you to explore the lowland rainforest trees. Witness the feeding of the Orang Utan, watch the scheduled video programme about the Orang Utan and SOURC (25 mins) at the Nature Education Centre and pay a visit to the Exhibition Hall at the centre. Moving on to Sun bear conservation center. The BSBCC was set up to rehabilitate and to care for these critically endangered animals. They have been hunted to the brink of extinction throughout Southeast Asia and are often overlooked.

Endangered probiscus monkey, Borneo.

Continue tour to Labuk Bay, Labuk Bay consists of over 400 acres of mangrove forest which was initially purchased for commercial development. After realizing that the natural habitat of these monkeys were rapidly diminishing, due to large areas of the mangrove forest being develop for “bakau”wood, agriculture and aquaculture, the plan was quickly dropped so that these monkeys could continue to survive there without fear of losing their natural habitat. Upon arrival, proceed to the observation area, visitors will have the delight of having a reasonably close and magnificent sight of these elusive monkeys. Found in most coastal areas of Borneo, they live in groups of 11-32 and almost exclusively in mangrove forests near fresh water and in lowland rainforests. They are mostly arboreal (tree living) but have been known to leave the trees in order to cross open ground or pass through nipah palms. With its characteristic pot belly, huge pendulous nose with strange honking sound, it is one of the most peculiar animals in the world.

We will transfer to hotel for check in, free at own leisure after check in.

Included Activities

  • Visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Visit to Bornean sun bear conservation centre
  • Visit to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary


Sabah Hotel (Superior) or similar

Day 10 WEDNESDAY Jul 24

Sunset in Borneo over fishing boats.

Sandakan Departure
Sandakan Departure
Meals Included:

Today, you will have some spare time to wander in the city or to just relax. Transfer to the airport will be provided.

Departure Transfer

  • Included based on group departure


You may be wondering if you can do this…

We know that most women would be up for a self-discovery adventure, given the right opportunity. However, the reality of walking multiple challenging kilometres every day over steep terrain and through hot jungles requires a fitness level I describe as “extremely active”.

I’ve said it before – this isn’t your typical Sunday afternoon stroll, people! There will be mountains. There will be humidity. There will be bugs. There will be leeches. This physically demanding trek will push us all.

You also must be comfortable getting uncomfortable with things like toileting in the wild, Borneo wildlife, and getting very close to nature. Meals will be good but basic – and Domino’s does not deliver here! But if you genuinely enjoy physical challenges in exotic lands, this will be a challenge you’ll never forget.

If you have any questions or concerns about the trek and your abilities, let’s talk! I can answer your questions and help you assess if this is the right journey for you.

What about gear?

This adventure requires some specific hiking attire and gear. We’ll also need to prepare for temperature swings from 25 degrees Celsius (77F) to 35C (95F) plus humidity.

We recommend covering your body as much as possible with light, breathable clothing to keep off the sun and keep away bugs. Plus, although we joked about leech socks, we will need them – and they will be provided!


  • Quick-drying clothing is highly recommended
  • T-Shirts/cotton shirts
  • Long-sleeved top (for evenings when mosquitoes are out)
  • Long trousers/long skirt/shorts (denim not recommended due to humidity – cotton or quick-drying clothes are better)
  • Walking shoes or hiking boots with a good grip and ankle support or locally bought Adidas Kampung
  • Walking Poles for support on steep uphill sections and longer descents
  • Sleeping bag/sleeping bag liner (please note you can rent a sleeping bag from
  • Maliau Basin Study Center at a cost of RM30 per night. We recommend you bring your own sleeping bag liner for additional comfort if you a renting a sleeping bag). Note no pillows, blankets or towels are provided at the camps. Some people prefer to just sleep under sleeping sheet/liner due to high humidity.
  • Flip flops
  • Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water purification tablets or method
  • Torch/flashlight/head torch – battery powered
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Leech socks or pairs of long football socks
  • Lightweight, quick dry towel
  • Water bottle*
  • Medium waterproof pack. You will need to bring a small to medium backpack – approx 40L
  • Dry bags/plastic bags
  • Sarong for privacy when changing clothes – can be bought locally
  • Insect repellent – 75-100% DEET
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Eco-friendly soap or body wash

Please note you can leave your luggage at the Maliau Basin Study Center and carry your pack for 4 days while trekking. In this, you need to carry some dry clothes, a torch/flashlight, toiletries, a waterproof jacket, a sleeping bag/sleeping sheet, energy snacks, water, and any other essentials.

We do not allow the use of video cameras when staying in the villages as it can be perceived by the local people as highly obtrusive.


Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodations. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination and if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day. If you are walking or trekking as part of your trip you will need to carry at least 2L of water with you.


There will not be any laundry facilities on this trip. You will only be able to organize laundry in Kota Kinabalu at the start and end point of this trip.


Malaysia is a liberal Muslim country, and many Malaysian women do not wear headscarves. However, Malaysia is very conservative when compared with standards you may be accustomed to at home, and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage, and knees should be covered when traveling in Borneo except when on the beach. Wearing skimpy clothing is considered disrespectful to the local culture in many of the small local communities we visit.

Trekking through the jungles of Borneo is not a walk through the park - we need the right gear!

Meet the Team

Samantha Plavins

Samantha Plavins of She Walks the Walk trekking through Jordan in October 2022.

Sam Plavins is a former financial service advisor who got off the treadmill to pursue her own passions. She believes we should not be afraid to question the path we’ve taken. Or society’s version of who we ought to be.

A life-long adventurer, Sam has travelled the world with her family and on solo adventures. She started “She Walks the Walk” as a way to help other women at crossroads find more meaning and purpose in their lives. Sam lives with her family in Thunder Bay, Canada, and when she’s not out walking, she’s writing her book or looking for her lost cell phone. Read more about Sam here.

Jamie Owens

Jamie Owens with alpacas.

Jamie Owens hates the things most people tend to love—sorry Taylor Swift, Disney and coffee! Fortunately for us, she’s passionate about travel. As a licensed Travel Advisor and former PADI Divemaster, Jamie specializes in adventure, dive and sustainable travel. She’s been all over, exploring both above and underwater, with a camera in tow and on the hunt for the local good eats. Jamie knows a few things about the ocean—thank you University of Tampa, degree in Environmental Science and Marine Biology—and thrives when the sun is out. She hangs her hat in San Diego, CA, where she also teaches paddleboarding to dogs and humans alike. Her mantra? “Fill your life with adventures, not things!”

FAQs & Terms


Do I need specific vaccinations (COVID-19 and other) to visit Borneo?

As of this writing, there aren't any vaccination requirements for entering Malaysia if you are flying directly from a Western country. However, there are several you should get or consider getting:
  • Flu shot
  • COVID shot/latest booster (recommended to bring proof as guidelines may change in the future)
  • Hepatitis A and B (highly recommended)
  • Malaria - talk to your local public health unit as there is a possible risk.
  • Japanese encephalitis if you are at high risk (talk to your local public health unit)
Full Canadian vaccination recommendations are here (check your own country's travel advisories for your government's recommendations).

Is Borneo safe?

Borneo is generally safe and experiences relatively low crime, especially in the areas where we will be trekking. However, as is advisable in any foreign country, keep aware of your surroundings, protect your valuables, and avoid "sketchy" situations, especially in larger urban areas. We will be travelling together as a group most of the time, which increase safety.

What is the weather like?

Borneo's climate is tropical rainforest with high humidity and stable-but-hot temperatures (27-32 degrees Celsius year-round). There is rainfall throughout the year, though it is heaviest from November to February.

What is the food like?

Food in Malaysian Borneo is about what you'd expect from an island nation in South East Asia: grilled fish and seafood, rice, noodles, and local vegetables seasoned with garlic and ginger, and often served with wonderful sauces. Camp meals like the ones we will have on the trek tend to be more basic than that you'd find in a restaurant. (But then, that's a good description of "camp food" in most places in the world!)

I’m still nervous about the physicality. How fit should I be?

Look, I won’t sugarcoat it. Trekking through the Maliau Basin is hot, humid, and a little leech-y in places. We will be doing vertical climbs (with the help of ladders). We'll be going up and down mountains through the jungle. We will be pushing ourselves harder than your average trek. Your body should be physically fit enough to endure long hikes and long days of exertion. You should feel comfortable on narrow paths and, yes, the aforementioned ladders. This isn't a walk through a paved botanical gardens by any means! You don't need to be a triathlete or ultramarathoner, but you do need to be in great health and shape. Please consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about your physicality. If you have access to hiking trails in hilly or mountainous terrain, this is the ideal way to train. If not, we recommend using the Stairmaster machine with rotating stairs or actually training on stairs. Nothing prepares you for a trip better than the activity itself! Train at least 3 days a week. Start with short hikes or workouts (1 hour in length) with a light daypack. From week to week build the length and intensity of your hikes/workouts and gradually increase your pack weight until you’re comfortably able to hike 6-8 hours a day carrying the weight you’ll have on your trip. It’s best to begin your training regimen at least 12 weeks prior to your trip (or earlier, depending on your current state of health). Also be sure to use the footwear you’ll have on your trip to break them in. Getting a brand new pair of hikers for a trip sounds like a great idea, but it's better to get them worn and used before you set out!

What languages do they speak in Malaysian Borneo?

The official and national language in Malaysia is Malay, also called Bahasa Malaysia. However, most people we will encounter on our trek and in larger communities will also speak English.

What happens if I can’t finish the walk due to injury or sickness?

While we hope that nothing untoward will come your way, shit can happen. That's why travel insurance is so important. All participants are required to purchase mandatory Emergency Travel Health Insurance (minimum $200,000 of coverage), including coverage specific to trekking. Rest assured, if something major happens, your travel insurance will be there to help pick up the pieces. But it’s a wise idea to have a back-up plan should you have nothing left in the tank for the following day’ hike.  We will discuss insurance and what happens in the case of injury in more detail during our meeting.

What happens if I’m slow?

This is not a race, in fact, the whole idea is to SLOW-THE-EFF-DOWN. Hiking in the Maliau Basin and Borneo in general is more about savouring the moments. If you’re realllllyyyy concerned, check with Sam. She’ll tell you she’s always the turtle. And she likes to hang out at the back. We leave no soldier behind. We are a team, and it’s not a death march.

What about tipping?

Tipping of tour guides and porters is normal and expected on this trek. Tipping in restaurants is generally not part of the culture, but may be expected in some. Other restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge. We will talk more about tipping during our meetings.

Do I need a travel visa?

As of this writing, visitors from Canada, the US, and the UK do not require a visa for stays under 90 days. Please consult your government website for the most up-to-date information.

What about currency?

The island of Borneo is divided among three countries: Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia in the south. Kota Kinabalu and the Maliau Basin are in Malaysian Borneo, and the currency is the Malaysian ringgit. Most major hotels and businesses accept credit cards, but you should plan to exchange for Malaysian ringgits for shopping in local markets, etc.

What about jet lag?

Jet lag should be a legit concern of yours. For an optimal experience, we recommend arriving in South East Asia a few days early to help get your circadian rhythms reoriented, especially if you live in North America or Europe.

Terms & Conditions

Samanthan Plavis and Jamie Owens getting ready for the next big trip.
Don’t we look fun?! Jamie all cuddled up waiting for our next adventure, while I check the fine print to make sure we’re “all good!” Speaking of fine print… 

We do not believe in mollycoddling our clients. You’re a grown woman. And you get that travelling to the other side of the world presents some new challenges.

You must be prepared to accept the risks, both known and unknown, of your Global Walking Adventure. The following policy provisions form part of the SWTW Terms and Conditions and will apply to all services being provided to you and your participation in a G’WA with us. Please read this policy very carefully as you will need to sign off on it in order to participate.

Booking Process

Your Discover Borneo adventure is confirmed once the following conditions have been met: 

  • A chat with Sam about logistics, comfort, terrain, your expectations and kind of challenge this will be
  • Payment of the deposit
  • Completion of our Registration Package
  • Execution of the SWTW Terms and Conditions including the SWTW Travel Policy

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Have Questions? Ready to Reserve Your Spot? Either Way, Let’s Talk!

Our Walk Lofoten G’WA is an extraordinary “inside-out” hiking adventure for women with a limited number of spaces. Let’s talk about your questions and your self-discovery goals to see if a Global Walking Adventure is a fit for you. You can either email me or book a time on my Calendly for a Zoom call together.

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