2024 Sandakan Trek (10 Day Trip)

Dates 14th to 23rd Sept

 

Important: Refer to the specific tabs below for full details on this event, particularly [booking info] so you understand the conditions prior to following the [Book Now] link.

Alternatively, exclusive group treks (minimum 14 participants), to suit your preferred travel dates are available on request.

Download Brochure

Aidan Grimes - YouTube

Latest  ABC article link

Cleo was isolated and overwhelmed after her dad died. The Kokoda Track brought her peace - ABC News

PODCASTS

https://anchor.fm/aidan-grimes/episodes/Grand-kids-of-an-old-Soldier-walk-the-Kokoda-track-to-understand-him-epv3kh

https://anchor.fm/aidan-grimes/episodes/A-group-of-trekkers-walk-the-Kokoda-Track-and-Pen-these-words-to-a-famous-air-eo652n

https://anchor.fm/aidan-grimes/episodes/A-kid-with-Aspergers-becomes-a-Leader-on-the-Kokoda-Track-ehb6im

https://anchor.fm/aidan-grimes/episodes/The-day-Darren-Lockyer-played-Rugby-League-in-the-jungles-of-PNG-egqf1s

 

 

 

 

2024 Sandakan Trek (10 Day Trip)2024 Sandakan Trek (10 Day Trip)14 Sep 2024 - 23 Sep 2024Join us on this incredible 10day adventure walk in the footsteps of the Aussie Diggers. Limited group size. Guided by an experienced Australian leader with comprehensive local knowledge and customs and an unwavering passion for the Sandakan history, hidden battle sites, treasures and most importantly its legacy, you will experience the highs and lows of the treacherous Sandakan Track with a sense of courage, endurance and mateship without the ultimate sacrifice that our digger's made before us.More... Book Now... Add to Calendar

 

 

The Adventure

Imagine this. It is May 1945. Clad only in ragged loincloths, over 500 skeletal creatures, barely recognisable as humans, struggle to their feet at the Sandakan POW Compound, on Sabah's north-east coast. Three long years in captivity, half of them on starvation rations and with little or no medical attention, have taken their toll. The grimy, wasted bodies of these once fit and strapping Australian and British servicemen are covered in sores and scabies, their filthy hair and beards matted and lice infested. Many are suffering from tropical ulcers, some so large that shin bones are clearly visible. Others, bloated from beriberi, lumber along on sausage-like legs. They are bound for Ranau, a small village on the flanks of Mt Kinabalu, South East Asia's highest peak, situated 250 kilometers away to the west, in the rugged Borneo jungle interior. The story of Sandakan and the death marches is one of the most tragic of World War Two. It is also one of the most heroic. Despite appalling conditions, the prisoners never gave up. Their heroism, their determination and their indomitable spirit are testimony to the strength of the human spirit and an inspiration to all

Our Spirit's adventure walk is the ultimate Sandakan trekking experience. Discover yourself through the history of our diggers on this physical and emotional journey.  

Guided by experienced Australian leaders with comprehensive local knowledge and customs and an unwavering passion for the Sandakan history, hidden battle sites, treasures and most importantly its legacy. Our clients are given the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of the treacherous Track with a sense of courage, endurance and mateship without the ultimate sacrifice that our digger's made before us.

Participants as young as 14 years and as old as 81 years have successfully completed the Sandakan Track with Our Spirit. We strongly believe, pre-trek Track preparation is the key to our success. In fact, Our Spirit's safety and success record over the past 27 years is unrivalled by any other trek operator. Our passion for the history is second to none as we are able to personalise your experience by including detailed information for relatives of the diggers who fought and died on the Track or elsewhere in the "Pacific campaigns".

Our adventure package includes a 3 month pre-trek training program, airfares, accommodation, trekking fees and much more. Please refer to each of the tabs for full details on our inclusions, exclusions and pricing for this adventure or contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

 

Adventure Package Inclusions

 Our comprehensive adventure package includes:

  • Limited group size
  • 3 Month training and preparation program (refer to tab for details)
  • Accommodation (refer to tab for details)
  • Vehicle transfers to/from and during the Sandakan Track
  • Australian leadership (refer to Leaders & Guides tab for details)
    • Pre-trek briefing at the hotel followed by daily briefings on the track
  • Vehicle transfers to/from
    • The start/finish of the Track
  • licence fees and trekking permits
  • Village Fees
  • Adventure accommodation - guesthouses/tents (twin share):
  • Group expedition equipment (carried by the legends) including:
    • Tents; cooking equipment; ropes; safety equipment; communication equipment (including satellite phone); etc
  • eXtreme Cuisine (TM) nutritionally balanced, energy appropriate trekking meals and snacks
    • Our Spirit provides all trek meals pre-packed for the group from Australia, including breakfast, lunch and dinner which are prepared on the track. Breakfast and evening meals are supplemented with local fresh vegetables and fruit, when available. Our ability to adequately cater for preferential diets, such as Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten free etc is limited however, we are happy to discuss options for medically related dietary requirements, upon request.
  • Certificate of completion and t-shirt
  • Subject to accessibility, GPS Spot tracking updates which enables family and friends to follow your journey along the Track. 

 

Airfares & Accommodation

Our adventure packages include:

  • Airport/accommodation transfers (as indicated on the schedule)
  • Twin share accommodation (as indicated on the schedule)
  • Domestic Flight KK to SAN
  • Package travel insurance to the value of $200 (individual coverage subject to approval for Australian residents only) or rebate on final invoice

 

Adventure Package Exclusions

The following personal items and expenses are not included in this adventure package. 

  • Travel Expenses:
    • Domestic airfares and accommodation (if required - refer to inclusions for details)
    • International Airfare
    • Passport and visa
    • Personal expenses in Borneo (including meals on first and last day of the trip)
    • Airline charges for excess baggage (limit of 17kg personal luggage allowed)
  • Trekking Equipment:
    • Backpack
      • hire backpacks are available with porterage service 
    • Waterpack/bladder
    • Head torch
    • Personal items:
      • trekking boots and premium trekking socks
      • appropriate clothing, footwear and hat
      • eating utensils (bowl, cup, knife, fork, spoon)
      • toiletries and towel
      • Sleep bag and mat
      • Basic personal first-aid kit, including insect repellent and pharmaceutical items

Note: a comprehensive equipment checklist is provided to participants, upon receipt of the deposit and prior to commencing the training program.

Please contact us if you would like a copy of our recommended budget to give you an indication of the total costs associated with this adventure.  

  • Medical Expenses:
    • Pre trek preparation and associated medical costs (including, but not limited to obtaining medical clearance, required prior to commencing the training program)
    • Malarial medication and any prescription medications recommended by your doctor
  • Other Expenses:
    We recommend trekkers take approximately $150-$200AUD to exchange on arrival in Borneo for incidentals which are not included in the package. For example:
    • Subject to availability, additional fresh fruit and drinks can be purchased from local villagers along the track, if desired
    • Handmade crafts and souvenirs can also be purchased from numerous villages along the track

 

Pricing

Our standard adventure package is:

  • $4499 (Includes Domestic Flight)

Note: Please refer to Adventure Package Inclusions and Exclusions tabs for full details on what is and isn't included. . Our group guides carry all expedition equipment (i.e. tents, ropes, cooking equipment, group food supplies, etc..)

 

Note: Unlike some trek operators, our porterage fees include all trekking meals and travel costs for the local providing this service to ensure the income goes back to the village of origin and isn't wasted.

Please contact us if you would like a copy of our budget, which covers exclusions and personal items for this adventure. Large group discounts and exclusive charters are also available on request.

.

 

Leaders & Guides

Our Spirit have the most experienced Australian Trek Leaders, doctors and qualified medics on the Track. They ensure participant safety and deliver an experiential journey based on mateship, courage, endurance and sacrifice by:

  • Providing individual motivation and encouragement (including pre-trek training advice)
  • Creating opportunities for team cohesion
  • Presenting the most passionate and comprehensive historical briefings along the Kokoda way (supported by various battalions from the Australian Military campaign. Eg. 8th Div).
  • Guiding participants to significant battle sites on and off the Track including the original wartime track (close as possible)
  • Informing participants of cultural etiquette and educate participants on basic language
  • Arranging ceremonial welcomes into villages
  • Recognising and rewarding individual achievements on completion (including certificate of completion)

Our Support Crew are Legends are an essential part of our team and include: 

  • Group Guides - provide essential local knowledge and safe passage across the Track
  • General Crew - carry our food supplies and the group expedition equipment
  • Group Cook - prepares all trek meals and assists with general crew duties

Important: Unlike other trek operators, Our Spirit support crew ratio is 1 local legend for every 2 trekkers, which enables us to ensure your safe direction and provide you with the best cultural experience on the  Track. Additionally, our package fees include all meals and airfares (to/from village of origin) for our local guides and support crew. 

 

History

Imagine this. It is May 1945. Clad only in ragged loincloths, over 500 skeletal creatures, barely recognisable as humans, struggle to their feet at the Sandakan POW Compound, on Sabah's north-east coast. Three long years in captivity, half of them on starvation rations and with little or no medical attention, have taken their toll. The grimy, wasted bodies of these once fit and strapping Australian and British servicemen are covered in sores and scabies, their filthy hair and beards matted and lice infested. Many are suffering from tropical ulcers, some so large that shin bones are clearly visible. Others, bloated from beriberi, lumber along on sausage-like legs. They are bound for Ranau, a small village on the flanks of Mt Kinabalu, South East Asia's highest peak, situated 250 kilometers away to the west, in the rugged Borneo jungle interior. The story of Sandakan and the death marches is one of the most tragic of World War Two. It is also one of the most heroic. Despite appalling conditions, the prisoners never gave up. Their heroism, their determination and their indomitable spirit are testimony to the strength of the human spirit and an inspiration to all

 

 

Trek Itinerary

Arrive Borneo at Kota Kinabalu Airport: 14th September 2024

1. Pick up at Kota Kinabalu airport by your representative, transport to Hotel (Le Meridian Hotel, Hyatt or other).

Trek Day 01, 15th September (B/L/D) 2. Pick up from hotel at 8.00 am and transfer to Kota Kinabalu airport for early 10.20am morning flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. 3. From airport transfer to Sandakan Memorial Park, the site of the Sandakan POW Camp, then visit the World Famous Sepilok Orang-Utan Centre. After lunch at a local restaurant, drive along the original Death March route from Sandakan to Telupid. Overnight at the new tourist class Telupid Hotel or other 

Day 02 16th September (B/L/D) Distance 9kms, walking time 6 hours 4. The trek begins with an early morning walk up through the river before commencing our 450m climb up Bauto Hill through the dense jungle of Gambaron Hill. We continue our journey along the track and break out of the Jungle on our descent down towards Telupid.. Return to Hotel. 5. Overnight at the new tourist class Telupid Hotel or other

Day 03 17th September (BLD) Distance 12kms, walking time 7 hours 6. After early morning breakfast we continue our trek up the second Gambaron Hill. 

Day 04 18th September (B/L/D) Distance 18kms, walking time 8 hours 7. Start trekking from our hotel. We walk through Maliau and onto a walking track through plantations and an abandoned road through Ulu Tapaang and onto Wonod. After lunch we continue our walk to the Village of Koperung, where we camp near to a refreshing river. 8. Overnight at tented Camp site at the Village of Koperung.

Day 05 19th September (B/L/D) Distance 18kms, walking time 7.5 hours 9. Start from Koperung village, passing through forested and cultivated land as we trek to Taviu Village then onto Mungkadai and Miru.. Return to Koperung Village where we are entertained with a local food. 10. Overnight tented accommodation in the Village of Koperung. 

Day 06 20th September (B/L/D) Distance 4kms, walking time 2 hours 11. Depart Koperung Village and trek down Taviu Hill towards lalosing. We then ascend Taviu Hill and transfer by vehicle to Sabah Tea for our overnight accommodation. On the way to Sabah Tea we stop at Paginatan and visit the house of the “Ring Lady” and the area that the POWs were buried. Paginatan was also the area that the rice carrying parties operated. Overnight accommodation at Sabah Tea in traditional longhouse accommodation or Cottages.

Day 07 21st September (B/L/D) Distance 14kms 7 hours 12. From the village of Nabutan through forested and cultivated land to the village of Nalapak. We then trek up towards the Sabah Tea Gardens and onto Quailey’s Hill for a small service to commemorate the murder of POW Quailey near this spot. After lunch, we continue our trek to Muruk, we then transfer back to Sabah Tea Estate for overnight stay in a traditional long house. Overnight accommodation at Sabah Tea in traditional longhouse accommodation.

Day 08 22nd September (B/L/D) Distance 12kms, walking time 4 hours 13. Transfer to Muruk village by bus before we commence a steep ascent up Marakau Hill. We then follow a short steep trek through the jungle, before descending and crossing Ranau Plain for lunch and pay our respects at the Ranau POW Camp sites 1 and 2. We then visit the magnificently restored Kundasang War Memorial to participate in a service to remember all those who gave their lives for Australia and those that lost their lives on the Sandakan Ranau Death March. We then transfer back to Kota Kinabalu for overnight stay at Hotel. Overnight at your 5 star Le Meridian Hotel or other

Day 09 23rd September (B) After breakfast your tour ends Transport to airport for flight back home.