Tuesday 12 April 2011


THE memorial to Borneo's infamous 1945 Sandakan Death March, and by contrast the little island on which the first of the TV reality Survivor shows was filmed in 2001, are amongst the diverse highlights of a 10-night cruise available through Cruiseco aboard the boutique Orion II in Malaysia's Sabah in August.

Others include two rehabilitation centres that care for orphaned and injured wildlife including orangutans and sun bears, a visit to one of Borneo's most traditional longhouses, the memorial Peace Park where Japanese forces surrendered in 1945, a swim amid coral with myriad sea-life from black-tipped sharks and rays to tiny seahorses, and a splash in reputedly medicinally-valuable volcanic mud.

And for the inquisitive, a visit to the intriguing 33-metre high Labuan Chimney that was built in the mid-1800s with 23,000 red bricks imported from England; to this day no one knows if it was to be part of a British-style luxury mansion, a ventilation shaft for Labuan's one-time coal mines, a bell tower – or the start of a lighthouse for ships passing along the coast.

Cruiseco's 11-night package includes return airfares and taxes from Australia to Kota Kinabalu via Singapore, a night pre-cruise at the Fairmont Hotel in Singapore including breakfast, 10-nights aboard Orion II return from Kota Kinabalu with daily excursions, transfers in Singapore and Kota Kinabalu and port charges and government fees.

Prices start from $7988pp twin-share from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane (deduct $227pp for Perth)

For full details and the names of Cruiseco's 200-plus cruise-specialist travel agencies visit www.cruising.com.au

FURTHER ITINERARY DETAILS: ORION II will sail from Kota Kinabalu on August 11 this year for Mantanani and Lankayan Islands, Sandakan for three days to explore the Kinabatanga River, historic WWII sites and the Sepilok Wildlife Sanctuary, Kudat to visit the Rungus Longhouse, Labuan Island, the Klias Wetlands and Tiga Island.

The 5-star Orion II carries just 100 guests served by 65 crew and has an indoor restaurant and on-deck café, health spa, gymnasium, hair and beauty salon, Jacuzzi, lounge, library and lecture hall in which talks are given by the ship's Expedition Team and Guest Speakers.

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