8-Day Budget Trek
Following the Sandakan Death March track
8 days and nights
TYK Treks along the route of the infamous Sandakan death marches honour the many hundreds of prisoners of war who were force-marched through the jungle from Sandakan to Ranau in 1945. By following in their footsteps, we hope that all those who walk in their memory will gain an appreciation of their indomitable spirit, their bravery and their determination.
TYK treks along the Sandakan Death March route are not for those whose aim is to travel from point A to point B in the fastest possible time. We do not conduct ‘fast, elite’ treks, or set ‘records’. TYK considers that to do so is an insult to the memory of those who walked this route in 1945 and perished. The normal daily schedule has been carefully designed and paced to provide an all-round experience, combining Sabah’s natural beauty with hard physical and mental effort, and historical, cultural and spiritual elements, in what is, essentially, a challenging pilgrimage to retrace the footsteps of some of World War 2’s finest heroes. This program also offers an excellent opportunity for common interest groups to develop team building. The various challenges to be overcome each day allow participants to forge strong bonds, as they pull together to discover the true meaning of ‘mateship’
This 8-day budget trek is designed for those who have limited time and for groups wishing to incorporate the trek into their own itineraries. Trekkers are expected to have a level of fitness to allow them to walk the entire distance, as there is no alternate program provided for those who wish to opt out of any sector.
Trekkers aged over 55 years, or those carrying additional weight, are required to provide a statement from a medical practitioner attesting that they have achieved a level of fitness necessary to walk for up to eight hours a day, including steep hills, in humid, tropical heat. We advise trekkers not used to tropical conditions to consider arriving a day or two early, to help acclimatise. All walkers can choose to omit a sector, or sectors, on any day. However, the walk scheduled for Day 5 must be completed, as there are no easy evacuation points. The final decision regarding fitness of any participant on any sector on any day lies with the trek leader. While trekking, the accommodation is basic and includes two nights of camping. Trekking times are approximate and are subject to weather and track conditions and physical fitness of the party.
B =breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner
Day 1: (D)
Your TYK adventure begins with your arrival in the early afternoon at Sandakan Airport, where you will be met by a member of the team and transferred directly to St Michael’s Church in town, where the POWs spent the night before being marched to the 8 Mile Camp. After viewing the magnificent stained glass memorial windows, transfer to the POW Memorial Park for a familiarisation visit. Note: If you arrive in Sandakan earlier, you need to make your way to the airport to meet the group at the appointed time. At the Park, which occupies part of the old POW camp site, there is ample time for a tour, and to inspect the various relics as well as the beautiful commemorative pavilion. Transfer late afternoon to Sepilok Jungle Resort for an overnight stay in rooms with fans and attached bathroom facilities.
Day 2: (all meals)
After breakfast, check out and transfer by vehicle to Bauto, where the six-day trek begins with a walk through beautiful jungle near the Labuk River, incorporating a fairly challenging ascent and descent. A packed lunch is provided. After the day’s walk, transfer by road to basic dormitory-style accommodation at Tawai Forest Camp, sited near a jungle stream that has been dammed to create a series of cool jungle-shaded ponds. Dinner will be cooked by the TYK team. Trek’s duration today is 7-8 hours’. Easy to moderately hard, with some challenging sections, especially in hot weather.
Day 3: (all meals)
Today’s trek begins with an ascent through secondary jungle. After lunch, there is a challenging climb along a series of roller-coaster ascents and descents, followed by a long flat stretch and a reasonably steep and often slippery descent. If the weather is hot, this sector will test your endurance. It may be necessary, in extremely wet or hot conditions, to curtail part of the afternoon program. Overnight at Tawai Forest Camp. Moderate to hard grade, 8-9 hours.
Day 4: (all meals)
This is a long but fairly flat walk through jungle, farmland and estates, with several river crossings. After lunch, the afternoon sector continues through more farmland to the Taviu River. Estate tracks, passing through small farms and cultivated land, have replaced the uncharted, uninhabited virgin jungle of 1945. Camp overnight on private property near Kuporon, not far from one of the original POW camp sites. Easy to moderately-hard depending on weather conditions, 8 hours.
Day 5: (all meals)
The trek continues from the campsite with a fairly flat walk along the Taviu valley, via village and farm roads and crossing two rivers, before reaching a small stream that leads to the foot of Taviu Hill, now part of a Class 1 forest reserve. Entry into this area requires express permission from the Sabah Forestry Department. The short, but fairly taxing climb to the summit is the only authorised route, and the only one sanctioned by Sabah Forestry. The campsite is at the summit of the climb, on private land with views to Mt Kinabalu. Easy to hard grade, about 6 hours.
Day 6: (all meals)
After breakfast, transfer by road to Nabutan to begin an easy walk through forested/cultivated land, before entering Sabah Tea Plantation after a short ascent up Quailey’s Hill Memorial, erected in honour of Private Quailey who was murdered near there on the first death march. After lunch at the plantation, the route continues on to Muruk, following estate and foot tracks and passing through small farms and forested sections. Overnight in a purpose-built longhouse at the plantation. Easy to moderate grade, with small uphill sections, 7-8 hours.
Day 7: (all meals)
After a short road transfer to Muruk, begin a long, fairly steep, but well-graded ascent up Marakau Hill, a climb that claimed the lives of a number of POWs, either on the marches or on one of the rice-carrying trips. After a flat walk across the summit, the way descends to the Ranau plain and the Number 1 Ranau POW Camp site. After lunch, visit The Last Camp, where the 183 survivors of the death marches died in a secluded but beautiful valley. Transfer to Kundasang through mountain scenery for an overnight stay at Hotel Cottage, near the beautiful Mt Kinabalu. Moderate to hard grade, with extensive uphill section. 5 hours.
Day 8: (B, L)
After breakfast, check out and transfer to the magnificently restored Kundasang War Memorial, with its four levels of beautiful gardens, overlooking Mt Kinabalu. Transfer by road to Kota Kinabalu, and check in to the Hotel Promenade on the waterfront.
Departure dates and cost for treks in 2017-18
Departure dates for the budget trek can be at any time throughout the year, and require a minimum of 8. Please contact TYK direct to arrange a date. Budget treks have minimal historic input. Departure dates for the budget trek can be at any time throughout the year, and require a minimum of 8. Please contact TYK direct to arrange a date. Budget treks have minimal historic input.
COST: (Minimum of 8 persons) AUD1,750 twin share
FOR ALL BOOKINGS CONTACT
TYK ADVENTURE TOURS SDN BHD
C/N 477861-U L/N KKKP3443
ot 38, 2nd Floor, Damai Plaza IV,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel : (6088) 232821, 238702
Fax : (6088) 232827
e-mail : [email protected]
Cycling: TYK also offers a cycling tour along the first section of the POW route, from Sandakan-Bauto (click here for details) ; customised tours to climb Mt Kinabalu and Mt Trusmadi, and specialty trekking, including the historic Salt Track and expeditions for botanists and nature lovers. (see www.tykadventuretours.com)
The track pioneered by Tham Yau Kong and Lynette Silver in 2005 was based on the route of the death marches, retraced and recorded by the Australian Army War Graves team while recovering bodies in 1945. Copies of this map, preserved in Australian Archives, are on public display ay the Australian Government Commemorative Pavilion at the Sandakan Memorial Park and at the Quailey’s Hill and Kundasang War Memorials.
Australian Army Historians have produced a modern-day map showing the route, but it is an approximation only and is not intended for use as a trekking map. To follow in the footsteps of the prisoners of war requires additional and specialised local knowledge – expertise that the highly experienced TYK team has acquired and refined over the years. Consequently, TYK is confident that its trekkers follow, as closely as possible, the path taken by the POWs in 1945.
Note: Owing to restrictions prohibiting entry into the highly protected, Class 1 Forest in the Lolosing River area (see home page for details), Sabah’s Forestry Department has sanctioned the use of an alternate route via a less environmentally sensitive area for the ascent from the Taviu River up Taviu Hill. This area is also restricted, and a special permit is required.
A copy of the official map is on display at the Sandakan Memorial Park and is on-line.
A word of caution:
Before you sign up for a trek with any tour company, make sure that the local company facilitating the trek holds a current and valid tour operator’s licence, issued by the Sabah government, has an emergency evacuation plan, provides safe and well-maintained vehicles that are licensed by the government to carry tourists, and employs an adequate number of fully-trained and experienced English-speaking guides. To help ensure your safety and well-being, TYK has its own designated company vehicles equipped with seat belts and with experienced drivers on call 24 hours a day and employs only fully licensed tour guides and, while trekking, highly-skilled jungle and mountain guides – usually one for every two trekkers. Details of TYK’s tour operating licence appear in the booking details, above.