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Still wild and mysterious even after all these years, Borneo is still a true gem of South East Asia and is perfect destinations for anyone who has ever dreamed of experiencing the raw, undiluted beauty of nature. Come see what all the fuss is about on this 12-day Best Of Borneo Tour through the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah.
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DAY 01: KUCHING ARRIVAL
Upon arrival in the charming old town of KUCHING, you will be welcomed by our local guide and then transferred to the hotel to check in.
After taking some time to freshen up and relax, depart for half-day Kuching City Tour to see most of the places of attraction around this historical city. Known locally as the ‘Cat City’, it won’t take long to notice why this charming name has been bestowed upon the city - there are statues and tributes to cats at nearly every street corner.
This afternoon, visit some of Kuching’s main landmarks including the Tua Pek Kong, the oldest Chinese temple in the city. Visit a local market before exploring the compact but charming colonial city centre on foot. Continue along bustling India Street with its traditional shophouses before enjoying dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight in Kuching.
DAY 02: KUCHING – SEMENGGOH ORANG UTAN – BATANG AI
After breakfast, meet with the guide and driver and depart for an overland transfer to Batang Ai National Park. Along the way, make a stop at Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the biggest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak. Here, you will catch glimpses of orangutans living in their natural habitat, learn about their incredible behavior and ecology.
Following the orangutan rehabilitation centre visit, continue the drive to a local market in the town of Serian, a stop to observe wild orchids and pitcher plants at the roadside and also a visit of a pepper farm. Lunch will be provided in Lachau, a small quaint and favourite Iban trading centre.
After lunch, continue the drive toward the BATANG AI which takes you 4 hours. Upon arrival at the jetty, transfer by boat to the resort. Check in and then spend the rest of the evening at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the resort.
Overnight at resort in Batang Ai.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Batang Ai Resort
DAY 03: BATANG AI LONGHOUSE
Our trip starts with a native longboat ride from your resort, across the lake to Batang Ai Longhouse – an authentic dwelling of the local Iban people who were once feared for their head-hunting practices (don’t worry, it’s a tradition no longer in practise!). After arrival, you will be taken up to the longhouse to meet the Ibans and their families and have a tea break.
Here, you will learn about the lifestyle of these friendly natives whose lives are perfectly intertwined with nature. Watch traditional dancing, a cockfight and demonstrations on the use of a blowpipe – an ancient hunting weapon of the natives that spew poisonous darts with deadly accuracy.
Afterwards, enjoy lunch at the longhouse and then return to the resort in the early afternoon. The rest of day is free at leisure. You can relax at the resort, or head out to explore the tropical surroundings independently.
In the evening, you may choose to join your guide when preparing the dinner. See how, with simple cooking utensils and local ingredients, a delicious meal can be prepared. After dinner the Ibans will sound their gongs and perform their war dance in full ceremonial regalia.
Overnight at resort in Batang Ai.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 04: BATANG AI – KUCHING
After breakfast at the resort, join in a blowpipe demonstration with your guide. Then bid farewell to the people and depart by a 30-minute longboat to the Batang Ai Jetty before continuing your journey by road back to KUCHING. The total driving time can take up 5 hours.
Lunch will be served along the way. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Kuching.
DAY 05: KUCHING – MULU NATIONAL PARK
Recommended Flight Schedule: MH3752 (12:50 14:25)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and morning at leisure before being transferred to the airport for a flight to the tropical paradise of MIRI. Upon arrival, be met by the guide and driver and transfer directly to Mulu National Park Headquarters.
From here, take a 3.5-km elevated plank-walk to Lang Cave - the longest cave passage in the world (2,161 metres long). Explore Lang Cave with its magnificent stalactites and stalagmites before proceeding to Deer Cave, where the biggest attraction is a colony of thousands of free-tailed bats.
At dusk, witness an amazing spectacle of nature as thousands of these bats emerge from the cave in formation to forage for insects in the rainforest.
Experience night trekking through the jungle to the park headquarters. From luminescent fungi to blinking fireflies, the jungle comes alive at night time and this is a fabulous opportunity to view creatures not visible in daylight.
Overnight in Mulu.
DAY 06: MULU NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, take a 15-minute longboat ride up the Melanau River to experience two more of Mulu’s ‘must-see’ limestone caves: Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave. These form part of the Sarawak Chamber - the largest connected cave system in the world. If water levels are low, it’s also possible to get there along a beautiful 4km hike.
Explore the “King’s Room” before proceeding to Clearwater Cave. Walk on plank walkways that were built on the sides of limestone cliffs leading to Clearwater Cave. Then, climb up steep steps that were carved into the side of the hill to get to the entrance of Clearwater Cave. Inside the cave, check out the details of its various features and limestone formations.
Return to the Mulu Headquarter by boat and this afternoon take to the treetops on a canopy walkway. The rest of the afternoon at leisure or head out on some of the self-guided walking trails in Mulu National park.
Dinner at own leisure.
Overnight in Mulu.
DAY 07: MULU NATIONAL PARK – KOTA KINABALU
Today, you will be transferred back to Mulu Airport for a domestic flight to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in the northern part of the island of Borneo. It is the gateway to Kinabalu National Park and well known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk, beaches and waterfront Kota Kinabalu City Mosque.
Upon arrival in KOTA KINABALU, you will be picked up by your local guide and receive a private transfer to the hotel for check in. The rest of day is free at leisure. You can stroll through city center, explore the bustling streets. When evening falls enjoy the lively night market and stop at one of the spots for dinner.
Overnight in Kota Kinabalu.
DAY 08: KOTA KINABALU – PORING HOT SPRING
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia's first World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its "outstanding universal values". The park boasts more than 5,000 vascular plant species and being home to some 90 lowland mammal species and many others.
After 1-hour drive, we stop at a small Dusun town of Tamparuli for a short walk across a hanging bridge to the local square and pick up a quick snack.
Continue a further hour up the mountain road to the Kinabalu National Park. Upon arrival, take a walk through the Sabah Parks Botanical Garden to learn about the vast array of flora found in this lush park. Have lunch in the park.
After lunch, we depart Kinabalu Park for Poring Hot Spring. On the way, make a stop to visit Kundasang War Memorial, one of the first memorials to commemorate the Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan POW camp during the death marches to Renau.
Continue to Poring Hot Springs (45km – approx. 1hr). Here, there is excellent canopy walkway that allows travellers to view the rainforest from up high. The canopy walkway is approximately 157.6 metres long and in some parts it is 41 metres above the forest floor. If time permits, get a chance to soak in the hot sulphur pools, renowned for their therapeutic properties.
Overnight in Poring Hot Spring.
Poring Hot Spring
DAY 09: PORING HOT SPRING – SANDAKAN – SEPILOK
After check out the hotel, take a short 30 min drive to Sabah Tea Factory to take a fascinating guided tour of the factory and learn how raw tea leaves are processed and packed for export.
NOTE: on Sundays, Mondays & Public Holidays, the tea factory is closed.
After the factory tour, depart for a 3.5-hour drive to Sandakan, the second largest city of Sabah. Upon arrival in SANDAKAN, visit the famous Agnes Keith House which is home of Agnes Newton Keith from 1934 until after Second World War. She is an American author best known for her three autobiographical accounts of life in North Borneo (now Sabah) before, during, and after the Second World War.
Have lunch in Sandakan. After that, pay quick visit to the central market in search of spices before continuing on to Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple which is located at the hilltop of Tanah Merah at Sandakan Bay in Sandakan, with a breath-taking panoramic view of Sandakan Bay.
In the late afternoon, head to SEPILOK for dinner and evening at leisure.
This morning, check out the hotel then transfer with our guide and driver to visit Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a wildlife conservation and research centre for improving animal welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan sun bear. From here, walk to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the morning feeding session at 10:00AM.
After that you will be transferred to Sandakan Jetty to embark on the boat transfer to the Kinabatangan River. This two-hour boat journey passes by local villages and lush rainforest and provides excellent wildlife-spotting opportunities for those looking to gander at some of Borneo’s quirky inhabitants.
Upon arrival at the KINABATANGAN RIVER, check in your room and enjoy lunch. The local guide will conduct a briefing on the upcoming activities and advice on recommended gear. After lunch, free to relax or explore the surrounding area on the nature boardwalk.
In the late afternoon (16:30PM), hop on a riverboat for a cruise up the Kinabatangan River in search of proboscis monkeys, birds, reptiles and other wildlife. As night falls, witness the glittering of fireflies on the mangrove trees. Return to the lodge for dinner before mid-evening take a stroll along the boardwalk on a lookout for nocturnal animals and interesting insects.
Rise early in the morning at 06:30 along with the birds and other animals of the jungle for an unforgettable river cruise to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake, a crescent shaped lake that formed when the river’s meander became so wide that it cut itself off. The stillness of the lake and relative protection provides a haven for animals and plants making for an ecosystem that’s completely distinct from that of the active river.
Continue with a visit the local fishing village ofKampung Abai. Interact with local Orang Sungai, river people who have long inhabited the area, observe daily activities in the fishing village and enjoy a local-style lunch prepared and served by the villagers.
Then return to the resort for breakfast and spend the rest of the day is at leisure before heading out in the late afternoon to watch the river activities of many primate species that become active during this time. The afternoon is a particularly advantageous time to spot wildlife and the light is perfect for photography. After a well-deserved and hearty dinner, head out again at 20:30 for an unforgettable night river safari to see some of the jungle’s nocturnal inhabitants.
After breakfast, depart the lodge at 09:00AM and return to the Sandakan Jetty by boat. This 02-hour journey offers another chance to see wildlife. Upon arrival at the jetty, you will be transferred to Sandakan Airport for an onward flight.
Private Tour (for 02 pax, cheaper if more)
Tour Price Includes
11 night accommodation
Local English Speaking guides
Meals as mentioned
All sightseeing as specified and entrance fees included
Boat in Batang Ai
Local English Speaking guide from the Mulu NP
Kinabatangan boat transfers and activities (join in basis)
Bottled drinking water per touring days
Tour Price Excludes
Visas for Malaysia
Travel insurances (must include helicopter evacuation for Malaysia)
International and Domestic flights (quote separately)
Other meals not indicated
Camera/video entrance fees
Personal expenditure such as drinks, souvenirs, etc...
When to Go
See estimated monthly temperature and rainfall for this itinerary