Discover the best Wildlife and Cultural highlights of Borneo
- Cost: £2,400 per person for 15 days/14 nights (all inclusive from start point to end point).
- Start Point: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.
- End Point: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
- Dates: This adventure will run multiple times over the coming year. Please email us for the dates. We recommend June, July or August for the best weather.
- Group Size: 6–10
- Size: Alternatively, if you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and suit your interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
This adventure is designed to take you to the very best wildlife and cultural highlights that Borneo has to offer!
From exploring pristine rainforests, to sighting orangutans, proboscis monkeys, langurs and many other primates. Spotting gigantic Rafflesia flowers, carnivorous pitcher plants and a visit to a traditional Iban native village. And nesting sea turtles, gigantic caves and conquering the mighty Mount Kinabalu! This expedition offers outstanding photographic opportunities for a very diverse range of Borneo’s most spectacular animals, plants, scenery and traditional life.
Day 1: We meet in Kuching, Sarawak. As a group, we can decide to visit any of the following: the beautiful Kuching orchid garden, the Sarawak State Museum (for natural history), the historic Fort Margherita (named after the wife of Sarawak’s last ‘White Rajah’). After lunch we drive to the Sarawak Cultural Centre to learn about how the different tribes found throughout Sarawak and Borneo, before returning to the city for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in a hotel in Kuching centre.
Day 2: After breakfast, we transfer to the docks (approx 1 hour driving) and alight boats for an enjoyable trip around the coast to the Bako National Park, set on a peninsula and accessible only from the water. We spend the day exploring Bako National Park to see mangrove and heath forests, home to orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, proboscis monkeys, macaques, bearded pigs and a wide range of bird life. Before sunset, we return to Kuching, to dine at a local restaurant and overnight in a hotel in Kuching centre.
Day 3: This morning, we drive to Batang Ai Reservoir (approx 4 hours driving time). Along the way, we can visit a traditional Sarawak market (often with a spectacular range of exotic rainforest fruit and local cuisine). At Batang Ai Reservoir, we transfer into motorised dug out canoes to journey across the lake and up the river systems to the remote Iban tribal homelands. Along the way, we spot Iban long houses and pass through primary rainforest that offers the chance to see wild orangutans (or their nests), and a plethora of birdlife. The journey in the canoe takes approximately 2 hours. Dinner and overnight in Nanga Sumpa lodge (an eco-friendly tourist lodge built close to an Iban village, but with excellent Western-style accommodation).
Day 4: After breakfast, we visit a traditional Iban longhouse and have the opportunity to meet and speak to Iban people, to learn about their culture and the longhouse way of life. Depending upon group preferences, we can undertake a rainforest trek (or if this is not desired, transfer to the canoes for a river trip). Lunch is served as a traditional Iban BBQ close to the beautiful Enseluai Waterfall. We can swim and relax in the splash pool close to the falls, where tiny fish nibble at our toes like a natural pedicure. We then to Nanga Sumpa lodge for dinner. Overnight in the Nanga Sumpa lodge. A night walk can be arranged to observe rainforest creatures by torchlight.
Day 5: Today we return from Nanga Sumpa to Batang Ai Reservoir via the dugout canoes, and then drive back to Kuching. We can stop to visit a population of orchids and carnivorous pitcher plant (famed for the fanged pitcher plant (Nepenthes bicalcarata), as well as several other species (N. ampullaria, N. gracillis, N. mirabilis and N. rafflesiana). Back in Kuching, we can undertake an optional cruise along the Kuching River to see the city highlights, and we can visit a really special local restaurant on the opposite riverbank, or a local seafood market to savour Malaysian seafood cuisine. Overnight at a hotel in Kuching.
Day 6: Early transfer to Kuching airport to catch a flight from Kuching to Sandakan. We transfer from Sandakan airport to a resort on the banks of the Kinabatang River. Dinner and overnight at the Kinabatang resort hotel.
Day 7: Today we undertake a series of cruises in little boats along the Kinabatangan River. The river is a wildlife mecca and offers chances of seeing the endemic pygmy elephant, as well crocodiles, macaques, many other primates, several species of hornbills and a plethora of other birdlife. Each cruise lasts approximately 60 minutes and is timed to maximise the broadest possible range of wildlife sighting opportunities. Dinner and overnight at the Kinabatang resort hotel.
Day 8: Transfer to visit Gomantong Cave to see the vast caves, many bats, swiftlets (whose nests are used to make Birds’ Nest Soup) and, if we are lucky, wild red leaf monkeys (red langurs) and wild orangutans. After lunch, we transfer to Labuak Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to see wild proboscis monkeys fed at feeding platforms, silver leaf monkeys (silver langurs) and (often) oriental pied hornbills. Transfer to a resort hotel near Sepilok for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Optional early morning start to visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre to spot local bird life. At 11.00am we transfer to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to watch a short educational video about the work undertaken at Sepilok, then we follow wooden boardwalks to observe a feeding platform where orangutans in the process of rehabilitated climb down from the trees to feed. Often multiple orangutans may be observed. After lunch, we visit the Sun Bears Centre to observe sun bears rescued from captivity. After dinner, we have an optional return to the Rainforest Discovery Centre for bird watching and exploring the tree top canopy walkways as the sun sets. Often, we sight flying squirrels! Overnight in a resort hotel near Sepilok.
Day 10: Early morning departure to beautiful coral island, Selingan, by boat. Information and video presentation followed by dinner. Late at night we hope to watch turtles laying eggs and witness a release of hatchlings into the sea! Simple accommodation on the island. Turtle activity is very likely, but cannot be guaranteed. The Philippine megapode is a frequent sight within the open forests on Selingan.
Day 11: Early morning return from Selingan Island to our vehicles and transfer to Poring Springs (approx 6 hour drive). We can stop at lowland pitcher plant (Nepenthes) sites along the way to see the spectacular species: N. rafflesiana ‘giant form’ and the rare N. macrovulgaris, as well as N. ampullaria, N. gracillis and N. mirabilis. When we reach Poring Springs, we visit reserves to see giant Rafflesia keithii flowers (a rare, parasitic rainforest bloom that can have flowers up to 60 cm across). Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in Kundasang.
Day 12: Today, we undertake a day trip up the slopes of Mount Kinabalu into the cloud forest to see orchids, highland carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes tentaculata and N. villosa) an a plethora of bird life. In clear weather, the views are spectacular. We return to Kundasang for the night. For anyone who does not wish to walk up Mt. Kinabalu, we can organise a trip to the relaxing in the hot geothermal baths at Poring Springs, a visit to the tree top canopy walkway, a working tea plantation, a beautiful waterfall, local markets or further Rafflesia reserves. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight in Kundasang.
Day 13: Early morning walk along the mossy forest trails within the Kinabalu National Park, a visit to the world famous Kinabalu botanic gardens and the Kundasang exotic fruit market. For anyone interested, we can also visit the Kundasang War Memorial Gardens (which often have outstanding displays of pitcher plants and orchids, often with flowering Paphiopedilum rothschildianum). We can also visit birding trails. NOTE: for anyone who wishes to visit the summit of Mount Kinabalu, you can climb up and overnight on Mount Kinabalu on Day 12, then descent on Day 13 and re-join the group now. In the afternoon, we drive to Kota Kinabalu and check into a hotel in the city centre. A highly recommended dining option is to visit the city’s famous seafood market on the docks to try local seafood including crab, squid, assorted shellfish and delicious fish (definitely a culinary highlight and an evening to remember).
Day 14: After breakfast, we drive to Klias Peat Swamp Preserve (approx 4 hours) to walk along trails through peat swamp forest to see wildlife, orchids and pitcher plants. After lunch, we transfer to the Klias River to undertake an afternoon cruise for a final chance to see wild proboscis monkeys and macaques in the trees. We then have dinner in a restaurant by the river, and after the sun has set, we return to the boats for a cruise to see fire-flies in the trees. The fire flies are famous having synchronised displays (so that individual trees light up like Christmas trees). The extent of the firefly activity varies, but usually is quite impressive. Overnight at a local hotel near to beautiful beaches.
Day 15: Relax during the morning on the beaches, departing late-morning to return to Kota Kinabalu for 2 pm in time for departing flights at 4 pm or later.
Regular flights are available from across the world to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Fly to either city, then catch a low-fare one-way flight to Kuching for the start of this trip, and back from Kota Kinabalu at the end. Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines all have low cost fares available.
Adventure Rating: Relaxing
there are lots of options for add on trips before or after the main expedition. A few possibilities include the following (please email the Redfern Adventures team for more information). - an extended climb up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu (either as a two day/one night trip, or a three day/two night trip). - a journey to Mulu National Park to explore the spectacular limestone pinnacles and vast caves (5 days extra). - a journey to the Maliau Basin or Danum Valley for adventurous rainforest treks to see wildlife, waterfalls and gigantic old-growth primary rainforest trees (6-8 days extra). Or rainforest treks to Mount Murud, Mount Tambuyukon or Mount Trus Madi to see to see wildlife, orchids and pitcher plants (6-8 days extra). - visit beautiful coral islands for diving, snorkelling, seeing giant monitor lizards and mud volcanos (1-5 days). To get a quote for any extensions, simply mention which extension(s) you are interested in when you apply to Join this Adventure!