Borneo 8 day tour, the wild heart of Borneo

“A week travelling in Malayian Borneo, meeting indigenous people, and exploring Batang Ai NP. What a wonderful start to our exploration of Borneo. We will be back. ”


Sarawak | Kuching | Semengoh Orangutan Centre | Bako National Park | Headhunters or Iban tribe | Batang Ai

Description of Borneo 8 day tour, the wild heart of Borneo

This week long, Borneo tour is a tailor made holiday focussing on Sarawak, a state in Malaysian Borneo. This is, therefore, only our suggested itinerary, which of course we can adapt according to your interests. Although we believe it captures many of Malaysian Borneo’s highlights, particularly with a view to wildlife watching and cultural highlights in the state of Sarawak. Never having to travel too far, but making the most of the time that you have to discover the wonders of jungle life here, your trip starts in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. A fascinating waterfront city boasting a mix of cultures, there are Chinese temples, grand mosques, bazaars and traditional houses on stilts to enjoy here.

Just an hour away from Kuching, you will visit the very important Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary, a leading player in conservation of these exquisite and endangered species. Home to semi-wild orangutans that have been rescued from illegal captivity, orphaned or injured, they are taught how to survive in the forest again in these safe environs.

Back to the wild environs to explore Bako National Park, home to proboscis monkeys and long tailed macaques, to name but a few. Batang Ai National Park is another very special place, mainly because it is on the lands of the indigenous Iban tribes, also known as headhunters, who work in partnership with government as ancestral custodians of the park and its rare wildlife. Stay in an Iban longhouse and explore the jungles with Iban guides on foot or perhaps on one of their long boats.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Borneo 8 day tour, the wild heart of Borneo


In Borneo we encourage our guests to respect the wildlife in each destination. All guides are trained and qualified, and we visit only National Parks and rehabilitation centres where the animals are supported or left on their own.

Before travel, our clients receive a Know Before You Go pack which states to keep water use at a minimum as usable water is a rare commodity.

At the longhouse the power is supplied by solar paneling on the roof. The solar panels would not have been there without the income the tourists generate by visiting the longhouse.

The local suppliers we use in Borneo support local Iban communities in the area and are currently supporting the rebuild of a longhouse which recently burnt down in the fire. They are passionate about supporting the local environment and community and only choose guides who share their same values.

In our Brighton office we have a strict recycling system, where we are recycling nearly 80% of our overall waste. All our paper is then bought from our recycling company to complete the circle.


During this trip you will be injecting money straight into the local community. The overnight stay at the longhouse goes straight to the longhouse family who hosts the client, and then other people in the longhouse who have helped out during the client's stay. All food is bought at the local market to be cooked and eaten so the client is not using the resources of the longhouse. Gifts are also encouraged to be bought from a local market on the way.

We have first hand experience in the city of Kuching and know plenty of local restaurants and cafes which we encourage our guests to support. Trips to the National Park help support the up keep, the protection of wildlife, and the local guides.

All of our guides and local partners are provided with a fair wage and secure job. We love to send them on feedback from clients to encourage their good work and work with them, as a team to provide great service.

A staff member travelled to the longhouse and wrote a blog post about their experience to encourage future clients to visit and how to act or feel to be welcomed and respected locally. We also send a Know Before You Go pack, with a few phrases and information on local etiquette and tipping.

4 Reviews of Borneo 8 day tour, the wild heart of Borneo

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We enjoyed all the different parts to our trip, own visit to see my sister in Brunei, Mulu caves, Kuching bike ride, trip to see the Orangutans and visit to Bako National Park.

We also enjoyed some down time at the end at the Permai Rainforest Resort, which we suggested ourselves. Really liked the friendliness of the local people we met and the cultural diversity of Sarawak.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Local guides were fantastic with such a wealth of local knowledge about the culture, history, fauna and flora and biodiversity of the parks. Well worth booking.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Hopefully, local guides are paid well. Bottle water is available everywhere but we didn't see any evidence of recycling of bottles.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Loved Sarawak.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a lovely review about your family trip to Borneo this summer.

I'm so pleased to hear you had a great time and you enjoyed Sarawak so much. We love our guides that we use as you said they're so knowledgeable about the area. We know that our local partners give a fair wage to their guides and they go through proper training to become one which certainly shows in their deliverance.

Thanks again for your feedback Suzanne, great to hear from you and we hope to help you with another exciting adventure soon!

Best wishes,


Reviewed on 03 Jul 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The highlights of the trip for us were:
1. The initial introduction to Sarawak in the Permai treehouse. Lovely house set high amongst the trees with glimpses of the sea from the balcony through the leaves.

2. The trip to Bako National Park where monkeys abound amongst the trees, birds, wild bearded boars and lovely walks in the forest. Perhaps it would be worth staying overnight here, although there are various negative reviews about the accommodation here. Added bonus of Irrawaddy dolphins and a sea
eagle on the boat trip on the way to the park.

3. The Longhouse trip. A glimpse into the lives of people as they have lived in the forest for generations. Making rattan backpacks, mending fish nets,
growing their own food, but with some mod cons (solar panels amongst the satellite dishes on the roof). The walk into the forest with orang-utan beds in the tree tops and a glorious lunch of chicken, beef and sticky rice, each cooked in bamboo over coals by a very energetic elderly woman who cleared the path
with her machete. A definitely memorable day.

4. Trip to the Semengoh orang-utan sanctuary. Made even more interesting because of the guide we had who was a wealth of knowledge about Malaysian
culture as well as the orang-utans.

5. The guided bike trip of Kuching was an excellent introduction to the city and is probably a good thing to do on the first day in Kuching.

6. A serendipitous cooking class which was not part of the organised tour. If you are interested in good food, learning about local Sarawak ingredients and having a good time then this is recommended! This cooking class included a visit to a local market for ingredients with our very informative guide Trudy to tell us about what we were seeing and smelling. Then the preparation of various pastes, fresh coconut milk, cooking under the guidance of our Malay chef
(Emma) and eating the delicious results. Lots of things learned amongst the frequent laughing and delight. Highly recommended of you are interested in
cooking and learning from locals: Indah House Kuching - Cafe, Art & Event Space. This would have been our choice of place to stay in the heart of Kuching China town in preference to the hotel if we had known.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We would not go on the evening boat trip with the chance to see the proboscis monkeys, irrawaddy dolphins (hiding somewhere) and fire flies. A trip that
promised much more than what occurred. A noisy boat, a smoking guide and distant monkeys glimpsed vaguely in the lowering light. We would have
preferred to watch the beautiful sunset from the verandah of our Permai treehouse or go wandering in the surrounding forest where we would have seen

Be aware that the driving trip to the longhouse is 4-5 hours of boring, poor quality highway (it is currently being upgraded). Not necessarily a good use of 8-
10 hours if your guide is not that interested in communicating during the trip.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

On the whole yes. It seems that we were mostly around local people. Not really sure of the environmental impacts though. For example the food and water on
the boat trip was in plastic bottles and packets. Not sure what happened to the waste afterwards. Not sure of the hotel's environmental credentials either. On
reflection, the house would be our choice of a place to stay in Kuching. They support local artists, are deliberately committed to sustainable behaviours and provide a knowledgable local perspective on Kuching..

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall an good introduction to Sarawak. Our stay was short so this trip gave us a varied, interesting and memorable experience. All organisation occurred as
planned and without hitch.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Karl,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review about your fantastic trip to Borneo! It's great to hear you both had a wonderful time and I am really pleased you enjoyed the longhouse experience so much, As you know it was one of my favourite experiences, really immersive into the local culture and way of life.

It's so good to hear your highlights, you are right about the Bako accommodation we don't generally recommend it! I am jealous if your irrawaddy dolphin sighting, that's fantastic! The cookery class sounds great too, as well as Indah House. It looks like more of a homestay, but it is certainly something we can look into as do like supporting small local businesses where we can.

Thanks for the tips and the feedback regarding the evening boat cruise. I have bought this to the attention of my Product Manager and our local partners to look into and review.

We are also confident that our local partners share the same values as us when it comes to having a positive impact on the environment, so recycle as much as possible and pass this on to the guides they use as well. I will of course address your concerns so thanks for bringing them to our attention.

I am really happy you both had a great time overall and you found the trip varied and interesting and will find it a memorable experience! You will have to come back to Sarawak as there is plenty more to explore, let alone Sabah too!

Thanks again for your feedback Karl and we hope to hear from you again soon.

Best wishes,


Reviewed on 19 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing a wild orangutan

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book AC rooms where possible and take lots of bug spray and long sleeve clothes

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes but I would have liked to learn more about how they were conserving the forest and what impact palm oil had. No one seemed to want to talk about it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a great holiday. The team were fantastic to book with and great communication between everyone.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Avni,

Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review about your recent trip to Borneo. I am so pleased that you both had a lovely time and you were able to see a wild orangutan too!

Thanks for the helpful tips, we have recently put together a more detailed packing guide which I will hope will be useful for future customers to Borneo and I have fed back to my local partners about what you have said about the conservation. Hopefully this will encourage more guides and locals to feel comfortable talking about it and learning more where they can.

Hope you have settled back home okay and it was a pleasure booking your exciting trip for you!

Best wishes,

Reviewed on 06 Dec 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

As a child I loved animals and dreamed about seeing the orang u tangs in their natural environment. As a 54 year old man I realised that childhood dream the first day of my holiday to Borneo. I stood in the sepilok rainforest park and on the trees top pathway just a few metres away from a wild female orange u tang with her baby. It completely blew me away. I was so lucky and blessed and have been left with memories I will never forget

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do bring a pair of binoculars : it sounds so obvious now but I just didn't think about it. I rented them but lesson learned.

Do go on as many night trips as you can. You won't see orang u tang but you will see most animals of those trips.

You often won't have wifi. Again obvious. You are in the middle of rain forests. But still a shock to we western wifi addicts

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Without doubt. In fact I would go further than that. I think eco tourism here sustains a entire country infrastructure in protecting and sustaining wildlife and rain forest habitat. It actually feels really important that eco tourism is carefully
nurtured in Borneo.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Orobaby the best holiday I have ever had. I loved it. So many memories that I will simply never forget.

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