Borneo tour, Orangutans and Rainforests

“A two week, small group tour to the magnificent orangutan and all round wonderful habitats of Sarawak State in Borneo. Spending a lot of time within indigenous communities.”


Orangutan watching in Sarawak | Matang Wildlife Centre | Sun bears | Bako National Park | Kubah National Park | Telok Serabang | Malay community of Borneo | Sea turtles (season depending) | Bidayu community of Padawan | Batang Ai National Park | Iban community | Iban longhouses | Semenggoh orangutan centre | Other Sarawak wildlife

Description of Borneo tour, Orangutans and Rainforests

The Bornean rainforest is one of the most ecologically diverse habitats in the world, and for anyone interested in wildlife and jungles it is a part of the world not to be missed. It is most famous for the orangutan of course, but joining this Borneo orangutan tour will give you the chance to see a wide range of plant and animal species, including the elusive wild orangutan.

This trip will take you on a journey through many different locations, and at each stop you will meet new animals, forests and peoples of Borneo. At Matang Wildlife Centre you will see animals that have been rescued or surrendered from illegal trade and learn from a team of resident conservationists the challenges faced in trying to care for and rehabilitate the wildlife of Borneo. Matang is unique in being the only rescue centre for any and all protected wildlife; there are no other centres like this on the island of Borneo. This makes it a fascinating place to visit, but it is an incredibly challenging mandate to provide adequate captive facilities and attempt rehabilitation where possible for any species of animal that arrives on its doorstep. We do run a volunteering project at this centre too, but this tour is not focused on volunteering work for the participants - you'll get a taster of what a longer volunteer project may be like, but the purpose of your visit is to see and learn.

Bako National Park is home to the endangered proboscis monkey, as well as silver langurs, macaques, bearded pigs, flying lemurs and a whole host of reptiles, insects and bird life. It is Sarawak's oldest national park and a popular tourist destination for those visiting the area. As a consequence, the wildlife here is very habituated to the presence of humans - feeding and physical contact are strictly prohibited, but you are able to observe the wildlife from a close distance as the animals are not afraid of people. You will break in your trekking legs at this park too on some easier jungle trails, as a warm up for later destinations on the tour.

We have been working with and supporting a number of local communities with this tour over the years, and on most itineraries you will be spending time with a Malay tribe, a Bidayu community and the native Iban (in monsoon season it is sometimes not possible to visit the Malay tribe as the seas are sometimes too dangerous to navigate). There may be the chance for snorkelling, observation of sea turtles, and the Bidayu community will demonstrate a different way for you to view the jungle as you spend a day with them bamboo rafting down river. The Iban community's land is home to Sarawak's remaining wild orangutan population, so though the terrain is challenging you will be taken on treks in this area with the hopes of catching sight of these majestic apes. This area is very remote, so you will get the rare chance to be out of internet a telephone range for a few days to focus on your experience in the jungle.

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Check dates

2019: 3 Sep, 17 Sep

Responsible tourism

Borneo tour, Orangutans and Rainforests

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


This tour takes you back to basics as you visit rural communities with a local guide as your leader throughout. We don't use any commercial tour operators so your money is all being put to good use. We have been working on conservation and animal welfare projects on the ground on Borneo for more than 12 years now, so know the flora and fauna well, and provide sound advice on how to behave in each area that you visit. In visiting each local community, we recycle where possible but where it is not we remove all rubbish and take it with us when we finish our time with the tribe.

When trying to spot wildlife, particularly the elusive orangutan, it is important to try to have as minimal an impact on the environment as possible. Wild orangutan are extremely sensitive to 'intruders' in their space, so it is important for our groups to pay close attention to the guides, keep as quiet as possible and remain calm in the forest. We have a strict 'no contact policy' for all of our tours and volunteer projects, and guests on our tours are not permitted to attempt to get close to or feed any wildlife.

Our conservation work for the orangutan in Batang Ai national park is undertaken hand in hand with the Iban community that our tour groups visit each month on this trip. The Iban community are custodians of their land, and as long as they retain ownership of it, the orangutan still have somewhere to live. By providing a sustainable revenue stream for them through our eco-tourism endeavours, they have been able to remain in situ and in possession of their land, which has retained the orangutan's homeland over these years.

Through 2017, we will slowly be introducing a vegetarian menu to this tour. Although our guests over the years are overwhelmingly omnivores, we can no longer ignore the detrimental impact that factory farming has on our environment. We have solicited feedback from our tour participants over the years, and though there is not strong support for a vegetarian holiday, we will still move the tour in this direction in order to minimise the negative impact that catering for our groups has on the natural world. Our vegetarian catering is carefully crafted to ensure that the meals are extremely high in energy and protein, so no one will feel hungry or nutrient-deficient on their holidays!


This tour visits two national parks, which are owned and run by the Sarawak government. We include these locations as they are amazing places to see wildlife, and to learn of the mammoth efforts being made to care for and rehabilitate rescued wildlife on Borneo. However, the other locations are all bespoke for our group, and we take our guests to stay with communities that we have forged organic links with over our years of working on Borneo. Through our networks we have heard of small communities that are already engaged with their own conservation efforts, either for land, water or wildlife, and we have reached out to these people to offer them sustainable income and support through our tourism product. We have had a relationship with the Iban community for 12 years now, and have been able offer a sustainable income for them where they previously had none, and have also been able to support their own development by offering micro-loans where needed. We constructed a long house on their land for our guests to use, and it is also available for the community to use in between our groups to create and develop their own eco-tourism initiative, should they wish to.

Our organisation is a local charity, so by participating on this tour you are directly supporting both our animal welfare and conservation work, and also our work with rural communities and local guides. None of your money goes to for-profit agencies on the ground. We employ local guides at a very generous salary, who have the very best knowledge of the areas and peoples you will visit. The guides also have relationships, both personal and working, with the communities that host you, so the communities are always pleased to see our groups and spend time with us.

1 Reviews of Borneo tour, Orangutans and Rainforests

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 16 Jul 2017 by

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

Too many highs to pick just one. Releasing the Turtles at Telok Sarabang, rafting on bamboo rafts, all the people I've met, the Jungle; a scary and extremely challenging place but is magical!

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

Ale sure you are fit, the trekking is hard!

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

Yes it did, we stay with the local community

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

Amazing and exhausting

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