Borneo holiday, Sarawak highlights

“An exciting journey taking in Sarawak’s top highlights, including jungle hikes, wildlife spotting and spending time with the local Iban people.”


Kuching | Bako National Park | Batang Ai Resevoir | Enseluai Waterfalls | Jambu Longhouse | Semengoh Rehabilitation Centre | Mulu National Park | Damai Beach

Description of Borneo holiday, Sarawak highlights

This wonderful trip takes you to Sarawak in Borneo. You will begin your holiday in Kuching, a charming town set on the banks of the River Sarawak. Explore Bako National Park for a full day exploring one of the oldest national parks in Borneo. Bako is one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in their natural surroundings. Tropical rainforest ranges from mangrove to kerangas, tropical swamp vegetation, cliff vegetation and beach vegetation. There will be hiking along jungle trails and swimming off secluded beaches. Look out for Proboscis and silver Leaf Monkeys, Long tail Macaques and many other animals and birds.

Visit a traditional cultural Longhouse. Travelling on a traditional longboat, stay at a jungle lodge visiting a longhouse where you can spend time with the local Iban people, learn about their culture, experience how they live, watch the fishermen with their 'throw nets' and enjoy some local rice wine!

Spend some time in the capital Kuching, visit the Semehggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where you can also see Sun Bears, Gibbons, Hornbills amongst others. Take a wildlife cruise in search of Irrawaddy Dolphins, crocodiles, birdlife and more. As the sun sets, watch the magical fireflies shimmering in the trees.

Next, it’s off to Mulu to experience the wonders of the fabulous cave formations, enjoying some exciting plankwalks and hopefully witness the millions of bat exodus the caves at nightfall.

Finally, head back to the beach to spend a relaxing few days at the beach (or embark on the numerous activities on offer).

Please note: This trip can be amended to include the more challenging Pinnacles and Camp 5 itinerary or the 3 day volunteer project assisting with the turtle release programme - please ask us for details.

Best time to go: Departures are year round. The weather in Borneo is most unsettled between November and February, which can restrict a number of tours, however some rainfall occurs much of the time.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Borneo (own arrangements).
Day 2:Arrive into Kuching airport where you will be met by one of our representatives who will transfer you to your hotel with the remainder of your day at leisure to explore the city.
Day 3:Bako National Park: A day trip just outside Kuching introduces you to the wonderful wildlife found in Borneo, including Proboscis & Silver Leaf Monkeys, Long-Tail Macaques, monitor lizards, Wild Boar and a wide variety of birds. Lunch included. Return to Kuching to your hotel. (B,L)
Day 4:Today you will head off to the Batang Ai Resevoir on a journey through pepper gardens, cocoa and rubber plantations, stopping at the Lachau Bazaar on the way. Here you will take an early lunch and stroll around the shops and market stalls. Continue to the river where you will board a longboat and travel upriver to Nanga Sumpa Lodge for overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 5:Hike the jungle trails this morning before continuing upriver by longboat to the Enseluai Waterfalls. Along the way, your boatman may demonstrate fishing, Iban-style using a 'jala' or throw net. Arrive Jambu Longhouse - a small, somewhat isolated community on the Delok River. Spend some time with them learning of their culture and way of life. the Iban will prepare a BBQ lunch before you head back to Nanga Sumpa to overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 6:Free time to swim in the river, take some final photos of the Nanga Sumpa area or just relax. Have lunch before travelling back the Kuching early this evening. (B,L)
Day 7:This morning visit to the Semengoh Rehabilitation Centre where orphaned, injured and illegally captured animals such as Sun Bears, Hornbills, Gibbons and of course, the Orangutans are brought. Here you will be able to watch the Orangutans being called from the trees for their supplemented meal whilst learning from the rangers about these amazing apes and other inhabitants. Free time back at your hotel. In the afternoon depart for a cruise through rivers, creeks and mangroves looking out for the Irrawaddy Dolphins, Probiscis Monkeys and a whole host of other animals and birdlife. As the sun drops, you may witness the fire flies glowing in the evening sky. (B)
Day 8:Fly to Mulu this morning and check in to your hotel. This afternoon, you can take the scenic 3kms plankwalk through primary rainforest to the impressive Deer Cave, which has the world's largest cave passage, followed by Lang Cave. At sundown witness the awesome sight of some 2 million bats leaving the cave in search of food. (B)
Day 9:Today you will take a longboat upriver to the Wind Caves with their incredible stalactites and stalagmites. A short plank walk next to the limestone cliff followed by a climb up the steps will bring you to the Clearwater Cave with its unique species of plants - the only place to find the one-leafed plant. Photo-sensitive algae reaches out to the sunlight. close by is a wonderful swimming area. Time at leisure for a picnic, swimming or relaxing before returning to your overnight accommodation. (B,L)
Day 10:Leave Mulu after breakfast for your flight back to Kuching. On arrival into Kuching, you will be met and transferred to your beach resort for the remaining 3 nights of your holiday (option to extend should you wish). (B)
Days 11-12Days at leisure at Damai Beach. (B)
Day 13:Return to Kuching this afternoon in time for your flight home (own arrangements). (B)

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Holiday type
We offer a complete tailor made service allowing you to decide when you go, where to stay and what to do, to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by our travel experts. We would be happy to telephone you to discuss your requirements and options. Our staff have intimate knowledge of this destination, so do please include your telephone number when you complete the enquiry form.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We work with the Orangutan Appeal UK, the only not-for-profit charity that works directly with the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in Sandakan. Clients have the option to sponsor an orphaned Orangutan named Canyon who was being kept illegally as a pet and was taken in by the sanctuary when she was 2 years old. She is now 5 years old and progressing well. The money goes directly to the Sanctuary in Sepilok to continue their excellent work. Clients receive an ‘adoption certificate’ and regular email updates on the progress of Canyon over the course of a year.

Our Sarawak ground operator owns and operates a number of eco-lodges which are included in this itinerary. Accommodation has been locally built and is run and operated by local people. The main purpose of these trips is to interact and contribute to village communities and projects and understand the need to minimize any negative impact on the local environment. Our ground agents only employ native guides to accompany our clients. All food in the lodges is sourced within the region, helping the local rural communities wherever possible. Our ground agent also helps in the training of the local Iban guides, and with this training comes not only an enhanced experience for guests but also a greater knowledge within the community of their need to protect the environment for future generations to maintain their lifestyles and financial security.

The Impacts of this Trip

On this Borneo holiday, you will visit the Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak, to rehabilitate orphan Orangutans and aim to release them back to the wild. A visit to the Rehabilitation centre benefits the Orangutans in a number of ways - as the entrance fees paid to the centre goes directly to paying the staff, providing the food and the training of specialist guides to rehabilitate not only the Orangutans, but the other animals that are now brought here. Donations are welcomed by the centre although not a condition of entry and we would ask all our clients to donate a small amount for their visit.

The itinerary also includes a visit to the Iban tribe who still live by their traditions in Longhouse homes. You can either stay with the tribe or at a local lodge/hotel both of which directly contributes to the Iban people. Our local ground agent in Sarawak is an important supporter of this traditional community in many ways. It is important to them that they be part of the ongoing conservation efforts in Sarawak, of both the social and ecological environments. Since the start of the support of this community in the late 1980’s, our ground agent offers ‘soft loans’ to the community members to buy things like outboard engines as both our ground agent and the Iban people understand that tourism should not be relied on as a sole means of income. This allows the community to take responsibility for and control over their means of production.

Our ground agent also runs a scholarship scheme with the Ibanl school. They have established the ‘Along Scholarship Fund’ (named after the former headman of the longhouse) which is funded by a portion of the cost to guests of staying at the longhouse, with incentives given to the students who first attend and then excel in their studies. This is producing excellent results with the number of students completing their tertiary education far exceeding the national average.

Our Sarawak agent has helped to source funds to establish a water supply project, health care services and a community help project resulting in better drainage and a proper sanitation system. They have also provided substantial funds towards materials for the re-building of one of the longhouses.
Our agent is mindful of the ‘carrying capacity’ of the longhouse so guest numbers are capped. They also try hard to work around the schedule of the community and are sensitive to times of harvest, bereavements etc and will close visits to the longhouse if necessary.


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