Top 10 Sarawak holidays

The hardest part about writing this page? Narrowing down our best Sarawak holidays to just 10.

Our top 10 Sarawak holidays are a mix of small group and tailor made tours. But what they all have in common is that they delve deep into the natural and cultural wonders of this island state on Malaysian Borneo. Learn about fearsome headhunters, pirate attacks on forts and modern-day efforts to preserve Sarawak’s stunning wildlife. It’s an amazing feeling, to wake up every morning knowing that another adventure is on the cards. Whether that’s watching as orangutans swing down from the trees, to night time treks and tree house stays in the rainforest, street food tours in city markets or exploring tribal traditions by staying in the home of a local family.

1. Trek, pedal and paddle

Multi activity holidays are an immersive way to travel Sarawak, getting you into remote parts of the state that most visitors never reach and, crucially, travelling at a slower pace. Beyond the fun of river kayaking, rainforest trekking and riding bikes over a suspension bridge, homestays and farm tours show you how tribal communities really live while directly benefiting them economically.
Our top selling trip: Multi activity holiday

2. Expand your Malaysia horizons

Combine getting to know Sarawak’s incredible wildlife with a stay at a luxurious beach resort on Labuan Island, off the coast of Sabah. Support the conservation of endangered orangutans – the king of the swingers – big-nosed proboscis monkeys, bats, insects and reptiles with guided tours of a succession of national parks. Then reward your efforts with swimming, snorkelling and stunning sunsets on the sands.

Our top selling trip: Wildlife and beach holiday

3. Wild at heart

It’s not just the animals that are wild in Sarawak – several tribes continued head-hunting into the 20th century. Spend a week watching the monkeys of Bako National Park, and the rescued orangutans at Semenggoh Rehab Centre. Then enjoy a couple of nights with an Iban tribe in Batang Ai National Park, experiencing their ways of life through traditional ceremonies and day-to-day tasks.

Our top selling trip: Wild heart of Borneo

4. High end hi jinks

A guided tour of the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehab Centre ties in with a culinary tour of the state capital, Kuching. Once you’ve explored the local cuisine, and met some of Sarawak’s curious monkey population in Bako National Park, fly on to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, for a stay at a luxurious resort on Gaya Island. Here you can visit and support the resort’s sanctuary for endangered green sea turtles.
Our top selling trip: Luxury beach holiday

5. Aping behaviour

Sarawak’s remaining orangutans are endangered, threatened by poaching and habitat destruction. Orangutan conservation volunteering holidays take place at Matang Wildlife Centre, close to Kuching. Participants aged 15 and above can help with a range of physical tasks in construction and maintenance (sorry, no monkey cuddling) and make a real contribution to preserving Sarawak’s fragile wildlife.

Our top selling trip: Orangutan volunteering

6. Adventurous families

Sarawak might seem an unusual destination for holidays with the kids, but for adventurous families it will prove incredible fun. Watch orangutans swing down from the trees, keep an eye out for crocodiles on a river cruise, sleep in a rainforest treehouse, try some river kayaking, then finish with a few days chilling on the beach by the South China Sea. Perfect for everyone from eight to 80.

Our top selling trip: Family holiday

7. Hit the road

The best way to explore Sarawak is by bike, getting off the beaten tourist track into rural landscapes and communities where slow travel really opens up the culture. A typical bike safari might take you from the capital, Kuching, to national parks and seaside towns. And fuel-wise, expect to be well fed on authentic regional cuisine, an opportunity to learn about Sarawak’s different ethnic groups.
Our top selling trip: Cycling holiday

8. A walk on the wild side

Dive into the weird and wonderful wildlife of Borneo with a holiday whisking you between national parks such as Mulu and Bako. These tours provide valuable income for communities through the use of local accommodation and guides. The latter will provide fascinating running commentaries on the birds, reptiles and monkeys you encounter, as well as many plant species. Wildlife photographers especially will be in paradise.

Our top selling trip: Wildlife holiday
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Sarawak or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

9. Sarawak to Sabah

Passing briefly through tiny but amazingly wealthy Brunei, which lies entirely within Sarawak’s borders, this overland tour takes you from Sarawak to Sabah, from steamy rainforests to hairy orangutans, from remote longhouses belonging to tribes that were once fearsome head hunters to golden beaches and mud volcanoes. It’s two weeks of tailor made adventure seasoned with cultural discovery.
Our top selling trip: Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei holiday

10. Epic cycling

Ride 1,400km over 12 days across Borneo, starting in Kuching and finishing in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. A handful of challenging climbs are interspersed with tranquil fishing villages, national parks, coastal stretches by the South China Sea, mangrove forests and plantations. Not only is this an especially culturally immersive way to travel, but by eating and sleeping locally throughout, remote communities benefit directly from your trip too.

Our top selling trip: Cross-Borneo cycling tour
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Responsible Travel would like to thank the Sarawak tourist board for their sponsorship of this guide
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: charles taylor] [Trek, pedal & paddle: Fabio Achilli] [High end hi jinks: Mx. Granger] [Hit the road: Fabio Achilli] [Sarawak to Sabah: sam garza]