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Best of Malaysian Borneo


12 days 11 nights

Code

Category Malaysia Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-10 persons
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Trip Starts From Kuching
  • Trip Ends At Sandakan
  • Type Classic Circuits
  • Destination Kuching Batang Ai Mulu National Park Kota Kinabalu Poring Hot Spring Sepilok Kinabatangan Sandakan
Dates & Prices

Overview

Borneo- located at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia- is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world! The island is politically shared by three countries- Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. On this trip, we visit the Malaysian part of Borneo, which is also called East Malaysia that covers 26% percent of the total island. Malaysian Borneo is surrounded by South China Sea in the north, Sulu Sea in the north-east and Celebes Sea in the east and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) in the south. The Borneo rainforest is estimated to be around 140 million years old, making it one of the world's oldest rainforests. It is the centre of the evolution and distribution of many endemic species of plants and animals, and the rainforest is one of the few remaining natural habitats or the endangered Bornean orangutan

In this trip of a lifetime, you will explore the best of what Malaysian Borneo has to offer; raw and undiluted beauty of the land, rich cultural experience, vast caves in dense tropical rain forests, diverse wildlife to name a few. We will have opportunity to visit the Iban tribe- once notorious as the headhunters, stop by the tea factory to learn about tea production process, explore the fascinatingly beautiful caves in Mulu National Park, hike on the nature trail of Kinabalu National Park, stroll on the high skywalk suspended between the trees and cruise on the Kinabatangan River and view the wildlife, including proboscis monkeys.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Kuching

Most flights to Kuching arrive from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Singapore (SIN). There are a few domestic flights also coming from Johr Bharu (JHB), Miri (MYY), Sibu (SBW) and Kota Kinabalu (BKI).

After clearing immigration (if you are arriving with an international flight) and custom, meet your local guide at the arrival gate and proceed on a private transfer, a 30 minute ride, to the hotel.

If you arrive in time, your guide and driver will take you for a familiarization tour of Kuching City which is locally known as Cat City and that you will take no time to vouch for that as you see cat statues at nearly every street corner, cat souvenirs, name of businesses after cat!

As we browse through the city, we stop by the old colonial buildings, famously known as the old White Rajah buildings are that includes post office, court house and fort. The White Rajahs (Rajah meaning king) were the monarchs of the English Brooke family, who founded and ruled the Kingdom of Sarawak, located on the island of Borneo, from 1841 to 1946.

We continue to the open market that mainly has an array of food stalls. We will also visit some of the temples and mosques of Kuching.

Day 02~Segemenggoh Orangutan Center, Serian City, Lachau Village and Batang Ai

Today, we travel to Batang Ai! After breakfast, we leave with our guide and driver. On the way, we stop at Semenggoh Orang Utan Wildlife Center (13 miles, 45 minutes).

After breakfast at the hotel, meet with the guide and driver and depart for an overland transfer to Batang Ai. Along the way, we stop at Semenggoh Orangutan Wildlife Center- which is a rehabilitation center for the injured Orangutan.  The center provides shelter to currently 26 semi-wild orangutans; roaming free within a 740 hectare forest reserve. 

Our next stop will be at Serian City (40 miles from Kuching) where we will visit the traditional open air market with stalls of fresh produces, fruits and local street foods. We will also visit a pepper farm and then stop in Lachau Village for a quick glance at the local life.

Now we proceed on a long drive to Batang Ai Jetty (175 miles, 4 hours). We will transfer by boat (20 minutes) to our resort. Balance of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Batang Ai.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 03~Spend the day with Iban People-former head hunters!

Today, we visit a Longhouse-an authentic dwelling of the local Iban people who were once feared for their head-hunting practices (don’t worry, it’s a tradition no longer practiced!).

We will explore the longhouses which are usually built raised off the ground on stilts. The longhouses are divided into a more or less public area along one side and a row of private quarters lined along the other side. We learn about the lifestyle of these friendly natives whose lives are perfectly assimilated with nature. We will have opportunity to witness a traditional dance- called 'ngajat'- that in old days were performed as welcome dance before and after a war and also after the harvest season! Men and women, dressed in their traditional outfit stand on the circle and jump in the beat of the music. We will also have a chance to watch a demo of a blowpipe – an ancient hunting weapon used by the natives that ejects poisonous darts with unmistakable accuracy. Afterwards, we will enjoy lunch at the longhouse and we return to the resort in early afternoon. Balance of the day is at leisure for your personal interests.

 

Overnight Batang Ai.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Retrace your journey to Kuching (B)

After breakfast at the resort, we take a short boat transfer to the jetty where we meet our driver and we retrace our drive back to the hotel in Kuching. Balance of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Kuching.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Mulu National Park: Explore Dear and Lang Caves

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport in time (14 miles, 30 minutes) for our flight to Mulu. It's one hour long flight. Upon arrival, we meet our local guide and transfer (5 minutes) to the hotel for check in.

We will have time to settle in and take some rest before we leave for Mulu National Park Headquarters for hiking to Dear and Lang Caves. We walk on nearly 2.5 miles long raised plank that goes through the lush forest and rushing rivers alongside. It takes about 45 minutes until the bats observatory and another 1.25 miles to the entrance of caves. 1.25 miles long and 295 foot high, the Deer Cave claims to be the largest one in the world. The main chamber which is 570 ft. long and 400 ft. high used to be the shelter of the deer and so the cave got its name. A short distance away from the entrance of Deer Cave lies the Lang Cave which is smaller than the Deer Cave but has magnificent stalactites and stalagmites lit by spotlights! 

 

Overnight in Mulu National Park.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 06~Mulu National Park: Explore Wind Cave, Clearwater Cave, canopy walk

After breakfast at the resort, we take a short boat ride to the Wind Cave. True to its name, we can feel cool bridges in the narrow parts of the cave. The cave has many notable stalactites, stalagmites, flow rocks, helitites and rock corals, some which are illuminated.

From the Wind Cave we take a short plank walk along the sides of limestone cliffs. The plank way leads to 200 steps stairway cut into the hillside, opening to the mouth of Clearwater Cave. With its underground river, Clearwater Cave boasts incredible physical features and formations on its limestone walls and the plank walkways, paths and small floating bridges inside make the visit an enjoyable experience.

We return to our resort for lunch and after some rest, we will join the canopy walk. This 1574 foot long skyway, suspended 65.5 foot high above the ground, winds through the lush tree tops with tranquil river views down and the soaring heights of the nearby limestone cliffs above. This two hour long guided walk leads you through the ferns and vines and gives you unique opportunity to view the jungle’s unusual inhabitants.

Afterwards, return to the resort and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Overnight in Mulu National Park.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 07~Kota Kinabalu

Enjoy a leisurely morning breakfast at the resort. When it's time, your guide and driver will transfer you to the airport (5 minutes) for your flight to Kota Kinabalu (1 hour 50 minutes).

Upon arrival in Kota Kinabalu, meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel (20 minutes). 

Balance of the day is at leisure. Take liberty to explore the city independently. Kota Kinabalu is the state capital for Sabah. You can spend the time leisurely in the waterfront browsing through the crafts shops, restaurants or visit some of the notable monuments of the city that includes; Sabah State Mosque, Sabah Museum, Poh Toh Tze Buddhist Temple, KK City Mosque, Tun Mustapha Tower etc. You can even go to Signal Hill for a bird’s eye view of the city.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~ Kinabalu Park, Kundasang and Poring Hot Spring

After breakfast, we depart from Kota Kinabalu for Poring with en route visits of Kinabalu National Park and Kundasang. Kinabalu Park is 56 miles and takes about 2.5 hours by car. In about an hour from the city, we stop at a small town of Dusun where we take a short walk across a hanging bridge to the square where you can pick up a quick snack. We continue another one hour up along the mountainous road to the Mount Kinabalu National Park, home to between 5000-6000 species of plants and 430 different birds and mammals! Once in the park, we take a walk in a Botanical Garden and learn about the vast array of flora found in this lush park. We will enjoy the great views of Mount Kinabalu which is the highest mountain of Southeast Asia.

After lunch in the park, we depart for Sabah Tea. En route, we stop in Kundasang for a quick visit of the War Memorial that commemorates the Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan POW camp during the death marches to Renau. Another 28 miles of journey (approximately one hour) brings us to Poring Hot Springs where we walk on 131 ft. high canopy walkway, suspended between trees that offers bird’s eye view of the tropical rainforest.

If time allows, you may take chance to soak in the hot sulfur pools, renowned for their therapeutic qualities.

Overnight Poring Hot Spring.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 09~Sepilok and Sandakan

After breakfast, depart Poring for Sepilok. Shortly from Poring, we stop in a tea factory to learn about the process of tea production in Sabah. The factory remains closed on Sunday, Monday and public holidays.

A 3.5 hour drive brings us to Sandakan- the second largest city of Sabah state, after Kinabalu. After lunch, we will take a quick visit to the central market, known for the spices and then continue on to Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple located on the hilltop south of the city. It's a modern temple but the view from here over the bay is breath-taking!

Now, we transfer to our hotel in Sepilok for check in and the balance of the day is at leisure.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

In the morning, we first visit the Sun Bear Conservation Center and the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, before we transfer to the jetty for boat travel to Kinabatang Wetlands Resort. Have your luggage ready for the vehicle before we leave. Sun Bear Conservation Center was established to increase awareness about the sun bear- which is charming but little-known bear species – named after the crescent shaped patch of fur on their chests that resembles the rising sun.

From here, we walk to the Sepilok's Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a reserve of about 17 square miles, that provides shelter to about 80 orphaned and injured Orangutans. The feeding session starts at 10 a.m. and so need to be in time there.

Now, we transfer to the Sandakan Jetty and embark on a two hour long boat trip to Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort. This two-hour journey passes by local villages and lush rainforest. We arrive at the lodge around lunch time. We will have some time for rest before we hop on a riverboat for a cruise up the Kinabatangan River, in search of wildlife- most desirably the proboscis monkeys which are endemic to Borneo. Other wildlife we can expect to spot is elephants, gibbons and many birds including the hornbills.

Return to the lodge late afternoon. After dinner, around 8:30 pm, you may want to stroll on the boardwalks for the chances to see the nocturnal animals.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11~Explore more of Kinabatangan

We get up early morning for a 6:30 am cruise tour to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake- a crescent shaped lake formed due to a wide meander of the river cutting itself off. We will have opportunity to watch various birds on this tour.  

We return to the lodge for breakfast and then join an informative tour along the Hornbill Boardwalk with the resort naturalist to learn about the medicinal and traditional uses of the flora of the jungle. 

Post lunch, you will have free time. Late afternoon, again proceed to watch the river the river activities of many primate species that become active during this time. 

After dinner, embark on a night river safari for the opportunity to catch glimpses of nocturnal wildlife in their natural habitat.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12~Transfer to Sandakan Jetty and then to the airport

After breakfast, you depart at 10 a.m. for 2-hours boat ride to Sandakan Jetty, followed by a 30 minutes transfer to the Sandakan airport for your flight to next destination. Please do not book any flights that depart before 2.30 pm.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation on a double occupancy basis.
  • Meals as indicated.
  • English speaking local expert guides.
  • All transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary.
  • Activities as listed in the itinerary.
  • All necessary admission tickets.

Trip does not include

  • Meals other than indicated.
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone, internet usage and other expenses of personal nature.
  • All airfares (Domestic airfares will be quoted separately).
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Admission tickets for cameras.

Accomodation

Kuching: Batik Boutique

Batang Ai: Aiman Longhouse Resort

Mulu National Park: Mulu Marriot Resort or similar

Kota Kinabalu: Grandis Hotel or similar

Kundasang: Sutera Sanctuary Lodge

Sepilok: Sepilok Nature Resort

Kinabatangan River: Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

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