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zThe Wildlife of Borneo - Small Group Journey

11 days

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed.

Small Group Discoveries

  • Experience the ways and cultures of the indigenous Iban tribe... Visit a traditional longhouse and explore the rainforest with expert Iban trackers.
  • Learn how injured and orphaned animals at the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary are prepared for reintroduction into the remote wilds of Borneo.
  • Visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary at feeding time for an exciting up-close encounter with these fascinating primates.
  • Travel deep into Sukau’s Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary to observe Borneo’s exotic birds and creatures in their native rainforest habitat.

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Day
1

Arrive Kuching on the Island of Borneo

Check in to the Pullman Kuching Hotel. With a convenient in-town location and captivating hilltop views of the city and Sarawak River, this deluxe hotel is one of the finest in Kuching. 

Day
2

Explore Kuching

With its friendly multi-ethnic population and pleasant pace of life, Kuching is one of Southeast Asia’s most delightful cities, offering finely preserved Colonial-era architecture and plenty of open green spaces. Following a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, your expert guide will be waiting to show you the city he knows and loves so well, starting at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Set on 17 acres, this award-winning living museum showcases Sarawak’s cultural diversity with authentic traditional buildings and live demonstrations that offer insight  into the daily life and artistic traditions of various ethnic groups. Your visit also includes a cultural performance and lunch.

In the afternoon, continue to the Semonggok Rehabilitation Center to see semi-wild Orang Utans rescued from captivity and to learn how these fascinating creatures are being taught the skills needed to survive on their own in the rainforest. The center is also a terrific place to learn about indigenous rainforest plants.

You’ll see all the main attractions including Chinatown, the iconic Cat Monument and the city’s oldest Chinese Temple where residents still come to pray for prosperity. Ascend to the top of the Civic Tower for sweeping views and explore the colorful bazaar where early Chinese traders established their shop-houses. You’ll also spend time in the historic Colonial district and along the city’s bustling waterfront. At the Sarawak Museum of Ethnology, your guide will provide you with deeper insight into the people and cultural traditions of Borneo.

Return to your hotel where you’ll have time to refresh and relax. Later, you’ll gather again with your congenial group and guide for dinner at the Top Spot Seafood Center. Located atop a modern building in the heart of town, this open-air dining venue is very popular with both visitors and city residents.  Meals B,L,D

Day
3

Into the heart of Borneo

After breakfast, check out from your hotel and depart Kuching for a wonder-filled journey into the lush green countryside. As you journey westward, you’ll encounter an ever-shifting landscape of rice paddies, rubber plantations and simple family gardens flanked by rugged jungle-clad mountains. Along the way, you’ll stop at the Serian Farmer’s Market to see its colorful displays of exotic tropical produce and to experience a slice of rural life. Learn about one of the island’s main products at a local pepper plantation and see carnivorous pitcher plants in their natural habitat. 

After lunch, you’ll continue by traditional longboat up the Lemanak River, traveling through a fascinating landscape dotted with Iban longhouse settlements. The final leg of today’s journey takes you across tranquil Batang Ai Lake to the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, a unique lakeside property built in authentic native style with wood-paneled, high-ceiling guestrooms and expansive covered verandahs of traditional longhouse style. Enjoy dinner and an unforgettable stay here in the heart of Iban country!  Meals B,L,D

Day
4

Excursion deep in Iban country

Today’s specially arranged activities will introduce you to the daily life and traditions of Borneo’s indigenous Iban tribe. Your adventure begins after breakfast as you journey by boat deeper into the forest to an Iban longhouse community. Learn how the Iban have long used blowpipes to hunt small animals like birds and monkeys and try your hand at this ancient warrior skill. Then set out on a guided jungle walk with experienced Iban trackers and learn about indigenous rainforest plants which have long been used for food and medicine. Continue once again by longboat to a small riverside clearing where your hosts will prepare lunch in typical Iban style, with local ingredients steamed in freshly-cut bamboo tubes set over an open fire. Before returning to the Longhouse Resort, you’ll have time to relax or take a dip in a pristine jungle pool. Enjoy dinner and another peaceful overnight at your Hilton resort.  Meals B,L,D

Day
5

Onward to Kota Kinabalu

Journey downriver and transfer to the Kuching Airport for your included late afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the Le Meridien Hotel, located in the heart of the city’s vibrant retail and entertainment district with sweeping views of the city, Mt. Kinabalu and the exotic South China Sea. After settling in to your Deluxe Seaview Room, the rest of your evening is free. You can simply enjoy the inviting ambience of your hotel, take an evening stroll, explore the nearby Filipino market or head out on your own for a drink and dinner along the waterfront. Meals B,L

Day
6

Off the coast of Borneo

After breakfast, a pleasant 20-minute boat ride brings you just offshore to the Marine Ecology Research Center (MERC) on quiet Gaya Island. Working in the adjacent Tunku Abul Rahman Park, a highly-regarded protected marine habitat, the scientists and researchers of MERC have made great strides in their efforts to revitalize the area’s coral reefs and to rescue the highly endangered giant clam from extinction. After visiting the Center and learning about their pioneering conservation work, sit down to a refreshing lunch and then return to your seaside resort where the balance of your afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Early this evening, your guide will be waiting to take you into town where you’ll have a chance to explore Kota Kinabalu’s bustling shops and markets. For dinner tonight, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of Asian flavors including Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Filipino and local ethnic specialties. Many of the region’s favorite dishes feature fresh, locally caught sea food and exotic tropical fruits.  Meals B,L,D

Day
7

Fly to Sandakan and travel to Sukau

Early this morning, you’ll be escorted to Kota Kinabalu Airport for the short flight to Sandakan, located on the northeastern tip of Borneo.  Enjoy breakfast upon arrival and then proceed to the world-famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center. Here in a pristine lowland rainforest, you’ll learn how this innovative facility works with orphaned and injured animals so that they can be reintroduced to their native jungle habitat. A guided walk deep into the woods brings you to a remote feeding platform to observe the feeding of Orang Utans that have been successfully returned to the wild.

Enjoy lunch at the Sepilok Nature Resort and then visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, arriving in time to observe the mid-afternoon feeding. This privately-owned sanctuary located on a vast oil palm estate gives visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe this fascinating creature at close-hand in its native mangrove forest habitat.

Continue overland to nearby Sukau and check in to the Borneo Nature Lodge, wonderfully situated along the Kinabatangan River next to Malaysia’s largest forested floodplain. After dinner at the eco-lodge, an expertly guided Night Safari on the river offers a thrilling chance to observe elusive nocturnal creatures along the riverbank.  Meals B,L,D

Day
8

Into the wilds of Borneo

Here in the heart of the Borneo jungle, the animals begin their daily activities at the break of dawn and it’s likely that you’ll arise to the calls of birds, insects and other native species. Early this morning, set out with your expert guide on an exciting expedition up the Kinabatangan River and across a natural ox-bow lake. Conditions permitting, a guided rainforest walk offers a deeper and more intimate experience of the island’s remote wilderness and gives you the chance to observe tropical birds and other jungle creatures.

Following breakfast back at the Lodge, you’ll have the opportunity to assist in a government-led initiative to preserve and expand a wildlife corridor for the animals of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Learn about this important conservation project and help to plant seedlings along the river, a vital step toward regenerating the region’s native forests and filling in the gaps that currently exist.

Enjoy lunch and some free time to relax and take in the extraordinary setting of your Lodge. In the late afternoon, you’ll embark on a cruise up a pristine tributary of the Kinabatangan River to search for wildlife. Traveling deep into their natural habitat, you’ll have an opportunity to observe unique and endangered species including Proboscis monkeys, Macaques, estuarine crocodiles, elusive Borneo Pygmy elephants, Hornbills and Kingfishers. Return to your Lodge for dinner and another restful overnight.  Meals B,L,D

Day
9

Explore Sukau village

Following a leisurely breakfast at the Lodge, you’ll visit the nearby village of Sukau to learn about the daily life and cultural ways of another one of Borneo’s indigenous tribes. Known as the Orang Sungai (River People), the inhabitants of this remote village live a simple life that has changed little over the generations. Explore this tiny settlement and spend some time with the residents before returning to the Borneo Nature Lodge for lunch and a free afternoon. Later in the day, you’ll enjoy another relaxing cruise along the Menanggol River. After dinner, an exciting Night Safari with our sharp-eyed guide takes you along jungle trails in search of elusive nocturnal animals.  Meals B,L,D

Day
10

Return to Sandakan

Travel overland back to Sandakan where you’ll have free time to explore the town at your own pace, a great opportunity to take advantage of the Sandakan Heritage Trail. This well-planned self-guided walk takes about an hour and showcases more than a dozen of its most interesting sites, offering a unique perspective into the town’s rich history. Along the way, you’ll see Masjid Jamek, a century-old mosque in the heart of town, the imposing Pryer Memorial, historic St. Michael’s church, the Goddess of Mercy Temple and the Agnes Keith House – an impressively restored Colonial building.

Sit down to a congenial lunch at the charming English Tea House and then check in to the comfortable Four Points Sheraton Hotel. The balance of your afternoon and evening is free to enjoy as you wish. Meals B,L,D

Day
11

Depart Sandakan

Our tour services end this morning after breakfast. Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Travel on to Penang...The Pearl of the Orient

5 Day Post Tour Extension from $1,299

We include your flight from Sandakan to Penang, round-trip hotel transfers, comprehensive sightseeing, and four nights at our carefully selected hotels.

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Day
1

Day 1

Your flight from Sandakan to Penang is included. Arrive and transfer to the stylish Eastern & Oriental Hotel where a Superior Seaview Suite awaits.

Day
2

Day 2

Your tour of George Town reveals its rich heritage including Asia’s oldest Anglican church, an ornate Chinese clan house and a Hindu Temple. Meals B,L

Day
3

Day 3

Set out in a traditional 3-wheeled beca and visit two historic mansions: The 19th-century Blue Mansion and Suffolk House, a stunning example of a Colonial Anglo-Indian garden home. Meals B,L

Day
4

Day 4

Enjoy this day at leisure. Meals B

Day
5

Day 5

Transfer to the airport. Meals B

Private Tour Add-Ons

Be A Hong Kong Insider

Our resident guide will take you around town like a savvy insider to discover facets of Hong Kong which few visitors ever glimpse! We include transfers, a choice of fine city-center hotels, our exclusive Be a Hong Kong Insider full-day private tour, and more!

Singapore In-Depth

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package features a luxury hotel, 4 meals, chauffeured airport transfers and city sightseeing with your own personal car, driver and guide, and our exclusive, uniquely-designed cultural excursions

Tokyo

Our 4-day FreeStyle Travel package includes a choice of fine hotels, daily breakfast, city sightseeing and airport transfers via the convenient Airport Limousine Bus.

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Trip Type

Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

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