Borneo - Into the Heart of the Rainforest

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Day 1: Arrive in Kuching

Arrival in Kuching, where you are met at the airport and transferred to our comfortable hotel on the waterfront. The remainder of the day is free to relax or explore Kuching.

In the evening you are invited to a welcome dinner and an orientation meeting. Accommodations in Kuching are at our comfortable, centrally located hotel.

Overnight in Kuching.


Day 2: Sarawak Cultural Village

After breakfast, we take a morning tour of the Sarawak Cultural Village. Here, we learn about and experience the seven major cultures of Sarawak.

After lunch, we return to our hotel in Kuching. The remainder of the afternoon is free to rest and to get ready for tomorrow's Lemanak River safari.

Overnight in Kuching.


Day 3: Lemanak River Safari

A morning departure for a 3-day/2-night river safari to the Lemanak River, deep in the interior of Sarawak. We begin by road and continue our journey up-river by native longboat. Along the river, people of the Iban tribe live in traditional longhouses.

These people were once notorious pirates and headhunters, but times have changed and today they live peacefully - farming, fishing and hunting in the wilderness. An entire village (anywhere from 20 to 100 families) live under one roof in a longhouse. Each family has its own rooms and all families share an adjoining common area.

We spend the next two nights at the Ngemah longhouse - a fascinating experience in communal living. We sleep in the ruai (common room). Very basic sleeping and restroom facilities. Foam sleeping mats and mosquito nets are provided.

Overnight in Sarawak - longhouse.


Day 4: Journey to Iban Culture

This morning we take a guided hike to learn about tribal life: how they hunt, fish, practice agriculture, pray and educate themselves. Spend a wonderful afternoon and evening with the families of Ngemah longhouse. Witness and participate in their daily chores. This is an excellent opportunity to experience the Iban culture.

Overnight in Sarawak - longhouse.


Day 5: River Safari

Following breakfast, bid goodbye to your Iban hosts and begin the journey to Kuching. Travel downstream by longboat to the river jetty, where we change our mode of transportation and continue by vehicle to the city.

Arrive back in Kuching for dinner and overnight.


Day 6: Explore Colonial Kuching

A full day of exploring Kuching, one of East Malaysia's most beautiful and interesting cities. Located on the banks of the Sarawak River, Kuching was the center of the White Rajah dynasty which ruled Sarawak until 1945 when the state became a British Crown Colony.

The city has beautiful parks, colorful markets, churches, mosques, temples, historical buildings and an interesting waterfront with Fort Margherita on its banks. We visit one of Asia's best museums, the Sarawak Museum.

Overnight in Kuching.


Day 7: To Mulu National Park

We depart Kuching for Mulu by air via Miri. We then transfer to our lodge, located at the edge of the renowned Mulu National Park.

The remainder of the day is free to relax. We enjoy dinner and spend the following three nights in this beautiful setting.

Overnight at our lodge in Mulu.


Day 8: Mulu National Park - Lang and Deer Caves

We travel by foot to Lang Cave and Deer Cave - home to the world's largest cave passages. There are two huge entrances at either side of the mountain leaving most of the one-mile passage illuminated by daylight.

Following a rainstorm, it is possible to see a 70-foot waterfall inside the cave. At dusk, an exciting natural spectacle takes place: millions of bats leave the cave in a twisting cloud that spreads into a dramatic black ribbon across the sky.

Overnight at our lodge in Mulu.


Day 9: Mulu National Park - Moonmilk and Clearwater Caves

After breakfast, we begin an hour long trip by longboat to Wind Cave, Moonmilk Cave and the spectacular Clearwater Cave, with over 60 miles of passageways.

This site was discovered by the Mulu Expedition, organized by the Royal Geographical Society of London in the mid 1970s, but has only recently been opened for tourism. After lunch we visit a Penan settlement before returning to our lodge for dinner and overnight.

Overnight at our lodge in Mulu.


Day 10: To Kota Kinabalu

A morning departure from our lodge takes us to Mulu airport to connect with our flight to Kota Kinabalu, in the province of Sabah. We arrive in the late afternoon and settle into our hotel for the next two nights.

Overnight in Kota Kinabalu.


Day 11: Islands of Gaya and Mamutik

We spend the day exploring the tropical island parks of Gaya and Mamutik located just off the coast. We explore the jungle trails and learn about the unique medicinal plants, tropical hardwood trees, coastal vegetation and the ecology of the mangrove forest.

After lunch, we have the opportunity to go for a gentle coastal walk and to swim and snorkel in the warm, turquoise waters.

Overnight in Kota Kinabalu.


Day 12: Kinabalu National Park - Poring Hot Springs

Today we drive overland to the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu. We make a short stop at Pekan Nabalu market to sample local fruits in season and to stretch our legs. We then continue the drive to Poring, east of Kinabalu Park HQ to walk amidst tropical lowland rainforests leading up to the treetop canopy walkways. Enjoy lunch, before visiting the Kipungit Waterfall, stopping for a soak here or in the rejuvenating hot sulphur public pools. If the weather permits, treat your foot to a delightful but very ticklish fish massage at the Moroli River in Luanti, which will almost certainly leave you in giggles.

Overnight in Kundasang.


Day 13: Kinabalu National Park, Kundasang War Memorial

After breakfast, we visit the Kundasang War Memorial Park to learn about Sabah's WWII history and for great photos with the majestic Mount Kinabalu (if weather permits). Thereafter, we proceed to the Kinabalu Natural History Gallery and Mountain Garden in Kinabalu Park Headquarters. If weather permits, take a guided walk on one of the trails to explore the cool montane forest. Return to Kota Kinabalu after lunch.

Overnight in Kota Kinabalu.


Day 14: Fly to Sandakan, Boat to Selingan 'Turtle' Island

After an early breakfast, we fly to Sandakan where we transfer to our boat for the trip to Selingan Island, also known as Turtle Island. The afternoon is free to explore the island, with opportunities to swim and snorkel.

After dinner, we witness a fascinating natural spectacle - giant green sea turtles (weighing up to 200 lbs.) come to the beach every night to lay their eggs. Viewing is supervised by a park ranger dedicated to the turtles' welfare. We can also see the transplanting of eggs to the hatchery and the release of baby turtles to the sea. Note that flash photography of turtles is strictly prohibited between 6pm - 6am.

Please note: Our accommodation on Seligan Island is very small and can only be confirmed 4 months before the tour departs. In the event that we cannot stay at the lodge, we will stay at Sukau Rainforest Lodge along Sabah's longest river, Kinabatangan, where we will take a river cruise to explore birds and wildlife.

We stay overnight on Selingan island in a lodge - space permitting.


Day 15: Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

This morning we will transfer back to Sandakan where we drive to Sepilok, the largest orangutan sanctuary in the world. Here, we can see adolescents, adults and babies in their natural habitat, the tropical rainforest. During the morning feeding, we witness orangutans converging on the platform for a meal of bananas and milk. Afterwards, we visit the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center to learn about conservation of the world’s smallest bear.

We continue to Sukau, to our tranquil lodge on the Kinabatangan River. We enjoy a late afternoon journey on the waterway and search for rare proboscis monkeys (long-nosed primates, unique to Borneo). Return for a hot shower, candle-lit dinner and slide show conducted by naturalists.

Overnight at Kinabatangan River Lodge.


Day 16: Kinabatangan River Wildlife

Early this morning we explore the ox-bow lake and the tremendous rainforest that surrounds it. In this area, there are Macaque monkeys and many species of birds, including the White-bellied sea eagle and the Rhinoceros hornbill. A herd of elephants also roam here, seen numerous times by our groups. In the afternoon, we enjoy another river cruise with more great wildlife viewing opportunities.

Stay overnight at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge.


Day 17: Gomantong caves, to Sandakan

After breakfast we return to Sandakan with a chance to visit the Gomantong caves. Time permitting, we have a tour of Sandakan including the market, Agnes Keith Museum and Australian War Memorial. Tonight we enjoy our Farewell Dinner.

Overnight in Sandakan.


Day 18: To Kota Kinabalu

An early morning flight takes us back to Kota Kinabalu for homeward international flights.

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