Your day-by-day itinerary
Culture and Cuisine of Kuching
Kuching, known as ‘Cat City’, is a wonderful place to spend a day or two, the perfect starting point your Sarawak adventure. The city offers a wonderful mix of old and new as well as being a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Take a stroll through the colonial streets and marvel at the Chinese Temples and Mosques at every turn, before heading to spot orangutans swinging through the trees. During your time here we will organise your transfer from both the airport and your accommodation, into the heart of the city, so you can explore at your own pace.
At Home with the Iban Headhunters
During the next few days you’ll stay with a local Iban tribe in the deepest jungles of Sarawak. After a 5 hour journey by minibus and longtail boat you’ll arrive at the traditional longhouse where you’ll experience first-hand what life is like in the tribe. You can help them harvest food, prepare a meal and learn about their traditions and ceremonies. You’ll spend the next two nights in the longhouse – sleeping very simply with a mattress and mosquito net (although we do have a slightly posher version of this trip if you’d prefer!).
On your second day you’ll explore the area surrounding the longhouse where wild Orang-utans are occasionally spotted. Depending on the water levels, some of your day may be spent travelling by longtail boat. After a couple of hours of moderate trekking, your guide will cook you a tasty lunch at a small jungle camp using bamboo leaves. On the third day of this trip you’ll say your goodbyes and travel to Kuching by longboat and bus.
Overnight in Kuching
You’ll spend the night back in Kuching, where you can enjoy the perks of the city again before you’re picked up the next morning.
Mangroves, Monkeys and Fireflies
Over the next 3 days, you’ll meet Borneo’s iconic Great Apes, sleep in a treehouse and cruise along the river spotting wildlife. Your trip starts with a visit to see the country’s most famous resident at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, before checking into a treehouse lodge on the Damai Peninsular. Next up, you’ll take a wildlife cruise on the Santubong River where you’ll try and spot swinging monkeys, beady crocodile eyes and glowing fireflies. If you’re lucky you might also see an Irrawaddy dolphin!
Proboscis Monkeys in Bako National Park
Today you’ll have your introduction to the jungles of Borneo. You’ll see winding rivers running through twisted rock formations, treetops that seem to shoot up into the heavens and curious monkeys jumping from branch to branch. Your guide will collect you from your hotel in Kuching and take you on the 30 minute trip to the town of Kampung Bako. Here you’ll board a boat to Bako National Park.
After you’ve checked into your National Park accommodation you can explore your surroundings with your group and guide and hopefully spot some of the jungle’s wildlife. The following morning you’ll explore the jungle under your own steam to discover Bako’s hidden gems: from venus flytraps and mangrove forests to the unmistakeable Proboscis monkey swinging high up in the tree-tops and a tropical beach for a refreshing dip before your return journey back to Kuching.
Kayaks and Beaches of Damai
Over the next few days, you can relax and take it easy with a stay on the golden beaches of the Damai Peninsular – sometimes called Santubong – just north of Sarawak’s capital Kuching. You can swim in the South China Sea, relax with a book by the pool and simply take it easy. During your stay, we’ve included a gentle downstream kayak with a guide on the river. You’ll be surrounded by views of limestone rock formations and lush green rainforest, and can even visit a local Bidayuh tribe.
Explore Gunung Mulu Caves
Next you’ll travel further into the jungle past the winding rivers and hidden caves of Mulu National Park. The sights and sounds of the jungle will get you in the mood for your rainforest adventure. Our professional guide will take you into the world’s largest limestone caves filled with stalactites and rock formations. As the sun goes down you’ll see thousands of bats flying out of the cave and into the jungle in search of food. A pretty extraordinary sight!
You’ll stay in a comfortable wooden lodge in the middle of the jungle surrounded by the sounds of nature. The next day you’ll explore more of the park with your knowledgable guide, this time by boat. Learn about tribal villages and visit Wind and Clearwater caves before taking a refreshing dip in the river. After one more night at the jungle lodge, you’ll continue your adventure to your next destination.
Kota Kinabalu & Mount Kinabalu
You’ll then spend a night in Kota Kinabalu and the next day, you’ll be collected from your hotel and taken into the tropical rainforest by your guide. You’ll feel as if you’re King or Queen of the forest as you walk through the treetops across the spectacular canopy walk. During our trip, we took a dip into clear spring water and felt completely revitalised afterwards. Tonight you’ll stay in a basic national park cottage surrounded by the jungle.
On the second day of this trip, you’ll hike up Mount Kinabalu until you reach an altitude of approximately 1500m for the most spectacular view. Along the way, you’ll also see some very unusual bird species. After the descent, you’ll be transferred back to Kota Kinabalu where you’ll spend another night.
Tabin Wildlife Expedition
You’ll be picked up by a local guide in a 4×4, and will say goodbye to civilization as you travel deep into the wilderness, along uneven, gravelly jungle roads. You’ll be staying in a remote lodge, with your own air-conditioned bungalow, and all of your meals are included – cooked by a good quality on-site restaurant – so you don’t need to worry about a thing for the next couple of days.
Over the next couple of days you’ll set out by jeep and on foot to see monkeys, bats, monitor lizards and tropical birds in a rainbow of colours, amongst a variety of other creatures. Your local guide will take you to a nearby mud volcano, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of an elephant or an orangutan during your Borneo jungle trek, so keep your eyes peeled. On the third morning, you’ll head back to Lahad Datu.
Orangutans and Jungle Boats
Borneo is the land of orangutans, and the very best place to see them and learn all about them is at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This morning you’ll join a small group and will travel to Sepilok, where a guide will answer any questions you may have about the park’s hairy inhabitants. At feeding time you’ll find yourself at a safe distance, yet incredibly close to the endearing primates. You’ll also stop in at a Sunbear Sanctuary nearby, where you can see these unique, endangered bears. After your visit to Sepilok you’ll climb into a boat and you’ll travel deeper into the jungle, where you’ll spend 2 nights in a wooden lodge on the riverbank.
No other spot in Borneo features such a wide variety of wild animals: monkeys, monitor lizards, crocodiles, sunbears, hundreds of species of tropical birds, and if you’re lucky you may even see wild pygmy elephants! During your time here you’ll have the opportunity to go on morning and evening boat cruises, where a local guide will help you spot whichever amazing creatures happen to be about. You’ll sleep with the sounds of the jungle all around you, before heading back along the river to Sandakan, where you’ll arrive around lunchtime/early afternoon.
Castaway Beach on Lankayan Island
Lankayan Island is a secluded paradise hidden away in the tropical Sulu Sea just north of Sandakan, and the perfect place to rest up after your travels through Borneo. You can spend your days relaxing on the white sandy beaches or swimming in the crystal clear sea. The view beneath the sea is perhaps even more beautiful than above the water. Our local project, Reef Guardian is based on the island and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to watch the volunteers release baby turtles into the sea for their first swim!
You will be staying in a seafront bungalow, situated right on the beach. All your meals are included and are served at the restaurant, which boasts an amazingly beautiful open-air wooden terrace. After your dinner, you can sit on the terrace and watch the sun setting over the sea. On your last day on the island you will leave at 7am and head back to Sandakan.