Land of Rainforests and Orangutans
- Duration:15 days
We will explore lush rainforest and importantly take time to visit the endangered Orangutan reserves, where, today amazing work is being done to rehabilitate these delightful primates in the hope to again release them back into the wild.
We will travel to Mulu National Park home to one of Borneo's greatest attractions - its colossal network of caves. A masterpiece is Deer Cave the world's largest natural rock chamber, large enough to house London's St. Paul Cathedral five times over!
We journey to Sandakan, infamous during WWII and whilst there, pause to visit the Australian War Memorial. We have created, what we believe to be a tour of discovery that allows you to experience the excitement and uniqueness of the world's true 'Lost Horizon.' We will see Borneo as a guest, rather than a tourist and we will come face to face with the people, cultures, jungles, animals, and a way of life that has been long forgotten.
Australia - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching, Sarawak
Depart today on our flight to Kuching with a transit stop in Kuala Lumpur. Upon arrival late this evening we transfer to our hotel. (Perth passengers join us in Kuala Lumpur having flown from Perth on 5 September). Due to our late arrival our rooms have been booked from the previous night to allow immediate occupancy.
Kuching, City tour and Evening Sunset River Cruise
Following breakfast, during our morning tour we will discover the charms of this riverine city established by Sir James Brooke, the First White Rajah of Sarawak. See buildings dating back to the days of the White Rajahs, ancient Chinese temples and colourful markets displaying the produce that first brought traders to Borneo. We stop at the Sarawak Museum, an absolute must when visiting Kuching. Completed in 1891, the museum has an excellent collection of Bornean ethnological and archaeological artifacts and is reputed to be the best in South East Asia. Our tour also includes the fascinating Cat Museum- Kuching is known as 'Cat City'.
After lunch, the afternoon is free prior to our departure on a relaxing evening cruise, which enables us to see Kuching from a different perspective. As we cruise along we will experience the historical, colourful Kuching waterfront, Astana, Fort Margharita, a traditional Malay Kampong, a Chinese temple, wetlands and more! This evening we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. BLD
Semengoh Wildlife Centre
This morning our coach arrives to take us on the 45 minute drive to the Semengoh Wildlife Centre. Here, we have the privilege to observe the feeding of orangutans, in particular those that require rehabilitation. The centre was established in 1975 for the rehabilitation of confiscated and surrendered wild animals and is situated within the beautiful Semengoh Nature Reserve. This is considered a temporary home for the endangered wildlife of Sarawak, especially orangutans that were rescued from captivity. At the Centre, the animals are trained and conditioned to live independently in the natural environment. However, some are too old for release and are kept in the centre for educational purposes. On our return to the city, we make a call at one of the many pottery factories to see first hand how the masters of the craft has made this such a famous Sarawakian product. We return to our hotel in time for lunch. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Dinner this evening is at our hotel.BLD
Bako National Park
We have an early start today and travel to the Bako National Park. After a 35-minute drive to Bako Village, we then join our boat for the 25-minute journey to the National Park proper. Bako National Park is one of the ideal places in Sarawak to see native wildlife in its natural surrounds. Some animals that could be spotted today include proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, long tail macaques, wild boars, monitor lizards, and numerous species of birds. We will walk along jungle trails. Return to our Kuching hotel mid-afternoon. (Schedule may depend on tide.) Dinner at the hotel this evening.BLD
Kuching - Batang Ai
We farewell Kuching this morning as we drive to Batang Ai. Our journey is a leisurely 4 hours and we'll have numerous stops and pass many pepper gardens along with cocoa and traditional rubber plantations. On arrival at the Batang Ai reservoir, we join our boat and proceed to the Hilton Batang Ai Resort. The remainder of the day is free to laze by the pool or take a short nature walk with one of the resident 'naturalists' stationed here. Evening at leisure. BLD
Menyang Tais Longhouse
An exciting day, as we depart for the home of the Iban people. After a 40 minute boat ride we then have a 30 minute walk to reach the Menyang longhouse. We'll be fascinated as we learn about the jungle and visit a pepper farm before calling in at the longhouse. As we enjoy Iban hospitality, with a glass of 'tuak' and take lunch with a local family in their private quarters we'll have a genuine taste of Iban cuisine. We will also be privileged to see colourful local dances and watch demonstrations of their deadly 'blow pipes'.
The Ibans are a branch of the Dayak peoples of Borneo and formerly known during the colonial period of the British, as Sea Dayaks. They were renowned for practicing headhunting and tribal and territorial expansion. Throughout history, being a strong and successful warring tribe, the Ibans were a very feared tribe and the original inhabitants of the Island. After lunch we retrace our journey back to our resort. Dinner at resort this evening. BLD
Batang Ai - Kuching
After breakfast we proceed to the jetty, then by Hilton boat and overland to Kuching with lunch en route. This evening is at leisure. Perhaps take the opportunity to venture out to enjoy the array of local cuisine. BLD
Kuching - Miri - Mulu - Deer and Lang Caves
Transfer to the airport this morning for our flight north to Miri with connecting flight to Mulu National Park. On arrival we are met by our local guide and transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we drive to the Park Headquarters and enjoy a scenic 3 km plank-walk through primary rainforest before reaching the entrance of Deer Cave. The National Park's enormous limestone outcroppings are littered with caves carved over millions of years by run-off from tropical downpours. Currently the most extensive cave system in the world is within the park. However the 300+ kilometres surveyed so far is suspected to be only a third of the passages that exists within the cave system. Next to Deer Cave is Lang's Cave. The stalactites and stalagmites inside these caves are representative of the very best limestone formations in the park. After our visit we return to Park Headquarters by torchlight and transfer back to our hotel. Dinner at our hotel this evening. BLD
Clearwater and Wing Caves
After breakfast, we have an invigorating ride by longboat upriver to visit Wind Cave with its impressive 'King's Chamber'. A short walk along a plank-walk suspended from the limestone cliff leads us to Clearwater Cave, boasting a wonderful swimming area shaded by giant rainforest trees. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch here and we also have time for a refreshing swim and relax before returning to our hotel. Dinner at resort this evening.BLD
Mulu - Kota Kinabalu
This morning we transfer to the airport for our mid-morning flight to Kota Kinabalu. On arrival we are met and transferred to our hotel. The afternoon is at leisure until our tour this evening.
At dusk, Kota Kinabalu's waterfront is transformed into a bustling night market; dominated by scores of open air food stalls selling everything from BBQ fish to fried rice and noodles to sweet doughnuts and banana fritters. All are cooked on the spot resulting in a smokey, fragrant atmosphere. Nearby the market traders continue to sell their fresh fruit and vegetables well into the night. We have a chance to wander along the more modern waterfront, a seaside strip of small restaurants and coffee bars that are an evening focal point for many of the city's residents. The evening culminates at a nearby seafood restaurant. Kota Kinabalu boasts some of the finest seafood in Malaysia and a seafood dinner is a must for any visitor. After dinner we return to our hotel. BLD
Poring Hot Spring and Kinabalu National park
We depart early this morning for a 3hr drive to Poring Hot Spring. We will explore the many jungle trails and observe wildlife on the canopy walkway 30.5 metres above the forest floor. After lunch, we then continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kinabalu National Park. We have time to explore the mountain gardens, home to many species of orchids, pitcher plants, birds, insects and butterflies and our guide is on hand to point out the many highlights. We return to our hotel late afternoon. Evening at leisure.BLD
Kota Kinabalu - Sandakan - Sepilok - Sukau
Transfer to the airport for an early flight to Sandakan. A city steeped in Australian WWII history. Upon arrival at the Sandakan airport we drive to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Here, we proceed to the free roaming area feeding platform and observe man's closest relative 'the Orangutan' being rehabilitated in order to comfortably return to their natural habitat.
After our visit we return to Sandakan to board our riverboat and cruise to the Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary where we stop for lunch. This is a wonderful day's journey of discovery, starting from the waters of the Sulu Sea of Sandakan Town through the magnificent scenery of the Mangrove Forest. After lunch, we cruise up river to Sukau village in search of primates especially the endemic Proboscis Monkeys, birds and other wildlife. On reaching Sukau, we continue to our lodge. The remainder of the day is at leisure for you to enjoy this beautiful jungle environment. Dinner at our lodge this evening. BLD
Sukau - Sandakan - Kota Kinabalu
After breakfast, we cruise back to Sandakan. Upon arrival at the jetty, we make a short stop at the Australian War Memorial then to St Michael’s Church which has close ties to Australia. After lunch at a local restaurant we drive directly to the airport for our return flight to Kota Kinabalu. On arrival we transfer to our hotel. This evening, we will enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel and have the chance to talk with our fellow travellers about the wonderful discoveries and experiences we’ve had in Sarawak and Sabah. BLD
Kota Kinabalu - Kuching - Kuala Lumpur - Australia
We transfer to the airport this morning for our flight to Kuching. We transit here en route to Kuala Lumpur where we join our overnight flight back to Australia. (Perth passengers have an additional night in Kuching and depart for Perth on Sunday 20th). Those passengers taking our extension Pandaw Rajang Cruise will stay overnight in Kuching prior to boarding the vessel tomorrow.BLD
Perth passengers depart early this morning for their return flight via Kuala Lumpur arriving back into Perth this afternoon. All other passengers arrive home early this morning.BLD