- Visit the oldest Iban settlements in Sarawak
- Ride a longboat to a remote jungle lodge
- Go wildlife spotting on a river cruise
- Travel to remote villages on the Delok River
|Day 1||Arrive in Borneo, Transfer to Batang Ai National Park||Nanga Sumpa Lodge|
|Day 2||Nature Hike & Longhouse Visit||Nanga Sumpa Lodge|
|Day 3||Transfer to Kuching||Kuching|
|Day 4||Fly to Sandakan, Orangutan Center & Rainforest Lodge||Sukau Rainforest Lodge|
|Day 5||Kinabatangan River Cruise||Sukau Rainforest Lodge|
|Day 6||Transfer to Kinabalu National Park||Kinabalu National Park|
|Day 7||Kinabatangan River Tour, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Borneo, Transfer to Batang Ai National Park
Welcome to East Malaysia! You'll arrive on the island of Borneo and the coastal city of Kuching, which is the capital of Malaysia's Sarawak state. A driver will pick you up at the airport for the ride east to Batang Ai National Park. This nature reserve is famous for its large man-made reservoir, around which you'll find the oldest Iban settlements in the state. The Iban are one of over 50 sub-groups of the ethnic Dayak people, who are the Indigenous residents of Borneo.
During the scenic drive, you'll stop and stretch your legs at the outpost of Lachau. Here, you can browse local shops and markets before enjoying an early lunch at a coffee shop. When you arrive at Batang Ai in the mid-afternoon, you'll board a traditional longboat and travel up the Delok River to the remote, wildlife-rich Nanga Sumpa Lodge, where'll you spend the next two nights.
Day 2: Nature Hike & Longhouse Visit
After breakfast, get the blood pumping with a hike on the jungle trails along the river. As you go, keep an eye out for exotic rainforest animals like hornbills, gibbons, and the occasional orangutan. Then continue upriver by longboat to the romantic Enseluai Waterfall, where you'll take a break for a refreshing swim. Along the way, your boatman may stop to demonstrate Iban-style fishing using a jala, or (throw net).
30 minutes upriver, you'll arrive at the Jambu Longhouse. Longhouses are traditional tribal dwellings that house multiple families in a single home. This particular community is comprised of just eight families whose claim to fame is that they're the furthest and most isolated community on the Delok River. Later, enjoy a riverside barbecue lunch prepared by your Iban hosts before returning to the lodge for the night.
Day 3: Transfer to Kuching
Spend a leisurely morning swimming in the river and hiking the surrounding trails. Then enjoy an early lunch at the lodge before embarking on the trip back down the river to the jetty at the reservoir in Batang Ai National Park. From here, make your way back to lively Kuching. If you have the energy when you arrive in the early evening, Kuching features a host of museums, historic sites, and sacred temples you can visit. Otherwise, you can spend the evening relaxing in your hotel.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Fly to Sandakan, Orangutan Center & Rainforest Lodge
Say goodbye to Kuching and catch an early flight to the northern tip of Borneo and the city of Sandakan in the state of Sabah. Here you'll meet a local guide, and you'll take a drive to the inland rainforest. After a quick hike through the jungle, you'll arrive at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Here, you'll witness carers feeding the primate residents before heading to the nursery to see orangutan babies. An added treat is a visit to the adjacent Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center, where you'll learn about the world's smallest bear.
After lunch, make your way to the Sandakan Jetty and board an eco-friendly speedboat for a journey up the Kinabatangan River to the award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way. This ecosystem is home to the shy Bornean pygmy elephant and other less-shy creatures like hornbills, proboscis monkeys, macaques, and gibbons.
Once you've settled into the lodge, head back to the river for a wildlife cruise. And if you don't see the famous proboscis monkey, you can try again on a night cruise. Back at the lodge, enjoy a candlelit buffet dinner overlooking the mighty Kinabatangan. Dinner is followed by a presentation from an expert naturalist.
Day 5: Kinabatangan River Cruise
Wake up early to the sounds of the rainforest, then enjoy a light breakfast and coffee amid views of the misty jungle. Afterward, hop on a boat for a leisurely cruise up the Kinabatangan River to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake. The banks of this river are filled with exotic wildlife that is most active at this time of the morning, so keep your binoculars handy. After the cruise, you'll return to the lodge, where a full breakfast will be waiting.
After the meal, meet your naturalist guide and head back into the jungle on an educational walking tour along the lodge's Hornbill Boardwalk. After the nature hike, you can take some time to relax back at the lodge and possibly have a nap. For something extra special, opt for a foot spa treatment, a Batik painting workshop, or splash around in the plunge pool. Tea will be served later in the afternoon, after which you'll head out onto the river once again on a wildlife tour. The cruise returns at sunset, and you'll have the rest of the evening free.
Day 6: Transfer to Kinabalu National Park
On your last full day in Borneo, enjoy a scenic drive to Kinabalu National Park. Along the way, you'll stop at viewpoints to admire Mount Kinabalu, a granite peak that rises dramatically 13,435 feet (4,094 m) and is Malaysia's tallest mountain. When you arrive at the park, lace up your hiking boots and explore the trails around the base of the mountain before proceeding to the village of Kundasang, which is known for its dairy farms. Enjoy lunch and browse the markets before heading to Poring. Here, you'll embark on a canopy walk 98 feet (30 m) over the top of a 100-million-year-old rainforest.
Day 7: Kinabatangan River Tour, Depart
In the morning, return to Sandakan by boat and enjoy lunch before your flight. If your schedule allows it, you can also sneak in a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Center and take a stroll across its impressive canopy walkway. You can also explore the botanical gardens here (keep an eye out for orchids). If there's any time left over, make one last stop at the Sandakan Memorial Park, a memorial to POWs during World War II. Then head over to the airport, where you'll fly to Kota Kinabalu and catch your connecting flight home. Safe travels!