Lush rainforests, flourishing wildlife and captivating world music. This is Sarawak.

Full of lush rainforest landscapes, breathtaking cave systems, rolling rivers and lost islands, Sarawak is one of South East Asia’s best kept secrets. Take the opportunity to experience both the culture and the nature of this verdant wonderland on an adventure including the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival. This annual gathering brings a diverse spectrum of performers and culture to the coastline of the Santubong Peninsula for three days of celebration, allowing you to soak in both the beauty of the area and the artistic essence of its people. Meet local musicians, visit an orangutan sanctuary and delve into national parks on a jungle adventure you’ll never forget.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Kuching, Malaysia
Finish
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Country
Malaysia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Festivals and Events
Code
TMSF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Journey to Kuching, Sarawak to witness the Rainforest World Music Festival in full swing. This unique festival draws in renowned international musicians and indigenous Dayak performers of Borneo for not-to-be-missed performances.

  • Spend a night in the home of one of the regular performers of the festival and learn all about the Sape – an instrument used by some of Borneo’s Indigenous tribes.

  • One of the last remaining truly wild places on earth, Borneo offers rare treats for the nature lover – see Orangutans at the Semenggoh Sanctuary and the quirky proboscis monkeys in Bako National Park

  • Explore one of the world’s largest cave networks and witness a sunset hunting exodus of millions of bats, twisting through the sky like a plume of black smoke in Gunung Mulu National Park

Is this trip right for you?

  • Sarawak's Rainforest World Music festival runs over 3 afternoons and includes a mixture of interactive and educational workshops, jamming sessions and mini concerts followed by evening performances on the main stage each night. An appreciation of World Music will enable you to enjoy this Festival set in the grounds of stunning rainforest.

  • A 3 day Festival pass is included with this trip and 3 full days of the itinerary are allocated for you to enjoy all the festival has to offer. If you want a change of pace there is also a fringe festival that runs throughout Kuching during the same time which allows you to take a break from the festival and immerse yourself in other cultured events.

  • It’s best to pack light for this trip. There is a strict 15 kg maximum luggage limit on the included internal flights. Excess luggage will incur extra fees to the traveller.

  • When staying in the National Park or at the homestay, accommodation is multishare and can be basic. The unqiue atmosphere and wonderful location more than make up for this though.

  • This trip includes a number of wonderful long walks through forest and jungle, so a good level of fitness is required.

Itinerary

Selamat Datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you’re going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at the meeting, so have them ready for your leader to collect. Kuching, meaning ‘cat’ in Malay, is arguably the most pleasant city in all of Borneo. Full of captivating architecture, the waterfront here is well worth the visit – it houses a wealth of curio shops and local marketplaces, brimming with spices, vegetables and fresh fish. If you arrive early you may want to head to the Sarawak Cultural Village. A great introduction to the local culture of Sarawak.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kuching - Sarawak Cultural Village - MYR60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start off your adventures through Kuching with an orientation walk through its sophisticated streets. There’s plenty to do while here – perhaps take a visit to the museum or travel along the Sarawak River by boat. By mid morning, take a transfer to the Santubong Peninsular where the Rainforest World Music Festival takes place. Feel free to interact with the numerous workshops and jam sessions running casually in the area, or perhaps sit in on one of the lectures. There’s also plenty of food stands that your leader can introduce you to.

The first performances begin in the early evening. Artists from Guinea to Hungary, South Africa to England have been known to play a wide range of music at the festival – you may find yourself tapping your toes to some soulful blues, marvelling at a Malay nose-flute player or watching classical string instruments used in a traditional orchestral format. Expect your appreciation for music to be widened in ways you never thought possible by the end of the first day of the festival, then push them even further as the second and third days rolls on. Safe to say, the grand finale will be incredible.

If you’re feeling like you need a change of pace on the third day of the festival, there’s always the option to travel off site to catch some fringe theatricals being held in Kuching. Just let your leader know and they’ll be happy to set things up for you.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival - 3 day pass
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (3)
Special Information
Your leader will be travelling with the group to and from the festival each day. If you decide to leave the festival early there is regular shuttle buses that you can catch to take you back to Kuching.
In the morning, take a drive to visit one of the performers from the festival. Meet Matthew Ngau – a master of a traditional lute called a ‘sape’. This instrument, used by some of Borneo’s indigenous tribes, is carved from a single piece of wood. Most sapes have three to five strings and produce rich, complex sounds. Matthew will walk you through the production of the sape and even give you an informal lesson on how to play this curious instrument. Spend the evening at Matthew’s house – the rooms are simple and shared but the cultural insights more than make up for it. All meals are included during our time here.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Depart from Matthew’s house after breakfast and head onwards to the Bako National Park – you may have an early start depending on the tides. Once you arrive at Bako Jetty, board a boat towards the park itself. Bako is the oldest national park in Sarawak. The rainforests, abundant fauna, vibrant flora, jungle streams, waterfalls, secluded beaches and trekking trails ensure that a breathtaking view lies around every turn and an adventure is never too far away. Weather permitting, your leader will take you on a walk to the beautiful beach at Telok Pandan Kecil. If you’re looking to take a longer (or shorter) hike, feel free to explore as many of the 18 different trails as you like. Whatever you plan, check with the ranger to find out the best time to spy the proboscis monkeys as they come to feed from the beach mangroves – you may even spot some wild pigs along the way. As the day comes to a close, a wonderful sunset may present itself across the beach if the weather is amicable. A walk through the jungle at night is also on the cards for those who choose to do so. Accommodation here is multishare, dormitory style.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bako NP - Night walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head back to Bako Village by boat, then board a private minivan to Kuching via the Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary. Once you arrive at the sanctuary, a government funded rehabilitation centre, take a walk into the lush jungle for a chance to watch these peaceful primates feed – a truly remarkable sight. Later, travel back to the hotel where you’ll be able to freshen up from the heat. Afterwards, perhaps stroll through one of the many Chinese-influenced hawker markets and grab a dinner of fresh, local seafood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kuching - Semengohh Orangutan Sanctuary
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Transfer to the airport for a short flight to the Gunung Mulu National Park, one of the most spectacular reserves in all of Asia. Spend the afternoon strolling along the walkways and peering at the forest below before catching the sunset flight of the bats as they pour out of Deer Cave. This spectacular landmark is home to millions of these furry flutterers who emerge every evening to feed in the night – rising from the opening like a black plume of smoke across the darkening evening sky. We stay in multishare cabins inside the park.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mulu NP - Deer & Lang Caves
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today’s adventures take you spelunking through Mulu’s Clear Water Cave and Wind Cave systems, otherwise known as the hidden home of Asia’s longest underground river. You'll enjoy a picnic lunch here too. Take a brief longboat ride upstream and perhaps spend a bit of time splashing in the waters, then it’s time to return to the headquarters in Mulu. You’ve got a bit of free time to kill in the afternoon, so perhaps take a trek to the canopy walkways, wander the self guided trails throughout the park or speak to your leader to organise a visit to a local Penan settlement.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (multishare) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mulu National Park - Canopy Walk
  • Mulu NP - Wind & Clearwater Caves
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a flight to Kota Kinabalu – the capital city of Sabah. The largest commercial centre of Malaysian Borneo, this coastal city captures a fantastic mix of costal charm, rainforest splendour and bustling streets. After transferring to the hotel, take the chance to visit some of the islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park or visit the Sabah Museum for some cultural insight. The last evening has crept up on you – perhaps a fitting end to a trip dedicated to music is to join your group in a karaoke session or check out some local gigs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Plane, Private Mini Van, 4x4 Vehicle

Accommodation

Cabin (multishare) (2 nights), Dormitory (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival - 3 day pass
  • Bako NP - Night walk
  • Kuching - Semengohh Orangutan Sanctuary
  • Mulu NP - Deer & Lang Caves
  • Mulu National Park - Canopy Walk
  • Mulu NP - Wind & Clearwater Caves

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please provide passport details at time of booking, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
2. Strict luggage limits apply. See under the Important notes section of Trip Notes for more information.
3. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please contact your sales agent if you would like to book a single supplement. Please note on the following nights a single supplement is not available: Day 5 Homestay, Day 6 Bako National Park, Day 8 & 9 Mulu National Park.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.