Get the highlights and the lowdown on Malaysia’s Borneo.

The depths of Borneo are laden with rugged wilderness, fascinating sites and seriously welcoming people, so meander your way through the lush countryside on a ten-day tribes and wildlife tour of Sarawak and Sabah. Visit vibrant Kuching, learning the cultural heritage and tasting the regional specialties, and head all the way to the natural wonder of the Kinabatangan River and the waterfront splendour of Sandakan. Throw in some market tours, jungle safari, and a typical homestay experience, and you’ve got a true taste of what Malaysia’s Borneo is really like, and gosh, it’s delightful.


Start
Kuching, Malaysia
Finish
Sandakan, Malaysia
Destination
Malaysia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
TMSB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Stay in a traditional wooden Longhouse in Sarikei, understanding how the locals have lived for decades and appreciating the welcoming hospitality of your hosts.

  • Take a heritage walk around the vibrant Kuching, passing by its waterfront sights, and fix your hunger with a Sarawak laksa to finish!

  • Visit the gentle giants of the jungle, the orangutan, at a rehabilitation centre in Sepilok. This organisation was set up to help reintroduce these endangered mammals sustainably back into the wild.

  • Explore the depths of Borneo’s jungle on a series of safari cruises down the Kinabatangan River, keeping an eye out for macaques, proboscis monkeys, and maybe even the rare pygmy elephant!

  • Learn about the confronting war history of this region with a visit to Sandakan’s War Memorial, acknowledging those who dies in the death marches in 1945.

Is this trip right for you?

  • There are strict luggage limits of maximum 7kg for carry on and 15 kg for check in luggage on our internal flight. Excess luggage will incur extra fees payable to the airline. Packing light is recommended anyway - it means less to carry on and off transport and accommodation.

  • This trip has a focus on nature and wildlife - definitely one for those who enjoy being outdoors.

  • You will get to experience a wide range of accommodation types on this trip – a longhouse homestay (multi share accommodation), jungle lodge and hotels. Some may be a little more basic than our standard hotels, but their unique locations and close proximity to nature is what makes them special.

  • If you are looking for a trip to Borneo with a bit more comfort, check out our Classic Borneo (TMKB) trip.

Itinerary

Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Kuching, meaning 'cat' in Malay, is arguably the most vibrant city in Malaysian Borneo. It was home to the infamous White Raja of Sarawak, whose mysterious rule in this remote corner of the world sparked the imagination of many people who dreamt of becoming royalty. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, why not check out this cosmopolitan hub rich in architecture, where the waterfront houses coexist with curious shops and local vegetable, spice and fish markets. This city of skyscrapers sitting near lush green jungle is easily walkable, so perhaps after your briefing, head out with your new crew on foot and try to stake out some local dishes like Sarawak laksa or kolok mee (Malaysian dry noodles).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Head out and about in Kuching this morning with a half-day heritage walk. You’ll visit Chinatown, the Chinese museum and temple, the Brooke Memorial, India Street, local markets, the Floating Mosque, Darul Hana bridge and stroll along the waterfront. Be sure to have a cap, water bottle and sunblock handy, as Kuching can get super hot and steamy. You’ll finish up at a local restaurant with the option to tuck into a tasty laksa with your group. The afternoon is all yours to do as you please, so perhaps head to the Sarawak Cultural Village or the Urang Sarawak Museum to learn about the cultural and political heritage of different ethnicities within Malaysia’s state of Sarawak.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kuching - Heritage walk
Optional Activities
  • Kuching - Sarawak Cultural Village - MYR60
  • Kuching - Urang Sarawak Museum - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a private minivan transfer from Kuching to Sarakei (approximately 6 hours), with a lunch stop on your way. Sarakei is a pineapple-obsessed town located on the Rajang River, and here you will have a local experience staying in a traditional longhouse. On arrival, meet your host at Ruman Nyuka Longhouse – a long building constructed in 1955 from belian hard wood, a rare timber native to Borneo. This type of homestay experience feels like you’re in the real heart of Malaysia. Have a walk around the local village, then in the evening, enjoy a typical longhouse meal, where you and your host will sit on the floor with dishes laid out in front of you. You’ll get chatting about local stories and heritage, with a cultural show to top off the evening.
Accommodation
  • Longhouse Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sarikei - Village walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Start the day with a local breakfast and then head off on a nature hike. It’ll take around 1.5 hours to walk from the longhouse along lush trails which lead to the secluded Munsoh Waterfall. Along the way, you’ll pass wild fruit trees, herbs and native plants which your group leader will be able to point out for you. Cross small streams by balancing on bamboo bridges, or if you’re up for it, just wade through the water! Once you’ve hit the waterfall, take a swim in its pools, and enjoy a traditional lunch cooked in bamboo. Trek back to the longhouse for a chilled-out afternoon and evening.
Accommodation
  • Longhouse Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sarikei - Munsoh Waterfall trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Say goodbye to your longhouse hosts and continue on your Borneo adventure to Sibu (approximately 1.5 hours). You’ll have a bit of time to explore the markets in Sibu town in the afternoon, before heading to the airport for an evening flight bound for Kota Kinabalu. Your flight may arrive in late, so it’s best to have some dinner beforehand.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sibu - Market visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a pretty relaxed morning in Kota Kinabalu, or KK as it’s colloquially known, perhaps having a stroll along the waterfront, or walking up Signal Hill for a bird’s eye view across the skyline. You’ll be boarding another flight off to Sepilok in the afternoon, so be ready for the 1-hour private minivan transfer and 40-minute flight later on in the day. Once touched down, transfer to your resort and spend some time relaxing with a good book – you are on holiday, after all.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, visit the gentle giants of the jungle at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is the nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures there’s the option to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here, rescued sun bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. After getting your animal fix, continue by road to Bilit Village, near the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Check in to your jungle lodge and take an afternoon safari cruise along the river, getting your first taste of the verdant forest that you’ll find yourself in.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife spotting cruise
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Sepilok - Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Get ready for a cruisy day as you have two boat trips booked in for today. Travel along the Kinabatangan River, where you’ll be able to search for wildlife such as macaques, orangutan, proboscis monkeys and, if you’re lucky, even pygmy elephants. By exploring the river at different times of the day, you’ll see a range of wildlife, with sunset being an ideal time for viewing. In between the safari cruises and at night, enjoy the comforts and relaxed vibe at your jungle lodge.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife spotting cruise
  • Kinabatangan River - Morning Wildlife spotting cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today, return to Sandakan by private vehicle, and en route, stop by the Sandakan War Memorial. This monument commemorates the British and Australian Prisoners Of War (POWs) and town citizens who lost their lives in this region during the Second World War, most in, or as a result of the Sandakan and Ranau Death Marches. Continue on to Sandakan to check in to your centrally located hotel for the night. Why not gather your travel pals together for a night at one of the rooftop bars or restaurants?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave at any time after breakfast.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that Sandakan airport has daily direct flights to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur for onward travel. Please consult your travel agent for further information.

Meals

9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private Van, Boat

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Longhouse homestay (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Kuching - Heritage walk
  • Sarikei - Village walk
  • Sarikei - Munsoh Waterfall trek
  • Sibu - Market visit
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife spotting cruise
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Sepilok - Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
  • Kinabatangan River - Morning Wildlife spotting cruise
  • Sandakan - War Memorial

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. The following nights are excluded: Day 3 & 4 longhouse where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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