Borneo culture, nature & wildlife tour
Description of Borneo culture, nature & wildlife tour
The name Borneo conjures up images of impenetrable jungles and exotic wildlife, which there is of course plenty of, but the island also has much more to offer. This itinerary explores the states of Sarawak and Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, where you will discover minority cultures, sumptuous street food, magical caves, paradise islands and colourful wildlife.
Begin in Sarawak’s ‘Cat City’, Kuching, which is home to the island’s most diverse range of cuisine and the world’s highest concentration of cat statues. Meaning ‘cat’ in the mainland Malay language, Kuching is the regional capital and gateway for exploration of Sarawak. You will explore the city’s rich colonial history and ethnic diversity, as well as its rural outskirts, by bicycle. After this you will have time at leisure to explore the shops, cafes, markets and waterfront, all within easy walking distance from one another.
Next, head deeper into Sarawak to Batang Ai National Park, home to the indigenous Iban minority. Here you will visit a local community, join some of them during their daily activities and stay overnight in a longhouse. The next day you will trek into the forest and learn about the local flora before heading back towards Kuching. Spend the night in Sri Aman to break the journey and then visit the Semonggoh Wildlife Centre enroute back to the city. The center rehabilitates and releases wildlife, such as orangutans, back into the forest.
The next stage of your adventure involves flying to Sarawak’s remote northeast, home to Mulu National Park. Here you’ll spend a couple of days exploring an array of limestone caves hidden in forested valleys, before flying yet further northeast into the state of Sabah. Your first port of call is Sepilok, home to yet another orangutan rehabilitation center, in case you weren’t lucky enough to spot them in Sarawak, as well as the Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
From Sepilok you will continue overland to the Kinabatangan River, a protected area which many would argue is the best place in Malaysian Borneo to spot wildlife. Spend a couple of days here strolling along boardwalks, visiting oxbow lakes and scanning riverbanks for signs of life from inside your boat. The itinerary ends with a few nights on tropical Gaya Island, which has some beautiful white sandy beaches and is located next to a marine national park, which has excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.
PlanetWe carefully choose suppliers in Southeast Asia who reflect our responsible and sustainable ethos. Our current supplier not only has a foundation that works with, supports and advises many different projects and NGO’s in Asia, they are also Travelife certified. Travelife is an internationally accredited certification scheme that helps organisations improve the social, economic and environmental impacts they have as a business.
In our Borneo Adventure itinerary, you will be contributing directly to several wildlife sanctuaries, such as the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Sarawak, as well as the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah. These centers aim to rehabilitate rescued wildlife and release them back into the wild. You will also contribute to the maintenance and survival of protected areas, such as Batang Ai National Park, Mulu National Park, the Kinabatangan River region and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The money you pay for tourism fees, accommodation and guiding all contributes directly to the projects in these areas.
PeopleWherever possible, we encourage you to spend as much time as possible in local communities, interacting with local people to find out more about their way of life and traditional, cultural practices.
This Borneo Adventure itinerary includes plenty of opportunities to integrate with the locals. In Kuching you will not only cycle to the main sights of the city, but take a boat across the Sarawak River to Malay Village, where you will have opportunities to interact with the villagers. In Batang Ai you will stay with the Iban minority in a traditional longhouse with time spent learning about their way of life and joining in with activities.
We always ensure we use local English-speaking guides wherever possible. Our guides are fantastic ambassadors for their own regions, whether it’s explaining the history, culture or food etiquette, but best of all, they act as a bridge to the local people you meet along the way.