Borneo Discovery

Borneo Discovery

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 10 days
Type: PrivateExclusive departures for you, your friends and family


As the world’s third largest island, Borneo straddles both Indonesia and Malaysia and is home to the tiny nation of Brunei; dominated by lush rainforests it contains a breathtaking array of flora and fauna, to which new species are added each year as more remote parts are explored. Once known as a land of headhunters, Borneo has an allure very different from the rest of South East Asia and on this short private trip we aim to discover the very best that it has to offer. We explore the vast cave systems of Mulu, some of the largest on the planet, and walk forest trails in the shadow of the mighty Mount Kinabalu, a foreboding peak that is the highest in South East Asia. With good quality accommodation and internal flights included, this trip offers superb opportunities to get up close to both the wildlife and the people of this enigmatic island, a glimpse into a land that has long defied efforts to tame it and which is still today partially unexplored.

Tour Rating

Fitness ●●○○○ | Off the Beaten Track ●●●○○ | Culture ●●●●● | History ●●●○○| Wildlife ●●●●●

Tour Pace


Tour Highlights

  • Sandakan and the Kinabatangan River
  • The world’s largest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Kinabalu National Park, a World Heritage Site which covers 754 sq. Km
  • Batang Ai Longhouse, an authentic dwelling of the local Iban tribe

Tour Essentials

Accommodation: Mix of Comfortable hotels & longhouse accommodation
Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary
Group Size: Private Tour
Start Point: Kuching
End Point: Sandakan
Transport: Private minibuses and private boats
Countries: Borneo

Tour Itinerary Notes

While our intention is to adhere to the day-by-day itinerary as printed below, a degree of flexibility is built in. Overnight stops may vary from those suggested and on occasions alternative accommodation, of a similar standard to that named below, will be used.

Tour Guide

Our guides are a key strength, chosen for their knowledge of and passion for the areas in which they work. All of our guides are carefully hand-picked, and are not just passing through these countries, but are usually locally born. Unlike some companies it should be noted we do not send a guide or tour leader from Undiscovered Destinations in the UK as we have every confidence in our locally appointed representative who is responsible for operating the tour on our behalf. Where possible you will have the same guide throughout your trip but on occasions it may be necessary to change the guide at one or more points during the tour.

Day 1 – Arrive in Kuching 

You will be met on arrival at Kuching International Airport and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon we take a Kuching city tour. Visit the old White Rajah buildings, open markets, temples and mosques. Finally visit the Sarawak Museum with its ethnologic and fauna exhibits before returning to your hotel. Overnight at the Hilton Kuching or similar 

Day 2 - Kuching to Batang Ai

After our breakfast at the hotel, we depart for an overland transfer to Batang Ai. Stop en route at the Semenggoh Orang Utan conservation centre and at a traditional open market. On arrival at Batang Ai jetty we travel by boat to the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. The evening is at your leisure to enjoy the facilities at the resort. Overnight at the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse or similar (BD) 

Day 3 - Batang Ai 

This morning we will visit the Batang Ai Longhouse, an authentic dwelling of the local Iban tribe who used to be head hunters in the past. We use a traditional longboat (Perahu Panjai) and explore the longhouse and learn about the lifestyle of these friendly natives. Witness a traditional dance (ngajat) followed by demonstrations on the use of a blowpipe, an ancient hunting weapon of the natives that spew poisonous darts with deadly accuracy. We return to Hilton Batang Ai in the early afternoon. Overnight at the Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse or similar (BD)

Day 4 - Batang Ai to Kuching

After breakfast we travel back to the jetty by boat and overland journey to Kuching. Lunch (not included) is taken en route. Overnight at the Hilton Kuching or similar (B)

Day 5 - Kuching to Mulu Caves

Transfer to the airport and catch our flight to Mulu. Check in at the Royal Mulu Resort and after lunch, depart for Mulu National Park Headquarters where you will take a 3km elevated plank-walk to Lang Cave, the largest cave passage in the world (2161m). Explore Lang Cave with its magnificent stalactites and stalagmites, before proceeding to the Deer Cave to see “Lincoln’s Profile” where thousands of free-tailed bats inhabit the cave. Witness the spectacle as dusk approaches when thousands of these bats emerge from the cave in formation to forage for insects. Experience night trekking through the jungles back to Park Headquarters en route back to your resort. Overnight at Mulu Marriot Resort (BD)

Day 6 - Mulu Caves 

Take a boat ride to the Wind Cave and explore the “King’s Room” before proceeding to Clearwater Cave. Inside the cave you can see the finer details of the limestone formations. We return to the hotel and later in the afternoon visit the world's longest tree-canopy walk, allowing an amazing insight to the lush forest. Overnight at Mulu Marriot Resort (BD)

Day 7 - Kota Kinabalu

Your time is free until the transfer to the airport to take the flight to Kota Kinabalu. Meet and greet at the airport and check in at the hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight at the Pacific Sutera Kota Kinabalu (B)

Day 8 - Kinabalu National Park

Today we visit Sabah’s most popular National Park, the Kinabalu National Park, a World Heritage Site which covers 754 sq. km and is the home of the tallest mountain in South East Asia. We take the Mesilau Nature trail, and look for the carnivorous plants (Nepenthes) along the way. We get a majestic view of Mount Kinabalu, towering 4,095m above lush tropical jungles. Lunch is taken in a local restaurant before we return to the hotel in the afternoon. Overnight at the Pacific Sutera Kota Kinabalu (BL)

Day 9 – Sandakan and the Kinabatangan River

A very early transfer to the airport for your flight to Sandakan. The tour begins with a visit to the world’s largest Orangutan Rehabilitation Center at Sepilok where we may witness the Orangutan feeding by the rangers and get to walk along the plank wood to the realm of the tropical lowland jungle. We also visit the outstanding Rainforest Discovery Centre with its rich botanical garden and pristine jungle. Our journey then continues along the Kinabatangan River for a 2 hour trip, passing by local villages and the lush green rainforest. We arrive at the lodge in time for lunch and then take a late afternoon cruise up the Kinabatangan River to search for wildlife, notably the proboscis monkeys. The fauna of the lower Kinabatangan Reserve includes elephants, hornbills, gibbons, and many birds. Overnight at Sukau Lodhe or similar (BLD)

Day 10 - Kinabatangan River & Sandakan

Wake up to the calls of hornbills and other exotic birds. We travel to the Ox Bow Lake to observe the wildlife and experience the early morning river ambience, looking for the many birds and monkeys that forage for food in the early morning. Return to lodge for breakfast and travel overland back to Sandakan and transfer to airport for your onward flight.

On Day 10 the transfer from Sukau to Sandakan can be replaced with a transfer to Semporna jetty, where you can embark for a beach holiday in the islands of Mataking, Pom Pom, Kapalai and Mabul. Please contact us for details. 

Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation on twin share basis
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

International flights
Any airport taxes
Travel Insurance

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