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An island of uncharted jungles and tribal culture, Borneo is a destination that exudes adventure! Discover ‘headhunter’ heritage, see a wealth of wildlife, delve deep into nature and meet the beautiful orangutans of Sabah and Sarawak on this incredible itinerary.
Cruise the Kinabatangan River, spotting wildlife as you go
Experience traditional life in a tribal longhouse
Spot magnificent Orangutans in Semenggoh Nature Reserve
Stand in the shadow of the majestic Mount Kinabalu
Our Best of Borneo itinerary has been intricately designed for those who wish to see iconic sites and magnificent treasures. You'll travel with the assurance that all your arrangements are taken care of, with international flights, accommodation and all the touring listed below. You will be accompanied by our industry-leading National Escorts whose unparalleled knowledge and talent will turn your tour into an unforgettable experience.
Fly overnight to the relaxed and charismatic city of Kuching, Borneo’s largest city. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Spend the day enjoying the diverse culture of Sarawak with a walking tour, starting at the Chinese History Museum on Kuching's waterfront. Stroll past the traditional Chinese shop houses of Ewe Hai Street and pay a visit to a 'sinseh', a Chinese medicine man and see him practicing his art. Learn about the tin smithing trade at a 'Pak Tik' followed by a 'Hio Chek', a shop that sells ceremonial items, and a Chinese temple. Next you'll be introduced to Sarawak's delicious food, with a food lesson on local spices on Gambier Street. Continue to the Sarawak Museum and Kuching's river to visit a Malay village.
Travel out to the small Malay village of Bako before boarding a boat to reach the national park. Explore the park on foot with a guide – one of Borneo's most biodiverse areas, the diversity of flora and fauna here is incredible, and easily accessible. Following trails along streams, past caves and across plateaus, keeping an eye out for wild boar, macaques, monitor lizards and, if you are lucky, a proboscis monkey! Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant.
This morning you have the opportunity to meet Borneo's most famous native, the orangutan! Semenggoh is a centre dedicated to the rehabilitation of rescued orphaned young orangutans. The area you are visiting is where the orangutans are released after their training, to live freely in the nature reserve, so please bear in mind that even at the feeding time, it is not guaranteed that you will spot a resident. Travel to Batang Ai, stopping at a local market, a pepper plantation and Chinese village en route, where you will be staying on the edge of the glorious Batang Ai National Park.
Today you will discover more about Borneo's native Iban people, renowned for their practice of headhunting. Head out into the wilderness in a traditional Iban longboat and cruise to a longhouse where you will meet an Iban community. Witness a performance of a traditional war dance, in full regalia, and lunch on Iban cuisine. Return to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Journey back to Kuching, stopping en route for lunch at a local café.
Transfer to the airport and fly over to Malaysian Borneo's other state, Sabah, and the vibrant city of Kota Kinabalu. On arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Begin your explorations at the Sabah State Museum where you can learn about the state's diverse cultural and natural heritage, before exploring some of the city's beautiful architecture, including the Blue Mosque and Chinese Temple. Browse the piles of wares at the Handicraft Market and spice bazaar, before strolling through the oldest part of the city. Lunch will be at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, dine of traditional Malay cuisine.
Head out of the city to the foot of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo's highest mountain, where you will spend the day exploring Kinabalu Park, Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Embark on a guided walk along one of the many forest trails to discover some of the unique flora and fauna that calls the area home – you may spot orangutans, gibbons, mouse deer, hornbills and eagles, to name just a few. You’ll also visit the Mountain Garden to view its collection of orchids.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Sandakan. Visit the Sandakan Memorial Park, which commemorates British and Australian who were prisoners of war during World War II. Continue into Sandakan itself and tour the city, passing the William Pryer and Sandakan Liberation monuments, and browsing the displays of the Heritage Museum and the Agnes Keith Museum. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Sepilok offers another chance to see orangutans in their natural habitat – like Semenggoh, this is a centre for the rehabilitation of former captive and orphaned orangutans. Around 60 to 80 orangutans live free within the centre’s forest, and there may be young orangutans to visit in the nursery. Pop over the road to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre to visit the world’s smallest bear and learn about the conservation efforts to protect them. Journey through palm oil plantations and villages to Bilit and enjoy lunch at your lodge. Later, board a cruise along the Kinabatangan River.
Embark on an early morning cruise to Oxbow Lake, where you can spot wildlife and soak up the peaceful ambience. Returning to the lodge, the rest of the day is at leisure until the late afternoon, when you will head out for another cruise, searching for wildlife once more. You could spot anything from hornbills to pygmy elephants to orangutans!
Begin the day exploring the Gomantong Caves, a magnificent and intricate system of limestone caves that are home to colonies of swiftlets and bats. Return to Sandakan for lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the airport to fly back to Kota Kinabalu. This evening, dine on local flavours and enjoy a cultural dance performance.
Fly to the UK, arriving home the following day.
Wendy Wu Tours inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. We pick the right hotel for the specific destination, meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. If the hotels listed below for your tour are not available on your chosen departure date, hotels of a similar standard will be used.
In a quiet, wildlife-packed spot on the Kinabatangan River, the Abai is built entirely on stilts and connected together by boardwalks. This rustic lodge, only accessible by boat, is all about bringing guests closer to nature and has an open air communal restaurant, bird watching towers and a riverside deck. Spacious wooden rooms are simple and comfortable, with a shared veranda, ceiling fan and an en suite bathroom with shower.
Next to the Warison Square Shopping Mall and close to the vibrant restaurants and bars of The Waterfront and markets with fabulous food stalls, this hotel offers comfortable, stylish accommodation in a great location. Rooms are simple and spacious with air-conditioning, television, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, safe and en suite bathroom with shower. ...Read more
Overlooking the bay in the heart of the town, the Four Points Sheraton is also right next to the Sandakan Harbour Mall. With lovely modern facilities that include an infinity pool and fitness room, there are also plenty of places to eat and drink with 4 restaurants, a café, a lounge and a pub. Rooms are bright and stylish with contemporary touches, and boast air-conditioning, television, safe, mini bar and an en suite bathroom with shower. ...Read more
Situated on the edge of Batang Ai National Park, this hotel is surrounded by pristine nature. Designed to look like a traditional longhouse, there are tennis courts, walking tracks and an outdoor pool as well as many optional activities. There is also a waterfront bar and restaurant, where you can try traditional jungle fare! Large rooms incorporated native Bornean design and have a veranda/balcony overlooking your surroundings. There is also air-conditioning, a bathroom with a shower, fridge and tea/coffee making facilities....Read more
Set in the heart of the City of Kota Kinabalu within 10 minutes’ drive from the airport and on the doorstep of the famous Sunday Street Market. Boasting rooms with city and sea views, all featuring plasma TV’s, rain showers, comfortable beds & free high-speed internet. ...Read more
All of our tour departures include international flights and taxes in the price. If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Tour would be more ideal.
At Wendy Wu Tours we are all avid adventurers, constantly seeking out the best ways for you to experience Asia. That's why we are Asia experts and the UK's leading Asia tour operator - our customer reviews and numerous awards say it all. This website is all about showcasing both Asia's top sights and its magnificent hidden gems; about the plethora of different types of authentic and exciting experiences that we can offer you; and about giving you the very best holiday, whether it's your first visit or your 10th. Wendy Wu and the team look forward to welcoming you to Asia soon!
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