An island of unchartered jungles and tribal culture, a Borneo holiday 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.
Our Best of Borneo tour will see you exploring the most iconic sites, delving into deep-rooted culture and dining on delicious cuisine.
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 Tour has been thoughtfully designed and thoroughly researched to bring you a range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which are entirely exclusive to us.
Be guests at a traditional Iban longhouse, where the tribespeople will perform a traditional war dance in full regalia and serve a traditionally prepared lunch.
Visit Borneo's best-known residents at Semenggoh Nature Reserve, a centre for rescued orangutans who, in the process of being rehabilitated, roam freely through the reserve's lush forest.
Float down the Kinabatangan River as the sun sets, keeping an eye on the jungle-filled river banks for a chance to spot hornbills, pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys.
Fly overnight to the relaxed and charismatic city of Kuching, Borneo's largest city.
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 old shop houses of Ewe Hai Street and pay visits to traditional businesses, including a 'sinseh', a Chinese medicine man. Next you'll be introduced to Sarawak's delicious food, with a tasting at a local coffee shop. Continue to the Sarawak Museum, before a sampan ride across Kuching's river to visit a Malay village.
Travel out to 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're 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 or orphaned young orangutans – here, they are taught how to survive in the wild. Visit the orangutan release area, where they live freely, in search of these beautiful but elusive creatures. After lunch, drive for approximately 4 hours to Sri Aman, where you will be checked into your hotel on arrival.
Today you will discover more about Borneo's native Iban people, renowned for their former practice of headhunting. After breakfast, drive approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to the jetty, where you will board a traditional Iban longboat for a 45-minute river journey to a tribal longhouse. On arrival, enjoy a tour of the longhouse, meeting the Iban families. 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 on 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.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Sandakan. Visit the Sandakan Memorial Park, which commemorates British and Australian 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. This evening, transfer to your Sepilok lodge at the edge of the rainforest.
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 to Bilit and enjoy lunch at your lodge. Later, board a cruise along the Kinabatangan River to spot some of the abundant wildlife.
Embark on an early morning cruise to the 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!
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.
We draw from a wide range of hotels on our holidays, each one is chosen to suit the tour you are travelling on meaning your accommodation can range from a smart business hotel in one city to a family run guesthouse in a smaller town. Here are some examples of the type of hotel you can expect to find on this tour.
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.
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.
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.
Perfectly located for Plaza Merdeka Shopping Center, The Waterfront Kuching is a forward-thinking, art-themed hotel showcasing the work of local Bornean artists. Hotel facilities include an indoor infinity pool, evening lounge bar and in-room Wi-Fi access. Breakfast is served in the hotel's Café Via Mare, with sweeping views of the Sarawak River.
Places Visited: Kuching (4N) - Sri Aman (2N) - Kota Kinabalu (4N) - Sandakan (1N) - Kinabatangan River (2N)
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. If your tour departs in less than 30 days, please call our travel experts to book.
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There are no dedicated Solo departures for this year. You can enjoy any of our tours with no Single Supplement on our Happy to Share option or explore the solo departures in other years.
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