Journey to Borneo
Duration: 11 nights part-escorted tour
Price from: £1745pp
Kuala Lumpur 2 nights
Kuching 1 night
Batang Ai 2 nights
Damai Beach 3 nights
Sabah 3 nights
Day 1: Fly to Kuala Lumpur.
Days 2-3 Kuala Lumpur: Two days at leisure to explore the Malaysian capital, with its mix of traditional Moorish architecture, superb shopping and soaring skyscrapers. Sights include the Petronas Twin Towers, the Jamek mosque, Sultan Abdul Samad building and the railway station.
Day 4 Kuala Lumpur/Kuching: Morning flight to Kuching in Sarawak, East Malaysia. This afternoon's city tour of Kuching includes the museum with its interesting insights into history and wildlife, the Astana residence (the former home of the white Rajahs), the state mosque, the waterfront and a kampong fishing village.
Day 5 Kuching/Batang Ai: After breakfast, travel light as you journey by road (approx 155 miles/5 hours) through a scenery of typical villages, paddy fields, rubber and pepper plantations and virgin jungle. Travel deeper into the interior before transferring by boat to your longhouse style hotel which enjoys a stunning position. This evening enjoy a short nature walk.
Day 6 Batang Ai: Travel by longboat towards the Lemanak River to an Iban settlement and traditional style longhouse built on stilts deep in one of the world's oldest rainforests. Observe the ancient crafts of the Ibans as they work on the "ruai", a long communal veranda that stretches the entire length of the longhouse, before you are treated to blow pipe demonstration by traditionally clad natives. Bid farewell to a people and a way of life relatively untouched by modern civilisation and return down river on a one hour journey to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure.
As an alternative to the hotel accommodation, you may prefer to "go local" in dormitory style accommodation - an opportunity to experience an original Iban longhouse.
Day 7 Batang Ai/Damai: Journey by boat, then continue by road to Kuching and then onwards to Damai (approx 128 miles/4½ hours).
Days 8-9 Damai: Two days at leisure at Sarawak's main beach resort where pristine sandy beaches by the South China Sea are framed by the lush tropical forest of majestic Mount Santubong. You may choose to simply relax; however, for the more active there are jungle trails to explore, excellent golf as well as numerous watersports and land based activities. You may wish to visit the adjoining Sarawak Cultural Village (extra charge), a fascinating living museum where it is possible to see the ethnic diversity at a glance, be tempted by an array of handicrafts including textiles, baskets, ceramics and woodcarvings. Don't miss the cultural performance of songs and dances during your visit.
Day 10 Damai/Kuching/Sabah: Travel to Kuching for an onward flight to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah.
Day 11 Kota Kinabalu National Park: Visit Mount Kinabalu National Park, a designated World Heritage Site dominated by Borneo's highest mountain. Take a guided walk with the park naturalist to learn of the astonishing variety of flora and fauna including the smallest orchid and the tallest moss in the world. A visit is also included to Poring Hot Springs which were first developed by the Japanese during World War II. The sulphuric, hot waters of the spring are piped into open-air Japanese-style baths, where returning climbers often rest their weary limbs.
Day 12 Sabah: A day at leisure. You may opt to visit one of the five offshore islands; with their superb white sands they offer an ideal place to relax. The most popular day out is the optional tour to Sandakan and the highly recommended Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary, where you can experience a close encounter with the "Wild Men of Borneo" at the world's largest and oldest orang-utan rehabilitation centre.
Day 13 Sabah/KL: Return flight to the Malaysian capital for your onward journey.
Accommodation: Swiss Garden KL; Hilton Kuching; Aiman Batang Ai; Damai Beach Resort & Nexus Resort (Sabah beach).
Meals: Room only except days 5, 6 and 7 which includes breakfast and lunch. Dinner is also included on days 5 and 6. Lunch only is included on day 11.
Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes return international flights from the UK, private transfers between your hotels in KL, on arrival in Kuching, departure in Damai and return in Kota Kinabalu, otherwise by coach, sightseeing as outlined and 11 nights accommodation.
This tour is not recommended for the less mobile.