Take a walk on the wild side, on this journey into the heart of Borneo’s spectacular natural landscapes. Sarawak and Sabah offer an amazing variety of wildlife, historic, cultural and natural attractions... and we explore the best of them on this tour.
From the warmth of Kota Kinabalu to the charming waterfront of Kuching, this incredible adventure takes us to meet the Iban tribes of the Mulu Forested region and the orangutans of Sepilok. We’ll trek the Headhunters Trail, travel by longboat up the Sarawak River, explore the famous caves of Mulu National Park and the pristine mangrove forests on entering facsinating Bako National Park. This is Borneo ....understated beauty!
Day 1 / Kota Kinabalu
There are no activities planned for today, so you are free to settle in and check out Sabah's capital city. Kota Kinabalu is located on the edge of the South China Sea and overlooks a beautiful cluster of coral-fringed islands. Its location is quite striking, set against a backdrop of the Crocker Range with the granite peaks of Mt Kinabalu in the distance. We can provide you with many options on how to spend your time exploring this city.
At 6pm we ask you to all come to the hotel foyer to meet the Tour Manager, Sue Hile and our Local Tour Leader. We will then introduce everyone, conduct an initial tour briefing and take you somewhere local for our first group dinner together. If you are out sightseeing during the day, please make sure you are back for this meeting.
Day 2 / Sandakan
This morning we fly to Sandakan, a town situated at the mouth of a picturesque bay. It's here we visit the orangutans at Sepilok Nature Reserve and learn about the excellent rehabilitation program they are running. Afterwards we head across to the Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where we get to check out the world's most smallest bear and witness the great job being done here to rehabilitate these little guys. Things get more reflective with a stop at the Sandakan War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2,400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only 6 Australians survived, and only because they had escaped. After this sobering experience & once back at our accommodation, we we'll have time to enjoy a dip in the pool, or take a stoll around the tropical grounds of the lodge.
Day 3 & 4 / Kota Kinabalu
Today we are transferred to to airport for our short return flight back to Kota Kinabalu, where we head back to our accommodation base for the next two nights. We have provided you with enough free time this afternoon and on the following day to explore the variety of options on offer and do what is most appealing to you. These options may include a visit to Kinabalu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's most important biological zones, or perhaps a short boat trip out to one of the nearby islands (ie: Sapi) to enjoy snorkelling or diving in the crystal clear waters of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
Day 5 / Limbang
This morning we board an express boat and make our way to the island of Labuan, where we change to another boat bound for Limbang. Labuan was a place of much activity during World War II, but today it is a place full of modern shops. Each journey takes between one and half to two hours, as Limbang is sandwiched between the two parts of Brunei in Sarawak. Tonight we'll spend our last night in a town before heading into the forested Mulu region.
Day 6 / Traditional Iban Longhouse, Mulu Region
Today we travel overland to Medamit, where we then continue our journey by longtail boat, to our overnight accommodation in a traditional longhouse, as guests of the very reserved and lovely Iban people. Please don't expect any comforts and be prepared or the fact that the living conditions in the longhouse are extremely basic - the night is designed to give you a first hand taste of how the Iban people live and also provide an insight into their unique customs. We will be sleeping on the ground on simple mats and it is highly recommended that you bring your own sleeping sheet.
Day 7 / Headhunter's Trail - Camp 5
This morning we farewell our Iban friends and continue our journey on foot. Our trek takes us through a section of lowland forest, known as the Headhunters Trail. This trail was originally used by Kayan warriors, who made their way through the jungle to invade the people of the Limbang region. Although the path is well used by locals, few tourists get the opportunity to experience it. Following this route, we make our way to the Melinau Gorge and to Camp 5, where we stay overnight on the floor in very basic jungle hut accommodation. It is possible to hire simple mats to sleep on.
Day 8 & 9 / Gunung Mulu National Park
After spending the night at Camp 5, we head off on foot to Long Lutut, where we catch the longboat down the Melinau River to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gunung Mulu National Park. Here we spend the next two days exploring Sarawak's largest national park, covering 544 sq km of primary rainforest, which is criss-crossed by fast flowing rivers and clear jungle streams. Mulu is dominated by three mountains – Gunung Mulu (2,376 m), Gunung Api (1,750 m) and Gunung Benarat (1,858 m). Yet many of Mulu’s greatest attractions lie deep below the surface. Hidden underneath the forested slopes of these mountains is one of the largest limestone cave systems in the world. It is truly spectacular and it's right on our doorstep, along with canopy walks, tiny trails, an impressive array of wildlife and exotic plants.
Day 10 / Kuching
We take a short fly to Miri, and then transfer to another flight for Kuching, one of the most attractive cities in South East Asia. This afternoon, we have a little time to explore this picturesque city. Fort Margherita was built by Charles Brooke in 1879 and sits on a hill opposite the waterfront - the perfect location to guard Kuching against pirates! The Istana is a shingle roofed white palace built by Charles Brook in 1870. Used during the Japanese occupation to house prisoners, it is today the residence of the Governor of Sarawak. You may also wish to visit the famous Sarawak Museum, one of the best in South East Asia, as well as take a relaxing stroll along the waterfront.
Day 11 / Kuching - Bako National Park
Today we jump in a boat for an exhiliarating trip out to Bako National Park, the oldest National Park in Sarawak. This is a truly beautiful spot with a scenic coastline fringed by mangroves and clean beaches. Bako is renowned for its secluded beauty and we spend the day exploring and observing local flora and wildlife. In Bako National Park it is extremely likely that you'll get see the rare proboscis monkey, the bearded pig, as well as four species of pitcher plants. Monitor lizards and silver leaf monkeys are also frequently seen.
Day 12 / Kuching
There is more on offer in Kuching than meets the eye, so we've extended our itinerary by one day to provide you with time to explore this diverse city at your own leisure. We have many suggestions on how you can spend your time and some of these include, a visit to the Sarawak Culutural Village, or if you want to see more orangutans in the wild, go to The Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, hire a sampan to meander slowly up and down the Sarawak River, visit one of the many interesting museums, or simply take to the streets of this compact city, where you're able explore the many shops, temples and cultural areas on foot. Kuching is a great spot to get that last minute gift or souvenir for home.
Day 13 / Goodbye Kuching
Today after breakfast it's time to say goodbye to new found friends and bid farewell to beautiful Borneo.
1 Adventurous Women® Tour Manager
1 Local English Speaking Tour Leader
All transport, excursions, sightseeing as per the itinerary
All National Park & Rehabilitation Centre Entry Fees
Accommodation: 3* Hotels (8 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Camp (1nt), Dorm (2 nts)
Meals: 12 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches & 2 Dinners
Internal Flights: Kota Kinabalu - Sandakan, Sandakan - Kota Kinabalu, Mulu - Miri, and Miri - Kuching
International Airfares - We can provide assistance with this if required, through our Travel Agent Partners.
Any visa's required
Services not mentioned in the itinerary
Late check out at hotels
Meals & Drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
Tips for guide/driver
Travel Insurance - Compulsory
This tour by it's very nature is not designed for the 5 Star Traveller. It is for the girl who has an 'adventurous spirit' and is looking for a unique and rewarding experience (Once in a Lifetime)! You should be able to adopt a "Go With The Flow" attitude, after-all we are in a foreign country and things don't always go to plan...this will help you chill out and therefore get the best out of your holiday. You will also need to be mobile without assistance - some of the sights require you to be on your feet, navigating steps and uneven surfaces at times. We also have a couple of walks as part of this tour - these walks can be achieved by anyone with a general level of fitness, but again mobility is the key, as with all of our tours.
Notice of cancellation must be in writing, with an email as an acceptable form of communication, directly to Adventurous Women with the following conditions:
Each of our Tour Operators/Service Providers have their own booking conditions & cancellation policy over and above those of Adventurous Women's booking conditions, please ensure you request them and read them carefully.
Adventurous Women's Cancellation Policy can be viewed at the bottom of this website under the heading 'Cancellation Policy'. Please ensure you read it carefully, as by paying your deposit, you acknowledge that you accept this cancellation policy, over and above that of our Service Providers.
No refund is available after departure of a tour has commenced.