Follow in Dame Judi Dench's footsteps and discover Borneo’s unique wildlife and rainforest wilds
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- Spot unique wildlife, from orangutans to sun bears
- Explore with jungle treks, longboat cruises and turtle-island stays
- Meet the residents at the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
- Visit remote tribal communities
- End in style with some white-sands relaxation
- 1 Night Kuching Sarawak
- 2 Nights Batang Ai
- 1 Night Kuching
- 1 Night Kota Kinabalu
- 1 Night Abai Jungle Lodge
- 2 Nights Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge
- 3 Nights Kota Kinabalu
Activity adventure | History & culture | Natural world | River cruise | Wildlife
Malaysian Borneo is the land that time forgot, where golden monkeys swing from vines and tribal villages crouch in jungles old. Follow in the footsteps of national treasure Dame Judi Dench on this comprehensive tour, showcasing the best of the region with transfers, local dining and best-in-location stays included throughout. On everything from longboat cruises to rainforest treks and conservation-centre visits, you’ll spot the likes of orangutans, monitor lizards and pygmy elephants, with guided touring throughout. You’ll then wrap things up with a touch of luxury at a stunning white-sands resort.
Day by day itinerary
Begin your trip with complimentary airport lounge access before your flight out to Borneo.
On touching down in Kuching, a private transfer will see you to your accommodation, the Hilton Kuching. It’s perfectly positioned in the old town, opening onto views out over the river. While you might want to relax after your flight, be sure to take in the city’s old-world charm; narrow streets lead between historic Chinese shops and colonial townhouses alike. It’s all tucked away on the banks of the Sarawak River.
Stay: The Hilton Kuching (Superior)
Today, your private driver will bring you through rice fields, rural villages and virgin rainforest to arrive at Lubok Antu where a ferry lake hop will bring you to your jungle-fringed longhouse. Weather and time permitting, you’ll get your bearings with a guided nature walk, taking in the exotic verdure and local wildlife, including Borneo’s highest density of wild orangutans. You’ll also settle in to enjoy a full-board menu of local delicacies, The next day, a private longboat cruise will see you wind along narrow tributaries to arrive at a traditional tribal house. Here, you’ll get a taste of the local culture with lunch, performances and a blowpipe demonstration.
Stay: Aiman Batang Ai Resort & Retreat (Superior)
Meals: B L D
After breakfast, retrace your bow wake with a return ferry jaunt. You’ll then again be met by a private driver for the journey back through palm plantations to Kuching and the colonial charm of your hotel. Along the way, you’ll stop for an included lunch at a small town – the chance to sample rural Malaysian life. On arrival, perhaps take some time to acquaint yourself with the city’s spectacular cultural diversity. There’s everything from South Indian mosques to Chinese dragon temples.
Stay: The Hilton Kuching (Superior)
Meals: B L
Fly from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, where a transfer will take you to the Le Meridien hotel. Check in and spend the rest of the day at leisure, exploring the town's burgeoning creative scene and tucking into some of Borneo's tastiest street food. The waterfront makes for happy strolls, and there are few better ways to end the day than with a glass or two of something local as the often-fiery sunset lights up the evening sky.
Stay: Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre/Abai Jungle Lodge
Another domestic flight brings you to Sandakan where an included transfer will see you to the nearby Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. You’ll begin with a feeding session before enjoying a topical forest walk to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, home to the world’s smallest bear. A riverboat will then bring you up the Kinabatangan and into the heart of the rainforest – the dramatic setting for your dark-timber chalet. Keep your eyes pealed for silver leaf monkeys, Bornean gibbons and wild orangutans. Then, after continuing your full-board dining, a night river cruise will showcase a spectacular firefly display before a boardwalk stroll brings you among the local nocturnal wildlife, from snakes to chirping birds.
Stay: Abai Jungle Lodge (Basic)
Meals: B L D
Waking up to the sounds of the rainforest, you’ll set off on a cruise on the Pitas Oxbow Lake, keeping your eye out for pygmy elephants stopping for a drink. After breakfast, you'll have the chance to join the locals with a tree-planting project before tucking into a traditional lunch prepared by the villagers. Then, following a cruise up the river to Sukau village, with the chance to spot troops of proboscis monkeys, you’ll then settle into your stilted chalet to enjoy the pretty waterside views. Then, before an included dinner, you’ll venture out once more on a winding tributary cruise to take in everything from crocodiles and otters to wild cats and tropical birds. The next day is just as magical as an early morning ruise sees you out onto Ox-bow Lake to hopefully spot hornbills swooping through the surrounding forests and, with luck, catch a glimpse of an orangutan or pygmy elephant on the jungled shoreline. You'll then head to the Gomantong Cave, famed for its edible bird's nests, and take a scenic stroll along its boardwalk before retuning to the lodge for a relaxing afternoon.
Stay: Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge (Basic)
Meals: B L D
Waking up to the gibbons’ calls, you’ll stop for an included lunch and a visit to the edible birds’ nests of the Gomantong Cave. Then continue, by road, to Sandakan and your flight to Kota Kinabalu. Here, a private transfer will see you to the white sands and tropical forests of your luxury spa resort, all private balconies and opulent styling. In between the beach relaxation, there’s superb snorkelling among reef-fringed islands and excellent trekking at nearby Mt. Kinablu – Malaysia’s highest mountain. There are even pristine nature walks on your doorstep along with a water sports programme that ranges from kayaking and wake boarding to windsurfing and jet skiing.
Stay: Shangri-la Rasa Ria (Superior)
Depart for UK
After breakfast, a final private transfer will see you to the airport for your overnight flight home.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £2,335 pp. incl. flights
from £2,775 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Private transfers through-out (only exception on Sandakan)
- 11 nights accommodation in a mix of 3* (Standard) and 4* (Superior) hotels, on a mix of B&B and full-board basis - see itinerary for details (Please note accommodation on Abai & Kinabatangan river is very basic, but offers the best way to experience these extraordinary locations)
- Private touring in Batang Ai with lunch
- Days 7-10 touring is on a shared basis, including a visit to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, river cruise on Kinabatangan River, local tree planting project and wildlife cruise
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
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