Grab your hiking boots and don't forget your binoculars! This Borneo adventure is full of off-the-beaten-track experiences in areas rich in wildlife. Trek through primary rainforest, go on a riverboat safari, browse local fruit and veggie markets, and explore the jungle canopy in Poring.

Highlights

  • Visit the oldest Iban settlements in Sarawak
  • Ride a longboat to a remote jungle lodge
  • Search for wildlife via river cruise
  • Visit the most remote community on the Delok River

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Kuching - Batang Ai Nanga Sumpa Lodge
Day 2 Batang Ai Nanga Sumpa Lodge
Day 3 Batang Ai - Kuching Kuching
Day 4 Sandakan - Kinabatangan River Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Day 5 Kinabatangan River Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Day 6 Kota Kinabalu - Kinabalu National Park Kinabalu
Day 7 Kinabatangan River - Sandakan departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Kuching - Batang Ai

Bantang Ai

From Kuching - the capital of Sarawak - start your day with a drive to the Batang Ai Reservoir - home of the oldest Iban settlements in the state. On your way, stop at the Lachau Bazaar for a stroll through the shops and small native market and an early lunch at a local coffee shop. When you arrive at Batang Ai in the mid-afternoon, board a longboat and travel upriver to the remote, wildlife-rich Nanga Sumpa Lodge where'll you spend the next two nights.

Day 2: Batang Ai

Fishing with a jala

After breakfast, hike the jungle trails along the river, keeping an eye out for jungle birds and mammals. Then continue upriver by longboat to the scenic Enseluai Waterfall. Along the way (if conditions allow) your boatman may stop to demonstrate Iban-style fishing using a jala, or throw net. 

Thirty minutes upriver, you'll find the Jambu Longhouse - a community of just eight families whose claim to fame is that they're the furthest and most isolated community on the Delok River. Next stop: Enseluai Waterfall. Take some time to relax, swim, and enjoy the lush rainforest around you. Enjoy a riverside BBQ lunch prepared by your Iban hosts before returning to the lodge for the night.

Day 3: Batang Ai - Kuching

En route to Batang Ai Lake Jetty

Spend a leisurely morning swimming in the river, taking photos on the surrounding trails, and then enjoying an early lunch at the lodge before beginning the trip back downriver to Batang Ai Lake Jetty. From here, make your way back to lively Kuching. If you're still feeling adventurous when you arrive in the early evening, Kuching boasts a host of museums, historic sites, and sacred temples.

Day 4: Sandakan - Kinabatangan River

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Wave goodbye to Kuching and grab an early flight to Sandakan, where a friendly guide and an educational video on Malaysia's orangutans await. A ten-minute walk through the rainforest on wooden boardwalks will take you into the heart of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where you'll witness a feeding before heading to the nursery to see the babies. Once you've had your fill of primates (for the moment), head to the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about the world's smallest bear. 

After lunch, make your way to the Sandaken Jetty and board an eco-friendly speedboat for a journey up the Kinabatangan River to the award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way. This area is home to the shy Bornean pygmy elephant (and plenty of less-shy wildlife as well). 

Once you've settled into the lodge, head back to the river for a wildlife cruise. And if you don't see a proboscis monkey, ask for a free night cruise. Return to the lodge for a candlelight buffet dinner overlooking the mighty river. Dinner is followed by a presentation from an expert naturalist.

Day 5: Kinabatangan River

Room at the Rainforest Lodge

Wake early on your fifth day in Malaysia to catch the rainforest as it wakes, often shrouded in morning mists. After a light breakfast, board a cruise to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake and keep your binoculars handy as you search for wildlife and birds along the river. They tend to be active this time of day. Return to a full breakfast at the lodge.

After breakfast, make your way back into the jungle on an educational walking tour along the lodge's Hornbill Boardwalk with the in-house naturalist. Afterward, a little relaxation (and perhaps a nap) is in order. If you're looking for something extra special, make time for a foot spa treatment, Batik painting, or some time in the soon-to-be-completed dip pool. After afternoon tea, head out onto the river once again in search of more wildlife. Breathe in the rainforest and burn these moments into your memory as we return at sunset from our final river cruise. 

Day 6: Kota Kinabalu - Kinabalu National Park

Kinabalu National Park

On your last full day in Borneo, enjoy a leisurely, scenic drive to Kinabalu National Park. Make sure to stop and take in the views of Mt. Kinabalu in the distance at a few lookout points along the way. When you arrive at the park, lace up your hiking boots and explore the trails around the base of the mountain before proceeding to the markets of Kundasang. Enjoy lunch in a local village, then head to Poring for a canopy walk. 

Day 7: Kinabatangan River - Sandakan departure

Cruising the Kinabatangan River

After breakfast, return to Sandakan by boat where you'll have time for a quick lunch before your flight to Kota Kinabalu. Book a late flight so that you have time to visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre with its impressive information center, lofty canopy walkway, and viewing tower. Make time to explore the botanical gardens, and keep an eye out for orchids. If you still have time, make one last stop at the Sandakan Memorial Park- a memorial built to remember lost POWs of World War II. 

Map

Map of Borneo Adventure - 7 Days
Map of Borneo Adventure - 7 Days