From the Deer and Lang Caves to trekking the limestone formations of the Pinnacles Trail, there is so much to do and see in Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo. Taste unusual delicacies and delectably fresh fruits, tour cultural centers, and wander through rainforests with an eye keen to see wildlife. Learn more about Bako and Mulu National Parks, village life, and touring by longboat with detailed days below.

Highlights

  • Explore Bako National Park in search of rare flora and fauna 
  • Look for orangutans in the Tinting Empeliau Rainforest
  • Interact with locals and experience Melanau village life up close
  • Delve into Malaysian Cuisine with famous dishes like siet and umai
  • Ride a longboat up the Meliau river to reach the starting point for Pinnacles Trail

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival Kuching Kuching
Day 2 Hike the Rainforest of Bako National Park Kuching
Day 3 Take a longboat along the Batang Ai Hydro Lake Kuching
Day 4 Go trekking through Tinting Empeliau Rainforest Kuching
Day 5 Visit the night market in Sibu Sibu
Day 6 Take a walking tour of Sibu Sibu
Day 7 See Sago pearls being made Mukah
Day 8 Visit nearby Brunei Kuching
Day 9 See the caves of Mulu National Park Mulu
Day 10 See Penan Longhouse and trek to Camp 5 Mulu
Day 11 Trek to the Pinnacle Peak Mulu
Day 12 Return to the entrance of Mulu National Park Mulu
Day 13 Stop by the Canopy Walk at Mulu Mulu
Day 14 Departure Mulu Mulu

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Kuching

The Sarawak River flowing through Kuching

Upon arrival at the Kuching International Airport, meet your driver at the Arrival Hall for a transfer to the city center of Kuching. The drive to your accommodation will take approximately thirty minutes.

Arrive in the city center of Kuching and be dropped off at your accommodation overlooking the Sarawak River. Check-in and spend the rest of the day free at leisure. Explore the city at your own pace, stroll through the streets, and visit some of the museums if time permits.

Day 2: Hike the Rainforest of Bako National Park

Deep jungle inside Bako National Park
The deep jungle inside Bako National Park

After breakfast, meet your driver at the hotel lobby for a transfer to the Bako Village Jetty. The drive to the village will take approximately 45 minutes. Upon arrival at the jetty, register at the park’s counter and hop aboard the motorized boat. Cruise down the river towards the sea and make your way to Bako National Park.

Depending on the tide, you might have to walk a few meters through the ankle-high sea. Take a little break at the park’s headquarters and gear up for your hike through the rainforest. Explore the boardwalks and mangrove trails through the national park, and keep an eye out for unique wildlife, including the Proboscis monkey, Silverleaf monkey, macaques, mudskippers, and blue fiddler crabs. As you walk through the jungle, you will be able to spot a wide variety of birds and insects as well. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a snake or two.

After trekking the trails, return to the headquarters and have lunch at the park’s canteen. After lunch, go for another short trek in search of birds and plants. In the mid-afternoon, make your way to the jetty and get aboard the boat for your return to the Bako Village. At the village’s jetty, you will be met by your driver for a transfer back to Kuching, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

Day 3: Take a longboat along the Batang Ai Hydro Lake

Batang Ai Hydro Lake

Pick up in the morning from the hotel for a drive to the Batang Ai Reservoir. Approximately two hours from Kuching lies the Lachau Bazaar, where early lunch is served at a local coffee shop in this small native market town.

Continue further up north on the Pan-Borneo highway and reach the Batang Ai Hydro Lake. Proceed by longboat for approximately 30 minutes to the Menyang Tais jetty. Follow the path leading through the local farms to the longhouse where you will meet the hosts and relax for the rest of the day. Dinner and overnight at the longhouse.

Day 4: Go trekking through Tinting Empeliau Rainforest

Orangutan in jungle
Orangutan in jungle

Depart the longhouse after breakfast and go trekking in the rainforest. Today’s destination is an area called Tinting Empeliau, a rich rainforest where orangutans are known to live. Explore the surroundings with the guide and have lunch in the forest. Continue trekking and searching for wildlife before returning to the longhouse in the afternoon.

Spend the rest of the day free at leisure. Consider dipping your toes in the creek that runs around the longhouse before dinner. Rest well at the longhouse. 

Day 5: Visit the night market in Sibu

Dragon fruit
Dragon fruit

After breakfast, say goodbye to your local hosts and hop aboard the boat to return to the Batang Ai Jetty. At the jetty, meet and greet with the next guide that will bring you to Sarikei, the "Food Basket and Pineapple Town," which you will be able to find out for yourself during lunch at a local open-air coffeeshop. Besides tropical fruit, the town is also famous for its peppers and other local produce.

After lunch, hop in the van for a drive through this riverine town while feeling yourself slip back in time to a different, simpler small-town life. The final destination is Sibu, but on the journey, you'll stop at a fruit stall in the countryside where you can try different fruits. Treats like sweet and sour tangerines, pineapples, local bananas, and dragon fruits are incredible.

In the mid-afternoon, arrive at the hotel for check-in and some rest. In the late afternoon or early evening, join the guide for a visit to Sibu's famous night market. Be amazed by the range of food, gadgets, textiles, and other interesting items. Walk back to your hotel and have a bite at a local restaurant before calling it a day.

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Day 6: Take a walking tour of Sibu

Tua Pek Kong Temple the Beautiful Chinese Temple of the Sibu
Tua Pek Kong Temple the Beautiful Chinese Temple of the Sibu

After breakfast in the hotel, meet the guide and visit the biggest central market in all of Malaysia. More than 1,200 stalls are scattered around serving up a wide variety of goods and dishes. Find live chickens bundled in newspaper and experience how the local people do their shopping. Cut across the winding streets of the old Sibu town and soak up the scents and sights of fresh pastries being baked in ovens. Don't forget to bring a camera as this stroll is a great chance to capture unique priceless shots.

Continue to the Sibu Heritage Centre where information is found about the city's rich history, culture, lifestyle, and traditions. The last stop of this walking city tour is a beautifully crafted Chinese temple. Climb the steps up to the seven-story pagoda for a panoramic view of Sibu's waterfront.

After lunch, hop on a speed boat towards Dalat Town. The Melanaus are one of the most celebrated ethnic groups in Sarawak, mainly known for their kindness, their love for nature, and their seafaring skills. The boat ride follows the meandering Igan river, passing Malay villages, shipyards, timber, and Sago processing factories, longhouses and villages. Halfway towards Dalat, stop at small Melanau village for a glimpse of the serene village life.

Upon arrival in Dalat, visit the River Church and Jerunei Gardens that are two icons of the town. After some time exploring Dalat, proceed to Lamin Dana, an authentic Melanau village which houses the Melanau Cultural Centre. Check into the guesthouse and enjoy the surroundings in the evening. A local dinner is served.

Day 7: See Sago pearls being made

Sago pearls
Sago pearls

 

After breakfast, take a leisurely boat cruise along the dark mysterious brackish waters of Tellian River and Misan River. Visit the local Sago processing center, a cottage industry that produces Sago pearls the traditional way. Sago pearls are exported all over the world for various uses in food and beverages such as “Chendol” or “ABC,” a local delicacy.

Proceed to the Mukah market where you can experience daily local life. Sample "bizarre foods" like Siet (Sago worm) and Umai (fresh raw fish), which are two famous dishes here. Proceed to the mangrove trails opposite the Mukah fish market. Depending on weather conditions and water levels, you’ll come across crabs that climb trees, monitor lizards stalking prey, monkeys, and other wildlife.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and be dropped off at the Mukah Airport for a short flight to Miri. Upon arrival in Miri, meet your driver for a transfer to the hotel. Check-in and spend the rest of the day free at leisure.

Day 8: Visit nearby Brunei

Palm trees, seafront, bund in Brunei.
Palm trees, seafront, bund in Brunei.

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, after breakfast. Pick up from Miri hotel for transfer to nearby Brunei. Visit Seria, the oil town of Brunei. You can still see the “nodding donkeys” hard at work pumping crude oil for the country and the Billionth Barrel Monument.

Take lunch at a local restaurant, then return to Miri in the late afternoon.

Day 9: See the caves of Mulu National Park

Bats flying in Gunung Mulu national park
Bats flying in Gunung Mulu national park

Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before meeting your driver for a transfer to the airport. Fly to Mulu where you will be picked up from Mulu Airport and transferred to your accommodation. After settling in, meet your guide and proceed to the national park’s entrance.

Register at the Park’s Headquarters, then trek to the Deer and Lang Caves over the pathway. Walk inside the caves and sit at the Bat Observation Deck to view the millions of bats exiting the caves. Afterward, return to your accommodation.

Day 10: See Penan Longhouse and trek to Camp 5

ush forest scene at morning sunrise in Gunung Mulu
Lush forest scene at morning sunrise in Gunung Mulu

Wake up and have breakfast at your accommodation, then meet your guide and hop aboard the longboat. Make your way up the Meliau river and visit the Penan longhouse. Continue upstream over rapids and arrive at the Clearwater and Wind Caves.

Explore the caves with your guide. As you exit the cave, have a picnic lunch along the river. Hop in the longboat once more and make your way further upriver to Kuala Litut. Here, disembark and go for a two-hour trek to Camp 5. Arrive at the camp and settle in. Dinner and overnight in the jungle camp.

Day 11: Trek to the Pinnacle Peak

Limestone pinnacles formation at Gunung Mulu national park
Limestone pinnacles formation at Gunung Mulu national park

Wake up with the sun and have some early-morning snacks. Gear up and start climbing the Pinnacle Trail. Trek and climb to the peak while ascending 1,200 meters. Once you arrive at the top, take in views of the Pinnacles limestone formation.

Enjoy your lunch at the peak of the mountain before making your descent. Follow the same trail back to Camp 5. Arrive at the camp and spend the rest of the day free at leisure. Consider resting by the river after a long day of trekking. 

Day 12: Return to the entrance of Mulu National Park

Mulu National Park
Mulu National Park

After breakfast in the camp, make your way back to Kuala Litut and meet your boatman. Hop in the boat and slowly float back to the park’s headquarters. Arrive at the park entrance and check into your accommodation once more.

Spend the rest of the day free at leisure to relax or do some additional hikes. You can also go for some cooling massages or relax in the swimming pool.

Day 13: Stop by the Canopy Walk at Mulu

Melinau Paku River - Mulu National Park
Melinau Paku River, Mulu National Park

Enjoy breakfast at the resort. Afterward, proceed with a visit to the canopy walk and spend the rest of your day relaxing at the resort. Consult with a guide for recommendations for additional hikes or lounge by the pool before taking a dip. 

Day 14: Departure Mulu

Riding long boat on Merlinau river to Wind and Clear Water caves
Riding longboat on Merlinau river to Wind and Clear Water caves

After breakfast, spend some time free at leisure before your transfer to Mulu airport. Catch your departure flight with memories of an incredible two weeks touring Sarawak, off the beaten path. 

Map

Map of Discover Sarawak: Off the Beaten Path in Malaysian Borneo - 14 Days
Map of Discover Sarawak: Off the Beaten Path in Malaysian Borneo - 14 Days