This intrepid, two-week adventure starts deep in the jungles of Indonesian Borneo, discovering the distinctive culture and traditions of its Dayak people. After some time in the ancient village of Tumbang Malahoi, board a three-day river cruise to venture further into the biodiverse hinterland and see endangered orangutans. Then it's time to trade the jungle for the beach as you fly east to the stunning Derawan Islands for a week of snorkeling, sunbathing, and shark-watching in a postcard-perfect island paradise.


  • Stay in a traditional Dayak longhouse 
  • Board a river cruise through dense jungles & remote villages
  • See wild orangutans on the islands of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation
  • Snorkel & swim with marine life in the Derawan Islands
  • Relax on the pristine, palm-fringed beaches of Maratua

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Palangkaraya, Borneo Tumbang Malahoi
Day 2 Discover the Dayak Culture Tumbang Malahoi
Day 3 Transfer Back to Palangkaraya Palangkaraya
Day 4 River Cruise Day 1: Set Sail   
Day 5 River Cruise Day 2: Meet Borneo's Orangutans  
Day 6 River Cruise Day 3: Visit Dayak Villages  
Day 7 Disembark in Palangkaraya, Fly to Balikpapan Balikpapan
Day 8 Transfer to the Island Paradise of Maratua Maratua
Days 9-11 Free Days in Maratua Maratua
Day 12 Snorkeling in Sangalaki & Kakaban, Transfer to Derawan Derawan
Day 13 Free Day in Derawan Derawan
Day 14 Whale Shark Spotting, Transfer to Berau Airport & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Palangkaraya, Borneo

Intricate designs on a traditional Dayak longhouse

Welcome to Borneo! Upon arrival at the Palangkaraya Tjilik Riwut Airport, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to Tumbang Malahoi, stopping en route for lunch. An important center of the Dayak culture, the village is famous for its spectacularly preserved traditional longhouse, as well as a rich heritage of craftsmanship and carving.

You'll be greeted by a welcome ceremony, then given some time to get settled into your longhouse accommodations. Later in the afternoon, join your host family for dinner, where you'll meet the village's elders and gain a fascinating insight into the local culture, history, and traditions. 

Day 2: Discover the Dayak Culture

A couple dancing outside their longhouse
A couple dancing outside their longhouse

Today you'll join a local guide for a scenic trek into the forests surrounding the village. Here you'll get to see the region's important ironwood and rubber tree plantations, earn how latex is harvested from the trees, and listen to a talk on the inspiring Dayak agricultural philosophy. After lunch at the longhouse, you'll head to a Kaharingan temple to learn more about this animistic folk religion followed by many Dayaks in Borneo's Kalimantan area.

As evening falls, enjoy a mesmerizing musical performance and dance by the Dayak people. You'll hear the stories behind the dances, and even get to try your hand at the musical traditional instruments. 

Day 3: Transfer Back to Palangkaraya

Traditional Dayak carvings

After a delightful breakfast, bid your hosts farewell and transfer back to Palangkaraya. The capital of Borneo's Central Kalimantan province, the city sits in an idyllic location between the Kahayan and the Sabangau rivers. Get checked into your hotel, then spend the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure.

Day 4: River Cruise Day 1: Set Sail 

River cruising in Borneo
Journey into the jungles of central Borneo on a river cruise

Shift gears today as you board a three-day boat trip along the rivers of central Borneo. Cruising past traditional stilted and floating houses, you'll leave the provincial capital behind and continue upriver into the depths of the lush jungle.

Stop for a canoeing excursion in the early evening, where you'll paddle across a shimmering black water lake and keep an eye out for proboscis monkeys, hornbills, and Brahmini kites. Then return to your boat for a quiet dinner and fall asleep to the gentle rhythms of the river and a jungle soundtrack.

Plan your trip to Indonesia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: River Cruise Day 2: Meet Borneo's Orangutans

Meet the rehabilitated orangutans of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

The boat continues up the Sungai Rungan today as you enjoy a riverside breakfast. Upon arrival at Palas Island, a pre-release island operated by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), you'll take a motorized canoe to observe these magnificent and endangered animals. Then continue to the BOS Education Center to meet the rehabilitated orangutans awaiting release. 

Afterward, you'll return to your boat and enjoy a hearty lunch on board while cruising towards the village of Sei Gohong. The boat will continue upstream past the orangutan pre-release islands of Kaja and Bangamat, where you can canoe around the islands for a closer look at the wildlife before heading for a refreshing swim in a nearby black water lake. Enjoy a brilliant jungle sunset as dinner is served and you spend another night on the river.

Day 6: River Cruise Day 3: Visit Dayak Villages

Borneo's river
Continue along the river towards Kanarakan

Early this morning, a car awaits to transfer you to Tangkiling Hill. Here you can visit some Dayak cultural spirit houses and make the climb to the top of the hill. After a stop for breakfast, you'll continue to the tiny riverside village of Kanarakan, where you'll be greeted by the village elders and a traditional Dayak Ngaju welcoming ceremony. Take a stroll to the village garden and rubber field, and watch demonstrations of local livelihoods like rubber tapping. Afterward, you can visit some village houses and enjoy a cup of coffee while swapping stories with the locals.

Return to the boat for lunch as you continue cruising and spend another night on the river.

Day 7: Disembark in Palangkaraya, Fly to Balikpapan

Fly to the coastal city of Balikpapan on Borneo's east coast

Enjoy breakfast with a view as you approach the village of Tanjung Sanggalang on the Kahayan River. Here a private car awaits to take you on the short trip to Bukit Rawi and Sigi to see the ancient Dayak painted sandungs (tombs) and watch a traditional dance.

Back onboard the boat, you'll cruise toward your final destination of Rambang Harbor in Palangkaraya. Say your goodbyes to the river as you disembark, then transfer to the airport to catch a flight east to the coastal city of Balikpapan. Upon arrival, a driver will take you to your hotel to check in and rest up after a busy day

Day 8: Transfer to the Island Paradise of Maratua

The bridge to paradise on Maratua

The next destination on your adventure is the island of Maratua, a haven of clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches located off the east coast of Borneo in the Derawan Islands

After breakfast, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your short flight to Berau. You'll then be transferred to a dock where a boat takes you from Tanjung Redep to the island. Get checked into your resort, where you'll spend the next four nights immersing yourself in the beauty and relaxation of this breathtaking place.

Days 9-11: Free Days in Maratua

A sunny day on Maratua's perfect beaches

The next three days are free for you to make the most of your stay on the exotic island of Maratua. Unwind on your private white sand beach, go for a dip in the resort's pool, or explore the surrounding underwater paradise with a snorkeling excursion. Don't miss a visit to the beautiful salt lake nearby or a cycling trip to the lush mangrove forest.

Day 12: Snorkeling in Sangalaki & Kakaban, Transfer to Derawan

Make your way to the nearby island of Derawan today

This morning you'll depart Maratua by boat and sail toward the islands of Sangalaki and Kakaban—spending the morning swimming and snorkeling with manta rays, green turtles, and stingless jellyfish. Surrounded by mangrove forests, the stunning underwater world is rich with biodiversity and a teeming population of colorful corals and exotic fish.

In the afternoon, climb back on board the boat to continue toward the neighboring island of Derawan, where you'll get checked into your resort and spend the next two nights on another of the breathtaking Derawan Islands.

Day 13: Free Day in Derawan

Underwater paradise of Derawan
Snorkel in the biodiverse underwater habitats of Derawan

Explore the island of Derawan at your leisure today. Soak up some sun on the pristine beaches, go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, or take a stroll through the village of the local Bajau tribe to learn more about the island's rich indigenous culture.

Day 14: Whale Shark Spotting, Transfer to Berau Airport & Departure

Whale shark
See the world's largest fish up close on today's whale shark excursion

Rise early to spend the final morning of your trip on a speedboat, searching for the island's magnificent yet elusive whale sharks. Then it's back to the island to visit the traditional fishing village of Talisayang and see some of the local activities. 

As the day draws to a close, you'll say your goodbyes to the islands and make the journey back to Berau Airport for your departing flight. Safe travels! 

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Map of Wild Borneo Expedition: Central Kalimantan & the Derawan Islands  - 14 Days
Map of Wild Borneo Expedition: Central Kalimantan & the Derawan Islands - 14 Days