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Back Borneo, Brunei  
Borneo and Brunei - the world's oldest rainforests
Land of the orangutan
Borneo and Brunei Wildlife Expedition
apes, longhouses, rainforests, sea turtles, sultans and a lot more
Sep 29 - Oct 11
There is no true nature and adventure traveler, whose heart would not beat faster when hearing the word "Borneo". This Southeast Asian wonderland has always been associated with rugged mountains, rainforests, rivers, caves and headhunters. It is an irresistible paradise for nature travelers, extensively covered with the oldest rainforests on Earth. During the last 100 million years, unique life has evolved to this land, such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pitcher plants, the rafflesia, macaques, elephants and hundreds of birds.
During our amazing expedition, we will attempt to encounter and photograph as many species and landscapes as possible. We will observe the largest colony of bats in the world, as they cover the skies when taking off at dusk, trek several jungle trails for wildlife, hike on the tallest mountain of Southeast Asia, watch semi-wild and wild orangutans, cruise hundreds of kilometers of lush jungle waterways, watch sea turtles lay their eggs on pristine sandy beaches, and last, but not least, visit Brunei, the richest sultanate in the world.
A true once-in-a-lifetime experience for all nature lovers and adventure travelers.
Popular combinations: Komodo Dragon Extension
Detailed itinerary:
Sep 29 Kuching
  Our exciting Borneo expedition starts in Kuching, the old colonial capital of the Malaysian part of Borneo. Most of us will probably fly via Kuala Lumpur (at least seven connections daily), but as always, you are welcome to design your own flight itinerary, as long as you arrive at Kuching before the end of the day. Everybody will be greeted and picked up at Kuching airport and escorted to our accommodation. The hotel is very centrally located, allowing us to walk around and explore the city a bit, shall we arrive earlier in the day. Once we are all together, we start our exciting Borneo program with a trip orientation and a great welcome dinner. Tomorrow our adventure begins early in the morning, so we shall retire early tonight to save energy for the two weeks that are lying ahead of us.
  Accommodation: Grand Margherita Hotel
Sep 30 Kuching/Batang Ai
  This morning we rise with the tropical sun, and depart from our hotel after a fulfilling breakfast. Our first destination is Semengoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, about 30 minutes drive from the city centre. We shall arrive at around 9 in the morning, and explore the different displays and areas of the center for an hour. At 9:30 am, the local staff will feed the orphan orangutans, which is the best and most fascinating way of getting to know these amazing apes. After the feeding, once we all took as many images as we needed, we are heading to Batang Ai Reservoir, near the Indonesian border. Our next stop en route is Serian town, where we visit the colorful local market and sample a variety of jungle products, like edible ferns, bamboo shoots and unusual jungle fruits. Later we enjoy a few more stops at local pepper, cocoa and rubber plantations, where we will learn about the local agricultural life and will have a chance to see and photograph endemic orchid and pitcher plant species, and will also have lunch through one of these stops. Upon arrival at Batang Ai Resevoire, we board a small boat that takes us across the lake, to our unique accommodation. We plan to arrive a few hours before sunset, so that we can enjoy the lush gardens, the great scenery and eventually the swimming pool. After a delicious buffet dinner, we retire early to be able to rise with the sun tomorrow and venture deep into the Bornean jungles.
  Accommodation: Hilton Batang Ai Resort
Oct 1 Batang Ai/Menyang Tais/Batang Ai
  As anywhere else in the world, the best time for seeing wildlife in the Borneo jungles is at down. Being in the water is also the quietest way to explore the jungles, so after an early breakfast, we get on our traditional river longboats and travel more than three hours upriver, into the jungles of southern Sarawak. This is the homeland of the Iban people, once fearless headhunters and pirates, they have recently transformed into peaceful farmers and fishermen of the local jungles. Iban villagers all live in one large building, called the longhouse, where each family has its own section, with several additional community areas. Today we will participate in two different longboat excursions. Those willing to see the "early morning" river and its birds, we will drive up a tributary for about an hour prior to breakfast, and will return to the resort for a fulfilling breakfast at 8:30am. At 10am, we will then depart in yet another direction, towards the Menyang Tais longhouse area. A 40 minute longboat ride will take us to a small jetty, from where we can walk 30 minutes to the community. During the walk, we shall learn about pepper plantations and other aspects of the Iban lifestyle, then sit down with the elders in the longhouse for a traditional rice wine welcoming ceremony. After the ceremony, we shall have lunch with one of the local families, experiencing the Iban traditional cuisine and hospitality. After a refreshing dip in the nearby river, we get back on our longboats and drive all the way down to Batang Ai Reservoir to our resort for a great dinner and a relaxing evening at the poolside.
  Accommodation: Hilton Batang Ai Resort
Oct 2 Batang Ai/Kuching
  Today we are heading back to Kuching, but since we are not in a rush to do so, we take the opportunity to have another great morning exploration of the jungles that surround our resort. After the early morning wildlife activity, we return to our resort for a great breakfast.
Once we are all packed, we check out and head back to the other side of the reservoir. We cross the lake by boat and start driving to Kuching, which will be interrupted by a delicious lunch en route. We shall arrive at Kuching at around 4 in the afternoon, check in at our hotel and have a short break. As the sun approaches the horizon, we walk to a nearby jetty and embark a boat at 5:30 pm, for a lovely sunset river cruise. This trip will enable us to see Kuching from a different perspective. We will experience the historical and colorful Kuching Waterfront, Astana, Fort Margherita, traditional Malay Kampong, the Satok Bridge, a Chinese temple, wetlands and more. After the cruise, we walk back to the hotel and get some good rest after a great dinner, in order to have enough energy to explore yet another breathtaking natural phenomena in the next couple of days.
  Accommodation: Grand Margherita Hotel
Oct 3 Kuching/Mulu National Park
  Today we are going to experience one of the most animal spectacles of the world: millions of bats as they depart from their caves in the lush jungles of Mulu National Park. After an early breakfast, we transfer to Kuching airport and fly to Miri at 7 am, where we change planes and take off for another flight directly to Mulu National Park. Upon arrival at 10:20, a short road transfer will take us to our lodge at the edge of this beautiful national park. Following check-in, we take a short siesta and a well-deserved lunch. Once rested and recharged, we transfer to the park headquarters and set off for a 2.5 km walk (on a boardwalk) to the nearby Lang and Deer Caves, which are part of the world’s largest cave passages. It is a moving experience as we walk though these giant caves, illuminated by light that comes through the two large entrances on either side of the mountain. As the day progresses and the sun sets behind the horizon, millions of bats will take on their wings and leave for their foraging trip, forming a twisting ribbon in the sky. An absolutely unforgettable wildlife experience. Once it is too dark to further admire the scene, we return to our lodge for a great dinner and a comfortable night.
  Accommodation: Royal Mulu Resort
Oct 4 Mulu National Park
  This morning we wake up with the fascinating noises and voices of the surrounding rainforest. After a short birding trip in the gardens and after having our breakfast on the poolside, we depart from our lodge for an hour long boat ride on the spectacular Mulu River. Our destination (with a short stop in a local Penang village) is another area of this huge cave system: Wind Cave, Moonmilk Cave and Clearwater Cave, with over 100 km of walkways inside them. This amazing underground world has not been discovered until the mid 1970s, and has only recently been opened for tourism. We spend the morning exploring the caves, and surface early afternoon in order to get back to our resort for a late lunch. After lunch, we have a well deserved long siesta, after which those interested enough, can return to Deer Cave for another viewing of the spectacular bat departure. Once we have taken all the pictures we needed and wanted to, we will return to our lodge for an excellent dinner and relaxing night.
  Accommodation: Royal Mulu Resort
Oct 5 Mulu NP/Bandar Seri Begawan
  Today we have yet another country to visit on our trip. After the last great dawn images of the misty mountain rainforests, and after a fulfilling breakfast, we drive to Mulu airport to catch our 11:15 flight back to Miri. Here we get back onto our land transportation and drive to the nearby Sungai Tujoh border of Brunei – an interesting, rich sultanate surrounded by Malaysia. After the border crossing procedure, we have lunch in Brunei and drive another two hours to the capital of the sultanate, the exotically named Bandar Seri Begawan. We check in our hotel and after a short break, walk into town to start exploring some of the most interesting sites. We will be in a key position (at a marvelous mosque) for sunset, allowing us to take amazing images of this unique place, before we return to the hotel for dinner and the night.
  Accommodation: Sheraton Hotel
Oct 6 Bandar Seri Begawan
  Our entire day is dedicated to the exploration of the capital of Brunei and its surrounding areas. The keen photographers will be out on the streets to capture those city images with the very first soft lights, before we all meet at the breakfast table of our hotel. After breakfast, we take off for our organized city tour. The first part of our exploration will be dedicated to the most interesting buildings and centrally located sites: the Morning Market, the Brunei Museum, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, the Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque and a photography stop at the entrance of the world’s largest residential palace: Istana Nurul Iman, which is the official residence of His Majesty The Sultan of Negara Brunei Darussalam. After our morning exploration, we have an excellent lunch in a local restaurant, and return to our hotel for a short break. Once we are all refreshed, we get on the road again and visit the Royal Regalia Museum. This museum has only been built in 1992, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty’s The Sultan of Brunei accession to the throne in 1967. The museum houses a collection of royal paraphernalia and also an exhibition on the Constitution of the nation. After the museum, we get on the water in a longboat again and explore the biggest Malay water village in the world. This scenic ride takes us through an area where all the houses are built on stilts. We will stop at a local home and get a chance to talk to the villagers, to understand what it is like to live on stilts over the Brunei River. Once we have tried all the local refreshments and took all the pictures we wanted, we will take our boat back to downtown area and drive back to our hotel for dinner and a great relaxing evening.
  Accommodation: Sheraton Hotel
Oct 7 Bandar Seri Begawan/Kota Kinabalu/Mt. Kinabalu NP
  This morning the active photographers will be out on the streets again with the rising sun, and as always, soon after we all meet for breakfast at the hotel. Once we have checked out, we transfer relatively early to the local airport for our morning flight at 08:40, to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah State in Borneo. After arrival, we get onto our land transportation and start driving towards the highest peak in Southeast Asia: Mount Kinabalu. Once we reached the world heritage site of Kinabalu National Park at around noon, we check in at our perfectly located chalets and gather for lunch. After lunch and a short siesta, we depart for a short drive to the Mt. Kinabalu National Park’s Timpohon Gate. The gate lies at 1.800m above sea level, so not very high for our bodies in terms of altitude, yet high enough for the local flora and fauna to change from yesterday’s lowland dipterocarp forest to montane oak and chestnut forests. This place is a birder’s and botanist’s paradise! Of the many trails that lead us into the forest, we will take the one going towards the peak. We will only hike to the first shelter, about an hour from the gate, and return on a different route, which will take us another hour. During this walk, we will have a chance to see many of the thousands of endemic orchid and pitcher plant species, and shall we be lucky enough to have an open rafflesia in the vicinity (the largest flower in the world, only open for a few days), we will also visit this absolute botanical phenomenon.
Once we are off the trail, we admire the sunset from our porches, as it paints Mt Kinabalu with pastel colors. We shall call it an early night after dinner, since tomorrow we have a long, yet fascinating day ahead of us.
  Accommodation: Kinabalu Hill Lodge
Oct 8 Mt. Kinabalu NP/Kinabatangan River
  Today we rise for a very active day in Borneo. Those who are interested, can join us on a short birding walk at sunrise, before we check out and gather for a simple but fulfilling breakfast at the national park’s restaurant. Once out of the park at around 8 am, we get on the road towards the eastern part of Kota Kinabalu district. At around 1 pm, we shall reach our destination: a lovely riverside lodge on the Kinabatangan River. Once we have checked in, we gather at the restaurant for a late lunch, which will be followed by a short siesta. At 3:30 in the afternoon, we board a local riverboat, which will take us on a fascinating river safari. Along the riverbank, we hope to see the incredible Proboscis Monkeys and several hornbill species, among others. We shall return to our comfortable lodge just after sunset, and gather for an exciting candlelit dinner after a well-deserved shower.
  Accommodation: Bilit Rainforest Lodge
Oct 9 Kinabatangan River
  Our entire day is dedicated to the exploration of this marvelous rainforest. As always, the best way to see wildlife in a thick forest is from the water, so after breakfast we take off for a long dawn boat ride on an ox-bow lake. We have excellent chances to see wildlife such as orangutans, macaques, red and silver leaf monkeys, elephants, hornbills, crocodiles, civet cats, otters and the most famous creature: the proboscis monkeys. Found only in Borneo, the male of this species has a large pendulous nose, fat belly, thick white tail and webbed feet. The bird life includes egrets, kingfishers, oriental darters, bee-eaters, hornbills and many more. After a few hours on the river, we return to our lodge for a quick coffee and biscuits, before departing again (at this time by bus) to the nearby Gomantong Caves. We visit this famous site where tens of thousands of swiftlets nest, the nest of which is used for the famous local bird’s nest soup. There are also a large number of bats and crabs in the caves, so we spend a couple of hours exploring its chambers and walkways. The bird life around the cave is particularly rich, with crested serpent eagles, kingfishers, Asian fairy bluebirds and leaf birds often sighted. After finishing our visit in early afternoon, we drive back to our lodge for a great lunch and a lovely afternoon siesta. But the evening will find us out on the water again, taking a different direction at this time, as we search for even more species of wildlife and further opportunities to photograph the amazing creatures of the forest. As always, we finish our day with a delicious dinner and save ourselves for even greater adventures tomorrow.
  Accommodation: Bilit Rainforest Lodge
Oct 10 Kinabatangan River/Sandakan/Selingan Island
  Today the keen wildlife enthusiasts rise again with the tropical sun and take part in a last river safari, while others can take the opportunity to sleep in and take it easy for the morning. Whichever way you spend your morning, we all gather at our lodge’s reception at 10 am, in order to be able to check out and take off towards our next destination, Sandakan. Our drive to Sandakan town will take about 2.5 hours, allowing us to arrive at a perfect time for yet another great local meal for lunch at the Sandakan Hotel. After our lunch, we board our private boat to the nearby island of Selingan at 1pm. After arrival, we check into our lodge and have the entire afternoon (until 6 pm) free. We can explore the island on foot, can spend the entire time in the water or can explore the small forest for birds and other creatures. Later in the afternoon, sea turtles will also start hatching at the research station’s hatchery, giving us a great opportunity to watch these tiny creatures as they struggle through a couple of feet of send before surfacing and beginning their independent lives. Selingan Island is the most important turtle breeding marine park in all of South East Asia. It is a rare experience to watch the huge green turtles lumber ashore every night, dig a hole with their flippers and lay around 100 eggs. The rangers will transfer these eggs to a hatchery for incubation for 50-60 days before hatchlings break out of their shells and scramble up through the sand and make their way to the sea. Only 3% are likely to survive due to disease and predation. If females do survive, they will return in 20 years or so to the very beach where they themselves were hatched to repeat the cycle. But since they only come ashore at night, we have to prepare ourselves for a long and arduous, but once in a lifetime evening. We gather in the local exhibition center at 6:30 pm for our orientation and to watch a lovely video, then proceed to the dining room for a buffet dinner. After dinner, it might be just question of minutes before the first turtle comes ashore and the rangers call our group, but it might take as long as until 2 am, before there will be a suitable sighting. After our dedicated viewing time is over, we return to our lodge and try to catch as much sleep as possible.
  Accommodation: Selingan Island Chalet
Oct 11 Selingan Island/Kota Kinabalu/departure
  This morning the avid photographers will have their last chances for great sunrise images over the ocean or other images from the surrounding jungles, which will be followed by an early breakfast and a 6 am private boat ride back to the mainland. From the jetty, we transfer to Sandakan Airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu, departing at 08:50 in the morning, arriving at 09:35. Here, at Kota Kinabalu Airport, our Borneo adventure comes to its official end. If you are not coming with us to the Indonesian islands of Komodo, to search for the world famous Komodo Dragons, you will fly home via Kuala Lumpur, according to your own flight arrangements. If you are going to be part of the Komodo Extension, at 10:55 we will all fly together to Kuala Lumpur and connect from there to Bali, Indonesia and start our next adventure with an overnight stay in Denpasar.
Borneo, Brunei Trip mapCopyright © WantExpeditions

Trip price: in double room: TBA
  in single room:  

Don and Joy C. from Salem:
"We thank you for your prompt and forthright responses to our many queries both prior to and during our challenging trip to Borneo. You were clearly dedicated to insuring the safety and enjoyment of all your guests and made some significant decisions to modify the program when circumstances suggested a change to provide a better product. In case there was any doubt, this trip was anything but one of those routine tours to “see all the churches while being trampled by the other tourists”. We were kept busy with a very aggressive program from dawn to dusk. The itinerary was a day by day guide to possible events with lots of surprises and photo opportunities. Your knowledge of the wildlife and your familiarity of the area are only exceeded by your positive approach and enthusiasm which was appreciated by everyone. We are eagerly looking forward to our trip to Madagascar with you ."

Trip images:

Trip price: in double room: TBA
  in single room:  
Price includes:
· all accomodation
· all meals
· all activities mentioned in the program
· all land transportation
· Water in transport vehicles
· all airport and local transfers
· all national park fees
· all entrance fees
· all local guiding fees
· international tour leader
· all tips
· all government taxes and levies
· all domestic flights

Price excludes:
· international flights
· travel insurance
· personal expenses at accommodation
· departure taxes at airports
· visa fees
· any other items not mentioned above