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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, rainforests, sea turtles, sultans, the world's largest cave systems, and Kota Kinabalu
Sep 23 - Oct 06
2017
On the top of any true nature and adventure traveler’s list there is one destination you can count on seeing in the top 10: Borneo. This Southeast Asian wonderland is extensively covered with the oldest rainforests on Earth and full of iconic wildlife such as orangutans, beautiful river systems, massive caves and rugged mountains. It is an irresistible paradise for nature travelers.

During our amazing expedition, we will explore the world's most impressive cave systems, visit the world's largest colony of bats, trek several lush jungle trails in search of wildlife, hike the tallest mountain of Southeast Asia (Kota Kinabalu), observe semi-wild orphan orangutans in beautiful natural sanctuaries, cruise pristine jungle waterways in search of truely wild orangutans as well as the quickly vanishing Borneo Pygmy elephant, observe sea turtles lay their eggs on pristine sandy beaches then watch newly hatched turtles race into the surf, 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.
Detailed itinerary:
Sep 23 Arrival/Kuching
  Our exciting Borneo expedition starts in Kuching, the old colonial capital of the Malaysian part of Borneo. Today is dedicated to arivals and you are welcome to arrive throughout the day, however our Welcome Orientation will begin at 7pm in the lobby of our hotel. Upon arrival at the airport, everyone will be greeted and picked up and escorted to our accommodation. The hotel is very centrally located, making it easy for early arivals to explore the city. 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: Comfortable 4-star city hotel
Sep 24 Kuching
  We begin the first full day of our expedition this morning with a great breakfast followed up by a road trip to Semangoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, for up close interactions with these majestic semi-wild apes. After a couple of hours photographing and observing these captivating animals, the forest will start to become hot and steamy, driving us back into our vehicles. From here we will travel back to Kuching for a nice air-conditioned lunch. Following our meal, we’ll take a tour of this beautiful city, making sure we spend a fair amount of time at the incredible natural history museum. This museum will provide an exceptional insight into the once powerful and feared head-hunting culture of the Iban people, now farmers who are quickly fading into the void of globalization and oblivion. In the early evening, we will head down to the waterfront for a lovely sunset river cruise. This boat trip will enable us to see the historical and colorful Kuching Waterfront, Astana, Fort Margherita, traditional Malay Kampong, the Satok Bridge, a Chinese temple, wetlands and more. As our day comes to an end, we’ll gather not far from our hotel in a vibrant, local, open-air seafood restaurant, for a delicious and traditional Welcome Dinner.
  Accommodation: Comfortable 4-star city hotel
Sep 25 Kuching/Mulu National Park
  Perhaps other than its orangutans and jungles, the other iconic feature of Borneo is its caves. Today we are going to experience one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles in the world: millions of bats as they depart from their caves in the lush jungles of Mulu National Park. After an early breakfast, we will transfer to Kuching airport and fly to Mulu National Park. Upon arrival, a short drive will take us to our lodge at the edge of this beautiful national park. Following a quick check-in and lunch, we will visit the park headquarters and set off for an easy 2.5 km (1.5 mile) boardwalk hike to one of the world’s largest cave passages, Lang and Deer Caves. 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. For those with the energy and drive, we will head down to an underground river and discover a glowing pool of light and water at the far end of the cave. As the day progresses and the sunset starts to set against the horizon, millions of bats will take wing and exit the cave as a twisting black ribbon in the sky. This is an absolutely impressive display of wildlife en masse. Once it is too dark to further admire the scene, we will return to our lodge for dinner and a good night’s rest.
  Accommodation: Wildlife resort/jungle lodge
Sep 26 Mulu National Park
  This morning we wake up with the fascinating noises and voices of the surrounding rainforest. After a quick breakfast, we depart from our lodge for an hour-long boat ride on the spectacular Mulu River. Our first destination is another area of this huge cave system: Cave of the Winds. It’s a tough hike up to the mouth of the cave, but as we step inside, the gentle breeze will cool us as we explore the dry river passage. Once we have descended back down from the cave, we have the option to go by longboat or to stride across a walkway, ‘Indian Jones’ style, suspended along the limestone cliffs down to the foot of Clearwater Cave. The hike up to the mouth of this cave system is steep, but the view inside is more than rewarding! Beautiful lights illuminate the cave and water inside, and there is a chance to dip our toes into the chilly water. Back down at the base and after lunch, time will be available for swimming and birding, as well as observing the pygmy squirrels that love to pilfer the remains of left over picnics. We’ll head back to our lodge in the afternoon for a quick change, then back to the park for a canopy walk to the tree tower for a chance to observe wildlife from up-on-high. Dinner will be as early as possible tonight to make ample time for one of Mulu’s most exciting and unforgettable adventures: the guided night walk to experience the sights and sounds of the many nocturnal inhabitants.
  Accommodation: Wildlife resort/jungle lodge
Sep 27 Temburong National Park
  Today we embark on our trip to Brunei, an interesting and rich sultanate surrounded by Malaysia. We will leave early this morning from a flight from Mulu to Miri, then continuing overland to the Sungai Tujoh border of Brunei, with lunch en route. After the border crossing, our next destination is the capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan. After a short break, we head toward the waterfront to catch a local boat on our journey toward our final destination, Temburong National Park. From Bandar Seri Begawan, it is roughly a 45-minute trip cruising along mangrove and mipah palm-lined waterways to Bangar Town. Here we will take a short drive to the Batang Duri riverbank, where we will board a traditional longboat for the journey along the Temburong River into the Batu Apoi forest reserve. It is an exhilarating trip along an immense and pristine rainforest, and we expect to reach our lovely jungle resort just in time for a short relaxation and dinner. After dinner we’ll grab our torches and head out to explore the forest by night. Bats will fly by and the phosphorescence in the night forest is sure to impress us.
  Accommodation: National park resort
Sep 28 Temburong National Park/Bandar Seri Begawan
  Starting with an extremely early morning, we will head directly to the forest in the pre-sunrise darkness. Our goal is to be on the canopy walk before the diurnal mammals and birds awake. As the sun’s first rays start to penetrate the horizon, the forest will come alive with a cacophony of sounds and movement. Soon the temperatures and our bellies will push us back to the lodge for a well-deserved breakfast. Next up for the day, we’ll gear up and head out for an exciting hike through the Sg Apan forest, cross streams and come up to a beautiful waterfall where we will take a short rest to bathe. We expect to be back at our lodge for lunch followed by the next leg of our trip. We will reverse yesterday’s journey on our way back to Bandar Seri Begawan. Once we have checked into our lovely hotel, we’ll head out to photograph the city and its beautiful mosques in the soft evening lights. We’ll enjoy a delicious dinner at our hotel, and perhaps one of their special “mocktails,” before retiring to bed after a long, but exciting day’s journey.
  Accommodation: Comfortable 4-star city hotel
Sep 29 Bandar Seri Begawan
  Our entire day is dedicated to the exploration of the capital of Brunei and its surrounding areas. Our group’s keen photographers will go out on the streets early to capture the city images in the soft morning light before we all meet for breakfast at our hotel. After breakfast, we take off for our organized city tour. The first part of our exploration will be dedicated to the beautiful and interesting architecture and centrally located sites: the Morning Market, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, and the Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque. We will also make a photography stop at the entrance of Istana Nurul Iman, the world’s largest residential palace and 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 rest. Once we are feeling refreshed, we get on the road again and visit the Royal Regalia Museum. A newer addition to the city, this museum was 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 along with an exhibition on Brunei’s Constitution.

After the museum, we get on the water via longboat again and explore the largest water village in the world and then onto where the proboscis monkeys roam. At some point today, we will drop by a local home for a chance to talk and gain some understanding of what it is like to live on stilts over the Brunei River. Once we have sampled all the local refreshments and have an ample amount of pictures, we will take our boat back to the downtown area and head back to our hotel for dinner and a great relaxing evening.
  Accommodation: Comfortable 4-star city hotel
Sep 30 Bandar Seri Begawan/Mt. Kinabalu National Park
  This morning the active photographers will be out on the streets again with the rising sun followed up with our whole group meeting for breakfast at the hotel. We will need to check out and transfer to the local airport relatively early for our morning flight to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah State in Borneo. Upon arrival, we will start our drive towards the highest peak in Southeast Asia: Mount Kinabalu. En route we’ll have a “bush break” at Nabalu handicraft and fruit market, which is also a great place for photographs with Mount Kinabalu in the distance. Once we reach the world heritage site of Kinabalu National Park, we will check into our villa and head to lunch. Since we have been pushing hard for several days, we’ll take the remaining portion of the day off so that we can rest and charge up, which is particularly important for our ambitious group members who wish to climb to the summit of Kota Kinabalu.
  Accommodation: Mountain lodge
Oct 1 Mt. Kinabalu National Park
  Later today, we will be separating into two groups. Group A will be made of the members who wish to make the spectacular feat of climbing all the way to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. Group B will encompass our remaining members who will participate in a portion of this hike followed by an afternoon of plant exploration.
Starting early this morning, we will enjoy a carbohydrate-filled breakfast to prepare for our exciting hike to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu! After checking in for the hike, we will all proceed to the Timpohon Gate. The gate lies at 1.800m (5.900 ft) above sea level, not a very high altitude for our bodies, yet high enough for the local flora and fauna to change from yesterday’s lowland dipterocarp forest to montane oak and chestnut forests. In the right conditions, this place is a birder and botanist’s paradise! Our goal is to reach the first shelter, about an hour or two from the gate, depending on our speed. At this point, we will part ways and send good luck sentiments to our Group A members who will be continuing the ascent to the top. Climbers continuing onward will spend the night at Laban Rata (a basic mountain shelter), and resuming their ascent to the peak at 2:30am.

Those of us in Group B, we will turnaround at the first shelter, making our way to an extraordinary area of the park where we’ll enjoy the chance to see many of the thousands of endemic and rare orchids, pitcher plants, lush ferns, and intriguing club mosses. Once we return to our villa, we’ll enjoy lunch and a short siesta. In the early afternoon, we will head off to visit the Centre of Plant Diversity, home to some of the world’s most sought after, rare, and invaluable orchid species on earth. Dinner tonight will be at the park headquarters, and then it’s off to bed for a great night’s sleep!
  Accommodation: Mountain lodge
Oct 2 Mt. Kinabalu National Park
  Our Group A team members who decided to summit Mt. Kinabalu, this morning will definitely provide a rewarding moment in our lives as we take our final steps to the top of the world and take in the breathtaking views. But, alas, a long and hard day is still ahead of us. We have the chance to descend the summit in the same way we approached or, for those of us up for a challenge, the heart-pounding via ferrata awaits.

Meanwhile, our members in Group B woke up in our comfortable beds, and we will be waking before sunrise and
head out for some morning birding before breakfast. After breakfast, we’ll take off to explore another trail before we meet up at the park office for a guided 1-2 hour walk with a local mountain guide. We will enjoy a late lunch, then return back to our chalets to greet our weary and worn climbers, who will be ready for a good meal and a good night’s rest!
  Accommodation: Mountain lodge
Oct 3 Kinabatangan River
  Today we travel to the far eastern side of Borneo for more exciting jungle adventures! We won’t have much time this morning to relax since we will need to have breakfast and hit the road for a drive to our next destination. By the early afternoon we’ll reach our night’s accomodation, a lovely riverside lodge on the Kinabatangan River. Once we have checked in, we gather at the restaurant for a late lunch and follow it up with a short siesta. Today’s afternoon event is a fascinating river safari on a local riverboat. Along the riverbank, we will have a second chance to search out the incredible proboscis monkeys and several hornbill species. If we are lucky, we may also encounter Borneo pygmy elephants and wild orangutans! We will return to our comfortable lodge just after sunset, and gather for an exciting candlelit dinner after a well-deserved shower.
  Accommodation: Riverside lodge
Oct 4 Kinabatangan River
  Our entire day is dedicated to the exploration of the marvelous surrounding 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 boat ride on an ox-bow lake. We have an excellent chance to see many wildlife animals such as orangutans, macaques, red and silver leaf monkeys, elephants, hornbills, crocodiles, civet cats, otters and the ever-sought-after proboscis monkeys. 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 for a bus ride to the nearby Gomantong Caves. This is a very famous site where tens of thousands of swiftlets are to be found and the nest of which is used for a famous local 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 often sightings of crested serpent eagles, kingfishers, Asian fairy bluebirds, and leaf birds.

After finishing our visit in the 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 as we search for more species of wildlife and further opportunities to photograph the amazing creatures of the forest. We finish our day with a delicious dinner and ready ourselves for even greater adventures tomorrow.
  Accommodation: Riverside lodge
Oct 5 Kinabatangan River/Selingan Island
  Today the keen wildlife enthusiasts will 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 for breakfast before checking out and driving to Sandakan, where we board our private boat to the nearby island of Selingan. The entire afternoon will find us free to rest and explore as we choose. For such a small island, there is a lot to see and do. One of the most popular afternoon adventures is snorkeling! For those of wanting to stay dry, megapods nest on the island, and one of the greatest challenges is capturing a good photo of this fast and elusive creature.

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, dig a hole with their flippers and lay around 100 eggs. The rangers will transfer these eggs to a hatchery and provide incubation for 50-60 days before the hatchlings break out of their shells. These hatchlings will then be released, giving us the awesome opportunity to watch these tiny creatures as they struggle over a couple of feet of sand before reaching the water and beginning their independent lives. Only 3% are likely to survive due to disease and predation, but if females do survive, they will return in about 20 years to the very same beach to repeat the cycle.

We will gather in the early evening at the local exhibition center for our orientation and to watch a lovely video before proceeding to the dining room for dinner. The timing of when the first female turtles come ashore varies greatly, so it might be just minutes after dinner or possibly at 2 am before our group is able to get a suitable sighting. After our dedicated viewing time is over, we will return to our lodge and try to catch as much sleep as possible.
  Accommodation: Beach resort
Oct 6 Selingan Island/Kota Kinabalu/Departure
  This morning the avid photographers will have their last chances for great sunrise images over the ocean or the surrounding jungles. We will all need to gather for an early breakfast and an early private boat ride back to the mainland. From the jetty, we will transfer to the Sandakan Airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu. 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 according to your own flight arrangements. If you are going to be a part of the Komodo Extension, 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: USD 7,699
  in single room: USD 8,199


Uwe Haller from Calw:
"After traveling for the second time with Wildlife Nature and Travel, I'm still amazed how much ground can be covered and memories can be captured in two weeks. Jessica's “close to the traveler” approach ensures a pleasant experience for all participants and the ability to pursue his/her interests: absorb the environment/culture, gather the most information from the knowledgeable local and international guides or be the trip’s shutterbug. Expedition #3 is already booked and #4 in the works."

Trip images:


Trip price: in double room: USD 7,699
  in single room: USD 8,199
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
· all boat excursions

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