Borneo Culture and Nature Experience
19 DAYS / 18 NIGHTS
Borneo is known for its incredibly diverse culture, pristine jungles, and unique wildlife. The Borneo Culture and Nature Experience takes you on a 19 day journey through Borneo for a one of a kind trip to experience all of it.
Along the way, you will experience unique cultures and customs mixed with some of Borneo’s most famous nature and wildlife areas.
Highlights of this tour include:
- Bako National Park.
- Mulu National Park’s pinnacles and world famous caves.
- An intimate homestay experience with a wonderful Bidayuh family.
- 2 nights at Lamin Dana Homestay to learn about the ancient Melanau tribe’s heritage, history and culture.
- A visit to turtle island.
- A 3 day wildlife safari on the scenic Kinabatangan River.
Contact us for pricing. As always, we can tailor this trip to fit you. Just hit us up.
Day 1: Arrive in Kuching, Sarawak
Your tour starts in Kuching, Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states located in Borneo. Upon arrival at the Kuching International Airport, meet your driver for a transfer to your accommodation in the city centre. You will get checked in and have the rest of the day free at leisure. Make sure to make your way to the historic waterfront and sample some of Sarawak’s traditional cuisine.
Day 2: A Visit to Bako National Park
Today you will visit Bako National Park: a lovely park just outside of Kuching that boasts loads of wildlife, jungle diving into the sea, and secluded beaches.
When you arrive at Bako, you will explore the boardwalks and mangrove trails that the national park has to offer. Keep an eye out for unique wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, 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.
Day 3: Free Day in Kuching
Spend the whole day exploring Kuching. We’ve added this free day so you can experience the city at your own pace. Visit the museums and try out some of the delicious local cuisine!
Day 4: Cultural Experience at Saloma Homestay
This morning you will head about an hour outside of Kuching to spend a few days with a lovely Bidayuh family in the countryside. On the way you will stop by the Semenggoh Orangutan Centre. Observe these great apes while they swing down from the treetops to feast on fruit during the feeding time. After the orangutan centre, proceed to Kampung Sadir where you will check in at Saloma Homestay. Relax while your hosts prepare a local Bidayuh lunch. All the ingredients are grown locally or sourced from the jungle.
After lunch, the family will take you on a village tour where you will get to visit an original Bidayuh longhouse, the local school, and the mat weaver’s house. Along the way, you will learn about the culture of the tribe and find out how bamboo plays a big part of the lives of the natives. Finally, you will return to the Homestay in the afternoon and spend some time free at leisure before dinner is served. After dinner, you can go for a guided night walk in search of fireflies and other nocturnal creatures, if you like.
Day 5: Morning Jungle Trekking then Return to Kuching
Today you will have to head back to kuching, but not before trekking the jungle trails to a beautiful clear-water waterfall. Take a dip in the refreshing water and enjoy the natural setting, surrounded by greenery and jungle sounds.
Your guide is an excellent source of information and will educate you on the flora and fauna that is found in these parts of Borneo. Additionally, your guide will describe how the natives harvest jungle produce and use materials from the jungle for day to day life.
After the trek, you will be shuttled back to Kuching. You should arrive at your hotel in the mid-afternoon, so you will have some free time to relax or wander around some more.
Day 6: Depart for Sibu on the Ferry
In the morning you will board the ferry to Sarikei and then transfer overland to Sibu as you explore this off the beaten path area and get an idea of the day to day life of the residents of Borneo.
Sarikei is known as “Food Basket” & “Pineapple Town”. Here, you’ll get to savor local delicacies for lunch at a local open air restaurant. You’ll come across tropical fruits, locally grown pepper, and many other types of local produce. As we drive you through this riverine town, you will feel yourself slip back in time to a different era where life was simpler and more relaxing.
From Sarikei you will journey onwards to Sibu and stop by fruit stalls by the countryside where you can tantalize your taste buds to a barrage of tropical flavors of fruit ranging from the familiar such as tangerines and pineapples to the bizarre such as durian and cempedak.
Tonight you will stay in Sibu. Make sure to join us on a tour of the Sibu Night Market. There is tons of food here and all sorts of gadgets, textiles, utensils & more.
Day 7: Sibu to the Lamin Dana Homestay
Today you will travel from Sibu to a Melanau homestay called Lamin Dana, but you’ll have some time in Sibu in the morning. Take a leisurely stroll on a beautiful esplanade alongside Malaysia’s longest river – The Mighty Rajang River. See how the people use River Taxis of all types and forms to move along the river. Walk on to a beautifully crafted Chinese Temple, climb up the Seven Storey Pagoda and take a panoramic view of SIbu’s waterfront life. You will continue towards the Sibu Heritage Centre. There you get to view Sibu’s history, the local communities’ cultures, lifestyles and traditions. Finally, you will end this city tour at the biggest Central Market in Malaysia with more than 1,200 stalls serving up a bedazzling variety of commodities. Here, you will get a real feel of how the people of Sibu live.
From Sibu, you will take a boat ride to Dalat Town. Along the way, you will pass Malay villages, shipyards, sago palm starch processing factories, Iban longhouses, and Melanau villages.
You will stop at the Sungai (River) Kut Melanau Village and take a glimpse into the peaceful and serene village life. The final part of the boat journey will take you through rainforest & mangrove swamp before arriving in Dalat Town.
In Dalat, you will have a short tour of the iconic Church by the river & the Jerunei Gardens before continuing on to Lamin Dana.
The Melanaus are one of the most celebrated ethnic tribes in Sarawak, known for their gentle, loving nature and seafaring skills. The authentic Melanau village houses the Melanau Cultural Centre where you will learn about their unique culture. Spend the night at this cultural heritage and listen to your hosts tell stories from the days of old.
Day 8: Depart Lamin Dana Homestay for Mukah and then Fly to Miri
Before you leave Lamin Dana, you will take a leisurely boat cruise along the dark mysterious brackish waters of Tellian River & Misan River and visit the local sago palm processing centre, that still uses the traditional methods. Sago pearls are exported all over the world for various uses in food and beverages.
After you have departed Lamin Dana, you will go to Mukah to catch a flight to Miri. Before your flight, however, you will get to visit the Mukah market. If you’re brave, you can try bizarre foods her like the sago worm and Umai, which is fresh raw fish. After that, head to the mangrove trails opposite the market where you might see crabs that climb trees, monitor lizards, and monkeys.
After lunch, you will take a short flight to Miri where you will spend the night before heading to Mulu National Park. Miri has great nightlife, so be sure to head out and try some street food or pop in to the popular Ming Cafe for cheap drinks.
Day 9: Miri to Mulu National Park
Today begins one of the highlights of this trip: a visit to Mulu National Park. You will fly from Miri to Mulu then get checked in to your accommodation.
In the afternoon, meet your guide and go on a trek to Deer Cave. The trail follows a walkway through thick, virgin forest. Deer Cave is one of the world’s largest caves, large enough to fly a jumbo jet through. After Deer Cave you will pay a visit to the neighboring Lang cave, which has a completely different look. After you have visited the caves, you will post up at the Bat Observatory to experience the evening exodus of millions of bats in search of their evening grub. It is truly a sight to behold.
Day 10: Mulu Pinnacles Trek – Day 1
Your day will start with a longboat cruise on the Melinau River to Wind cave and Clearwater cave. Enroute you will visit the Penan longhouse market at Batu Bungan. After exploring Wind and Clearwater Caves, you can enjoy a swim in the clear jungle waters before having a picnic lunch on the river’s edge. Continue your journey by longboat to Kuala Litut. From there, you will trek for 8 km to Mulu Camp 5 for an overnight stay.
Day 11: Climbing the Pinnacles
Today you will have an early breakfast and start your climb to view Pinnacles. On the way, learn about the limestone forest and the karst landscape. Although the trek is only 2.4 km long, the trail is steep and rises 1,200m in that short distance. When you reach the top, you will have a packed lunch while you marvel at the unique landscape. The descent takes 5 hours due to the treacherous terrain, but it will be worth it following the views of the Pinnacles. You will arrive back at Camp 5 for the night.
Day 12: Mulu Camp 5 to Kuala Terikan then to Limbang
After breakfast, you will trek 11.3 km to Kuala Terikan where a longboat will bring you downriver to Mentawai Park. Here, you will meet your driver for a transfer to the town of Limbang where you will stay the night.
Day 13: Limbang to Kota Kinabalu
From Limbang you will head for Sabah’s capital, Kota Kinabalu. There are two options for making your way to Kota Kinabalu. You can hop on a direct early morning flight or you can take the ferry from Limbang to the duty free island of Labuan and then on to Kota Kinabalu. The choice is yours.
Once you reach Kota Kinabalu, you will have the rest of the day to explore the city.
*Note: Flights from Limbang to KK do not run daily, so depending on your schedule they may or may not be available.
Day 14: Free Day in Kota Kinabalu
Today you have the whole day to yourself. Walk around Kota Kinabalu, or visit one of the islands that lie just off the coast (great for Snorkelling!). There are many day tour options in Kota Kinabalu, so if you want to plan something, we can arrange it for you ahead of time.
Day 15: Travel to Libaran Island
After breakfast, your driver will shuttle you to the airport for your morning flight to Sandakan. Once you arrive in Sandakan, you will take a short ride to the Sandakan Yacht Club and board a speedboat for the small tropical paradise known as Libaran Island, also known as Turtle Island.
If you’re timing is right, you will be a baby turtle release in the evening (this is dependent on whether or not they have any newly hatched turtles.) After dinner there will be a short talk about Turtle Conservation and after you can follow the ranger to patrol for turtles laying eggs.
Day 16: Relaxation Day on Libaran Island
Spend the whole day free at leisure on Libaran Island. Go snorkelling, relax on the beach, read your favorite book or work on your tan-line!
Day 17: Libaran Island to Kinabatangan River
Today you will travel to the Kinabatangan River for a 3 day wildlife safari. After you take the boat back to Sandakan, your driver will take you to Sepilok where you can visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center.
From Sepilok it’s just over an hour until you reach the Kinabatangan River.
Your safari will begin in the late afternoon as you take a boat cruise on the Kinabatangan River spotting all sorts of wildlife along the way and seeing the sun set over this large tropical river.
Day 18: Kinabatangan River Wildlife Safari
You will wake up with the sunrise for an early morning boat cruise. The morning is a great time to see the multitudes of bird species that call the river home. Additionally, proboscis monkeys are often seen jumping from tree to tree in the early mornings.
You have a bit of time in the middle of the day to catch up on a book, take a nap or sign-up for other activities.
This afternoon, you will join in another late afternoon river cruise to sight more wildlife and birdlife. As we are in nature, each river cruise offers different sightings. You may recognize some of the wildlife and birdlife from the wildlife on the first day. Your nature guide will help you with the information of each sighting.
After dinner you will go for a night walk to spot small nocturnal animals, sleeping birds, and the weird insects that inhabit the jungle.
Day 19: Leave Kinabatangan River and Journey Sandakan for Departure
Today marks the last day of the tour. You will depart from the Kinabatangan River and ride back to Sandakan. The driver will drop you at the airport for your onward flight or in town if you are continuing on.
Customize your Borneo Culture and Nature Experience
The options for customizing this tour are endless. We have a vast array of accommodation and activities to choose from, so if you want to make this trip fit your style, let us know and we will help make it perfect for you. Read on to see some examples of the things we can do:
- Upgrade accommodations.
- Private tours and transport.
- Get a guide for the duration of your trip.
- Extend or reduce the duration of the tour.
Experiences and Activities
- Increase or reduce the amount of tours and activities to fit your style.
- See more wildlife.
- Spend more time on the beach.
- See more cities.
- Do more trekking.
- Spend more time experiencing the culture.
- Go off the grid for some real adventure.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. After all, this is your holiday and you should spend it doing what you want to do. Contact us now to get started planning.
Start Planning a custom Malaysia Tour today.