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OVERVIEW

Batang Ai National Park / Kinabatangan River / Kota Kinabalu / Mulu / Kuching

For anyone who has ever dreamed of experiencing the raw, undiluted beauty of Borneo, this is the perfect opportunity to see its highlights. Visit once-feared headhunters in their longhouse dwellings, explore vast caves shrouded in dense tropical rainforests, spot wildlife on Mount Kinabalu and cruise the spectacularly biodiverse Kinabatangan River for sightings of rare animals. This is the very best of Borneo.

Exo Travel

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Best of Borneo
Visit the Iban tribe

Visit the Iban tribe

Spend a day mingling with a once-feared headhunting tribe and homestay in a longhouse.

Experience Mulu National Park

Experience Mulu National Park

See some of the world’s largest and most spectacular caves.

See Borneo’s biodiversity

See Borneo’s biodiversity

Visit some of Borneo’s most iconic wildlife hotspots.

Exo Travel

ITINERARY

Best of Borneo - 12 Days / 11 Nights

DAY 1 - Arrive - Kuching

Exo TravelKuching Airport to Hotel Transfer (22km): 30 mins

Upon arrival at the airport in Kuching, meet with the guide and driver and receive a private transfer to the hotel for check in.

14.00 After taking some time to freshen up and relax, meet with the guide in the afternoon and head out for a Kuching city tour. Known locally as the ‘Cat City’, it won’t take long to notice why this charming name has been bestowed upon the city -there are statues and tributes to cats at nearly every street corner. While taking a look around, visit the old White Rajah buildings, open markets, temples and mosques. After the Sarawak city tour, return to the hotel.

Overnight Kuching.

DAY 2 - Kuching – Semenggoh Orang Utan - Batang Ai MealsMEALS [B|D]

Exo TravelKuching Hotel to Semenggoh Transfer (20km): 40 mins Semenggog to Batang Ai Jetty (240km): 4 hours

Breakfast at the hotel.

08.00 After breakfast at the hotel, meet with the guide and driver and depart for an overland transfer to Batang Ai. Along the way, stop at Semenggoh Orang Utan Wildlife Center and Serian City’s traditional open-air market. Then, visit a pepper farm before a short stop at Lachau Village for a peek at the area’s unique local life and a chance to shop for traditionally-made handicrafts. Afterwards, proceed to the Batang Ai Jetty. Upon arrival at the jetty, transfer by boat to the resort. Check In and then spend the rest of the evening at leisure to enjoy the facilities of the resort.

Overnight Batang Ai 

DAY 3 - Batang Ai, Full Day Longhouse Trip MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning and then depart for a visit to Batang Ai Longhouse – an authentic dwelling of the local Iban people who were once feared for their head-hunting practices (don’t worry, it’s a tradition no longer in practice!).

Explore the longhouse and learn about the lifestyle of these friendly natives whose lives are perfectly intertwined with nature. Witness a traditional dance (ngajat), which simulates the movement of a cockfight and a demonstration of a blowpipe – an ancient hunting weapon of the natives that spew poisonous darts with deadly accuracy. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at the longhouse and then return to the resort in the early afternoon

The rest of the evening is free to spend at leisure. Relax at the resort, or head out to explore the tropical surroundings independently.

Overnight Batang Ai

DAY 4 - Batang Ai - Kuching MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelBatang Ai Jetty to Kuching Hotel (260km): 4hrs20

After breakfast at the resort, be transferred to the jetty by boat and embark on an overland journey back to the city of Kuching (lunch isn’t included). Upon arrival, check in to the hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Overnight Kuching 

DAY 5 - Kuching – Mulu National Park MealsMEALS [B|D]

Exo TravelKuching Hotel to Kuching Airport Transfer (22km):30mins Mulu Airport to Mulu NP Transfer (1km): 5 mins

Recommended Flight Schedule: MH3752 KCH MZV 12:50 14:25

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and morning at leisure before being transferred to the airport for a flight to the tropical paradise of Mulu. Upon arrival, be met by the guide and driver and transfer directly to Mulu National Park Headquarters.

Please Note: Be transferred directly to Mulu National Park HQ for the afternoons activities. Please be prepared with a packed day bag and walking attire for the day upon arrival. Main Luggage will be transferred to the accommodation directly.

From here, take a 3km elevated plank-walk to Lang Cave and the adjoining Deer Cave. At 2161 metres wide, it’s considered to be the largest cave passage in the world. After checking out the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites of Lang Cave, head to Deer Cave for a look at “Lincoln’s Profile”, an attraction inhabited by thousands of free-tailed bats found in the cave. As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, witness an incredible spectacle of nature as many thousands of these bats emerge from the cave for a night of foraging in the jungle. While trekking back to the park headquarters under cover of darkness, experience an entirely different side of the rainforest as its nocturnal inhabitants come to life.

Overnight in Mulu.

DAY 6 - Mulu National Park MealsMEALS [B|L]

Breakfast at the Resort.

After breakfast at the resort, take a boat ride to Wind Cave and Explore the “King’s Room” before proceeding along plank walkways built on the sides of limestone cliffs leading to Clearwater Cave. Then, climb up the steep steps that were cut into the side of the hill to reach the entrance of Clearwater Cave. After entering the cave, spend some time to observe the incredible physical features and formations that can be found on its limestone walls.

In the afternoon, return to the resort for lunch and some free time before meeting back up with the guide for an unforgettable canopy walk. High above the forest floor, walk on an elevated platform for a look at the jungle’s unusual inhabitants who occupy areas little-seen by us ground-dwellers.

Afterwards, return to the resort and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.

Overnight Mulu National Park 

DAY 7 - Mulu National Park - Kota Kinabalu MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelMulu NP to Mulu Airport Transfer (1km): 5 mins Kota Kinabalu Airport to Kota Kinabalu Hotel (9KM): 20 mins

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the resort and relax until departing to the airport for a flight to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival at the airport, meet with the local guide and be transferred to the hotel for the evening. After check-in, relax at the hotel or head out to explore the city independently.

Overnight Kota Kinabalu 

DAY 8 - KOTA KINABALU - KUNDASANGMealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelKota Kinabalu Hotel to Kinabalu Park (90km): 2.5 hours Kinabalu Park to Poring (38km): 1hour

08:00 Today head out to the cooler climates of Kinabalu Park, home to between 5000-6000 species of plants and 430 different birds and mammals. An hour into the drive, stop at a small Dusun town of Tamparuli for a short walk across a hanging bridge to the local square and pick up a quick snack. Continue a further hour up the mountain road to Mount Kinabalu National Park. Take a walk in the Botanical Gardens and learn about the vast array of flora found in this lush park. Admire views of Mt Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest peak before lunch in the park.

14:00 This afternoon depart Kinabalu Park for Poring. On route a short visit at Kundasang War Memorial, one of the first memorials to commemorate the Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan POW camp during the death marches to Renau.  Continue to Poring Hot Springs (45km – approx. 1hr) where a stroll along a canopy walkway gives a bird’s eye view of the tropical rainforest. The Canopy Walkway is suspended between trees at a height of 40m and offers an excellent opportunity to observe wildlife which shelter from predators on the ground. If time permits, get a chance to soak in the hot sulphur pools, renowned for their therapeutic properties. 

Overnight Poring Hot Spring

DAY 9 - KUNDASANG - SANDAKANMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelPoring Hot Springs to Sabah Tea Factory(20km) 35 mins Sabah Tea to Sepilok (188km) 3 hours

08.00 – After breakfast, a short 30 min drive to Sabah Tea to take a fascinating guided tour of the tea factory and learn how raw tea leaves are processed and packed for export. (Please note the Tea Factory is closed on Sundays, Mondays & Public Holidays).

10.00 - Depart for a 3.5-hour drive to Sandakan to arrive early afternoon at the colonial style English Teahouse, a concept inspired by the famous Agnes Keith house. After lunch, a quick visit to the central market in search of spices before continuing on to Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple at the south of the city. It is located on the hilltop, with a breath-taking panoramic view of Sandakan Bay.

1700 - Late afternoon arrival into Sepilok for dinner and evening at leisure.

Overnight and Dinner at Sepilok Nature Resort 

DAY 10 - SANDAKAN - KINABATANGAN MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelSepilok to Sandakan Jetty (26km): 30mins Sandakan Jetty to Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort by boat: 2hrs

0830 Pick up at Sepilok hotel. Have luggage ready for the vehicle and depart for the Sun Bear Conservation Centre nearby. This centre aims to increase awareness of this endearing, but little-known bear species – named after the crescent shaped patch of fur on their chests that resembles the rising sun. From here walk to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the morning feeding session at 10:00.

At 11:00 in the morning, transfer by private air-conditioned minivan with the guide to Sandakan Jetty to meet the boat (Join in Basis) and transfer to the Kinabatangan River. This two-hour boat journey passes by local villages and lush rainforest and provides excellent wildlife-spotting opportunities for those looking to gander at some of Borneo’s quirky inhabitants.

At 13:00 Arrive at the lodge, check in and enjoy lunch. The Local guide will conduct a briefing on the upcoming activities and advice on recommended gear. Time in the afternoon to relax.

Late in the afternoon, at 16:30 hop on a riverboat for a cruise up the Kinabatangan River in search for wildlife - most notably, the proboscis monkeys which is endemic to Borneo. Other fauna is likely to be spotted in the Lower Kinabatangan Reserve includes elephants, hornbills, gibbons, and many birds.  Return to the lodge for dinner before mid-evening take a stroll along the boardwalk on a lookout for nocturnal animals and interesting insects.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

DAY 11 - KINABATANGANMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelCruise times: AM – 06:30, PM – 16:00. EVE – 20:00 Cruise duration will depend on wildlife spotting: approx. 2 hours

Rise early in the morning at 06:30 along with the birds and other animals of the jungle for an unforgettable river cruise to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake, a crescent shaped lake that formed when the river’s meander became so wide that it cut itself off. The stillness of the lake and relative protection provides a haven for animals and plants making for an ecosystem that’s completely distinct from that of the active river.

At 08:30, continue with a visit the local fishing village, Kampung Abai. Interact with local Orang Sungai, river people who have long inhabited the area, and observe daily activities in the fishing village.

At 10:00, return to the resort for breakfast and spend the rest of the day is at leisure before heading out in the late afternoon to watch the river activities of many primate species that become active during this time. The afternoon is a particularly advantageous time to spot wildlife and the light is perfect for photography.

After a well-deserved and hearty dinner, head out again at 20:30 for an unforgettable night river safari to see some of the jungle’s nocturnal inhabitants.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort.

DAY 12 - KINBATANGAN – SANDAKAN DEPART MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelKinabatangan Wetlands Resort to Sandakan Jetty by boat: 2hrs(Join in Basis) Sandakan Jetty to Sandakan Airport (approx..15km): 30 mins

After breakfast, spend the rest of the day freely exploring the nature boardwalk around the lodge area.

10:00 Check-out and Return to Sandakan by boat. Transfer from Sandakan Yacht Jetty to Sandakan Airport for an onward flight.

PLEASE NOTE: Onward flights to be booked from 14:00 onwards

Exo Travel

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English speaking local Guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned Vehicle for overland and transfers
  • Kinabatangan boat transfers and activities based on Join In basis with In-house English-Speaking Nature Guide

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and Domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance (must include helicopter evacuation for Malaysia)
  • Visa for Malaysia
  • All international and domestic air tickets
  • Camera/video entrance fees

IMPORTANT NOTES:

We strongly recommend the purchase of a travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Malaysia.

CONFIRMATIONS:

Please note that all the above services & package tours have not been booked yet, they are proposed for your information only. We will not launch any reservation before we receive your confirmation.
If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find out other possibility/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid as many important changes as possible.

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