Best of Borneo

An island of uncharted jungles and tribal culture, Borneo is a destination that exudes adventure! Discover ‘headhunter’ heritage, see a wealth of wildlife, delve deep into nature and meet the beautiful orangutans of Sabah and Sarawak on this incredible itinerary.

Highlights

  • Experience life in a tribal longhouse
  • Spot magnificent orangutans
  • Cruise the Kinabatangan River
  • Explore Gomantong Caves
  • Walk through spectacular rainforest
  • Stand in the shadow of Mt Kinabalu

What is Included

  • Return international economy flights, taxes and current fuel surcharges
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees
  • All transportation and transfers
  • English speaking National Escort (if your group is 10 or more passengers) or Local Guides
  • Specialist advice from our experienced travel consultants
  • Comprehensive travel guides

What is Not Included

  • Travel Insurance €60.00 (+ 66 years - double premium)
  • Single room supplement from €420.00 for duration of stay
  • Tipping paid locally MYR 250 (approx. €60)

Itinerary Details

Days 1 & 2 – Kuching

Fly to Kuching where you will be met at the airport in the arrival hall by your Local Guide and/or National Escort. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer 20 minutes to your hotel and check into your room or store any luggage if your room is not ready yet. There is no sightseeing today.

Day 3 – Explore Kuching

Spend the day enjoying the diverse culture of Sarawak with a walking tour, starting at the Chinese History Museum on Kuching’s waterfront. Stroll past the traditional Chinese shop houses of Ewe Hai Street and pay a visit to a ‘sinseh’, a Chinese medicine man and see him practicing his art. Learn about the tin smithing trade at a ‘Pak Tik’ followed by a ‘Hio Chek’, a shop that sells ceremonial items, and a Chinese temple. Next you’ll be introduced to Sarawak’s delicious food, with a food tasting at a local coffee shop and a lesson on local spices on Gambier Street. Continue to the Sarawak Museum to view the natural history collection, before a relaxed sampan ride across Kuching’s river to visit a Malay village. This evening meet your guide in your hotel lobby and drive 5/10 minutes to Top-Spot Food Centre for your seafood welcome dinner. The Sarawak Museum is planning a major renovation, presumably starting by the end of 2017. Should the Sarawak Museum be still closed for renovation during your stay in Kuching, the itinerary will include a visit of the Urang Sarawak Gallery instead.

Day 4 – Bako National Park

Drive around 40 minutes out to the small Malay village of Bako before boarding a boat for 20 minutes to reach the national park. Explore the park on foot with a guide – one of Borneo’s most biodiverse areas, the diversity of flora and fauna here is incredible, and easily accessible. Following trails along streams, past caves and across plateaus, keeping an eye out for wild boar, macaques, monitor lizards and, if you’re lucky, a proboscis monkey! Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant. After dinner, you can take a leisurely stroll along the Kuching Waterfont and make your way back to your hotel.

Day 5 – Semenggoh Nature Reserve

This morning you have the opportunity to meet Borneo’s most famous native, the orangutan! Semenggoh is a centre dedicated to the rehabilitation of rescued or orphaned young orangutans – here they are taught how to survive in the wild. The area you are visiting is where the orangutans are released after their training, to leave freely in the nature reserve, so please bear in mind that even at the feeding time, it is not guaranteed that you will spot a resident. Drive for approximately 4 hours to Batang Ai, stopping at a local market, a pepper plantation and Chinese village of Lachau en route, where you will be staying on the edge of the glorious Batang Ai National Park. On arrival at Batang Ai Lake, you will take a ferry/boat across to your hotel. After your check-in, you will be at leisure for the rest of the day.

Day 6 – Batang Ai

Today you will discover more about Borneo’s native Iban people, renowned for their practice of headhunting. Head out into the wilderness in a traditional Iban longboat and cruise to a longhouse where you will meet an Iban community. Witness a performance of a traditional war dance, in full regalia, and lunch on Iban cuisine. Return to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 7 – Batang Ai – Kuching

After breakfast at the resort today, check-out and depart the resort by boat/ferry. Return to Kuching by airconditioned vehicle with an en-route stop for lunch at a local cafe. Transfer to your hotel in Kuching for check in. This evening, meet your guide in the hotel lobby for your dinner transfer. After dinner, walk back to your hotel.

Day 8 – Kuching – Kota Kinabalu

Transfer to the airport and fly over to Malaysian Borneo’s other state, Sabah, and the vibrant city of Kota

Kinabalu. On arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 9 – Kota Kinabalu

Today you will meet your guide in your hotel lobby and proceed on your walking city tour. Begin your explorations at the Sabah State Museum where you can learn about the state’s diverse cultural and natural heritage, before exploring some of the city’s beautiful architecture, including the Blue Mosque surrounded by reflecting pools and Chinese Temple with the largest statue of Kwan Yin the goddess of mercy in. Browse the piles of wares at the Handicraft Market and spice bazaar, before strolling through the oldest part of the city. Lunch will be at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, proceed on foot to the nearby Sri Melaka Restaurant to dine on traditional Malay cuisine.

Please note: Today you will be walking around the city so please ensure you are wearing comfortable footwear.

Day 10 – Kinabalu Park

Depart your hotel in Kota Kinabalu for a 2-hour drive along the ridges of the Crocker range, to arrive at the Kinabalu Park, at the foot of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo’s highest mountain, where you will spend the day exploring Kinabalu Park, Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join in the guided walk along one of the forest trails to get a first-hand impression of the Park and its unique flora before visiting the Mountain Garden with its collection of orchids and plants that are unique to Kinabalu. Watch a slide show on the natural wonders of the park after lunch. In the afternoon, after the slideshow, explore more of the forest in the park. Depart the park and return to the city and your hotel, where the rest of your day is at leisure.

Day 11 – Kota Kinabalu – Sandakan

Early this morning, before breakfast, you will transfer approx. 15 minutes to the airport for your early flight to Sandakan. Visit the Sandakan Memorial Park, which commemorates British and Australian prisoners of war during World War II. Continue into Sandakan itself and tour the city, passing the William Pryer and Sandakan Liberation monuments, and browsing the displays of the Heritage Museum and the Agnes Keith Museum. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 12 – Sepilok and the Bornean Sun Bear Centre

This morning check out of your hotel and drive 40 minutes to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where you will experience a close encounter with the orangutans, undergoing a rehabilitation program to return to the wild. Pop over the road to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre to visit the world’s smallest bear and learn about the conservation efforts to protect them. Proceed on a 2- hour drive that journeys through palm oil plantations and villages to Bilit and enjoy lunch at your lodge. Later, board a cruise along the Kinabatangan River to spot some of the abundant wildlife. The waterway sustains one of the world’s richest ecosystems, including 10 species of primates.

Please note: it is recommended to pack a smaller bag for your 2-night stay in Kinabatagan River. Your main luggage will be kept in safe storage at the hotel in Sandakan, and you will pick it up on your return. Any boat transfer/river cruise will be on a shared basis and you will have other (not Wendy Wu) customers on the boat with you. Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge/ Abai Jungle Lodge – please be aware the ecolodge is a simple facility, but is clean and comfortable, is the best option in the area for those who love to stay close to nature, and is in a position where it can be easy to spot local wildlife. Destination Information Sandakan Memorial Park – the Park is adjacent to the site of the original Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp. The park commemorates the sacrifice and suffering endured by both Australian and British soldiers who were held by the Japanese as Prisoners of War between 1942 and 1945. Day 12: Sepilok and the Bornean Sun Bear Centre Destination Information Sepilok Orangutan Centre – Sepilok offers another chance to see orangutans.

Day 13 – Kinabatangan River

Embark on an early morning cruise to Oxbow Lake, where you can spot wildlife and soak up the peaceful ambience. Returning to the lodge, the rest of the day is at leisure until the late afternoon, when you will head out for another cruise, searching for wildlife once more. You could spot anything from hornbills to pygmy elephants to orangutans!

Day 14 – Gomantong Caves

Begin the day exploring the Gomantong Caves, a magnificent and intricate system of limestone caves that are home to colonies of swiftlets and bats. Return to Sandakan for lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the airport to fly back to Kota Kinabalu. In the evening proceed on foot to the nearby Shell Plaza and enjoy dinner at D’Place. This restaurant features an array of Sabah Indigenous Foods, such a Nasi Linopod (glutinous rice cooked in a leaf), Manok Bambangan (chicken cooked with a type of wild mango), Hinava (similar to ceviche), Ambuyat (a sticky pulp from sago starch) and many more. During this evening’sfarewell dinner, there will be a cultural performance featuring different ethnic’s traditional dances. Return to the hotel on foot.

Day 15 & 16 – Depart Kota Kinabalu

Today enjoy breakfast at your hotel after which you will drive approximately 15 minutes to the airport for your departure flight, arriving in Ireland the following day.

Accommodation

Kuching – Waterfront Hotel 4* or similar (4 nights)

This hotel is well located only 200 meters from Kuching Waterfront Bazaar and St. Thomas's Cathedral.

All rooms are tastefully appointed with tea/coffee making facilities. It has an indoor pool, a fitness centre and bar/lounge.

Batang Ai – Aiman Batang Ai Resort & Retreat 4* or similar (2 nights)

Situated at the edge of the rainforest in Sarawak, Aiman Batang Ai Resort & Retreat offers comfortable accommodation in traditional style. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, walking and jogging track and a tennis court.

Kota Kinabalu – Hotel Shangrila 3* or similar (4 nights)

Located in the heart of the city. Modern rooms come with a flat-screen TV, coffee/tea making facilities and a mini fridge. Gaya Street Sunday Market and Kota Kinabalu Central Market are within 800 m away. Various dining options are located a short walk away, and feature cuisines such as Thai, Chinese, Indian and local delicacies.ivoli Café & Bar serves Asian and Western fusion dishes.

Sandakan – Four Points Sheraton 4* or similar (1 night)

Situated adjacent to Sandakan Harbour Mall in downtown Sandakan, this sea-facing hotel is a good base for exploring the area and just a 10-minute drive from the International Buddhist Temple. The rooms are tastefully furnished with safety deposit box. It has a good infinity pool.

Kinabatangan River – Abai Jungle Lodge 3* or similar (1 night)

Built entirely on stilts, Abai Jungle Lodge provides a rustic, rural setting, deep within the interior of Sabah. Perched on the Kinabatangan River, guests are immersed in their surroundings at all times, with an abundance of wildlife to be found right on your doorstep. The spacious wooden rooms are connected by boardwalks and are within an easy walk to the cosy communal restaurant, which serves locally-sourced meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fantastic nature walks and bird watch towers surround the property, allowing you every opportunity to see the famed wildlife of Borneo.

Proposed Flights

Carrier

From / To

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Emirates

Dublin/Dubai

13.50 hrs.

00.25 hrs. *

Emirates

Dubai/Kuala Lumpur

03.10 hrs.

14.25 hrs.

Emirates

Kuala Lumpur/Kuching

16.45 hrs.

18.30 hrs.

Emirates

Kota Kinabalu/Kuala Lumpur

05.35 hrs.

08.00 hrs.

Emirates

Kuala Lumpur/Dubai

10.15 hrs.

13.20 hrs.

Emirates

Dubai/Dublin

14.35 hrs.

18.55 hrs.

*Next day arrival

Flight times and details may be subject to change

Dates & Prices

Depart Date

Arrive Ireland

Price PPS

Sat 28 Apr

Sun 13 May

€4,790.00

Sat 19 May

Sun 03 Jun

€4,790.00

Sat 15 Sep

Sun 30 Sep

€4,790.00

Important Information

  • Passport: your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date
  • Visa: For EU citizens, entry visas for Malaysia and Borneo are not required within a 3-month period.
  • Vaccinations: please check with your local GP or Tropical Medicine Centre for up to date information
  • Climate: between the months of March and October is considered the dry season and so the best time to visit Borneo. It will be hot and humid throughout, with temperatures rising towards the end of the season before the rains come

How to reserve a place(s): a completed booking form with deposit of €500.00 per person (payment by cash/cheque /debit or credit card) should be sent directly to MAP Travel. The balance will be due 10 weeks prior to departure – payment by cash/cheque or debit card.

In conjunction with Wendy Wu Tours