SHORTLIST

Premium Borneo in Depth

Travel with a local leader on this 12-day Premium adventure to uncover Borneo’s natural wonders, fascinating culture, history and ancient traditions. Journey to the jungles of Sabah and Sarawak, learn about the Iban way of life deep within Batang Ai National Park, get swept up in the frenetic energy of Kuching, connect with nature at the Kinabatangan River and visit an Orangutan rehabilitation centre in Sandakan. From dense rainforests to misty rivers and jungle valleys, this diverse island is a joy to explore.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip except for nights 2 and 3 (Batang Ai) and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 
3. This trip includes domestic flights. The luggage allowance is 15kg for check in luggage and 7kg for carry on.
4. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Eastern Sabah before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. Further information can be found in our "Safety" section of the Essential Trip Information. You can find links to prominent government travel advisories our Travel Alerts page https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts
5. Please check and monitor for any entry requirements update through this website:https://covidprotocol.moh.gov.my/.
6. Our feature stay for the following departures will be Abai Jungle Lodge
TMPB240104
TMPB240412
TMPB240615
TMPB240707
TMPB241005

Tour details
Tour Provider Intrepid Travel
Price From
$6,094
Number of Days
12
Start Location
Kuching, Malaysia
End Location
Sandakan, Malaysia
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
1 to 12
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Adventure
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Itinerary Open all
Day 1: Kuching
Welcome to Borneo! Your adventure begins in the animated city of Kuching. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel, where you'll meet your tour leader and small group for a 6pm welcome meeting. If you arrive early, you may like to take a stroll along Kuching’s scenic waterfront, stopping in at a local cafe to watch life unfold in front of you, or visit the Borneo Cultural Museum. After your meeting, your leader will help you get acquainted with the city on a walk to one of Kuching’s food courts that’s popular with the locals, where you can sample all manner of traditional delights under one roof. Kuching really is a food lover’s paradise!
Day 2: Batang Ai National Park
This morning, begin your journey to Batang Ai National Park. The remote and lush rainforests of this park are alive with the calls of hornbills and gibbons, and home to the highest density of wild orangutans in central Borneo. The Iban people have called these rainforests home for 400 years, with entire villages living under one roof in longhouses built alongside the river. Hidden away from the modern world, these communities have retained centuries-old traditions. Stop off at the native market in Lachau where you can pick up locally made goods like woven baskets and traditional Iban clothing, and something tasty for lunch. Then take a longboat down the Delok river to your accommodation for the evening. Arrive at the serene and secluded Nanga Sumpa lodge, tucked away among vegetation on the riverbank. The operator of the Nanga Sumpa Lodge has had a long-standing relationship with the community, creating jobs and involvement so people benefit from tourism, as well a scholarship fund to boost children's education in the community. Tonight, you'll enjoy a traditional dinner at the lodge.
Day 3: Batang Ai National Park
After a peaceful breakfast surrounded by nature, take a 2-hour walk through the jungle, passing local farms, orchards, and plantations as your leader shares stories from the region and teaches you about foraging for edible delights and local medicinal plants. Next, take a longboat up the river to the beautiful Enseluai waterfall. Keep your eyes open in case of a rare orangutan sighting! Here, you'll enjoy some time to relax, swim and soak up your idyllic surroundings. At a scenic picnic spot, you'll see how local ingredients turn into a wonderful meal. In the afternoon you'll cruise back to Nanga Sumpa and enjoy a village walk. After dinner, visit a traditional longhouse and spend time with the Iban people who will be happy to introduce you to their way of living. Hang out on the common veranda, share some rice wine and enjoy an unrivalled insight into the unique Iban culture.
Day 4: Kuching
Wake up to the songs of birds under a luxuriant canopy of trees. After breakfast, take a longboat out of the rainforest and make the journey back to Kuching, stopping off for lunch at a local coffee shop along the way. Spend an evening at leisure in Kuching. The name Kuching literally translates to ‘cats’, and the city has fully embraced this moniker. A wander of its streets will unearth giant cat statues, spray-painted cat street art and even a cat museum! If you’d like to dive deeper into the city’s fabulous food scene, your leader can recommend some splendid spots to eat.
Day 5: Mulu National Park
Say goodbye to Kuching and take a flight to Mulu National Park. The national park is unbelievably diverse and spectacular to look at, full of rainforests, mountains, caves and karst formations. Your leader will be able to provide insight on how the park’s weird and wonderful geographic features came to be. In the late afternoon, visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave, which are reached by following a scenic jungle walk along a three-kilometre plank path, passing through peat swamp, alluvial flats and limestone outcrops. Watch millions of bats fly out of Deer Cave at sunset and see the large ring-shaped formations they make as they circle higher up the cliff face, before moving out across the rainforest in spiralling ribbons. Get ready to give your camera batteries a good workout because this landscape surprises at every turn. Return on the same path and head to your accommodation for the evening, gorgeous forest bungalows tucked away in the national park.
Day 6: Mulu National Park
Today, join your leader for continued explorations of Mulu National Park where they will help you uncover more of the unusual and varied landscape. First head to Wind Cave – located along the Melinau River, the cave is named for the cool breeze that blows through it. Your leader will share details on the formation of the cave as you explore fascinating stalagmites and columns. Later, discover the caverns and crags of Clearwater Cave, one of the longest caves in Asia. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and take in the magnificent scenery.
Day 7: Kota Kinabalu
Today you will take a flight to Kota Kinabalu, the bustling capital city of the Sabah state. With a modern metropolis, traditional charm and charismatic locals, Kota Kinabalu has something for everyone. In the late afternoon, head to one of the city’s rooftop bars and enjoy a cocktail while watching the sun set over the stylish skyline. The rest of the evening is free for you to explore. The city’s exciting food scene is best experienced like a local, so for dinner tonight, be sure to ask your leader for advice on hidden treasures away from the main tourist trail.
Day 8: Kota Kinabalu
Enjoy a free morning in Kota Kinabalu, a city overflowing with possibilities. You may like to go snorkelling in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and search for marine life, or perhaps take a tour to the cultural village. If you’d prefer to stay in the city, you can visit the colourful handicraft market on the waterfront or explore the vibrant Chinatown. Your leader will be on hand to help you plan activities for the day. Later in the afternoon, head to a local vegetable and fish market, learning about and sampling regional snacks along the way. End the tour with a tasty and fresh dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 9: Kinabatangan River
Take a flight to Sandakan, then visit the Sandakan War Memorial. Here you will learn about the city's past as you stand on the same ground of the former Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches. Next, head to the jetty for a boat ride to the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, your Feature Stay accommodation. Nestled on the banks of the Kinabatangan river, the resort offers matchless access to local wildlife. Wooden boardwalks cut through the jungle and connect spacious and bright chalets which serve up marvellous views of the surrounding mangrove forests. A world away from Borneo’s busy cities, this is a place to really connect with nature. This afternoon, take a river cruise, where your leader will help you spot some exotic local creatures. Wild elephants seldom reveal themselves, but crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys, hornbills and kingfishers are more easily seen. Enjoy dinner at the resort before heading back out for a night-time wildlife walk. Geared up with a headlamp and leader in tow, set out in search of interesting insects or other animals that pop up after dark.
Day 10: Kinabatangan River
You might awake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy an early morning cruise through the fog as the sun rises, including light refreshments on board while searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for long tail macaques and pig tail macaques – ask your leader about the difference. Return to the resort for breakfast and search the property with your leader for some insects, plants and birds. This afternoon, set off for another river adventure, exploring small tributaries by boat in search of more interesting creatures. Later, head out for a night-time cruise where you will be on the lookout for nocturnal animals – perhaps a wide-eyed slow loris hanging from a tree. Enjoy dinner back at the resort.
Day 11: Sandakan
Return to Sandakan by boat and visit the orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Watch and photograph these delightful creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. It is important not to interrupt the orangutans, to aid in their successful re-introduction to their natural environment. Check in at the outdoor nursery where young orangutans, born in captivity or orphaned, are cared for. You will also visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, seeing the world’s smallest bears in large forest enclosures as they are rehabilitated after being rescued. This evening, tuck into some of Sandakan’s famously delicious seafood during a final dinner with your group and leader.
Day 12: Sandakan
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast. If you would like to extend your stay, we can arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability). Flights depart most days from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur.
Inclusions
  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners.
  • Transport: Boat, Plane, Private Mini Van.
  • Accommodation: Lodge (4 nights), Hotel (5 nights), Resort (2 nights).
  • Complimentary Arrival Transfer.
  • Kuching - Welcome Dinner.
  • Batang Ai - Nanga Sumpa Dinner.
  • Batang Ai - Lachau Bazaar Lunch.
  • Batang Ai - Jungle and Plantation Walk.
  • Batang Ai - Local Longhouse Visit.
  • Batang Ai - Enseluai Waterfall.
  • Kuching - Group Lunch.
  • Mulu National Park - Sunset bat experience.
  • Mulu National Park - Deer & Lang Caves guided walk.
  • Mulu National Park - Wind & Clearwater Caves guided walk.
  • Mulu National Park - Picnic Lunch.
  • Kota Kinabalu - Sunset Cocktail.
  • Kota Kinabalu - Seafood Market Tour and Dinner.
  • Kota Kinabalu - Local Market Tour.
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife Spotting Cruise.
  • Kinabatangan River - Evening Wildlife Walk.
  • Sandakan - War Memorial.
  • Kinabatangan River - Morning wildlife spotting cruise.
  • Kinabatangan River - Evening Wildlife Spotting Cruise.
  • Sepilok - Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Sandakan - Farewell Seafood Dinner.
Departure dates
Start End Availability Price NZD
16 Mar 2024 27 Mar 2024 2 $6,895
04 Apr 2024 15 Apr 2024 4 $6,142
12 Apr 2024 23 Apr 2024 5 $6,444
20 Apr 2024 01 May 2024 7 $6,094
04 May 2024 15 May 2024 1 $7,800
25 May 2024 05 Jun 2024 8 $7,100
08 Jun 2024 19 Jun 2024 8 $7,100
15 Jun 2024 26 Jun 2024 5 $7,240
22 Jun 2024 03 Jul 2024 11 $7,375
29 Jun 2024 10 Jul 2024 11 $7,375
07 Jul 2024 18 Jul 2024 10 $7,375
20 Jul 2024 31 Jul 2024 5 $7,445
27 Jul 2024 07 Aug 2024 9 $7,520
17 Aug 2024 28 Aug 2024 8 $7,375
24 Aug 2024 04 Sep 2024 11 $7,006
31 Aug 2024 11 Sep 2024 10 $7,375
02 Sep 2024 13 Sep 2024 4 $7,735
21 Sep 2024 02 Oct 2024 5 $7,520
05 Oct 2024 16 Oct 2024 11 $7,100
19 Oct 2024 30 Oct 2024 11 $7,100
26 Oct 2024 06 Nov 2024 12 $7,100
16 Nov 2024 27 Nov 2024 12 $6,825
30 Nov 2024 11 Dec 2024 12 $6,825
21 Dec 2024 01 Jan 2025 12 $6,825
04 Jan 2025 15 Jan 2025 12 $7,160
08 Feb 2025 19 Feb 2025 12 $7,160
08 Mar 2025 19 Mar 2025 12 $7,160
16 Mar 2025 27 Mar 2025 11 $7,450
29 Mar 2025 09 Apr 2025 12 $7,450
05 Apr 2025 16 Apr 2025 12 $7,450
12 Apr 2025 23 Apr 2025 12 $7,450
19 Apr 2025 30 Apr 2025 12 $7,450
26 Apr 2025 07 May 2025 12 $7,160
03 May 2025 14 May 2025 12 $7,160
10 May 2025 21 May 2025 10 $7,160
17 May 2025 28 May 2025 12 $7,160
24 May 2025 04 Jun 2025 12 $7,160
31 May 2025 11 Jun 2025 12 $7,160
07 Jun 2025 18 Jun 2025 12 $7,450
14 Jun 2025 25 Jun 2025 10 $7,450
21 Jun 2025 02 Jul 2025 12 $7,450
28 Jun 2025 09 Jul 2025 12 $7,450
05 Jul 2025 16 Jul 2025 12 $7,735
12 Jul 2025 23 Jul 2025 12 $7,735
19 Jul 2025 30 Jul 2025 12 $7,735
26 Jul 2025 06 Aug 2025 12 $7,735
02 Aug 2025 13 Aug 2025 12 $7,735
09 Aug 2025 20 Aug 2025 12 $7,735
16 Aug 2025 27 Aug 2025 12 $7,735
23 Aug 2025 03 Sep 2025 12 $7,735
06 Sep 2025 17 Sep 2025 12 $7,735
13 Sep 2025 24 Sep 2025 12 $7,735
30 Sep 2025 11 Oct 2025 12 $7,735
04 Oct 2025 15 Oct 2025 12 $7,450
11 Oct 2025 22 Oct 2025 12 $7,450
25 Oct 2025 05 Nov 2025 12 $7,450
08 Nov 2025 19 Nov 2025 12 $7,160
29 Nov 2025 10 Dec 2025 12 $7,160
20 Dec 2025 31 Dec 2025 12 $7,160
03 Jan 2026 14 Jan 2026 12 $6,725
07 Feb 2026 18 Feb 2026 12 $6,725
07 Mar 2026 18 Mar 2026 12 $6,725
14 Mar 2026 25 Mar 2026 12 $6,725
28 Mar 2026 08 Apr 2026 12 $6,725
04 Apr 2026 15 Apr 2026 12 $6,725
11 Apr 2026 22 Apr 2026 12 $6,725
18 Apr 2026 29 Apr 2026 12 $6,725
25 Apr 2026 06 May 2026 12 $6,725
02 May 2026 13 May 2026 12 $6,725
09 May 2026 20 May 2026 12 $6,725
16 May 2026 27 May 2026 12 $6,725
23 May 2026 03 Jun 2026 12 $6,725
30 May 2026 10 Jun 2026 12 $6,725
06 Jun 2026 17 Jun 2026 12 $6,725
13 Jun 2026 24 Jun 2026 12 $6,725
20 Jun 2026 01 Jul 2026 12 $6,725
27 Jun 2026 08 Jul 2026 12 $6,725
04 Jul 2026 15 Jul 2026 12 $6,725
11 Jul 2026 22 Jul 2026 12 $6,725
18 Jul 2026 29 Jul 2026 12 $6,725
25 Jul 2026 05 Aug 2026 12 $6,725
01 Aug 2026 12 Aug 2026 12 $6,725
08 Aug 2026 19 Aug 2026 12 $6,725
15 Aug 2026 26 Aug 2026 12 $6,725
22 Aug 2026 02 Sep 2026 12 $6,725
05 Sep 2026 16 Sep 2026 12 $6,725
12 Sep 2026 23 Sep 2026 12 $6,725
26 Sep 2026 07 Oct 2026 12 $6,725
03 Oct 2026 14 Oct 2026 12 $6,725
10 Oct 2026 21 Oct 2026 12 $6,725
24 Oct 2026 04 Nov 2026 12 $6,725
07 Nov 2026 18 Nov 2026 12 $6,725
28 Nov 2026 09 Dec 2026 12 $6,725
19 Dec 2026 30 Dec 2026 12 $6,725