Borneo: Beyond The Ordinary

You’ll be taken on a true adventure deep inside Borneo’s primary rainforest on our Beyond The Ordinary trip. Stay in tribal longhouses and jungle research camps as you journey through dense rainforest and trek into Sabah's extraordinary 'Lost World'.

At a glance
  • Stay with the Iban tribe in Batang Ai National Park
  • Spend three nights in tribal longhouses
  • Spot for wildlife in Bako National Park
  • Journey by boat through the rainforest
  • Camp deep in Maliau Basin, aka Sabah’s ‘Lost World’
  • Sleep in research camps in the jungle
  • Trek to a spectacular 7-tier waterfall
  • Kick back at a tropical beach resort
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Kuching - 2 nights

For many, Kuching is the cultural capital of Borneo, and it's a wonderful place to learn about Sarawak’s history, with plenty of colonial past preserved for the modern visitor. It’s an energetic city, but not overcrowded, and much of it can be explored on foot. Once you’ve arrived and checked into your hotel, your first day will be at leisure.

Day 1 - Arrive Kuching

On arrival in Borneo, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg some boat cruises & wildlife experiences) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - Explore Bako National Park

Includes:

Head into Bako National Park for the day, one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in its natural habitat. At Bako Village, you'll climb aboard a boat to complete your journey into the park. Commonly spotted species include proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, long tail macaques, wild boars, monitor lizards and diverse birds. You can spot them on several natural trails which suit different fitness levels and interests, or simply relax on one of the secluded beaches. The park sits on a stunning peninsular, and its habitats here range from mangrove to kerangas, tropical swamp, cliffs and shoreline.

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Iban Longhouse - 3 nights

Journey deep into Batang Ai National Park, where the locals typically live in communal longhouses. Batang Ai is home to the Iban people, whose way of life goes back for centuries. They rely predominantly on hunting, fishing and small scale agriculture, although the trickle of adventurous tourists also provides an income. Tonight you'll stay at a riverside longhouse, whose Iban residents will treat you to traditional entertainment and, if our own experiences are anything to go by, copious home-brewed tuak (rice wine).

Day 3 - Overnight in an Iban Longhouse

Includes:

Set off through the lush, scenic countryside of rural Sarawak, passing small roadside towns, Bidayuh villages, pepper orchards, rubber and oil palm plantations, the creeper-covered trees of the secondary jungle, and gigantic trunks of the primary rainforest. On reaching Batang Ai Hydro Lake jetty, you'll board a motorised longboat for the final leg of the journey, passing through the heartland of Borneo's rainforest. Your destination is Delok Longhouse, a stilted wooden structure, where there'll be time to freshen up and settle in before dinner is served. In the evening, entertainment by the longhouse residents usually consists of traditional dances, gong music, and drinking tuak.

Day 4 - Immerse yourself in longhouse life.

Includes:

Longhouse life starts early, so prepare for members of the community wandering past you as they get ready for the day. Share a traditional Iban breakfast, before setting off by boat to Jeliak for a short trek to see some waterfalls. Your guide will point out indigenous plants and explain their use in Iban culture, and you may be lucky enough to spot some local wildlife. Enjoy a simple lunch in the forest, and a refreshing dip at the waterfall before eventually heading back to the longhouse, with time to relax before dinner.

Day 5 - Longtail boat cruise, rainforest trek

Includes:

Say goodbye to your hosts and take to the river again to find the Jingin Longhouse. Journey time depends on the river's water levels - if they're low, be prepared to hop out into the water and help the longboat on its way! Depending on your progress, lunch will either be cooked and served on the riverbank, or at the longhouse. Once you get there, take a short trek around the local area, exploring the rainforest and observing the unique flora and fauna that make up this magnificent ecosystem. Return to the longhouse for dinner. Sleeping arrangements again will be very basic; you’ll be set up in the shared common area when everyone settles down for the evening.

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Kuching - 1 night

Set off back to Kuching, with a stop en-route for lunch. You'll arrive at your hotel late in the afternoon, and the rest of your day will be at leisure.

Day 6 - Return to Kuching

Includes:

Journey to Kuching by longtail boat and then car, arriving into the city in the late afternoon.

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Kota Kinabalu - 1 night

Head to the coast and Kota Kinabalu, the regional capital, which has excellent amenities, superb beaches, and National Parks within easy reach. It's a great opportunity to pick up any last minute supplies for your forthcoming expedition, not to mention getting a good night’s sleep!

Day 7 - Fly to Kota Kinabalu

Includes:

Fly to Kota Kinabalu, where the remainder of your day will be free to rest up and get a good night sleep in preparation for the forthcoming days...

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Maliau Basin - 3 nights

The Maliau Basin Conservation Area covers a phenomenal 58,840 hectares, which makes it larger than Singapore! Almost entirely encircled by imposing mountains, it’s a virtually self-contained eco-system, comprising of pristine forest that is home to an abundance of rare wildlife. The region is frequently referred to as Sabah’s Lost World, and it’s easy to understand why when you learn that a preliminary expedition team didn’t enter the Basin until as recently as 1982. It has since been designated a Class 1 Protected Reserve, and remains one of Borneo’s (possible Asia’s) least explored rainforests. Your stay will give you extraordinary access to the area, staying at research stations and wooden camps deep inside the rainforest, and hiking trails that lead to panoramic views the likes of which you'll be hard-pressed to beat.

Day 8 - Discover the Maliau Basin Conservation Area

Includes:

Leave the city behind and head deep into Sabah’s interior, travelling by 4WD through the UNESCO-listed Crocker Range National Park, climbing over the pass to Keningau, one of the oldest towns in Sabah, before continuing through heavily forested areas dotted with small settlements. Eventually you'll find yourself rumbling up an unpaved road through the forest to arrive at the Maliau Basin Studies Centre (MBSC) - a facilities hub comprising of visitor accommodation and a restaurant, as well as labs and research buildings. Stretch your legs and check in before enjoying lunch. In the afternoon, you'll be taken on an introductory walk around the centre to learn about the incredible biodiversity of this unique place. Over 80 mammal species and nearly 300 varieties of bird, many of which are rare and endangered, have been recorded in Maliau. The flora is equally diverse, and several orchid species have been discovered amongst the forest. The rest of your afternoon will be at leisure until dinner, after which you'll head out again to spot nocturnal wildlife before bedtime.

Day 9 - Agathis Camp to Ginseng Camp Trek

Includes:

Set off in the 4WD for Agathis Camp, a research station, where you'll embark on a 6.5 mile trek through dense rainforest, your trail undulating with some very steep uphill sections, and predominantly under the cover of towering trees. Don't worry - there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for a breather, as well as time to enjoy a packed lunch along the way. You'll arrive at Ginseng Camp, a basic facility built on stilts above the forest floor, with bunk beds, toilets & cold water showers, and a generator supplying electricity for limited hours. The remainder of your afternoon is at leisure (and you will no doubt be tired after your trek) but it’s well worth taking a 15 minute walk to the impressive 27 metre high Ginseng Falls, keeping in mind that darkness falls earlier in the jungle!

Day 10 - Maliau Falls to Ginseng Camp Trek

Includes:

The Maliau Basin Conservation Area boasts the highest density of waterfalls in Malaysia, and the 7-tiered Maliau Falls is the largest and most impressive. This is where you'll spend the day: don’t forget your camera! You'll get there on a 3 mile hike from Ginseng Camp, which includes several uphill sections of trail where ropes are provided to assist. You'll get the chance to rest and refill your water bottle at Lobah Camp, about halfway, where you can enjoy panoramic views across the Maliau Basin from the hilltop helipad. The trek is well worth the effort, and you will have plenty of time at the Falls to soak up the scenery, eat lunch, take photos and swim in the tea-coloured mineral-rich waters.

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Kota Kinabalu Beach Resort - 3 nights

Enjoy a relaxed photo-finish to your holiday with a few days at leisure on the sand or by the pool. Just offshore from Kota Kinabalu, the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in Borneo; its coral reefs are home to an array of marine life including sea turtles, giant groupers and trigger fish, and day of snorkelling and kayaking can easily be arranged from nearby Gaya Island.

Day 11 - Trek to Agathis Camp, drive to your beach resort.

Includes:

One final 9km trek takes you back to Agathis Camp, where you will be met and driven to your Kota Kinabalu Beach Resort. You will no doubt appreciate the opportunity of a hot shower and comfortable nights sleep!

Days 12 & 13 - Well deserved beach time!

Includes:

Your days will be at leisure to relax on the beach and reflect on your experiences.

Day 14 - Depart Kota Kinabalu

Includes:

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £3,236US$4,241 £3,048US$3,994 £2,533US$3,319

Limetree Hotel

Conveniently located on the riverbank in Kuching, the Limetree Hotel is very well placed for exploring Sarawak’s intriguing capital before heading off for your adventures... See more

Iban Longhouse

In our opinion, an important part of any holiday in Sarawak is a visit to a traditional Iban longhouse. Often housing as many as 20 or 30 families…

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Jesselton Hotel

Located on historic Gaya Street in the heart of Kota Kinabalu, the Jesselton provides an elegant, comfortable and superbly convenient base from which to explore Sabah's state capital... See more

Maliau Basin Studies Centre

Maliau Basin Studies Centre (MBSC) is the facilities hub of MBCA, comprising of visitor accommodation and a restaurant as well as labs and research buildings. Accommodation is basic but clean & comfortable, with shower facilities...

Ginseng Camp

Built on stilts above the forest floor Ginseng camp is basic, with generator supplied electricity for limited hours, toilets & cold water showers, and can accommodate up to 20 people in bunk beds...

Beringgis Beach Resort

Located on the white sand of Kinarut Beach and facing the South China Sea, Beringgis Beach Resort offers comfortable and affordable accommodation... See more
Superior £3,492US$4,576 £3,283US$4,303 £2,789US$3,655

The Waterfront Hotel

The Waterfront Hotel, in the heart of Sarawak’s busy capital, combines timeless style and service with state-of-the-art facilities and slick efficiency… See more

Iban Longhouse

In our opinion, an important part of any holiday in Sarawak is a visit to a traditional Iban longhouse. Often housing as many as 20 or 30 families…

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Hyatt Regency

The newly refurbished Hyatt Regency has become a serious player in Kota Kinabalu's hotel market, offering high quality accommodation and facilities in a prime location facing the waterfront... See more

Maliau Basin Studies Centre

Maliau Basin Studies Centre (MBSC) is the facilities hub of MBCA, comprising of visitor accommodation and a restaurant as well as labs and research buildings. Accommodation is basic but clean & comfortable, with shower facilities...

Ginseng Camp

Built on stilts above the forest floor Ginseng camp is basic, with generator supplied electricity for limited hours, toilets & cold water showers, and can accommodate up to 20 people in bunk beds...

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

Not satisfied with being just a world-class beachside hotel, the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is also home to a private nature reserve and an eco-friendly championship golf course... See more
Deluxe £3,604US$4,723 £3,332US$4,367 £2,901US$3,802

Hilton Kuching

Situated on the banks of the Sungai Sarawak River, the Hilton Hotel has great views not only of the river but, from its higher floors, much of the surrounding city as well... See more

Iban Longhouse

In our opinion, an important part of any holiday in Sarawak is a visit to a traditional Iban longhouse. Often housing as many as 20 or 30 families…

See more

Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

Shangri La Tanjung Aru Resort is absolutely stunning, easily holding its own against its sister property, the Rasa Ria… See more

Maliau Basin Studies Centre

Maliau Basin Studies Centre (MBSC) is the facilities hub of MBCA, comprising of visitor accommodation and a restaurant as well as labs and research buildings. Accommodation is basic but clean & comfortable, with shower facilities...

Ginseng Camp

Built on stilts above the forest floor Ginseng camp is basic, with generator supplied electricity for limited hours, toilets & cold water showers, and can accommodate up to 20 people in bunk beds...

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

Not satisfied with being just a world-class beachside hotel, the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is also home to a private nature reserve and an eco-friendly championship golf course... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • Love the rainforest and want to include more wildlife spotting? You may wish to consider a night or two in Danum Valley, staying at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. There are some excellent treks in the vicinity, and the lodge boasts its very own rainforest canopy walk. The area has a well deserved reputation for being one of the best places to view Borneo's wildlife.
  • As an alternative to the beaches near Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island lies just off the mainland - easily reached by boat - and boasts some great diving and snorkelling opportunities.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

*Please note: During certain activities in Borneo you may share your local guide with other guests of the lodge(s).

Please note: During high season periods such as Easter, Christmas, July and August, hotels in Borneo levy a surcharge, and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You may require a visa to enter Borneo. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Steve – Borneo tailor-made specialist

'Maliau Basin is not for the faint-hearted. You need to be fit enough to trek for 6 hours a day in high humidity and your travel insurance policy MUST cover Emergency Helicopter Evacuation. But this is a totally unique experience in one of Asia's least explored rainforests...'

SteveBorneo tailor-made specialist

Speak to Steve on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.

Book With Confidence

For peace of mind when booking your future holiday to Asia, we have introduced flexible booking conditions & full financial clarity.