Complete Borneo

Journey deep into the landscape and cultures of this remarkable island on our Complete Borneo holiday. Take a longtail boat to a tribal longhouse, visit orang-utan sanctuaries, explore pristine rainforest on foot and by boat, and disappear into one of the world’s largest cave systems, before you hit the golden shores of Gaya Island.

At a glance
  • Visit two orang-utan rehabilitation projects
  • Explore Danum Valley’s ancient rainforest
  • Stay in a longhouse with the Iban of Batang Ai
  • Cycle through Kuching’s rural villages
  • Conquer Borneo Rainforest Lodge’s canopy walkway
  • Cruise the biodiverse Kinabatangan River at dusk
  • Explore the record-breaking caves of Mulu NP
  • Relax on tropical Gaya Island
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. When you arrive at the airport, our local guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. The remainder of your first day is 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 - Malay Kampung Cycling Tour

Includes:

Explore Kuching by bike, starting with a short trip by sampan across the Sarawak River. Hop in the saddle for a leisurely cycle ride through the rural side of Kuching, past coconut groves and kampongs (Malay villages) where you'll see traditional wood & thatch stilt homes, and stop off to meet a local family. Cycle on to Kubah Ria market, a sprawling maze of stalls where locals can buy everything from seafood to orchids. Sample a few local snacks before heading back over the river to be driven back to your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.

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Iban Longhouse - 2 nights

After visiting the community of semi-wild orang-utans at Semenggok Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, 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 - Semenggok Wildlife Centre & overnight in an Iban Longhouse

Includes:

Start the day with a visit to Semenggok Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, considered to be the best place in Sarawak to view semi-wild orang-utans. Semenggok’s orangs have all been rescued from captivity and are undergoing rehabilitation to survive in the surrounding forest reserve. Orangs who’ve already been rehabilitated roam free in the forest throughout the day, but many still return to the centre at feeding time. The centre also has a successful breeding program, and it is often possible to see mothers with young babies.

After your orang-utan visit, head to an Iban tribal longhouse in Batang Ai National Park, travelling through picturesque rural Sarawak, pepper orchards, primary rainforest and the inevitable plantations. The final leg of your journey will be by longtail boat along the river into the rainforest, to find the longhouse.

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 a morning spent learning about the tribe's unique lifestyle, and observing the longhouse residents as they go about their daily routines. You'll watch a blowpipe demonstration, and have a go at shooting one yourself (just avoid shooting it at yourself), then learn how the Iban traditionally use rainforest plants, before taking a short boat trip upriver to visit a waterfall. After a traditional lunch, the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

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Kuching - 1 night

Today you'll say kami ka mupuk dulu to your Iban hosts, and clamber back into the longtail boat to begin today’s rather long but necessary journey back to Kuching, passing through the fascinating landscape of Sarawak. Once you reach the city, the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Day 5 - Return to Kuching

Includes:

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

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Mulu National Park - 2 nights

UNESCO-protected Mulu, Sarawak’s largest National Park, is a fantastic place for light adventure. The dramatic limestone landscape is particularly famous for its record breaking caves - including some of the world's largest underground chambers - and Gunung Mulu, Sarawak's second highest mountain. Your time here will be spent exploring the caves and hiking through the park's rainforest.

Day 6 - Fly to Mulu National Park & explore Deer & Lang Caves

Includes:

Plunge straight into Mulu with a scenic boardwalk stomp through the rainforest to Deer Cave, which boasts both the world's largest cave entrance, and its largest single cave passage, big enough to fit St Paul’s Cathedral under its enormous archway. The cave's landscape is moon-like, and on most evenings a spectacular exodus of five million bats can be seen flowing from the cave at sunset. As they head off in search of food, the bats form a column over six miles long, and their departure takes up to an hour. You'll arrive with plenty of time to explore the well-marked paths of Deer Cave and its neighbour, Lang Cave (which has outstanding stalactites and stalagmites) before the bats appear. You'll return to your hotel or lodge by torchlight.

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Mulu National Park - 2 nights

Day 7 - Discover Wind & Clearwater Caves

Includes:

Travel upriver by longboat to Wind Cave to admire the impressive King’s Chamber, where stalactites and stalagmites form delicate lace-like patterns. Complete your spelunking adventure with a short walk to Clearwater Cave, which contains rare species of plants. One can only be found in Mulu, and many unusual orchids and pitcher plants can also be seen. Photo-sensitive algae grows on certain rocks, producing needle-like formations which point towards the source of light. The jewel in Clearwater's crown, however, is the wonderful swimming area by its entrance. Shaded by giant rainforest trees, it's one of our favourite spots to enjoy a refreshing dip and a simple picnic.

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Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary - 1 night

Sepilok is an area of protected primary rainforest and mangrove on mainland Borneo, and its orang-utan rehabilitation centre is known across the world for exceptional conservation work. The reserve protects 19 square miles of dense rainforest, and exists for the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured orang-utans. Apart from feeding times, when you are almost guaranteed a sighting, you can enjoy looking out for flashes of orange fur amongst the multitude of flora and fauna in the surrounding forests. Spend the night at leisure here before getting up to witness orang-utan breakfast time the following morning.

Day 8 - Fly to Sepilok

Includes:

Take a flight to Sandakan, where, on arrival you will be driven to Sepilok. Time to meet the local celebrities!

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Kinabatangan River - 2 nights

The Kinabatangan River flows through diverse habitats including freshwater swamp forest, lowland rainforest, mangroves and oxbow lakes, with a wealth of thriving fauna and flora to be seen along its banks. The river’s far-reaching network of tributaries allows easy exploration and quiet viewing of superstar species like orang-utan, pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino, proboscis monkey, various langar subspecies, and the Borneo river shark, along with hundreds of less famous but no less fascinating species.

Day 9 - Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary, boat to Kinabatangan River

Includes:

Rise in time to see the orang-utans of Sepilok Sanctuary enjoy their breakfast feeding time. Sepilok is an area of protected primary rainforest and mangrove on mainland Borneo, and its orang-utan rehabilitation centre is known across the world for exceptional conservation work. The reserve protects 19 square miles of dense rainforest, and exists for the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured orang-utans. Apart from feeding times, when you are almost guaranteed a sighting, you can enjoy looking out for flashes of orange fur amongst the multitude of flora and fauna in the surrounding forests.

Continue your wildlife encounter at the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, built both to improve the welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan Sun Bear, and raise awareness of the plight of this now protected species.

From Sepilok, you'll head to Sandakan Yacht Club Jetty for the cruise to Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, passing Berhala Island with its prominent sandstone cliffs. Your afternoon is at leisure until 4pm, when tea, coffee and local snacks will be served to set you up for a late afternoon river expedition in an open-topped boat. Look for wildlife with the help of your guide, and with any luck witness the impressive gathering of fireflies that frequently lights up the dusk. Return to the resort for dinner before venturing out on a guided night walk on the boardwalk around the lodge, spotting for nocturnal wildlife.

Day 10 - Wildlife spotting

Includes:

Prepare to be woken early by the hooting calls of gibbons and hornbills! At least you'll be up in time for an early boat trip to spot the river’s colourful (and noisy) birds, and wildlife foraging on the riverbanks. Enjoy your own pre-breakfast snack in the pristine natural setting of an ox-bow lake, before stopping off at a small fishing village to meet the Orang Sungai (‘people of the river’), an indigenous group which lives along several of Sabah’s riverways. Head back to Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort for breakfast, after which the remainder of your day is at leisure. If you wish, take further wildlife-spotting trips in the late afternoon and after dark.

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Danum Valley - 2 nights

Danum’s 170 square mile reserve protects a patch of Borneo's original rainforest - 130 million years old, with a staggering 8.8 million plant species. This remarkable place is home to diverse wildlife, including very rare creatures such as the orang-utan, Bornean pygmy elephant, Spectacled Flowerpecker, and the sun bear. The park has a busy tree nursery and works hard to repopulate the forest, as well as protect the existing trees. As you might imagine, the place isn't exactly overflowing with accommodation options - you will stay deep in the jungle at a much-coveted rainforest lodge, with the wildlife right on your doorstep (even, in the case of insects, inside your room - so be prepared!).

Day 11 - Danum Valley canopy walk & night drive

Includes:

Head deep into Danum Valley to find the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, which provides surprisingly luxurious accommodation for such an isolated location. The lodge is dedicated to wildlife spotting, with a long canopy walkway through the surrounding jungle, and seated viewing platforms where you can get comfortable and observe the wildlife in peace. There are also opportunities for excellent jungle trekking, specialised bird watching, outstanding photography, and messing about on the Danum River. Your visit will plunge you straight into the rainforest, with a guided walk along the lodge’s boardwalk nature trail and the superb canopy walkway. After dinner, join a night drive through a rainforest alive with sound, as you learn how to spot nocturnal animals such as civet cats, flying squirrels, tree frogs and Samba deer.

Day 12 - Trekking & night walk

Includes:

Early risers can take a pre-breakfast canopy walk for a fascinating bird’s eye view of the rainforest as its daytime residents noisily assert themselves while the sun rises. After breakfast on the veranda, hike the ‘Coffin Trail’, which leads to a 200 year old burial site created by an indigenous tribe. The route takes in a spectacular viewpoint which overlooks miles of horizon-spanning rainforest - a rare and precious sight, these days, even in the tropics. After lunch back at the lodge, explore one of the excellent forest nature trails for many wildlife-spotting opportunities, and the opportunity to take a dip in one of the forest’s natural pools or waterfalls. For a more boisterous alternative, spend the afternoon 'tubing' down the Danum River. In the evening, you can choose to join a night drive or walk through the forest.

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Gaya Island - 3 nights

Gaya Island lies within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park - 19 square miles of protected ocean just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. The Park's unique coral reefs support a multitude of marine species, and its five tropical islands are home to birds, mammals and reptiles. Along with being the perfect habitat, this warm section of the South China Sea is ideal for snorkelling and island-hopping. Gaya's beaches are amongst the best in Borneo, and the island’s nature trails are a fine opportunity to stretch your legs in the jungle. You'll get there by boat from Kota Kinabalu, and spend a blissful three days at leisure in the lap of tropical luxury.

Day 13 - Fly to Kota Kinabalu, boat to Gaya Island

Includes:

Take a flight from Lahad Datu to Kota Kinabalu where, on arrival, you will travel by car and then shared speedboat to Gaya Island.

Days 14 & 15 - Relax on Gaya Island

Includes:

Your days will be at leisure to explore the underwater world, venture along the nature trails, and simply kick back and relax.

Day 16 - Boat to the mainland, depart Kota Kinabalu.

Includes:

Depart by shared speedboat to the mainland where you will be met and driven to the airport.

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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 £3,630US$4,757 £3,467US$4,543 £3,459US$4,532

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…

See more

Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa

Despite the remote location of Borneo’s magnificent Mulu caves, the nearby Mulu Marriott reliably provides high quality, comfortable accommodation in a thrillingly jungle-clad, riverside spot... See more

Sepilok Nature Resort

From a wildlife holiday point of view, locations do not get more convenient than this; if you want to see Borneo's orang-utans there is simply no other place to be... See more

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

Immerse yourself in the unique wildlife of the Kinabatangan River and Sabah’s famous wetlands. Journeying to the lodge is an adventure in itself, with a scenic hour-long river cruise transporting ... See more

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

There aren’t many properties on our books (or anywhere in the world for that matter) that lay claim to having their own rainforest canopy walk, so you could say that the Borneo Rainforest Lodge was somewhat special... See more

Gaya Island Resort

Gaya Island Resort is set on the picturesque shores of Pulau Gaya, the largest island in marine conservation... See more
Superior £3,649US$4,781 £3,485US$4,567 £3,477US$4,557

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…

See more

Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa

Despite the remote location of Borneo’s magnificent Mulu caves, the nearby Mulu Marriott reliably provides high quality, comfortable accommodation in a thrillingly jungle-clad, riverside spot... See more

Sepilok Nature Resort

From a wildlife holiday point of view, locations do not get more convenient than this; if you want to see Borneo's orang-utans there is simply no other place to be... See more

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

Immerse yourself in the unique wildlife of the Kinabatangan River and Sabah’s famous wetlands. Journeying to the lodge is an adventure in itself, with a scenic hour-long river cruise transporting ... See more

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

There aren’t many properties on our books (or anywhere in the world for that matter) that lay claim to having their own rainforest canopy walk, so you could say that the Borneo Rainforest Lodge was somewhat special... See more

Gaya Island Resort

Gaya Island Resort is set on the picturesque shores of Pulau Gaya, the largest island in marine conservation... See more
Deluxe £3,800US$4,979 £3,614US$4,736 £3,598US$4,715

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

Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa

Despite the remote location of Borneo’s magnificent Mulu caves, the nearby Mulu Marriott reliably provides high quality, comfortable accommodation in a thrillingly jungle-clad, riverside spot... See more

Sepilok Nature Resort

From a wildlife holiday point of view, locations do not get more convenient than this; if you want to see Borneo's orang-utans there is simply no other place to be... See more

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

Immerse yourself in the unique wildlife of the Kinabatangan River and Sabah’s famous wetlands. Journeying to the lodge is an adventure in itself, with a scenic hour-long river cruise transporting ... See more

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

There aren’t many properties on our books (or anywhere in the world for that matter) that lay claim to having their own rainforest canopy walk, so you could say that the Borneo Rainforest Lodge was somewhat special... See more

Bunga Raya Resort

For anyone who enjoys absolute relaxation as much as underwater adventure, the Bunga Raya Resort is a hidden cluster of luxury private villas, mounted on wooden stilts and terraced up into the wooded hillside. Connected by leafy shaded walkways... 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

  • Those looking for a little more ‘extreme’ adventure can discover the Gunung Mulu Trail, or ‘headhunters trail’, a 6 day camping trek through some stunning National Park. The highlight for most is the climb up through the famous Pinnacles near Camp 5.
    Alternatively, the Kelabit Highlands, close to the border with Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), is a little-visited region known for some of the finest trekking in all Borneo. Reached by flight to Bario, we use Kelabit longhouses for accommodation during the treks, which can last anywhere from a day's stroll to weeks of hard trekking.
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 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

‘If time is of no consequence and trekking is high on your wish list, why not consider adding a night or two in Kinabalu National Park. The trails are some of the best in Borneo.'

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.