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National Geographic Expeditions - Malaysia

The Jungle of Borneo

Highlights

  • Small-group tour through Borneo with wildlife expert and photographer Dieter Schonlau

  • Explore one of the world’s largest cave complexes in Mulu National Park

  • Learn how orphaned orangutans are supported at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

  • Stay overnight on Seligan Turtle Island and assist rangers in their daily routine of protecting the endangered turtles

  • Accommodation in extraordinary eco-lodges in the middle of the rainforest

Description

Evergreen rainforests, exotic plants, wildlife orangutans, and tropical beaches: all of these things and more await you on our two-week National Geographic expedition through Borneo. Discover the third largest island in the world, its impenetrable jungle, and its fascinating animal world.

Encounter up-close experiences with wild orangutans, watch newly hatched turtles take their first steps, and reside in extraordinary accommodations in the middle of the jungle. In Mulu National Park, you will explore one of the largest limestone cave systems in the world.

Dieter Schonlau, rainforest expert, author, and photographer will accompany your exclusive travel group and bring you closer to this fascinating part of the world.

Destination

Asia

Kuching - Mulu National Park - Kota Kinabalu - Turtle Island - Abai - Sukau

09.07. - 19.07.2021 & 27.08. - 06.09.2021

Welcome to Kuching — the capital of the Sarawak state in northern Borneo. The metropolis is the gateway to the dense rainforest’s natural wonders on the third largest island in the world. Get ready for an exciting city tour where you will get to know the most impressive sights of the charming city. Visit the oldest Chinese temple in Sarawak from the 19th century, the Tua Pek Kong. Afterward, you will see the Astana in the heart of the city, the Sarawak palace of the White Rajahs. The tour concludes with a tour of the Sarawak Museum, whose collection is one of the best in Southeast Asia thanks to its treasure trove of artifacts from across the region.

Next on the agenda is a sampan boat trip on the Sarawak River. Enjoy the surrounding landscapes aboard a traditional means of transport while learning fascinating facts about the historical landmarks you pass. At sunset and night, you will have a fantastic view over the city.

An absolute must is an excursion to the Bako National Park. The peninsula, about 1.5 hours’ drive from Kuching, is home to seven different rainforest ecosystems and offers a remarkable variety of animal and plant species. The most famous inhabitants are the bizarre proboscis monkeys, langurs, long-tailed macaques, wild boars, flying squirrels, lizards, and hundreds of bird species.

Travel time from Kuching airport to the hotel: 10 km / approx. 20 minutes

2 nights at Riverside Majestic Kuching***** with breakfast in a Superior River View Room, Kuching, Malaysia

Hop onto a domestic flight to Mulu National Park, where a partner agent will greet you and take you to your hotel by private transfer. In the afternoon, you will go on a hike to the Lang cave, the longest cave passage in the world. The path takes you three kilometers across a wooden walkway through the jungle. Then continue to Deer Cave, home to around two to three million bats. Experience a breathtaking spectacle of nature when thousands of these bats fly out of the cave at dusk. Your way back to the park headquarters will be just as exciting: an evening hike will take you back through the jungle. From glowing fireflies to glowing mushrooms — the jungle is alive even at night.

Your next adventure takes you on a boat trip to the Melanau River, the Wind Cave, and Clearwater Cave. These two underground structures are part of the Sarawak Chamber, the largest contiguous cave system in the world.

Travel time from Mulu airport to the hotel: 5 km / 10 minutes

2 nights at Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa**** in a Deluxe Room with full board, Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Today you’ll continue your journey to Mulu at 14:45 to get to Kota Kinabalu. Drive to your hotel and use the rest of the day to do as your wish. Relax by the pool or enjoy a swim in the sea.

Travel time from Kota Kinabalu Airport - hotel: 6 km / approx. 10 minutes

1 night at Grandis Hotel & Resort**** with breakfast in a Superior Room, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Today you’ll fly to Sandakan. After landing, a speedboat awaits you at the jetty, which will take you to Selingan Turtle Island. White sandy beaches, the azure blue sea, and swaying palm trees — a tropical island paradise welcomes you. Use the day to swim in the clear, refreshing water or snorkel in the amazing underwater world.

Sea turtles find their way to the shore almost every day to lay their eggs. After dinner, watch this magical spectacle together with a ranger. With a bit of luck, you’ll witness the newly hatched turtles take their first steps to the sea.

Travel time hotel - Kota Kinabalu airport: 6 km / approx. 10 minutes

Flight time Kota Kinabalu - Sandakan: approx. 50 minutes

Travel time from Sandakan Airport - Turtle Island: 15 km / approx. 1 hour 30 minutes

1 night at Selingan Turtle Island Resort with full board in a Standard Chalet, Turtle Island, Malaysia

Your destination for today is the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. After your arrival, you’ll board a boat and sail down the largest river in Borneo, the Kinabatangan. On this river trip, the diverse flora and fauna will take your breath away. Listen to the hornbills and monkey calls, and then observe the tropical flora covering the stunning shoreline.

Thanks to the few tourists in this fascinating region, the likelihood of spotting a wild orangutan is even greater.

In the rehabilitation center in Sepilok, young orphaned orangutans affected by poachers and the intense deforestation are prepared for an independent life in the wild. As part of the daily feed, you will watch how the curious forest dwellers come out of the jungle to pick up the fruits and nuts offered to them.

Also on the program is a trip to Danau Pitas Oxbow Lake. The crescent-shaped oxbow lake was created by a change in the course of the Kinabatangan. In this waterfowl paradise, you will have a good chance of spotting exotic species such as the owl swallow, snake-necked birds, and hornbills. If you have a look into the trees, pay attention to everything that moves. With a bit of luck, you might spot a silver leaf monkey or another orangutan! In the evening, it’s time for a night river cruise to spot civets, flying squirrels, and other nocturnal animals.

Spend the night in your exclusive accommodation in the middle of the rainforest.

Travel time Turtle Island - Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort: approx. 1 hour 30 minutes

2 nights at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort with full board in a Standard Chalet, Kinabatangan, Malaysia

Your journey continues by boat to Sabah’s multi-award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

Design the coming days according to your wishes. Directly from your room, you can walk on an elevated promenade into the jungle, where you can observe the surrounding wildlife and tropical plants. You might even spot a pygmy elephant passing! Watch the monkeys and rare birds in the trees while you cool off by the refreshing pool.

On a morning river cruise to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake, you’ll have the opportunity to discover more wildlife. Optionally, you can also hike through the village to delve deeper into your diverse surroundings. Learn about centuries-old Borneo traditions. Alternatively, you can go to the Gomantong Caves and unearth unique sceneries and many bats and swiftlets.

Join a naturalist on another adventure through the surrounding forest on the search for wild orangutans and langurs. After an eventful day, treat yourself to a relaxing foot massage and spa treatment in the middle of the quiet forest.

Travel time Abai - Sukau Rainforest Lodge: approx. 2 hours 30 minutes

2 nights at Sukau Rainforest Lodge with full board in a Borneo Villa, Sukau, Malaysia

Have you enjoyed these past days in the enchanting jungles of Borneo? Let the last hours of your trip end in a relaxed atmosphere before your transfer to the airport. Begin your journey home with a bag full of unforgettable memories and new friendships.

Riverside Majestic Kuching****, Kuching, Malaysia (2 nights)

This accommodation conveniently nestles next to the Riverside Shopping Complex and offers panoramic views of the Kuching coastline. The hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, three restaurants that serve regional and international dishes, dry cleaning services, and a 24-hour room service. You can expect city or river views in the air-conditioned rooms, a TV, minibar, safe, and a daily newspaper.

Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa****, Mulu, Malaysia (2 nights)

Mulu Marriott Resort is amidst the lush rainforest vegetation on the Melinau Paku River, near the border between Malaysia and the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. Gunung Mulu National Park is just a five-minute drive away.

The comfortable rooms offer beautiful views of the tropical rainforest and come equipped with all standard amenities.

Grandis Hotel & Resort ****, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (1 night)

At this gorgeous hotel, you can enjoy an outdoor pool, three restaurants, and direct access to the Suria Sabah shopping center. The air-conditioned rooms have free WiFi and city or sea views. The Rosea Café offers breakfast with a view of the South China Sea. End the evening with live music at the Piana Lounge or with a refreshing drink at the Sky Blu roof terrace.

Selingan Turtle Island Resort, Selingan Turtle Island, Malaysia (1 night)

Accommodation on Selingan Turtle Island is simple bungalows that belong to the headquarters of the national park. All rooms offer standard furnishings and amenities.

Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort***, Sabah, Malaysia (2 nights)

This charming resort nestles in the Lower Kinabatangan wilderness, surrounded by pristine freshwater swamps and mangrove forests. Escape the bustle of civilization to this exclusive retreat in the middle of the Borneo jungle. The tastefully designed double cabins are spacious and bright, with dark wooden floors that contrast the rest of the furnishings pleasantly. The solar-powered ceiling fans and private bathroom add extra convenience.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge***, Kinabatangan River, Malaysia (2 nights)

The award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge sits on the banks of one of Borneo’s most important waterways, the Kinabatangan. In the middle of the rainforest, they offer environmentally friendly comfort and luxury. The twenty villas come equipped with a solar-heated shower, desk, and coffee/tea-making facilities. The hotel also provides the Melapi Restaurant and the Comantong Hall Sun Deck. On the 500-meter-long promenade path, you can walk in the middle of your surrounding nature the moment you step out your front door.

Closest city: Kuching

Closest airport: Kuching International Airport

Duration of the trip: 09.07. - 19.07.2021; 27.08. - 06.09.2021

Including

  • 10 nights in mentioned accommodations above:

    • 2 nights in Kuching at Riverside Majestic

    • 2 nights in the Mulu National Park at Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa

    • 1 night in Kota Kinabalu at the Grandis Hotel & Resort

    • 1 night on Turtle Island at Selingan Turtle Island

    • 2 nights in Kinabatangan at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

    • 2 nights in Sukau at Sukau Rainforest Lodge

  • Catering according to the program

  • English-speaking guide

  • German-speaking accompanying expert

  • All transfers

  • All domestic flights

  • All admissions to the listed sights

Excluding

  • International flights

  • Optional excursions

  • Airport taxes

  • Personal expenses

  • Drinks during meals, unless specifically mentioned

  • Voluntary tips

  • Baggage fees at the airport

  • Visa, if required

Notes

  • Single room surcharge: 500 EUR

  • Visits depend on the weather and the season and can easily be modified on-site by the tour guide.

  • Group size: maximum 12 participants

  • The duration of the excursions indicated in the program is approximate and may change due to local conditions.

  • Please note that fees for using a camera may be charged between days 8 to 12:

    • 10-20 RM per day for standard cameras with lenses under 400mm

    • 1000 RM per day for lenses from 400mm (valid for Sun Bear Center, Sepilok Orangutan Centre, and Gomantong Caves)

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