Sunset over Borneo

Borneo to be Wild

Trip code
BNW001

Borneo is synonymous with rainforest, and its deep, dark jungles are among the oldest and most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet — but they’re only part of what makes this island special.

This trekking-focussed itinerary will introduce you to the magnificent scenery of Malaysian Borneo: not just its rainforests, but its mountains, caves, mangroves and farmland.

Pricing

Price based on 3* accommodation
From
$3,300
pp

Key facts

14 days / 13 nights
Ten included hiking and adventure experiences, including two days of cave exploration and hiking the Headhunters' Trail in Mulu National Park, trekking in the mangroves and forests of Bako National Park, whitewater rafting on the Padas River, overnight stays with the Iban and Murut tribes, a cruise to an eco farm village, swimming in waterfall pools, and an overnight hike to the summit of Mount Kinabalu
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MAP LEFT MAP RIGHT DAY 11-12 KINABALU PARK DAY 1-2 KUCHING DAY 3-5 MULU NP DAY 6-7, 13-14 KOTA KINABALU DAY 8-10 SAPULOT
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DAY 11-12 KINABALU PARK DAY 1-2 KUCHING DAY 3-5 MULU NP DAY 6-7, 13-14 KOTA KINABALU DAY 8-10 SAPULOT

Transfers will be by car and boat, with two internal flights (from Kuching to Mulu, and from Mulu to Kota Kinabalu).

What's great

This itinerary offers a fantastic variety of different landscapes, focussing firmly on Borneo’s spectacular natural scenery

With lots of unusual experiences and destinations, it’s a chance to get properly off the beaten track

It’s perfect if you like a physical challenge — every day is jam-packed with activities

You’ll be supporting traditional Murut culture with your visit to the community-run eco-farm in Sapulot

The sense of achievement that comes with summitting Mount Kinabalu is hard to beat!

Things to consider

This is a hiking-focussed itinerary, so you’ll need to be comfortable on challenging terrain for up to eight hours in a day

Although you’ll definitely encounter some wildlife on your hikes, animal-spotting isn’t the main focus of this trip

Even if you travel in the “dry” season, always expect rain in a rainforest

Some accommodation is pretty basic — but it's all part of the fun!

The experience

This itinerary is built around the most spectacular treks in Malaysian Borneo, but it’s not for everyone. If you’d prefer a less active trip, we can shift the focus toward wildlife spotting, indigenous culture or food — it’s completely up to you.

Day 1-2

Kuching

Good things come in small packages — and that’s certainly true of Bako National Park. Covering a mere 27 sq km at the tip of the Muara Tebas Peninsula, this little pocket of wilderness encompasses mangroves, rainforest, kerangas heath and padang scrub, all only accessible by boat along the coast of the South China Sea. Exploring it couldn’t be easier: look out for proboscis monkeys as you hike along trails past massive tropical trees, follow a boardwalk through mangrove swamp to the beach, then watch as mudskippers and blue fiddler crabs come out to feed at low tide. It may feel like deepest, darkest Borneo, but you’ll be back in the city in time for a street-food for dinner in the evening.

Stone stack at Bako National Park

Highlights

Explore the mangrove forests of Bako National Park

Have your first interaction with the rainforest on a short afternoon trek

Experiment with Kuching’s famous street food, from layer cakes to laksa

Hiking trail in Bako National Park

Day 3-5

Mulu National Park

Borneo’s rainforests may get top billing, but its subterranean world is the real frontier of human exploration. Over the next two days, visit the longest underground passage in the world, watch Deer Cave’s nightly exodus of over two million bats, see the spectacular illuminated “King’s Room” at Wind Cave, and swim in a crystal-clear pool outside Clearwater Cave. In between your subterranean adventures, you’ll hike along former headhunters’ trails through the rainforest, cruise on the Terikan and Medalam Rivers, and spend the night with the Iban tribe in a traditional longhouse. This is one of the most exciting caving destinations in the world, and it’s just waiting to be discovered.

Mulu caves

Highlights

Watch the nightly “bat exodus” from Deer Cave at sunset

Explore two chambers of the Clearwater System, the largest known interconnected cave network in the world

Follow a former headhunters’ trail through the rainforest

Mulu Headhunters Trail

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Ten lunches: one in Kuching; two on the Headhunters Trail; one in Kota Kinabalu; three during your time in Sapulot; three during the Mount Kinabalu climb
  • Seven dinners: three on the Headhunters Trail; two in Sapulot and two during the Mount Kinabalu climb
  • Three half-day experiences: trekking in the Bako National Park mangroves; Mulu’s caves; whitewater rafting
  • Headhunters Trail overnight trek
  • Two night stay with the Murut Tribe in Sapulot
  • Mount Kinabalu overnight climb
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All domestic transfers and transport

Day 1:
Car transfer from airport to Kuching (30 mins)

Day 3:
Car transfer to airport (30 mins)
Domestic flight to Mulu Airport (1 hour 40 mins)
Car transfer to Mulu National Park (15 mins)

Day 4:
Boat transfer including stops for cave visits (2 hours)
Moderate trek from Kuala Litut to Camp 5 (3 hours/9km)

Day 5:
Moderate trek on the Headhunters Trail to Kuala Terikan (4 hours/12km)
Boat transfer to Medalam Longhouse (5 hours)

Day 6:
Boat transfer to Medamit (1.5 hours)
Car transfer to Limbang Airport (1 hour)
Domestic flight to Kota Kinabalu Airport (50 mins)
Car transfer to hotel (20 mins)

Day 7:
Car transfer of 2 hours to Beaufort Railway Station then 2 hour train journey to Pangi Station, before return journey in reverse

Day 8:
Car transfer to Keningau (2 hours)
4X4 Transfer to Labang Village (2 hours)
Boat transfer along the river to Pungiton Camp (10 minutes)

Day 9:
Boat transfer along the river to Labang Village (15 minutes)
4X4 transfer to Tataluan (15 minutes)
Boat transfer along the river to Batu Punggul (15 minutes)
Car transfer to Romol Village (1 hour)

Day 10:
4x4 transfer to Keningau (2.5 hours)
Car transfer to Kota Kinabalu (2 hours)

Day 11:
Car transfer to Kinabalu National Park (1.5 hours)

Day 12:
Hike to Laban Rata (6 hours)

Day 13:
Complete the summit Mount Kinabalu and descend (8 hours)
Car transfer to Kota Kinabalu (1.5 hours)

Day 14:
Car transfer to Kota Kinabalu Airport (25 minutes)

  • International flights
  • Any necessary visas
  • Any lunches or dinners unless stated
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tipping and personal expenses
  • Tourist taxes & any National Park fees