Focus on Borneo - Borneo Tours
2020 Tours: April 23
10 DAYS/9 NIGHTS
click map for larger view
FOCUS ON BORNEO is a 10-day Photography Tour package in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Enjoy a rich mixture of landscape, street, portrait and nature photography. Lead by award winning nature photographer, Pamela Jennings who will assist you to get the most out of your camera and creative skills in this amazing location.
There are many highlights on this tour including the beautiful city of Kuching and World Heritage listed Mulu National Park.
Be guided by locals, share in their culture and enjoy exclusive photography opportunities.
Photograph semi-wild Orangutans and support their rehabilitation into the wild.
Spend the night in Bako National Park home of the proboscis monkey, long-tailed macaque and silver leaf monkey.
Immerse yourself in the living, pulsing heart of the jungle at Mulu World Heritage area.
Capture the David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series moment when three million wrinkle-lipped bats emerge from Deer Cave at sunset.
Cruise river-ways on kayak and longboat spotting a riot of animal life.
Exclusive photography sessions in some of the largest caves in the world
Immerse yourself in nature at the ‘Garden Of Eden’, one of the most pristine collapsed cave systems in the world.
This tour starts in Kuching and finishes in Kota Kinabalu, leaving you to fly home direct or extend your travels to the beaches, islands and jungles of Sabah.
Fully escorted tour includes:
Flights: Kuching-Mulu-Kota Kinabalu
Accommodation: twin share accommodation (single supplement by request)
Meals: all meals are provided on this tour
Kuching experiences: Overnight at Bako National Park. Kuching Wetlands Sunset Cruise, night photography tours, Semonggoh Wildlife Centre & visit to Sarawak Cultural Village
Mulu National Park: Private photography session & tour of Deer and Lang Cave, Clearwater Cave & Cave of Winds, Bat exodus, Batu Bungan longhouse craft market, night walk and sunrise boat cruise.
Please note that on occasions flights from Mulu are delayed or cancelled due to weather conditions. Onward flights may be impacted by late or cancelled flights from Mulu.
Welcome to Kuching
Kuching is a beautiful old city, interlaced with quaint back streets and boasting a riverside promenade that rivals the lively riverfronts of Europe.
Kuching’s streets are alive with the aroma of street foods, colourful wares and the smiles of the super-friendly locals.
Our hotel is situated amongst the bustling traders on Kuching’s Main Bazar. It also directly opposite the riverside promenade of Sarawak River, a great place to take a stroll any time of day or night.
We’ll meet up in the hotel bar before sunset for a welcome drink and enjoy dinner together at an open-air rooftop seafood restaurant. And I don’t think we will be able to resist doing a night shoot along the riverside promenade.
Semenggoh Wildlife Sanctuary
and Kuching Wetlands National Park
Kick start the day at 8am with a visit to Semenggoh Wildlife Sanctuary to witness Orangutans in a relatively natural setting.
Semenggoh was established more than 40 years ago as a rehabilitation centre for endangered animals and now has expanded to become a research facility into orangutan biology and behaviour, providing vital information to safeguard the orangutans’ precarious future. Semenggoh also provides a successful breeding environment for orangutans unable to be rehabilitated into the wild. We’ll have the chance to see the sanctuary’s semi-wild orangutans, ranging from heart-meltingly cute infants and boisterous adolescents to the powerful male adults, as they enjoy life in a secure natural habitat.
In the afternoon we join the Wetland Wildlife Cruise in Kuching Wetlands National Park at sunset.
Kuching Wetlands National Park covers an area of 6,610 hectares on the estuarine reaches of the Sibu Laut and Salak rivers. The park is an important spawning and nursery ground for fish and prawn species and contains a wide diversity of wildlife, including Snubfin Dolphin, Proboscis Monkeys, Long-tailed Macaque monkeys, Silver-Leaf Monkeys, Monitor lizards, Estuarine Crocodiles and a range of birdlife, including Kingfishers, White-bellied Sea Eagles and shore birds, including the rare Lesser Adjutant Stork.
In November 2005 Malaysia designated the park as a Ramsar site, a wetlands of international importance.
Overnight at Bako National Park
This morning we journey to Bako National Park. A 20-minute boat through a stilted water village bustling with local fisherman opens to an inlet and the calm waters of the South China Sea. We pass traditional fish traps, mangroves and islands. Look out for Bottlenose Dolphins, Crocodiles and Sea Eagles.
Bako National Park provides great opportunities to photograph more of Borneo’s wonderful wildlife with regular sightings Proboscis Monkey, Long-tailed Macaque, Silver Leaf Monkey (Silvered Langur) and Bornean Bearded Pig. Squirrels and Monitor lizards are also common.
We also get to do some landscape photography here. The beach in front of the resort is a great spot for sunset with Mount Santubong as our backdrop. If the weather gods are kind we may even be able to try an Astro shoot. That’s something you don’t get every day in Borneo.
After dinner we join the National Park guided night walk. The guides are very patient and flash is allowed so we get to capture some unique nightlife in the rainforest.
Sarawak Culture Village & Kuching town
Sunrise landscape photography on the beach before breakfast will bring more photographic opportunities. Plus we will see monkeys and the Bearded Pig going about their day.
We will take the chance to view the sea stacks on our return boat journey to the harbour.
This afternoon have great photographic opportunities on our visit to Sarawak Cultural Village. An award winning living museum located just 32km from Kuching. It’s easy to spend a few hours photographing the local culture and lifestyles of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak.
Once back in Kuching we once again explore the Kuching riverside promenade with its lively markets and restuarants. The streets are full of colour and the smiles of the super-friendly locals. A night shoot along the river tonight is a must.
Mulu World Heritage Area
This morning we pack our bags and get ready for the next leg of our journey as we fly into the heart of Borneo and Malaysia’s iconic World Heritage Area, Mulu National Park. With no road into this area you can expect a pristine wilderness full of all the weird and wonderful things that awarded it UNESCO’s world heritage status in all four criteria.
Find yourself captivated by enchanting underworlds – enormous caves home to great flocks of bats that cloak the sky in darkness as they swirl through the heavens. Wander through misty rainforest viewing claws of jagged rock and jungle-cloaked mountain peaks through breaks in the jungle canopy. Admire the riot of wildlife – from the tiny pigmy squirrel, to some of the largest insects on Earth. See exquisite orchids emerge from the dense leaf litter cloaking the jungle floor. Fall under the spell of this pulsing, breathing, living utopia.
After arriving at Mulu you’ll have a free time to unpack and unwind. Your accommodation here is perched under forest canopy and embraced by a series of self-guided walks trails through the rainforest.
Here’s your chance to breathe out, ah, you’re here, among one of the world’s most treasured natural environments.
Later in the afternoon we set out for our sunset boat ride along the rainforest clad river passing locals going about their daily life. Great photo opportunities at every turn.
After dinner we join our local guide for a night walk on the trails around camp headquarters. Remember your flash as we take this two-hour guided tour that will give you an insight into nocturnal jungle life.
Immerse yourself in the sounds of the rainforest, interpret the cacophony of jungle noises, watch the courtship dance of the firefly, search for luminescent fungi and scorpion and perhaps spot an elusive marsupial or two.
Visit Deer and Lang Cave and witness the Bat Exodus
Free time this morning to relax and down load images and take in/ photograph the surrounds of the accommodation.
PM - This afternoon we take an easy 2.7 km trail to Lang and Deer Caves. As you saunter through the rainforest and pass jungle steams your guide will regal you with captivating stories of the plants and wildlife you encounter, and the traditional roles and customs for people who live in the jungle.
Lang Cave is possibly the most stunning cave in Mulu with a low ceiling that makes spotting the swiftlet and bats nesting in the bell-holes easy. It is adorned with lavishly decorated walls of shawls, layers of rim stone pools and spectacular stalagmites and stalactites.
Right next door is the jaw-dropping Deer Cave. With a cathedral-like cavern snaking two kilometres under the earth and a ceiling never lower than 90m high, Deer Cave is the biggest show-cave in the world. Don’t worry though, we aren’t going to walk the two kilometres!
Its cavernous reaches are also home to around three million wrinkle-lipped bats that emerge from the cave most evenings around sunset. We time our walk to witness the phenomenon of these bats streaming from the cave entrance – a stand-out scene in David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series. We sit back and relax and watch the bats swirl through the sky in meandering rivers of black is truly a video and stills “wow moment”.
We will get back as it gets dark in the jungle, but don’t worry we will be back in plenty of time for dinner, just remember your torch.
Sunrise river cruise, picnic breakfast at Clearwater & private cave session at Clearwater Cave
After breakfast we journey up the river past the village houses to the Cave of Winds.
We enter the lavishly decorated halls of King Chamber, adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, flowrocks, helitites and rock corals.
Then we travel a short distance up river to Clearwater Cave Picnic Area were we can swim in the cool waters that gave Clearwater Cave its name. We have plenty of time to relax and photograph this gorgeous location and it’s rainforest plants and crystal clear waters.
For those that wish to embark on a 200-step climb to Clearwater Cave entrance, you will have the company of our local guide to accompany you.
On the return boat journey we visit a Penan Village. Our guide’s longhouse village, where we can walk through the village and observe and photograph local life, and purchase their handmade crafts.
This afternoon you are free to explore the self-guided trails within the World Heritage Park. I would recommend the botanical walk.
Langsat River Ride & Walk and Dance at Penan Longhouse
This morning we head off to Langsat River by boat to one of the most pristine areas of Mulu National Park, Langsat River. The boat ride it’s self is amazing as we wind along the rivers through the rainforest, but when we arrive into the Langsat River you will be impressed with its beauty and we will take our time to walk along the river, take images and enjoy the surrounds including a small waterfall.
In the late afternoon we will get into the traditional longboats again and be taken to a Penan village to dine with the locals. The local women will perform a cultural dance, exclusively for us. Fantastic!
Fly to Kota Kinabalu
Sunset drinks and farewell dinner
After breakfast we take a morning skywalk through the rainforest canopy. A fully guided experience with our Mulu guide who will explain the plants and animals along the walk and through the rainforest canopy. One of the great experiences here in Mulu.
We will pack and get ready for our afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu.
Tonight we will gather together for sunset drinks overlooking the South-China Sea and enjoy a farewell dinner on the waterfront.