HIGHLIGHTS OF SARAWAK
2018 tours: SOLD OUT
2019 tours: on request
7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS
$2350 twin share
click map for larger view
HIGHLIGHTS OF SAWAWAK is a 7-day package that includes the ‘must-see’ destinations in Kuching and Mulu National Park and World Heritage area. Gain a taste of adventure by exploring the stunning reaches of one of the world’s biggest cave systems, adorned with ornate cave decorations and cool clear waters. Cruise riverways on kayak and longboat, spotting a riot of animal life. Immerse yourself in the living, pulsing heart of the jungle at Mulu World Heritage area. View the heady spectacle of the almighty bat exodus from Deer Cave. And experience the heart-warming pleasure of meeting the locals, while you volunteer to help protect this magnificent place and its people.
This tour starts in Kuching and finishes in Mulu, leaving you to fly thru Miri or Kuching to other destinations, or stay longer in Mulu.
To extend the adventure check-out The Road Less Travelled 10-day experience and join us on the Headhunters Trail trek to further immerse yourself in the heart of this teeming utopia.
Kuching experiences: Bako National Park, Semonggoh Wildlife Centre, kayaking, volunteering with Project Orangutan, Matang Rehabilitation Sanctuary
Mulu National Park: Show cave tour of Deer and Lang Cave, bat exodus, adventure caving in Clearwater Cave, Cave of Winds, Batu Bungan longhouse craft market, night walk and volunteering at local school.
Meals: all breakfasts, picnic lunches when required and some evening meals
Please note that on occasions flights from Mulu are delayed or cancelled due to weather conditions. Onward flights maybe impacted by late or cancelled flights from Mulu.
Bako National Park
Depart the hotel at 8am. Breakfast on famous Sarawak laksa, popiah or roti at a popular local cafe.
Journey to Bako National Park on a 20-minute boat ride through a stilted water village bustling with local fisherman. As the inlet opens to the calm waters of the South China Sea we pass traditional fish traps, mangroves and islands. Look out for the bottlenose dolphin, crocodiles, water monitors and coastal sea eagles.
Bako National Park provides the perfect introduction to your wildlife encounter with regular sightings of the proboscis monkey, long-tailed macaque, silver leaf monkey and wild boar.
Explore a trail or two and enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to town.
Behind the scenes with Project Orangutan, Matang Rehabilitation Sanctuary
The dedicated staff and volunteers at Matang are committed to the care and rehabilitation of endangered Bornean wildlife. You'll have the opportunity to get behind the scenes and learn what is required to keep this valuable volunteer project at Matang afloat. Warning – you may find yourself smitten by the endearing nature of the resident orangutans.
Project Orangutan is a conservation company helping to save and protect the endangered wildlife on Borneo. They specialise in ethical volunteering and tourism experiences working with the magnificent orangutan and other protected species such as the clouded leopard, binturong, sun bear and false gharial, among others.
As we join the Project Orangutan team for the day we have an exceptional opportunity to gain a behind-the-scenes insight into orangutan conservation and rehabilitation.
We will have the chance to spend time with experts in the field, who will be happy to share their experiences and knowledge as they orientate us with the centre’s residents and facilities.
After lunch it’s our turn to help out, whether it’s making ‘toys’ for orangutans, building infrastructure or ‘mucking-out’ living quarters – yep, we roll our sleeves up and get down and dirty in our effort to provide real support to the centre, rather than a tokenistic volunteering gesture.
and River Kayaking
Depart 8am for a full day of Borneo at its best. Kick start the day 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 center for endangered animals and now has expanded to become a research facility into orangutan biology and behavior, 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.
From Semenggoh we venture further out of the city to embark on a kayak journey along the Sungai Sarawak Kiri River, stopping at scenic locations for swimming, sightseeing and a traditional longhouse lunch at a Bidayuh Village. You’ll be amazed at the ambiance, pristine beauty and sense of isolation of this river, only an hour from the State capital.
On our last night in Kuching we’ll share a meal with some of the treasured new friends encountered during our travels in and around Kuching.
Mulu World Heritage Area
Pack your bags and get ready for the next leg of your 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 afternoon 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.
You may choose to walk, rest or swim. Here’s your chance to breathe out, ah, you’re here, among one of the world’s most treasured natural environments.
In the evening we regroup for a leisurely night walk on the walk trails around camp headquarters. This two-hour guided tour 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.
Volunteering at a local school. Visit Deer and Lang Cave and witness the Bat Exodus
SK Batu Bungan School
SK Batu Bungan is home to more than 100 primary school children from remote rivers and tributaries of the region. You’ll have the chance to volunteer here, on projects ranging from tree planting and painting to teaching English. Don the ‘let’s get down and dirty/I’m here to make a difference’ clothing and attitude and let’s get sweaty!
Mulu World Heritage Area
Return for lunch and regroup before our afternoon/evening tour to Deer Cave and the bat exodus.
Take an easy 2.7 km trail to Lang and Deer Caves. As you saunter through the rainforest and by 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.
Not far away 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.
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. Watching the bats swirl through the sky in meandering rivers of black is a truly heart-stopping experience.
From within the cave you can also visit the ‘Garden Of Eden’, one of the most pristine collapsed cave systems in the world. Witness its dazzling beauty by peering through a 30-metre column of water streaming from above, like a giant shower for the jungle gods.
It will be late when we return and, although the pathway is lit, the scout and brownie guide rules of ‘be prepared’ are advisable in the jungle, so bring your torch.
Visit the local longhouse handicraft market on the way to adventure caving and picnic at Clearwater Cave
We leave the park by longboat at 9.30am and travel up river stopping at Batu Bungan Craft Market. Here you can test your skills with a blowpipe, pick up some local crafts direct from the women who collect and weave the products or try your hand (or should we say nose!), with a Penan nose flute.
As we journey further up the river and out from under the forest canopy you’ll start to see the breathtaking beauty from a different perspective. Any boat ride on these rivers is like a meditation in nature and this one is no exception. You can’t help but feel alive, relaxed and complete as Mother Nature soothes your very soul with her beauty.
Next we travel through an intriguing underworld of cave passages, formed over two million years to create a winding network of tunnels snaking 220 kilometres under the earth.
First, we visit the Cave of Wind to enter the lavishly decorated halls of King Chamber, adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, flowrocks, helitites and rock corals.
From here we set out on a meandering boardwalk perched precariously along the cliffs to Clearwater Cave Picnic Area were we recharge with a light snack and refreshment before venturing through the ancient underground river passage of Clearwater Cave.
You’ll embark on a 200-step climb to Clearwater Cave entrance but the adventure really begins when you step off the show-cave boardwalk and into the cool, clear waters that have been carving out the expansive Clearwater Cave system across the millennia. Depending on the water levels, you will wade, swim and climb to the far reaches of Clearwater Cave and return via the same passage.
The duration of this tour varies considerably due to water levels and the fitness levels of the group.
Hours later, as we venture back into daylight there is time to relax, swim and feast by the cool waters that gave Clearwater Cave its name.
It will be late afternoon before the longboats take us down stream on the Sungai Melinau to Park Headquarters.
This is the final day of “Highlights of Sarawak” and the last breakfast with the group before you head in different directions. Flights depart to Miri, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching daily.
To extend the adventure check-out The Road Less Travelled 10-day experience and join us on the Headhunters Trail trek.
2019 tours: On request
7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS
AU$ 2,350 p/p
Some Impressions from this tour
The world's largest show cave
Breath the fresh air and take in the sights on the way to Bako National Park, Kuching