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Exploring Borneo

Coasts and Caves

The third largest island in the world, Borneo is lined with gorgeous coasts. It’s also home to one of the largest cave systems on earth. This itinerary gives you a taste of the coast with days on the water near Kota Kinabalu and Miri and takes you into the ancient wonderlands of Niah and Mulu. As every trip to Borneo should include a chance to see orangutans and monkeys, we’ve included a visit to Bako National Park along the northwestern coast to look for proboscis monkeys and a trip to Semenggoh Nature Reserve, home to semi-wild orangutans who love to check in at feeding times.

We’ve put in a day of diving for those so inclined but don’t let that scare you off if that’s not to your liking. This itinerary is here to inspire you as all of our holidays are tailor-made. We’re happy to add or subtract days, change hotels, and adjust as you see fit. This itinerary pairs well with a beach holiday in Malaysia or Thailand. Please ask us for advice and perhaps seek a bit of inspiration here. To learn more about the coasts and caves of Borneo, give us a call at UK 020 7112 0019 or email to start planning your holiday.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu

Welcome to Borneo! Your driver will meet you at Kota Kinabalu International Airport and transfer you to your downtown hotel. You’ll be within walking distance of the waterfront, night market, and a variety of shops and restaurants so have a bit of a wander this evening.

Day 2 - Gaya Island Rainforest & Reef

You’ll need walking shoes and beachwear today. After a thirty-minute boat ride with your guide, you’ll walk through the rainforest of Gaya Island. Following a picnic lunch, relax on the beach or don a mask and snorkel and slide into the waters of the South China Sea.

Day 3 - Mulu National Park

After a leisurely morning your driver will collect you for the short ride to the airport and your hour-long flight to Mulu. You’ll transfer to your simple accommodation within the park. Take a self-guided stroll on the trails as the afternoon is at your leisure.


Day 4 - Garden of Eden and Caves

Today your guide will take you through Deer Cave with your guide to the Garden of Eden. This adventurous trek may have you swimming upriver, eating lunch by a waterfall, and taking in the peaceful surroundings of this little-visited trail. On the way back, visit Lang Cave and if you wish, take a seat to watch the bats stream out at dusk.


Day 5 - Wind and Clearwater Caves

This morning your guide will take you to Wind and Clearwater Caves. There are many steps to climb but the formations inside are beautiful and a dip in the water outside the caves is a refreshing way to escape the heat of the rainforest. In the afternoon, take a self-guided walk along the trails, visit the information centre, or simply relax on your balcony.

Day 6 - Travel to Miri

Take a 30-minute flight this morning to the coastal city of Miri. Your guide and driver will get you checked in to your hotel before an afternoon tour of this coastal city. Take in a local market, Chinese temple, the Miri Handicraft Centre, and the view from Canada Hill.

Day 7 - Diving the South China Sea

Miri is an unexpected dive destination but the Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park is teeming with healthy marine life. If you’re there between April and June, you could be lucky enough to see a whale shark. We’ve booked two dives today for certified divers (equipment rental not included).

Day 8 - Caves of Niah to Kuching

Visit the archeologically interesting caves of Niah today. The oldest human remains in Asia were found here, dating to 40,000 years ago. Your guide will take you up and into the caves to look at the rock paintings and more. Late in the afternoon you’ll fly to Kuching where you’ll check in to your unique city hotel.


Day 9 - Bako National Park

Only an hour from Kuching is Bako National Park. Look for proboscis monkeys in the trees, macaques and bearded pigs along the trails, and ask your guide to point out pitcher plants and other unique plants of this tropical jungle.

Day 10 - Countryside cycling and caves

A short drive from Kuching are rarely-trafficked roads great for riding a mountain bike. Ride to Wind Cave this morning then head off-road to an old gold mine. Continue your ride to Fairy Cave, a sacred place to the locals. End your ride with a challenging stretch through the rainforest. Back in Kuching, the rest of the day is yours to relax.


Day 11 - Semenggoh & White Rajah Trail

Visit the Semenggoh Nature Reserve during the morning feeding time. If it isn’t fruiting season, there’s a good chance you’ll see semi-wild orangutans come in for a free meal. In the afternoon, explore Kuching on foot with your guide. Discover its history and multicultural delights.


Day 12 - Farewell Sarawak

Transfer today to the Kuching International Airport for your flight onward. Safe travels!


This itinerary costs from £1,880 per person based on two adults sharing excluding peak seasons of July-August, Christmas and New Year, and Chinese New Year’s. The price includes all transfers and domestic travel but not international flights.

International flights tend to cost between £700 and £900 return – do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

What's included?

  • Prices start from £1,880 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle or by boat as mentioned
  • Local taxes excluding those only collected locally
  • Entrance fees
  • All excursions and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Internal flights
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
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Kota Kinabalu
An easy city to see on foot, Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to Sabah. Hop a ferry to the islands, relax by the beach north of the city, tuck into a meal at the night market, and settle into the easy pace of Sabahan life. More
Tip of Borneo
Empty beaches, clear water, and fantastic villas perfect for those looking to get away from it all. The Tip of Borneo is a quiet place for a self-drive holiday from Kota Kinabalu. A longhouse homestay, traditional villages, and a jungle home to proboscis monkeys are easy day visits. Snorkel, dive, kayak, trek, bicycle, or simply sit by the water. More
Mount Kinabalu
The highest mountain in Southeast Asia offers more than an incredible hike. With multiple mountain environments and climate zones, Kinabalu Park hosts more than 300 bird species and 5,000 flowering plants including the large rafflesia. For those up for the challenge, climbing Mount Kinabalu is an unforgettable overnight hike to see the sunrise at 4,095 meters. More
Considered by many one of the top dive sites in the world, Sipadan Island has coral-covered walls dropping well below recreational limits. Sharks, turtles, and schools of fish that number in the thousands are routinely seen by divers and snorkelers. Only 120 visitors are allowed per day so we recommend staying on nearby Mabul and diving its macro-rich waters on your non-Sipadan days. More
Danum Valley
The largest piece of preserved virgin rainforest in Malaysia sits within the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This remote jungle hosts a magnificent array of wildlife from the largest in the region to some of the smallest. Sun bears, orangutans, clouded leopards, wild cattle, Sumatran rhino, horned frogs, flying frogs, flying squirrels, the list goes on. Previously only accessible to researchers, campers, and those with a very high budget, we've found a lodge that gets you close to the action without the hefty price tag. More
Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Bornean gibbons, pygmy elephants, clouded leopards, proboscis monkeys, orangutans, and a few of the nearly extinct Sumatran rhinoceros are protected within the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. A stay here will have you trekking to a mud volcano and a waterfall, looking for birds and nocturnal creatures on night walks and drives, and if you're lucky, getting a peek at some of Borneo's incredible wildlife. More
Kinabatangan River
A trip down the Kinabatangan River to Sukau is an almost guaranteed way to see proboscis monkeys in the wild. These unique monkeys are endemic to Borneo and line the protected river corridor. Wild orangutans, pygmy elephants, silver leaf langurs, macaques, crocodiles, kingfishers, hornbills, owls, civets, and an array of other wildlife can be spotted in the region. Fireflies light up near Abai and the Gomantong Caves boast a bat population in the millions. Nearby Sepilok is the home to an Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Sun Bear Conservation Centre, both worth a visit. More
The nation of Brunei Darussalam sits between the two states of Malaysian Borneo. Its capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, reveals the country's wealth with lavish mosques, gold towers, and carefully groomed outdoor spaces. People are friendly and when the sun sets the country's name, abode of peace, makes perfect sense. More
Built along the Sarawak River, Kuching makes a lovely base for exploring western Borneo. Architecturally interesting with Malay, Chinese, Indian, Muslim, British, and other influences apparent, the city is pleasant to walk around and easy to navigate. Nearby Bako National Park and Semenggoh Nature Reserve are great places to see wild proboscis monkeys and semi-wild orangutans. Each can be visited on a day trip from Kuching although spending a night in Bako is well worth it. More
Mulu National Park
The caves of Mulu are some of the largest in the world and the only ways to get there are on foot or by plane. This remote rainforest is full of walking trails and caves, the latter of which can only be visited with a guide for safety reasons. For the adventurous, serious trekking options exist and for the comfort-seekers, a lovely little resort sits just outside the National Park. More
Batang Ai
Traditional culture is alive and well in Batang Ai where the Iban people still live in communal longhouses. No longer feared headhunters, the Iban have incorporated touches of modernity into their traditional way of life. Trek through the park in search of wild orangutans, walk through the canopy looking for birds, sit down with an Iban chief to learn about their culture, or just look out over the many waters for which the region is named.
Caves of Niah
With evidence of human habitation dating back more than 40,000 years, the Niah caves are a fascinating and beautiful area that can be explored on a day visit from Miri. See etchings on the wall of Painted Cave, traditional ladders for those collecting the nests of swiftlets, and huge caverns as you walk the boards and visit the small museum.
Maliau Basin
The "lost world" of Sabah, the Maliau Basin is a naturally enclosed basin drained by tributaries of the Maliau River. A multi-day trek in this dense rainforest is a challenging and rewarding way to get up close and personal with an extremely wide array of plants and animals. More

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