Wild Borneo 2019
May 3 to 24, 2019
It’s a jungle out there! And nowhere is this more appropriate than in Borneo. It one of the most diverse rainforests in the world with hundreds of unique species of plants and trees plus the Orangutans and many other fabulous. It’s relatively undiscovered and not on your average tourist trail which is why we like it.
There are four countries in Borneo which incidentally is the third largest island in the world after Greenland and New Guinea (Australia is a continent). They are Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan which has few roads and occupies the greater part of the island.
Our Wild Borneo Rally starts and finishes in Brunei, an independent state occupying around 1% of the island with one of the wealthiest populations in the world. Then we visit Sabah, followed by Sarawak which are both members of the Malaysian federation.
While the driving is spectacular it would be wrong to go there and not see the wildlife so the rally is a Tour targeted at getting the best of both worlds.
3rd MAY – BANDAR SRI BEGAWAN – BRUNEI
Arrive at Brunei International Airport. Transfer to Empire and Country Club for three nights.
The Sultanate of Brunei is wedged in between the two East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, with its northern shore facing the South China Sea. Brunei is a land of contrasts, especially the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. The famous Kampung Ayer, a collection of houses, shops, schools and clinics, is perched on stilts in the Brunei River. Located opposite this water village in the centre of town are speculator mosques and the world’s largest royal palace. The eastern part of Brunei is still largely covered by pristine rainforest.
4th May – BANDAR SRI BEGAWAN
Collect cars and take them to hotel. Rest of day to work on the cars and prepare them for the journey.
5th May – BANDAR SRI BEGAWAN
0900 hours pick up from the hotel. Highlights include visits to the Morning Market, Brunei Museum, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque and the entrance of Istana Nurul Iman – the biggest residential palace in the world – which is the official residence of His Majesty the Sultan of Negara Brunei Darussalam. Lunch at a local restaurant included. After lunch continue with visit to the Royal Regalia Museum which was built in 1992 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty’s the Sultan of Brunei accession to the throne in 1967. Then take a scenic boat ride around the biggest Malay Water Village in the world. Visit a local home where you can witness the daily life of a typical villager living in houses on stilts on Brunei River. Local refreshments will be served.
6th May – KOTA KINABALU – SABAH
On the first day we take a ferry from Brunei to Sabah and drive to Kota Kinabalu. Kota Kinabalu or KK is the state capital of Sabah. Kota Kinabalu’s coastal location and mountain backdrop give it one of the most spectacular settings of any city in Malaysia. One of the great things about KK is the street life – the busy coffee shops, the waterfront markets and generally buzz about the place. Some of the best seafood in Malaysia can be found in KK and the beaches, reefs and islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park are just a 15 minute boat ride from the city centre.
7th May – TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN DAYTRIP
Just a 15 minute boat ride from Kota Kinabalu are the beautiful coral islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Offering pristine white beaches, clear water and coral reefs. After collection from the hotel, take a short boat ride to one of the outlying islands for a day of relaxation and swimming. Enjoy a barbeque lunch. Return to Kota Kinabalu mid-afternoon.
8th May – KUDAT AND TIP OF BORNEO
Drive through scenic countryside to the North of Kudat, passing paddy fields, villages, oil palm plantations and stalls selling handicrafts and local food. Stop at Bavanggazo Village for a Longhouse visit. Built entirely using local materials, the longhouse is home to the Rungus people, a sub-tribe of the indigenous Kadazan-Dusun. Here you can see their unique beadwork, lifestyle and costumes. After a native-style lunch continue the drive to Simpang Mengayau, the Northern Tip of Borneo. Drive to North Borneo Biostation Resort for overnight.
9th May – KUDAT- SANDAKAN
Drive for 7 – 8 hours to Kota Merudu, Ranau and Sandakan. Lunch en route. Overnight at Four Points Sheraton.
10th May – SANDAKAN –
SELINGAN TURTLES ISLAND
Transfer to the jetty for an hour’s trip by speedboat to Selingan Turtle Island. Here you will have a chance to see baby turtles at the hatchery and watch adult turtles. Also, bird watching and snorkelling available. Lunch at the restaurant and return to Sandakan in the afternoon.
11th May – Sepilok Orangutan –
Sun Bear – Labuk Bay
Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where captive orangutans are reintroduced into the wild. You will be able to observe them at their feeding stations in the rainforest and at the nursery (if open).
Then proceed to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). This centre rescues captured Sun Bears and is involved in Sun Bear conservation, welfare rehabilitation and education. Over 30 live at the centre in the bear house and outdoor enclosures.
After lunch, we go to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary located about 38 kilometres (30-40 minutes drive) from Sandakan. These monkeys are wild but habituated and often get very close to visitors. The afternoon feeding time commences at 1430 hours when groups of proboscis monkeys from the nearby forest and mangroves head to the wooden platform for a free meal. Labuk Bay offers a unique opportunity to get close to these normally shy creatures.
Note: The nursery at Sepilok is sometimes closed to visitors due to Orangutan sickness.
12th May – SANDAKAN – SEMPORNA
Drive for 5 – 6 hours to Ranau, Kunak and Semporna. Lunch en route. Overnight at Semporna Holiday Resort.
13th May – SEMPORNA
One day scuba diving/Relax.
14th May – SEMPORNA – LAWAS
Drive for 9-10 hours to Tawau, Nabawan, Keningau, Tenom and Lawas. Lunch en route. Overnight at Hotel Seri Malaysia.
15th May – LAWAS – MIRI – SARAWAK
Drive for 5-6 hours to Trusan, Merapok, Tutong, Seria, Kuala Baram, Lutong and Miri. Overnight at Pullman Miri
16th May – MIRI – SIBU
Drive 7 hours to Sibu . Overnight at Tanahmas.
17th May – SIBU – KUCHING
Drive 4 hours from Sibu to Kuching. Lunch en route. Overnight at Ranee Boutique.
Kuching, the state capital of Sarawak, is arguably one of the most attractive cities in Southeast Asia, with its romantic history of White Rajahs, rich architectural heritage, and the warm hospitality of its residents. The city has adopted modern amenities but has not lost its charm. The river, once an important transport link, is still a central feature of its beautifully landscaped waterfront promenade. The city centre is compact, with most of the main attractions located a short distance away from the Kuching Waterfront. The Sarawak Museum, Brooke era heritage buildings such as the Square Tower and the 19th Century shophouses at Main Bazaar are all within walking distance of the city centre.
18th May- BAKO NATIONAL PARK DAYTRIP (5-6 hours)
Drive about 35 minutes to Bako Village. From the village, take about a 25-minute boat ride (depending on the tide) to the park. Bako is one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in a natural setting. The various types of animals that are commonly spotted include proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, wild boars, monitor lizards and numerous species of birds. Forest types range from mangrove to kerangas (heath forest), tropical swamp vegetation, cliff vegetation and beach vegetation. There are several trails to follow inside the park depending on level of fitness and interest. The park’s coastline is dotted with small bays, coves and beaches. Return to Kuching mid-afternoon. Overnight at Ranee Boutique.
19th May – SEMENGGOH ORANGUTANS
Depart for Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, located 24 kilometres from the centre of Kuching. This orangutan rehabilitation centre trains orphaned or rescued orangutans how to survive in the wild. Over 20 orangutans live in the forest within the nature reserve and often return to the centre at feeding times.
20th May SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE (3-4 hours)
Situated just 32 km from Kuching and walking distance from Damai Beach is the Sarawak Cultural Village. This award-winning ‘living museum’ sprawls over a 17-acre site at the foothills of Mount Santubong and offers an excellent insight into the cultures and lifestyles of the people of Sarawak. Share the arts, crafts, games, foods and music of the seven major ethnic groups in Sarawak. After touring the village, enjoy a multi-cultural dance performance in the village’s
21st May – KUCHING – BINTULU
Drive for around 9 hours to Bintulu. Lunch en route. Overnight at New World Suites.
22nd May – BINTULU – BANDAR SRI BEGAWAN -BRUNEI
Drive from Bintulu to Miri (4 hours) and continue to the border with Brunei (Sungai Tujuh) – about an hour. Then from Sungai Tujuh to Bandar Sri Begawan, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Arrive at The Empire and Country Club for two nights.
23rd May – BANDAR SRI BEGAWAN
Day to pack the cars away.
24th May – BANDAR SRI BEGAWAN Depart.
Borneo along with Sumatra is the only place on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans, and elephants live together.
The forests are home to diverse creatures such as the proboscis monkey, sun bear, clouded leopard, pygmy elephant and flying fox bat.
There are good hotels wherever we go and we will provide breakfast each morning plus most evening meals.
As usual we will have a mechanic with us and a medic to keep body, soul and car together.
The roads are generally pretty good but we suggest you take a well prepared classic for this journey to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.
Yes, it’s hot and sticky but we are going at one of the best times of year for maxium comfort.