5th- 12th July 2019
We’ll take it all in at a pretty cruisy pace. We’ll explore the ‘must-see’ tourist destinations in Kuching and Mulu National Park with expert local guides but I’ll also introduce you to some hidden treasures that only the locals really know about. Oh, and you’ll meet quite a few of them too!
You’ll cruise Kuching’s wetlands at sunset in search of fireflies, proboscis monkey and Irrawaddy dolphin, explore the largest show caves in the world and relax as we witness 3 million bats exit Deer Cave (Check out the footage in David Attenborough’s Planet Earth, Series 1, if you want to get the kids excited!). This tour packs a punch and I’m really excited to be sharing the journey with you and to watch the wonders of Borneo through your children’s eyes.
In Kuching, we’ll stay in the heart of the old quarter and a stone’s throw from The Sarawak River and its beautiful promenade. In Mulu, we’ll spend our nights in spacious bungalows under the world heritage rainforest canopy of Mulu National Park.
So what do we have so far?…. Awesome walks, incredible scenery, some fresh jungle air, a river cruise or two and a bit of giving back to the communities we visit. Now bundle it all together with a like-minded family seeking a holiday with a purpose. Families in search of fun and adventure. Only one thing to do now…get your passports ready and reserve your place!
Oh but there’s more….
The tour can finish in either Kota Kinabalu or Kuching. (We’ll fly you in either direction from Mulu )
If you fly from Mulu to Kota Kinabalu you will arrive in time to link up with Saturday’s direct flight (5hrs) from KK to Perth.
If you choose to return to Kuching with me you have to option to stay on for Kuching Rainforest World Music Festival.
An additional 4 days accommodation is available to those that would like to stay on for Kuching’s Rainforest World Music Festival. This festival is absolutely family friendly. There are a host of music, culture and wellness workshops that take place within the Sarawak Cultural Village – home to the festival for the last 30 years. You can check out the details of the festival here.
Flights to and from Kuching are available through Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air and Air Asia via Kuala Lumpur and via Singapore with Scoot Travel.
Accommodation package for the festival is available online when you book your July in The Jungle Tour.
Borneo Ethical Adventures works with not-for-profit agencies, local businesses, and friends that support and protect endangered wildlife, national parks and the minority groups of the region.
Our partners, local guides and projects have been hand-picked to ensure your entire experience aligns with our ethos, your vision and provide benefit to communities in which we travel.
Our grassroots adventures also offer you the chance to contribute to and connect with this natural wonderland and its people through volunteering. Whether it’s mucking out an orangutan enclosure for Project Orangutan, planting fruit trees at Batu Bungan School in Mulu National Park or shopping ethically with Heart Treasures in Kuching, you’ll be providing support to the communities, wildlife and natural areas that we encounter.
10% of Borneo Ethical Adventures profits go directly towards supporting these partnerships.
How we make a difference:
Be prepared to tread lightly as we travel sustainably, ethically and with purpose
WE follow IUCN guidelines of ‘No Contact” volunteering when working with wildlife
WE respect host communities and their values, attitudes, and beliefs and expect the same of our travellers
WE offer pre-trip advice of useful things to donate as we travel
WE use reusable bottles and camel packs over plastic water bottles
WE avoid single-use plastic
WE practice ‘Leave No Trace’ policy in regard to waste disposal
WE tread lightly and follow IUCN best practice guidelines when trekking in Protected Areas (including small group size)
WE follow best practice for volunteer management in the schools we visit
Kuching experiences: Accommodation, breakfasts, transfers, entry fees and escorted and guided tours of Semonggoh Wildlife Centre, volunteering with Project Orangutan, Matang Rehabilitation Sanctuary & Kuching Wetlands Sunset Cruise.
Mulu National Park: Accommodation, breakfasts, all transfers, boat rides, and entry fees, escorted tours of Deer and Lang Cave, bat exodus, Clearwater Cave, Cave of Winds, Night walk & Batu Bungan longhouse craft market and volunteering
Optional: Canopy Skywalk tour, night walk and Adventure Caving available on request
Transport & Flights: All transfers and flights while on tour (Does not include international flights)
Meals: all breakfasts, picnic lunches (when on day trips) and some evening meals…but not all.
Please note that the itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and other variables.
This tour is loosely aimed at families and sole parents with children aged 6-12yrs. It will be open to a larger groups size than usual (Up to 20 in total) and from there we can break into smaller groups with individual guides focused on various age groups or similar interest. It also allows for around 10 adults which will be a nice group size for the parents and kids respectively!
We’ll endeavor to match sole parents that would like to save costs and share a room with other sole parents. And if that is not ‘your thang!” then we have private family rooms sleeping 2, 4 or more people across 2 hotels in Kuching and a range of similar options are available in 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 a stone’s throw from the riverside promenade of Sarawak River, a great place to take a stroll any time of day or night. It’s really safe and family friendly!!
If you arrive early, check out the tin merchants in Carpenter Street or simply take a seat near the river and chat with the locals as you watch the world go by.
For those staying at The Marian, you can escape the afternoon heat with a dip in the hotel’s pool!
We’ll meet up before sunset for a welcome drink and enjoy dinner together at an open-air rooftop seafood restaurant.
Optional: River kayaking
Depart 8 am 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 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.
Return to town for some ‘downtime’ or continue further out of town for a 10km kayak down river, stopping for your first of many jungle feasts at Bidayuh longhouse.*
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.
Hang around with the gang
Everyone’s idea of a holiday holds something different so this day is flexible to take it as you please. We’ll advise and book whatever suits you or just leave you to wander the beautiful streets of Kuching, take in a massage or hit the shops!
Options include 1/2 day cooking classes, cycling or walking tours, a day trip to Bako National Park -just to get you started!
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 pygmy 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.
Your accommodation here is perched under the forest canopy and embraced by a series of self-guided walks trails through the rainforest.
Afternoon tour to Deer and Lang Caves and witness the sunset 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 regale 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 rimstone pools and spectacular stalagmites and stalactites.
Not far away is the jaw-dropping Deer Cave. With a cathedral-like cavern snaking two kilometers 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-meter column of water streaming from above, like a giant shower for the jungle gods.
It will be around 7 pm when we return and a shared dinner to sample the range of great meals at Mulu Park’s cafe will be ready and waiting for our group.
Handicraft Market at Batu Bungan, Penan longhouse, Tour of Clearwater Cave & Cave of Wind followed by picnic lunch and swim 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 kilometers under the earth.
First, we visit the Cave of Wind to enter the lavishly decorated halls of King Chamber, adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, flow rocks, 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.
A picnic lunch awaits us after the tour and there is plenty of time to swim in the crystal clear waters that gave Clearwater Cave its name.
OPTIONAL: Night Walk available on request.
Afternoon river cruise & BBQ with the locals at Long Iman Longhouse
Your morning is free to explore the self-guided trails of Mulu, relax at a waterfall or sign up for the Canopy Skywalk Walk and explore the 480-metre suspense platform from the canopy skyline
In the late afternoon, it’s time to venture out from under the forest canopy as we travel down river on traditional longboats to the mouth of the Tutoh River. Here we visit the remote Penan settlement of Long Iman. We’ll share a meal in their jungle home and learn about their transition from nomadic life to living in a longhouse on the fringes of Mulu World Heritage Area.
Transfer to Kuching or Kota Kinabalu
optional extension: Rainforest World Music Festival
Our tour finished with air transfer to either Kuching or Kota Kinabalu.
Optional extension: Extend your holiday with a few days in Kuching or let us plan a journey to Sarawak’s national parks or distance shores.
EXTENSION: RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Kuching Rainforest World Musics Festival takes place near Damai Beach at the Sarawak Cultural Village in the shadows of Mount Santubong. It’s a full 3-day program that has been running for 30 years. You can book an additional 3-night accommodation package when you book this tour.
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5th- 12th July 2019
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