On arrival in Kuching you will be greeted by our representative who will transfer you from the airport to your centrally located hotel. We will have an important tour briefing in the late afternoon, so check with reception for the time and location.
If you arrive early, you are free to discover the charms of the Kuching, a city established by Sir James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak. The White Rajahs refers to a dynasty that founded and ruled the Kingdom of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946, namely the Brookes, who came originally from England. In Kuching you can see buildings dating back to the days of the White Rajahs, ancient Chinese temples and colourful markets displaying the produce that first brought traders to Borneo. A visit to Kuching will not be complete without making a stop at the Sarawak Museum. Completed in 1891, the museum has an excellent collection of ethnological and archaeological artifacts and is reputed to be the best in South East Asia. There are plenty of eateries to choose from this evening and you will have an opportunity to wander around the city and explore. Local food here is quite economical and you will spend around MYR 10.00 for a good meal.
* This evening you will need to pack the clothing and personal items you need for the next 4 nights in a separate backpack. Please make sure you keep these items to the bare minimum, as you will be expected to carry your own pack.
Overnight: The Lime Tree Hotel, or similar
Early this morning (08:00) we will be picked up from the hotel in Kuching and driven to Batang Ai Reservoir. Along the way we stop at the Lachau Bazaar. Here we stroll around the shops and the small native market and have an early lunch in a local coffee shop. We then continue our journey, arriving at Batang Ai Lake around 1330-1400 hours. Here we board a longboat and travel upriver to Nanga Sumpa, arriving at approx 15:30 hours, although the exact time will depend on river conditions. There's time to settle in at the lodge before we have dinner. The evening is free at your leisure. However if you would like, after dinner we can visit the Nanga Sumpa longhouse. Relax on the ruai (common verandah) and spend time with the Iban people. Interact with the community; learn about their culture and perhaps enjoy some local rice wine.
Overnight at Nanga Sumpa Lodge, or similar.
After breakfast (08:00) in the Nanga Sumpa Lodge, we depart Nanga Sumpa (approx. 09:00) and trek for about 2-3 hours through orangutan habitat to Mawang Rainforest Camp. This camp is located at an elevation of 195 metres. Spend time looking for wild orangutans and other wildlife like the pig-tailed macaques, giant squirrels and a variety of birds. While the orangutans are only occasionally seen, their nests can usually be observed. Upon arrival, we set camp and have lunch at Mawang Camp. After lunch we’ll go trekking on one of the many jungle trails to search for orangutans and their nests. We return to camp and prepare for the evening meal.
Overnight at Mawang Rainforest Camp. (Accommodation at Mawang Camp is basic and comprises wooden shelters. Thin mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets are provided. There is a toilet block with western style toilets.)
After breakfast (approx 07:00) in camp, we leave Mawang Camp and continue your exploration of the jungle in search of orangutans, orangutan nests and other wildlife. After 3-4 hours we return to the camp for lunch. In the afternoon we will go on another trek to search for orangutans and their nests. We will return to camp before dusk. Dinner and overnight at Mawang Rainforest Camp.
This morning begins with breakfast in camp. Then we will trek from Sungai Mawang to Nanga Sumpa (about 2-3 hours). Search for wild orangutans and other wildlife before arriving at Nanga Sumpa on the Delok River. Settle in at Borneo Adventure’s lodge and have lunch. In the afternoon we’ll go on a circular trek in the Nanga Sumpa area through primary and secondary forest that is known orangutan habitat. Alternatively you can take a boat upriver to Enseluai Waterfall for a swim. Return to lodge for dinner. After dinner you can Spend the evening at leisure in the camp or proceed to the longhouse across the river. Spend some time “berandau” (talking) with the longhouse people before retiring for the night.
Overnight at Nanga Sumpa Lodge.
Following breakfast, we depart the lodge to travel for a couple of hours downstream to the Batang Ai Lake jetty. From here we then travel overland back to Kuching with lunch enroute. We arrive in Kuching in the late afternoon to check in to the hotel. Kuching, a city established by Sir James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak. The White Rajahs refers to a dynasty that founded and ruled the Kingdom of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946, namely the Brookes, who came originally from England. In Kuching you can see buildings dating back to the days of the White Rajahs, ancient Chinese temples and colourful markets displaying the produce that first brought traders to Borneo.
Note: Leeches are found in the forest along the Red Ape Trail. Insect repellent is effective against leeches. Weather conditions and the water level of local rivers may force our guides to modify the trip in the interests of safety. For example, some trekking activities are not possible during heavy rain or a thunderstorm. No refunds can be offered if a trek is cancelled or boat transfer delayed due to bad weather or river conditions.
After breakfast we transfer to the airport. Upon arrival at Mulu airport, you will be transferred to your accommodation. In the early afternoon, we venture on a guided tour of the impressive Deer Cave and the Lang’s Cave. First we stop at the Park Headquarters for registration. Visitors are not permitted to enter any of the caves within the Park without a Licensed Park Guide. Important both for its high biodiversity and for its karst features, Gunung Mulu National Park, is the most studied tropical karst area in the world. The 52,864-ha park contains seventeen vegetation zones, exhibiting some 3,500 species of vascular plants. Its palm species are exceptionally rich, with 109 species noted. The park is dominated by Gunung Mulu, a 2,377 m-high sandstone pinnacle. A wooden plank-walk leads from the National Park headquarters to the cave entrance (approximately 1 hour walk).The Lang’s Cave is the smallest of the 4 show caves of Mulu, but boasts some of the most beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Further on we will find the entrance to the Deer Cave, the longest cave passage in the world. The main chamber is 174 meters wide and 122 meters high. Follow a winding path deeper into the dark cave passage (don’t forget your torch light!) to reach the “Garden of Eden”, where a hole on the cave ceiling let’s in sunlight and a jungle grew inside the cave. It truly deserves its name! It is also in Deer Cave that you will see the famous rock formation resembling the profile of Abraham Lincoln. After the cave exploration, you will wait for the impressive exodus of bats. Most evenings at sundown (between 5.30-6.30pm), a spectacular exodus of about 2-3 million wrinkled-lipped freetail bats can be observed as they leave the cave in search of food. (Weather-permitting, you may witness millions of bats leaving the cave just before sun sets in order to hunt for food.) We walk back to the Park Headquarters, by torchlight accompanied by the calls of hundreds of creatures that spring to life as night falls. The return trip is a wonderful time to move through the forest, listening to the calls of the frogs and insects and often seeing fireflies and stick insects. Dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Shared Dormitory with shared bathroom
NB: Flight times from Kuching to Mulu via Maswing MH3823 may change (Dep 1120, Arr 1255).
After breakfast, we embark on a boat ride up the Melinau River to the Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave. Along the way you will stop at a Penan village. Formerly nomadic people, some Penans have settled here, looking for a less strenuous way of living and trying to adapt to the changing world of modern days. Visit the handicraft market, to see the products of the skilled craftsmanship of the Penan. Further upriver you will reach the Wind Cave. Explore the beautiful cave chambers with its spectacular rock formations and try to find out how this cave got its name. Wind Cave, with its impressive ‘King’s Chamber’ is where, stalactites and stalagmites with delicate lace-like patterns are found. A 10 minutes’ walk along a wooden walkway will lead you to a nice natural pool. From here you need to climb 200 steps to reach the entrance of the Clearwater Cave, which is Asia’s longest cave with a subterranean river system. And as the name suggests, the water is crystal-clear. A wooden walkway leads you deeper inside the cave. The size of this cave will make you feel like a dwarf, although you actually just get to see a tiny part of the real dimension of this breath-taking cave system. Like most caves in Mulu, Clearwater Cave is the habitat of unique species of plants. One of them, the one-leafed plant, can only be found at Mulu; rare species of orchids and pitcher plants can be seen in many locations and photo-sensitive algae grow on certain rocks and have produced needle-like formations that point towards the source of light. Back at the natural pool outside the cave you will have a simple picnic lunch and enjoy the rainforest around you. If you wish you may take a cooling dip in the fresh water before you continue the boat ride to Long Litut (1-2 hours depending on water level). Here is the starting point of the 8 km trek through the rain forest to Camp 5, our camp for the night. After a simple dinner, retire for the night in the dormitory-like accommodation of the camp.
Overnight: Shared Dormitory at Camp 5 with shared bathroom (basic dormitory accommodation, in open space, with basic common toilet facilities. Bedding - foam mattresses and blankets - and mosquito nets are provided. Lights are powered by solar energy. Although not required, for more comfort please bring your own sleeping bags.)
After an early breakfast, get into your trekking footgear with proper grip and start your climb of Mount Api. Although the length of the trail is only 2.4 km, you will cover 1,200 metres of altitude! Therefore a good physical condition and high level of stamina is required! The last part of the trail is almost vertical, with ropes and aluminium ladders strategically positioned to help with the climb. After this tough challenge you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Pinnacles, a series of 45 meter high, razor-sharp limestone spikes that tower majestically above the surrounding forest. Recover some of your energy with a simple picnic lunch before you climb back down to Camp 5, where the river in front of the camp will invite you to cool off after this great adventure. Dinner and overnight at Camp 5.
Overnight: Shared Dormitory at Camp 5 with shared bathroom
After a simple breakfast, we return to the National Park headquarters (our expected time of arrival is around noon). From here we transfer to the Mulu airport for a flight to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival we transfer to the hotel.
Overnight: Dreamtel Hotel or similar
NB: Flight times might change, Mulu to Kota Kinabalu. Maswing flight, MH3254 depart at 1445hrs to Kota Kinabalu.
It is an early breakfast and transfer to Kinabalu Park HQ (approximately 45 minute drive). You will meet your Mountain Guide and transfer to Timpohon Gate (the starting/ending point). There will be a short briefing by the mountain guide and then we set off for the climb. We commence our climb to Laban Rata and along the way enjoy a packed lunch. Ensure you do not climb too fast, try to aim for 6 hours or more to reach Pana Laban, this is to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. At approx 4:30pm we arrive at Pana Laban (3272.7M). After checking into our overnight accommodation the remainder of the day can be spent exploring the surrounding area, or just relaxing and resting in preparation for your early morning ascend tomorrow morning.
Overnight: Laban Rata Hut – Dormitory Bunk Bed with communal bathroom (accommodation is very limited and will be in multishare rooms with dormitory bunk beds)
We will aim to reach the summit by sunrise however you will need to make an early start (2:30am). Supper (or early breakfast!) will be provided before you start the final climb to the summit. At 2:30am you will depart from your accommodation with your mountain guide for Low’s Peak Summit (4095 m). Our goal is to reach the summit in time for sunrise (5:30am). You will commence climbing by torchlight (a head torch is most useful) and as you ascend the terrain becomes less vegetated. The final stages of the ascent crosses bare granite slabs before a steep section up to Lows Peak and the highest point of Mt Kinabalu at 4,093m. As the sun rises over Sabah the most extraordinary view unfolds (weather permitting). Contrasting with the pink tinged granite is the deep green of the forest below, stretching to the fertile croplands and beyond to the island dotted South China Sea. It’s time to descend to Laban Rata for a well earned breakfast. At 9:00am we continue the descent to Timpohon Gate – we aim to reach the gate before 4:00pm to avoid late climber guide fees*. At 1:00pm we will transfer back to Kinabalu Park’s HQ and meet our driver. Here we enjoy lunch before transferring back to Kota Kinabalu. Mt Kinabalu, the majestic summit of Borneo has such importance that the state capital Jesselton was renamed Kota Kinabalu in 1964. There are plenty of eateries available nearby and you have a chance to visit a night market or try some local dishes which aren't very expensive (estimated MYR 10.00 for a good meal).
(NB: Times are approximate and will depend on your pace and progress. It can be very cold with strong winds at the summit. On many days clouds could obstruct visibility.)
Overnight: Dreamtel Hotel, or similar
This morning we fly to Sandakan city, the second largest town in Sabah, on the northeast coast of Borneo. Today you will visit a most interesting location - the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here a team of professionals work with orphaned or abandoned Orangutans to learn the survival skills they need to return to their natural habitat. Later we'll enjoy a boat safari along the Kinabatangan River where we search for wildlife among the rainforests. Borneo’s wildlife is so unique and wonderful that it is very memorable day appreciating these natural treasures.
After breakfast we take a cruise up the Kinabatangan River to spot proboscis monkeys, langur monkeys, macaques, gibbons, saltwater crocodiles, bearded jungle pigs, hornbills, a variety of birds, pygmy elephants and much more. Following lunch we transfer to the airport for your outbound flight.Trip concludes