Experience Borneo & Conserve Orang-Utans (2013)
Various rooms include hostel, park lodges, long house lodges. Basic and clean. Shared room - 4 to 6 per rom. Shared bathroom.
Arrive in Kuching, Sawawak, Borneo (dinner included) You will be met at Kuching airport and transferred to settle into a local guest. You`ll then attend a welcome dinner that evening at a local restaurant.
Orang-utan & Animal Rehabilitation Centre (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) Early afternoon transfer to Matang Wildlife Centre, which is situated inside Kubah National Park, home to several orang-utan and many other endangered Bornean animals, both captive and wild. After a tour of the facility by the centre`s senior staff you will be given unique `back stage` passes to visit the Ape Centre. Following a dinner prepared by the animal keepers` families you`ll receive a detailed presentation on orang-utan and their conservation from resident animal experts with an opportunity for asking any questions about endangered species.
Matang Wildlife Centre (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) Enjoy the rare opportunity to spend an entire day in a busy rehabilitation centre, not just as a tourist but as a member of the team! You will be walked through a day in the life of the orang-utan, bear and other animal`s rehabilitation officers and actually take part in many of the activities they perform - including the feeding of animals, cleaning of enclosures, enrichment of orang-utan and general centre maintenance. Such duties can be hot and hard work and will be tailored to the abilities of each individual; please note there will be no touching or holding of orang-utan and other animals, for their safety and yours.
Matang Wildlife Centre (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) Continue working at the centre in the morning with orang-utan and animals. Depart the centre at midday and head for Bako National Park, having lunch on the way. After a short boat ride around the impressive mangrove swamps on the South China Sea`s shores, home to many crocodiles, you will reach Sarawak`s oldest national park and settle into the chalets (four per room). There is an optional night walk in the jungle.
Bako National Park (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) Bako is one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in a natural surrounding such as the amazing proboscis monkey, langurs, macaques, silver leaf monkeys, boar, deer, civets, binturong and many species of snake. The jungle trails are varied and beautiful, taking visitors through five different kinds of rainforest. There are trails suitable for all fitness levels and numerous idyllic sandy beaches that are safe to swim from against the backdrop of lush tropical rainforest. You will most likely eat dinner during one of Borneo`s famous and spectacular sunsets and stay overnight again in the park chalets.
Bako National Park (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) In the morning you may follow a different jungle trail, swim at a different beach or practice your photography on the abundant plant and animal life, before transferring by boat again back to the mainland. By late afternoon you will transfer to another impressive beach/forest location with a slightly different mix of primate life, Damai beach, where you will spend the night in the very comfortable and peaceful accommodation of Permai rainforest resort.
Sarawak Cultural Village (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) The cultural village is a `living museum` to the Dayaks (indigenous tribes) of Borneo; from the famous head-hunters and fearsome pirates or sea Dayaks the Iban to more peaceful farmers or land Dayaks the Bidayuh or the nomadic Penan. All are represented in colourful traditional dress in a realistic representation of how these tribes lived their lives inside the rainforest. There are demonstrations of their crafts, dances and traditions and you may even test your blowpipe skills. In the afternoon transfer back to Kuching, stopping by a small but excellent and world famous museum. You`ll spend your final night in air-conditioned luxury before departing for the remote jungles of Batang Ai.
Rehab Centre & transfer to Batand Al (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) In the early morning you will visit the second orang-utan rehabilitation centre at feeding time for the semi-wild orang-utan with a very high chance of watching orang-utan in the trees above you. Amazing photograph opportunity and a chance to really observe how the largest arboreal animal in the world navigates itself through the trees. After this you`ll travel to Batan Ai National Park, passing through the rubber, cocoa and pepper plantations on the way. Stop en-route to sample some of the local delicacies and visit the colourful native market town of Serian, where a variety of jungle produce including edible ferns, bamboo shoots and unusual tropical fruit can be enjoyed as your guide stocks up on provisions for your jungle adventure. Travelling over 200 kilometres in a comfortable coach until you reach the mountainous border with Indonesia, you will transfer to lightweight traditional longboats and begin a marvellous boat journey into the heart of Borneo and look out upon the vastness of untouched tropical rainforest, perhaps catching a glimpse of the wildlife that lies within. After a full day`s travel you will reach your accommodation, which given its location - in the very middle of a rainforest - is a basic but comfortable wooden lodge with shared rooms and shared facilities. You will find yourself that evening in the vast garden of the remaining wild orang-utan. There are no phones, shops or even roads for miles and miles around; just the sounds of the forest and a scattering of small tribal longhouses. Sites of accommodation will vary at different times of the year dependent on river access, weather conditions and tribal customs, and can be subject to change at short notice. You will however always be based either out of the national park itself or in a dedicated lodge alongside one of the several longhouses that border the national park.
Day 9 - 12
Batang Ai Rainforest Daily activities will vary greatly, dependent on the weather and time of year, but also with regards to the customs and daily lives of the indigenous tribes - eg weddings, rituals, periods of mournings or relocations. Regular activities would include: multiple treks/nature walks into the surrounding virgin rainforest in search of its elusive inhabitants, the orang-utan, and signs of its presence including nests; light reforestation activities, replanting with fruit-bearing trees small areas of land damaged by the indigenous communities` shifting agriculture or by lightning strikes; learning traditional handicrafts, cooking, survival or fishing techniques (from one or more of the various tribes); opportunities to talk (with translation) with tribes people to learn about their traditions and lives; picnics amidst breathtaking scenery; a night out in the open jungle for the more adventurous; camera trap setting and monitoring; kayaking or swimming in crocodile-free jungle rivers and waterfalls; assisting when needed with any light maintenance or conservation works in the national park (optional). Please note: Batang Ai is an extremely remote location as well as a very real jungle; many of the tribes people living here have very little contact with the outside world and much less with foreign visitors. You must be prepared to be tolerant of their way of life, which is very slow and different compared to the developed world, as well as respectful of their customs and beliefs at all times. Your guide and various community members will be with you every step of the way to look after you; in the jungle, for your safety, their advice must be followed at all times.
Transfer back to Kuching (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) After breakfast, pack up and depart Batang Ai and make the journey back to Kuching. For those who have not seen enough orang-utan by now, there is an opportunity to visit the second rehabilitation centre on the return journey. You`ll arrive back in Kuching in the early evening, welcomed by beds and a warm shower at a hostel.
Departure (breakfast included) Check out and depart for Kuching Airport.
3rd of each month throughout the year
Group meet and greet in Kuching at hostel 13 nights in designate accommodation English-speaking facilitator All activities included in itinerary All overland transfers as per itinerary Meals as per itinerary
Airfare Camera fees Insurance Individual transfers (if outside the itinerary) Any items not stated in the list above Items of a personal nature.