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Borneo: Into the Jungle

Search for endangered orangutans, hike through the world’s biggest caves & sleep in a traditional tribal longhouse

What's Included

  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Max 14 travellers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • 12 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • 4 domestic flights
  • Local transport including minibus & boats
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • ATOL protected
  • Hand-picked 3-4 star hotels & a tribal longhouse
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, international flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team. Please note that single supplements are not available for the longhouse stay where shared rooms are all part of the experience..

About your trip

Steamy rainforests teeming with exotic wildlife, rich indigenous culture and coral-filled tropical waters…this 13-day expedition through nature’s hothouse strikes the perfect balance between ecotourism and wild adventure. 

Starting in Kuching, you’ll journey by boat into the jungled interior to stay with a once-feared Iban tribe (known as the ‘head-hunters’). You’ll explore the vast cave system in Sarawak’s Mulu National Park – so big it could fit 40 Boeing 747s inside – and you’ll hang out with orphaned orangutans at a rehabilitation centre in Sabah. 

There’ll be gentle bike rides through the Kiulu Valley and nocturnal nature safaris on the Kinabatangan River (hello snakes, crocs and fireflies). You’ll forage for wild ferns and ginger shoots for a tasty jungle feast, and you’ll have the chance to give back with a tree-planting project at a local village initiative.

And how to end? With a relaxing taste of Bornean beach life on a tropical island, lapped by the South China Sea.

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Touch down in Kuching
  • Touch down in Kuching, capital of Sarawak state, where a private Flash Pack transfer will be waiting to greet you
  • Meet your Pack Leader and group and set out to explore this melting pot of Indian, Malay, Chinese and colonial influences
  • Enjoy a welcome feast of food from the Orang Ulu and Dayak tribes, raising a glass of tuak (rice wine) to the adventures to come
Stay in a tribal longhouse
  • Prepare to go off-grid as you jump aboard a motorised longboat and travel upriver to the Negmah Ulu Longhouse
  • Spend the afternoon immersed in local tribal life, making baskets, mending fishing nets and swimming in the river
  • Join your hosts for an entertaining evening of dancing and drumming
Jungle foraging & blowpipes
  • Learn all about the art of blowpipe hunting and try to master this traditional skill yourself
  • Forage for your lunch in the jungle, collecting delicacies such as wild ferns and ginger shoots, and enjoy a native-style picnic on the riverbank
  • Travel back to Kuching the way you came in and enjoy a free evening in Kuching
The world’s biggest cave
  • Catch a short flight to Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO-listed destination renowned for its razor sharp mountains and sprawling cave systems
  • Explore Deer Cave, the world’s biggest cave passage, leading to Borneo’s Garden of Eden: a pocket of lush plants bathed in sunlight from an opening in the roof
  • Hike back through the jungle after dark, keeping your eyes peeled for stick insects, fireflies and luminescent fungi
Colossal caves & treetop walks
  • Take a longboat ride up the Melinau River to Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave; the latter being the longest cave in Asia at 107 kilometres long
  • If water levels are low enough, you’ll enjoy a four-kilometre hike through the vast heart of Clearwater Cave, marvelling at its truly colossal scale
  • Stop by an idyllic pool shaded by rainforest for a refreshing dip and remote picnic
Sabah street food tour
  • Hop on a plane to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, a ‘nature resort city’ with an idyllic setting on the South China Sea
  • Delve into the city’s culinary scene on a local-led street food tour, sampling chicken satay, pineapple buns and refreshing pandan coconut drink
  • Stroll along the picturesque waterfront to one of the local restaurants for an age-old local favorite of butter prawns
Cycle through the Kiulu Valley
  • Leave the city behind as you cycle through the beautiful Kiulu Valley, riding through tropical scenes of rice fields, plantations and rainforest
  • Stop for lunch at a Dasun home, where a local family will share their tribal culture and show you the traditional method for tapping rubber from trees
  • Return to Kota Kinabalu by car and enjoy a free evening, perhaps starting with tropical sundowners at one of the buzzing waterfront bars
Close encounters of the furred kind
  • Take a 45-minute flight to Sandakan and transfer to the Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, one of the best places to encounter these endearing large-nosed primates
  • Get a fascinating close-up view of the endemic monkeys as they descend from the mangrove forest to munch on beans, cucumbers and pancakes
Orphaned orangutans & a river safari
  • Stroll from your lodge to the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Reserve, a rehabilitation centre for orphaned and injured orangutans
  • Visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, home to 44 rescued Malayan sun bears – the world’s smallest bear
  • Sail up the Kinabatangan River to your secluded riverside retreat, before taking an atmospheric night river safari in search of pygmy elephants, crocodiles, gibbons and more
Rainforest conservation
  • Wake early to experience the quiet beauty of Pitas Oxbow Lake, home to over 200 bird species including hawks, herons and hornbills
  • Climb the Kulamba Field Centre’s viewing tower for panoramic views across Borneo’s breathtaking landscapes
  • Visit a native Orang Sunai village to take part in a tree-planting project and try your hand at crab fishing with the local fishermen
Tropical island life
  • Cruise slowly back down the Kinabatangan River for your return flight to Kota Kinabalu
  • Take a 15-minute boat transfer to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Sabah’s first national park, created in 1923
  • Settle in to your serene beachfront retreat before wandering out to explore this small jungled island, fringed with white sand and colourful coral reefs
A free day in paradise
  • Enjoy a free day on the island; pull up a sunbed, submerge yourself in the hotel’s infinity pool or book yourself into the spa
  • Try out the array of watersports on offer, including snorkelling and scuba diving excursions to the offshore reefs, kayaking, parasailing and more
  • Come evening, gather with your group on the beach for an exclusive Flash Pack seafood barbecue with your toes in the sand
Until next time, Borneo
  • It’s time to say goodbye to your Flash Pack group and make your way to the airport for your onward journey
  • Borneo, in all its stunning fragility, will move and delight you; transporting you far away from your everyday life and humbling you with its vast untouched beauty
  • Back home, you’ll feel compelled to share this delicate place with everyone you know. And isn’t that a sign of a great adventure?

Our Favourite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Mulu Marriott Resort

Wake up to the sounds of the jungle in the heart of Gunung Mulu National Park. You’ll be staying in simple but spacious garden bungalows, complete with private bathrooms (hot showers and flush toilets), electricity and air con. The open-air restaurant serves tasty meals and the sun terrace is perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring. 

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Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

This secluded nature retreat, only accessible by boat, is set in a pristine area of nipa palms, freshwater swamps and lush mangroves abundant with wildlife. Expect bright wooden chalets, linked by boardwalks, with polished hardwood floors, bamboo furniture and colourful local fabrics.

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Gaya Island Resort

Just 15 minutes by boat from Kota Kinabalu, this 4-star hideaway is a world away from the bustle of city life. Think chalets nestled in lush greenery, just steps from a white-sand beach. Spend your days snorkelling in the gin-clear water of the coral-rich national park and dine at night with your toes in the sand sipping signature cocktails.

Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly into and out of (include airport code)?

Fly into Kuching International Airport (KCH) and fly out of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI).

What time do I need to arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

Please try to arrive by 12 pm on Day 1 as the welcome meeting starts at 3 pm in the lobby of your hotel, although we will arrange an airport transfer for you regardless of when you arrive.

What time should my flight depart on the final day?

There are no planned activities on the final day, so depart at your own leisure. However, bear in mind that you will be travelling back from Gaya Island on this day, so allow extra time. 

The boat ride from Gaya Island to the jetty in Kota Kinabalu takes around 15 minutes. From the jetty to Kota Kinabalu airport takes around 30 minutes by taxi. You’ll need to be at the airport two hours before your international flight departure, so it’s best to book an afternoon flight that leaves after 2-3 pm.

Are airport transfers included?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

On Day 13, you’ll take a boat from Gaya Island back to the mainland (included in the cost of your adventure, even if you book an extra night). From the pier, you’ll need to take a local taxi to Kota Kinabalu Airport (not included). Your Pack Leader will be on hand to help you arrange this.

If I book a post-trip night, where will this be?

Post-nights will be at the resort on Gaya island, which is a 15-minute boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu city.

Do I need a visa?

Up-to-date visa and entry information can be found using our official partner, Sherpa, who can help you arrange a visa if needed.

You can also find essential travel advice – including security and local laws, as well as passport and visa information – on the government website of your home country:

Please be aware that passport and visa requirements can change before departure, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest information.

What vaccinations and medication will I need?

While we are not medical professionals and cannot offer personalised medical advice, we want to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable adventure. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

1. Consult with a healthcare professional

We recommend scheduling an appointment with your travel nurse or doctor at least eight weeks before your adventure. This will give you ample time to receive any necessary vaccines or medications.

2. Up-to-date medical advice

3. Government travel advice

4. Medication tips

If you take prescription medication, ensure you bring enough to last the entire adventure, plus a few extra days in case of travel delays. Carry a copy of your prescription with you in case you need to visit a clinic while abroad.

We hope this information will help you prepare for a safe and healthy adventure.

What level of fitness will I need?

Overall, this trip is fairly relaxed but the heat and humidity can be tiring. A moderate level of fitness is needed for the Gunung Mulu cave hikes.

We recommend having a read-through of the itinerary above, and getting in touch if you have specific questions on fitness.

Do I need to be able to ride a bicycle?

On Day 7, there will be a gentle bike ride through the Kiulu Valley. You’ll be driven 75 minutes from the city into the unspoilt countryside , where your guide will adjust the bikes and provide a safety briefing about the morning’s tour.

The route will be along quiet roads with very little traffic. However, if you’re not confident riding a bike – or prefer not to join in this activity – you’ll be able to go straight to the village where you can relax, explore and help the local family prepare lunch.

What will the longhouse be like?

Due to the remote jungle location, the longhouse accommodation is fairly basic. On the other hand, it offers a rare chance to experience a traditional way of life and get up close to the lush rainforest landscape. You’ll sleep in a communal open-air room with your group (no private rooms are available for this part of the trip), on a mattress with a mosquito net. Electricity is provided by generator and there is running water (not for drinking) for showers and flush toilets.  Prepare for heat, humidity and a fair amount of mosquitos (come armed with plenty of repellent).

To balance the books, we finish in comfort at the resort on Gaya Island.

Will I have a private room when staying at the longhouse in the jungle?

Unfortunately, this is the only accommodation that cannot accommodate private rooms. As part of the experience you will be sharing rooms with other people from the group.

Will this itinerary change?

Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.

Will we have a Pack Leader for the duration of the trip?

Throughout this trip you will have two dedicated Pack Leaders who will be there to lead the activities and answer any questions you might have. There will be a Pack Leader for the first six days whilst in Sarawak, and a Pack Leader for the remaining seven days in Sabah.

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