Embark on a wondrous adventure to discover Sarawak and Borneo! Malaysia is a culturally diverse country where people from different backgrounds meet in the equally diverse landscape. Over the course of 2 weeks, you will experience an unforgettable taste of Malaysia through the inspiring art and culture of a Sarawak village, visiting landmarks, natural treasure spots and touring around Kuching. As you travel on The Explore Borneo program, you will be mesmerised by the naturally harmonious balance between people and nature. If you’re looking for an exciting way to explore Borneo, this will be perfect for you. Offering adventure, culture, sightseeing and conservation, you will fully experience Borneo in a very active way.
Exploring the scenery of Kuching in the first week, you will experience the local cultures and customs, and learn some Bahasa – a native language. You will also visit a local bazaar, a village and markets where you will see the tribal people’s creations of traditional arts and crafts. Experience the history of Sarawak through a visit to the museum and visit an Orangutan conservation site, one of the most famous in Borneo.
In the second week, your active adventure begins. Taking part in guided treks through the jungle, prepare to burn off some energy as you take in the fascinating foliage found only in Borneo. You’ll get a chance to rejuvenate mid-week with a break to learn some traditional cooking techniques and taste the natural organic ingredients which grow in the forests.
Week 1 – Monday to Friday
Beginning with an introduction to Kuching, the city of cats, you’ll understand later on in the day how the city earned its name when you take a walk through the busy streets to visit the Cat Statue and pre-war buildings. Throughout the day you will also be introduced to some Bahasa or Malay words and phrases, where you will also be encouraged to ask questions about the language.
Today you will visit the Malay Village that sits within the City of Kuching. After this you will be taken to Fort Margherita which was built in 1880 by the Rajah Putih – the White King, and is today used as a Police Museum. A traditional boat cruise to enjoy the magical evening sunset that lights the Sarawak River will relax after your day in the city.
Through a morning visit to Matang Wildlife Park, you will see how the rescued animals, especially Orangutans, who have either been found injured, orphaned or kept illegally as pets, are trained to survive in the wild. When they are ready, they will be released into the wild where they will return to their natural roaming around the forests. In the afternoon you will be given lessons in the creation of traditional art.
Today, you will visit a Sarawak Village where you will experience the culture and see the various structures of the local buildings, ranging from traditional to long houses, to some with a Chinese and Malay influence. Following your visit to the village, you will go to the beautiful beach at Damai an annual location for the Rain Forest Music Festival.
A visit to the sensational Fairy Caves will amaze you today as you view stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over thousands of years. Later in the day you will be taken to a natural hot spring near the caves.
Saturday and Sunday
These will be free days for you to relax or independently visit some local attractions.
Week 2 – Monday to Friday
Taking a drive to Lundu, approximately 2 hours from Kuching, you will love this beautiful, peaceful town and the welcoming people who live here. After exploring the town, your next stop will be the fabulous beach at Lundu where you can enjoy a cup of local, aromatic coffee at the beach café. Your day will end at Gunung Gading National Park listening to the forest residents playing natural music before an overnight stay at the park.
Starting your day off the active way, you will trek through Gunung Gading National park to appreciate the natural beauty that grows there, such as the Rafflesia which grows up to a metre tall. More delights await you later in the day as you visit Sematan where you will be welcomed according to the Bidayuh customs. Here you will see how the natives earn a living and enjoy a dinner of traditional food.
After tasting the cuisine, you now have a chance to learn to cook it! In a traditional cooking class, you will find out about the natural, organic ingredients used by the tribe before you eat the food you have cooked. During your transfer back to the centre in the afternoon, you will be able to enjoy the scenery along the way.
Your day will be spent in the fantastic Bako National Park, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parks running alongside the beach at Sarawak. Exciting encounters with wild animals, such as silver leaf monkeys, frogs, insects and possibly a Proboscis monkey will leave you in awe.
Your last day of touring will take you to the most popular National Park in Sarawak where you will find many different types of palm trees, orchids, and other vegetation. This wonderful natural environment is frequented by many families in Kuching in their free time to enjoy the peaceful environment and take relaxing hikes.
For those participants who are leaving on Sunday, there will be a farewell party. Others who are staying on for other projects in the country are welcome to attend the party or embark on other activities.
Departure from the centre either to home or on to the next projects.