- Work behind the scenes at an orangutan rehabilitation centre
- Track down the endangered proboscis monkey in the beautiful Bako national park
- Experience tribal life and go in search of wild orangutans
This tour provides you with both the opportunity to learn and the chance to help make a difference to the lives of the critically endangered orangutan population in Borneo. You will spend your time visiting multiple orangutan conservation centres as well as get the chance to visit 4 national parks and experience once in a lifetime events, including a night time walk through Bako national Park, snorkelling at the stunning beach of Telok Serabang and experiencing the Iban way of life through interaction with the native tribe. There really is something for everyone on this tour and if you hold the orangutan close to your heart then this is the perfect trip for you.
You'll arrive at Kuching Airport (KCH) between 9am and 5pm where you will be met at arrivals before taking a short transfer to the guesthouse where you can settle in and freshen up. You will then have a full tour briefing with your guide over a welcome dinner with your fellow travellers.
After breakfast, you will make your way to the Matang Wildlife Centre. The facilitator will take you on a full tour of the facility, where you will have chances to see a wide range of species from birds, to reptiles and gibbons, and of course the amazing orangutans. You will also see the famous Aman, the huge male orangutan for the first time. It will be love at first sight.
Continue your behind the scenes experience with the staff at the busy rehabilitation centre and orangutan sanctuary. Get your hands dirty assisting with husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals. This will include feeding the animals and cleaning the wildlife cages and enclosures. Enrichment making is also a very important activity here as it promotes natural behaviours and enhances the potential for rehabilitation and release, as well as improving the lives of the animals at the centre.
Please be aware there is no physical contact allowed with the apes. Excessive habituation to humans is nothing but detrimental to rehabilitation and conservation goals. To read more about this please click https://www.thegreatprojects.com/blog/hands-on-contact-with-orangutans.
You will have one final morning working with the orangutans before at mid-day heading to Bako National Park by boat- make sure you watch out for the crocodiles! The day will end with an optional night walk in the jungle where there are opportunities to see some of Borneo's fascinating nocturnal species, so this is not to be missed! Shine your torch up into the trees and keep an eye out for the little eyes staring back at you as Borneo truly comes alive at night-time.
You will spend day 5 in Bako National Park. With its rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and extensive network of trekking trails, Bako National Park offers an excellent introduction to the rainforest and coastline of Borneo.
As one of Sarawak's most famous locations for wildlife Bako will not disappoint, you will spend the morning trekking through the rainforest admiring the interesting flora and fauna and going in search of the famous proboscis monkey. In the evening you will transfer to the Malay community of Telok Serabang.
You will spend two full days in Telok Serabang. Telok Serabang is a Malay community that is situated in a beautiful coastal area of Sarawak. You will have opportunities to snorkel with the chance to see green turtles in their natural habitat, assist with beach clean ups, and work with the local school. You will also participate in night-time turtle patrols, get sweaty on jungle treks with amazing opportunities to see wildlife such as gibbons and flying lemurs and even make traditional jewellery with the community.
This is an opportunity to spend time with a Bidayau community, one of the indigenous Dayak groups from Sarawak. Your accommodation will again be in a traditional wooden longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. You'll get to learn about the traditional culture of this tribe, and perhaps even see human skulls in their longhouse, kept from the head-hunting days of the past. You may also be encouraged to take part in cultural dancing through the evening!
These days are spent in Batang Ai rainforest which is still home to wild orangutans. When in Batang Ai, as well as always being in search of orangutans high up in the trees, there are a lot of different activities to get involved in. These include learning traditional handicrafts, cooking, fishing, picnics amidst breath-taking scenery, swimming in jungle rivers and waterfalls and interacting with the tribespeople. Interacting and building bonds with the indigenous people is essential in repairing the fractured human – orangutan relations in this region. You and you fellow traveller's attitude towards the host community is paramount to the success of this project.
Transfer back to Kuching and visit the Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre along the way. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was established in 1975 to care for wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets.
As a result of its success, Semenggoh’s role has changed and it is now a natural haven for dozens of semi-wild orangutan and graduates of the rehabilitation programme who you can see as they come to the platforms to eat. You will spend one final evening at the Basaga Guesthouse where you will enjoy a warm shower and a farewell dinner with your guide and all of the new friends you have made along the way.
Time to say your farewells. Today you will be transferred to Kuching Airport for your return flight or to commence your independent travel plans.
Dates, Availability & Price
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!
Tour Comfort: Rustic
This tour has been categorised as Rustic. This is based on the standard of accommodation used throughout the tour, transport involved whilst the tour is in motion, and what modern facilities are available. This is more suited for travellers looking for a cost friendly experience at a basic level.
Day 1 & 13 :
In Kuching, you will be staying in a boutique guesthouse, which features Wi-Fi, television and a phone in shared rooms. All rooms are well equipped with en-suite bathrooms.
Located about a 20 minute drive from the Kuching International Airport (KCH) and a mere 7-minute drive away from the City center, it is within walking distance of one of Kuching’s largest shopping malls and some local eateries and restaurants.
Matang Wildlife Centre
Day 2 & 3 :
Whilst at Matang Wildlife Centre, you will be staying in a traditional longhouse in the grounds of the centre, an idyllic setting in a remote rainforest area, inside of Kubah National Park.
These wooden longhouses are original structures from the construction of the centre in 1997, so please do not expect shiny, new and pristine lodgings but well-used, jungle cabins and an authentic Bornean experience! Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers.
Bako National Park
Accommodation at Bako is very basic and you will be sharing with up to three other participants on your tour. However, you will be spending little time in your room, so you will not pay much attention to the basic standards.
Based in the heart of the park you are surrounded by amazing wildlife, but make sure you shut your door…you don’t want the monkeys to go through your rucksack! Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers.
Day 5-7 :
This is an opportunity to spend time with a Malay community on one of Sarawak's secluded beaches.
Your accommodation will again be in a traditional wooden longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers.
This is an opportunity to spend time with a Bidayau community, one of the indigenous Dayak groups of Sarawak.
Your accommodation will be in a traditional bamboo longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. Learn about the traditional culture of this tribe, and see human skulls in their longhouse, kept from the head-hunting days of the past. You may also be encouraged to take part in cultural dancing through the evening. Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers.
There are not many opportunities left in this day and age to be completely isolated and cut off from all the trappings of technology and the Western consumerist way of life. This, however, is one of them. Electricity is provided by the generator and runs for 3-4 hours per day. Other than that, there is no power, no telephone signal and no internet. It is you, and the jungle, and that is it.
You will be living across the river from a small Iban community that have resided in this area of the rainforest for many generations. Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers.
Tailor My Tour
You will need to arrive into Kuching Airport(KCH) between 9am and 5pm on the start date of your tour where you will be met by a representative at arrivals who will take you by private transfer to the Basaga Guesthouse for your welcome dinner and first nights stay.
If you would like help booking your flights please feel free to contact our Flight Partner via our flights page.
There is no prior visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia as a 90 day tourist visa is granted on arrival. However, please check the
Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.
MEALS AND BEVERAGES
Three meals a day and drinks are provided throughout the tour. Meals will typically consist of noodles, rice, vegetables and meat, however, vegetarian options are always available.
FITNESS AND SKILLS
This tour does not involve a lot in the way of physical labour, but it will involve trekking in the rainforest on the tour - usually in fairly humid conditions. Therefore, you should have high enough levels of fitness to be able to partake in regular treks on slippery mud trails.
CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE RATES
The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is around 1 GBP to 6.42 MYR. For up-to-date conversion information click
What's included in the price of the Tour?
• Airport transfers
• Overland transportation
• Accommodation and meals as indicated
• All traveling activity equipment
• Local guides
• English speaking project leader
• Conservation donation
What's not included?
• All flights
• Vaccinations and anti-malarials
• Travel insurance
• Alcoholic beverages
No Contact Policy
We are often asked whether or not travellers will have the chance to touch or play with the orangutans whilst at the wildlife centres. Our answer to this question is, and will always be no, and this is for good reason.
Orangutans are highly susceptible to human diseases and something as minor as the common cold can prove fatal to these Great Apes. Also an environment of constant change, with new people going to the centre every month and being in contact with the orangutans would be very detrimental to the Orangutans wellbeing. With no consistency in their lives behavioural problems arise. They also have a tendency to begin to trust humans which is damaging should they be released back into the wild, as they will become easy targets for poachers. Finally, an orangutan is around 7 times stronger than an adult male human so a no contact policy is just as crucial for your wellbeing as orangutan welfare.
That is not to say that you will have no interaction with the orangutans, it simply means that you will have no direct contact with them. You will still observe them on a daily basis and see how your contribution to their husbandry and enrichment makes a real difference in these great apes' lives. For more information please view our article on hands on contact with orangutans here.