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The Great Borneo Adventure Trek

The Great Borneo Adventure Trek
Trek Borneo’s three greatest trails to the highest peak in the Malay Archipelago  (14D13N )
Kelabit Highlands Trek | Headhunter’s Trail |Mulu Pinnacles Trail | Mulu Adventure Caving | Climb Mount Kinabalu | World’s Highest Via Ferrata Experience

''One would have covered much more ground climbing and descending than advancing forward.''

 – James Barclay – A Stroll Through Borneo

Trek your way through the very best of Borneo landscapes to the peak of Kinabalu

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Introduction

A client once asked us to come up with the ULTIMATE adventure trek across Borneo. We begged to differ – the ultimate adventure trek is not across Borneo but UP Borneo, to the peak of Mount Kinabalu. This amazing two-week trek takes you through the very best highland scenery in all of Borneo, visiting two fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way.

First you will enjoy the warm hospitality of the Kelabit Highlands, trekking through Indonesian territory to reach the equally hospitable Lun Bawang people. Then after a quick road detour through Brunei, you head inland along the renowned Headhunter’s Trail to reach the stunning Mulu Pinnacles. After a spot of adventure caving at Mulu, it’s over to Sabah for an ascent of the legendary Mount Kinabalu, finishing off with a high-altitude adventure on the world’s highest Via Ferrata.

Tour Itinerary

The Great Borneo Adventure Trek - 14D/13N

 Day 1 – Arrival – Miri: Arrive at Miri International Airport, meet and greet by our local representative then transfer to hotel. Free at leisure to explore the gastronomic delights of the city and perhaps sample the local nightlife.

Day 2 – Miri – Bario (B L D): Pick up from hotel and fly to Bario via MASWings Twin Otter flight from Miri (40 min). Meet and greet upon arrival at Bario Airport and transfer to The Ngimat Ayu Homestay for lunch. After lunch, stroll past paddy fields to visit the old longhouse at Bario Asal. It is quite smoky inside as the Kelabit keep their stone hearths burning round the clock. Some of the elderly ladies in the longhouse will be happy to show us their antique bead jewellery and headgear. Stroll to the nearby Bario High School to enjoy the commanding view, then visit the art gallery at Ulung Palang longhouse, featuring the work of Kelabit artist Stephen Baya. Return to the Ngimat Ayu Homestay for a late dinner and overnight.

Day 3 – Bario – Pa Ukat – Pa Lungan (B L D): After breakfast we will begin trekking to Pa Lungan (5 hrs), passing the hamlet of Pa Ukat along the way. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of jungle-covered mountains and sparkling green paddy fields. As we pass through the kerangas forest, Pitcher plants & orchids border the way. Our trekking guide will reveal Kelabit legends and folk-tales as we pass ancient stone megaliths. We arrive at Pa Lungan, a small and unspoilt village of only 200 people, in time for lunch. After lunch we will explore the village and its surroundings, including a group of ancient megaliths known as Batu Ritong, Sarawak’s mini-Stonehenge. Dinner and overnight with our host family, all of whom (like most Kelabit) speak fluent English and are keen to tell stories of the highlands.

Day 4 – Pa Lungan – Long Repung (B L D):  After breakfast, trek for 5-6 hours to Long Repung through the primary and secondary forest. Overnight at the jungle shelter at Long Repung, sleeping in comfortable hammocks with mosquito nets. Experience the nature and if you are lucky you may see some wildlife. Lunch and dinner will be prepared by your guide, although you can try your hand at river fishing for your own dinner too.

Day 5 – Bario – Ba Kelalan via Indonesia (B L D): After an early breakfast, start trekking through the scenic countryside and cross the border (there are no passport formalities in this remote location) to the Indonesian Kelabit village of Long Midang, renowned for its natural salt springs. After lunch in Long Midang, trek back across the border to arrive in Ba Kelalan by late afternoon. Ba Kelalan is an isolated but extremely friendly settlement surrounded by glistening green rice paddies, with buffaloes pulling ploughs and sledges. It is inhabited by the Lun Bawang people, close relatives of the Kelabit, graceful and elegant people who make their living as rice-farmers. Many of the older generation still have pierced, elongated earlobes, and wear traditional hats of rice stalks. Dinner and overnight at a lodge in Ba Kelalan.

Day 6 – Ba Kelalan – Limbang – Iban Longhouse (B L D): After an early breakfast, drive to the airport for flight to Lawas (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday only). From Lawas Airport, drive through Brunei Darussalam (2 hrs including border formalities) to Limbang. After lunch, drive to Nanga Medamit (1 hr) and board a longboat to a friendly and welcoming Iban Longhouse, starting point for the Headhunters’ Trail. After a sumptuous traditional dinner, spend the evening chatting with the locals. Overnight at the Iban Longhouse.

Day 7 – Headhunters’ Trail – Camp 5. After breakfast,  travel by longboat up the Medalam and Terikan Rivers, then walk through lowland forest, following the Headhunters’ Trail to the Melinau Gorge. When head-hunting was as its height in the 19th Century, Kayan war parties from the Baram River made their way through the Mulu area  to attack Murut longhouses and Chinese farmers along the Limbang River. Paddling their war canoes up the Melinau River to the Melinau Gorge, they dragged them 3 km overland to the headwaters of the Terikan River, a tributary of the Limbang River. The “Kayan Road” – a 4m wide trail with poles laid across it to facilitate dragging the boats – has disappeared without trace, but you can still see the canal they dug around Batu Rikan, where the Terikan river goes through a cave in the hill. In the late afternoon, arrive at Mulu National Park’s Camp 5, which sits beside the Melinau River and faces the spectacular Benarat cliffs,  for dinner and overnight. “Camp” hardly does the accommodation justice, as there are large open air sleeping rooms with raised platforms and sleeping mats, fully equipped kitchens, a dining space, toilets and showers.

Day 8 – Pinnacles Ascent – Camp 5 (B L D): After an early breakfast, ascend Gunung Api  to view the magnificent Pinnacles, a silver-grey forest of stone emerging from the surrounding jungle.  The trail is only 2.4 km long but rises 1,200 m and the last section is near vertical with ropes and ladders to climb. During the climb (2-5 hours depending on fitness) you will see many species of plants and types of insects, as well as Large Treeshrews (Tupaia tana) foraging for food.  A packed lunch will be served at the observation point. The descent is more difficult and can take 5 hours or more. Return to the camp site, cool off in the river and rest those weary legs. Dinner and overnight at Camp 5.

Day 9 – Camp 5 – Wind & Clearwater Caves – Penan Settlement – Mulu NP (B L D): After breakfast, trek for 3 hours (8 km) through beautiful rainforest to  Long Litut, then continue by longboat  to Mulu, where lunch will be served at Sungai Pala Café. In the afternoon, transfer to Mulu National Park headquarters for registration, then proceed on a 3 km plank walk through this UNESCO World Heritage Site to Deer Cave. This vast cave is home to 3 million wrinkle-lipped bats, as well as the beautiful Garden of Eden and a striking rock profile of Abraham Lincoln. Next is Lang’s Cave, with its stunningly beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.  After exploring the caves, proceed to the Bat Observatory to view millions of bats flying out of the cave entrance in the late afternoon (weather permitting). Return via the plank walk to park headquarters and transfer to your accommodation at Benarat Lodge, Mulu. Dinner at Sungai Pala Café.

Day 10 – Penan Settlement – Wind & Clearwater Caves – Kota Kinabalu (B L): After breakfast, check-out and baggage collection. Transfer by native longboat to the Batu Bungan Penan Settlement, which has a small handicraft market showcasing the remarkable skills of these semi-nomadic people. Continue by longboat to the Wind Cave to view the bizarre and spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, flowrocks, helitites and rock corals which are revealingly lit in the King’s Chamber. Then proceed to Clearwater Cave, at 107 kilometres the longest cave in Asia. Venture deep inside the cave, visiting a dark box chasm and the underground Clearwater River. After a picnic lunch outside the cave mouth, take a dip in the Clearwater River or photograph the colourful Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing butterflies that abound here. Return to park HQ and transfer to Mulu Airport for flight to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. Upon arrival at Kota Kinabalu Airport, direct transfer to hotel for check in. Free at leisure and overnight in Kota Kinabalu.

Day 11 – Kinabalu Park – Laban Rata (B L D): Early morning pick up and transfer to Park HQ for registration. Together with mountain guide, transfer to starting point at Timpohan Gate. Start trekking up the mountain, passing through a very wide range of habitats, from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations. Look out for colourful rhododendrons, pitcher plants, wild orchids and other interesting vegetation.  Along the way there are 7 shelters with toilets and drinking water, so you can rest at intervals and do not have to carry heavy water bottles. A packed lunch is provided to be consumed along the way, as the trekking will take 5-6 hours. Upon reaching 3,289 metres, check-into Mountain Torq’s Pendant Hut, attend the mandatory Via Ferrata Familiarization Briefing and meet your Via Ferrata guide.  Stroll over to the Laban Rata Rest House for an early dinner, then and overnight in the Pendant Hut.

Day 12 –  Kinabalu Peak – Via Ferrata (B L D):  Wake up early at about 2.00am to continue for the second phase of the climb which will begin at about 3.00am. You will make one stop at Sayat-Sayat Hut for final registration, collect a whistle each for safety precaution and refill water bottles. You will now head up to the Summit of Borneo – Low’s Peak – in total darkness; a good torchlight (flashlight) is essential. You will pass the 8km mark with views of the South Peak and St. John’s Peak in time to catch the sunrise. The view of the surrounding peaks is magnificent.  You will be able to see most of the peaks very clearly by 0600 hrs. Descend from Low’s Peak at 0600 hrs to meet your Mountain Torq trainer and proceed for your exciting via Ferrata Experience traversing the Low’s Peak Route. At 1130 hrs descend to the Pendant Hut to get cleaned up, then head to Laban Rata Rest House for lunch.  The rest of the day is free at leisure to recuperate from your exertions and enjoy the mountain scenery. Dinner at Laban Rata Rest House at 6 pm, then overnight at the Pendant Hut.

Day 13 – Kinabalu Peak – Via Ferrata (Backup) or Poring Hot Springs – Kota Kinabalu (B L): If your first Via Ferrata experience was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, or if you wish to repeat the Via Ferrata experience or take part in any other Mountain Torq activity (at your own expense), repeat Day 12 above, then take a late breakfast at Laban Rata Rest House at 1100 hrs and check out of the Pendant Hut at 1200 hrs, then trek downhill to Timpohan Gate for transfer to the Park Headquarters to collect your certificate of achievement. There will not be sufficient time to visit Poring Hot Springs. Return to Kota Kinabalu in the late afternoon/early evening. Overnight in Kota Kinabalu Hotel.

If you do not wish to make a second ascent, stroll over to Laban Rata Rest house for breakfast, check out of the Pendant Hut then trek downhill to Timpohan Gate for transfer to the Park Headquarters to collect your certificate of achievement. After lunch, transfer to Poring Hot Springs (40 minutes) to soak in the hot sulphur springs and ease those aching joints and muscles.  Visit the Butterfly Farm and Orchid Conservation Centre or (if you have any energy left) observe the tropical rainforest from the Poring canopy Walkway. Return to Kota Kinabalu in the late afternoon. Overnight in Kota Kinabalu Hotel.

Day 14 – Kota Kinabalu – Transfer Out (B): Free at leisure in Sabah’s stunning waterfront capital until transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Please quote Product Code IBO-004-1413

What's Included in the Price?

The tour price is based on a minimum of 2 persons travelling together on a twin-sharing basis unless otherwise indicated. Please enquire for detailed pricing, extensions and large group rates. Check the small print for our terms and conditions.

Tour Price Includes: 

  • Accommodation  as indicated
  • Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • Transfers to/from Miri & Kota Kinabalu hotels
  • English/Malay-speaking tour guide.
  • Licensed mountain guides at Mulu Pinnacles and Mount Kinabalu
  • Adventure caving guide at Mulu National Park
  • Entry fees to all attractions and activities listed.

Tour Price Does Not Include

  • Flights to/from embarkation point
  • Tipping for guides, drivers and boatmen
  • Alcoholic beverages.

Note: Weather conditions and the water level may force our guides to modify the tour in the interests of safety. No refunds will be offered for any tour or extension sold.

Payment Methods

International Payment Methods:

  • 5% surcharge for payment by PayPal, Visa and Mastercard – we will email you a PayPal invoice that you can use to pay either from your PayPal account or by Visa or Mastercard.
  • Telegraphic Transfer – TT (bank wire) in Malaysian Ringgit to our bank account. You are responsible for all originating bank charges. 

 Domestic Payment Methods (for Malaysian customers and overseas customers already in Malaysia)

  • 5% surcharge for payment by PayPal, Visa and Mastercard – we will email you a PayPal invoice that you can use to pay either from your PayPal account or by Visa or Mastercard.
  • Online transfer to our bank account. 
  • Cash deposit to our bank account at any Maybank Counter/Cash Deposit Machine. 
  • By cheque (Malaysian cheques only, payable to “Suntravel Sdn Bhd”) at any Maybank Counter or Cheque Deposit Machine or by mail to the address shown on the page footer (please allow up to 7 days for clearance). 
  • By cash in person at our Kuching office. 

Bank Details 

  • Bank:  Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank)
  • Branch:  Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Account No:  011 038 810 818
  • Account Name:  Suntravel Sdn Bhd
  • SWIFT Code (for telegraphic transfers):  MBBEMYKL

Notes 

  • When you deposit to our bank account via cash or cheque, please ensure that you retain the deposit slip and email the scanned image to sun@suntravelborneo.com as proof of payment.
  • If using online transfer, please state your name and invoice number in the comments area.
  • If paying by telegraphic transfer, please note that Malaysian banks do not use IBAN codes. Please ensure you include the SWIFT code.

Hints & Tips

  • Please see our General FAQ, Medical FAQ and Mount Kinabalu FAQ.
  • Mosquito nets are supplied where necessary. However, you should cover up or apply mosquito repellent to prevent getting bitten.
  • Please carry small change and low value notes to buy drinks and souvenirs.
  • If you are vegetarian/vegan or have any food allergies, please let us know when you book so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Photo & Video Credits

All Sarawak photos on this page are © Sarawak Tourism Board, all Sabah photos on this page are © Sabah Tourism Board. They were taken on our trekking routes and are a fair representation of what you may expect to see.

Travel Agency Services

For Flight Ticketing, Hotel Reservations, Overseas Travel and Outbound Tour Packages, please visit our sister site: www.suntravelworld.com