Baby orang-utan (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 25 October

Walk on the wild side: 7 intense wildlife adventures in untamed Borneo

Borneo is one of the world’s great wildlife frontiers – home to rare creatures and epic landscapes. These trips will take you to its wild heart and give you the chance to help its endangered species too

1: Discover Sarawak’s wild heart

A green turtle in Borneo (Dreamstime)

A green turtle in Borneo (Dreamstime)

Venture deep into the heart of Sarawak in search of some of Borneo’s most elusive creatures on this 13-day adventure with Wildlife Worldwide.

Your journey begins in Talang-Satang National Park, a nesting ground for green and hawksbill turtles, where you’ll visit a turtle hatchery and learn about the conservation work they do. Next, an overnight stay at Bako National Park, famed for proboscis monkeys, lets you witness its extraordinary birdlife at dawn and dusk. You’ll see rare Irrawaddy dolphins and turtles on a boat trip to Nanga Sumpa, where you’ll stay in a traditional Iban longhouse and trek through jungle in search of wild orang-utan. Your journey ends at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve and a renowned rehabilitation project aimed at getting displaced orang-utans back into the wild. 

Trip: Sarawak - Walk on the Wild Side

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Departures Apr-Oct

How long: 13 days

How much: From £2,645 (inc. flights)

2: Save an orang-utan

Baby orang-utan eating berries (Dreamstime)

Baby orang-utan eating berries (Dreamstime)

Do your bit to save endangered orang-utan by volunteering at the Matang Wildlife Centre with The Great Projects.

The Matang Wildlife Centre is a refuge for orang-utans which have been left injured, orphaned or homeless by deforestation, mining and forest fires. As a volunteer, you’ll help improve the lives of the orang-utans and work towards their future protection. This will involve feeding orang-utans, sun bears, macaques and binturongs, clean enclosures, help build feeding platforms in the forest and take part in tasks designed to promote natural behaviours in the animals, getting them ready to be released back into the wild. 

During your stay, you will also get the chance to visit Iban tribes and explore the local markets.

Trip: Orang-utan Conservation Project in Borneo

Who: The Great Projects

When: Trips start 5th & 19th every month

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1,280 (exc. flights)

3: Discover a wildly luxurious Borneo

Proboscis monkey (Dreamstime)

Proboscis monkey (Dreamstime)

Experience the wild side of Borneo with all the creature comforts on this luxury wildlife holiday with Exsus Travel.

This tailormade trip offers a unique combination of unforgettable wildlife and beautiful beaches with a high level of luxury at every step of the way. You'll come face-to-face with orang-utans, seek out the pygmy elephant on a nature river cruise and enjoy total relaxation on a tropical island paradise. It’s a five star, natural adventure you will never forget.

Trip: Wildlife Holiday in Malaysia and Borneo: Orangutans, Jungle, and Beach

Who: Exsus Travel

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 15 nights

How much: From £3,690 (exc. flights)

4: Counting Pygmy elephants

A pygmy elephant on the Kinabatangan River (Dreamstime)

A pygmy elephant on the Kinabatangan River (Dreamstime)

Stay with a local indigenous community and educate them on the importance of conservation on this volunteer project on the Kinabatangan River with The Great Projects.

You will stay in the small village of Sukau, home to the 'Orang Sungai' ('People of the River’), experiencing local life first hand and helping villagers adopt more sustainable ways of living. You will also help a nearby wildlife sanctuary monitor wildlife through river cruises and rainforest treks in search of orang-utan, pygmy elephants, gibbons and hornbills. It’s a great way to experience wild Borneo and play a part in sustaining its future. 

Trip: The Great Orang-utan and Pygmy Elephant Project

Who: The Great Projects

When: Trips start 21st each month

How long: 12 days

How much: From £1,095 (exc. flights)

5: Visit the Island of Orang-utans

Orang-utan and baby (Dreamstime)

Orang-utan and baby (Dreamstime)

Explore the wildest corners of Borneo, before discovering to a tropical island gem on this extraordinary wildlife holiday with Audley.

After exploring the backwaters of the Kinabatangan River by boat, visiting the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and staying overnight in a traditional Iban longhouse, you’ll head to Gaya, a rainforest covered island off Kota Kinabalu. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and intensely colourful reefs, the island is a paradise for snorkellers. The island also boasts a turtle conservation program and its interior is home to wild orang-utan. Watch out too for the extraordinary walking catfish, native to this part of Borneo - and so-named as it really does 'walk' on dry land.

Trip: Orang-utans & Islands of Borneo

Who: Audley

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 13 days

How much: From £2,880 (exc.flights)

6: Let the family meet the family

Family of proboscis monkeys (Dreamstime)

Family of proboscis monkeys (Dreamstime)

Introduce your kids to exotic wildlife, traditional tribes and beautiful beaches on this unique family adventure through Borneo with Explore.

Staying in a jungle lodge in Sepilok, you’ll visit the world's largest orang-utan rehabilitation centre as well as one of the world's few Sun Bear conservation projects. Cruising down the Kinabatangan River you’ll spot proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants and, later on, witness hundreds of thousands of bats swarm out of the Gomantong Caves at sunset as they head out for their nightly raids. At Poring Hot Springs, there is the chance to relax and swim beneath the nearby waterfalls, before walking along the 100-foot-high walkway which snakes through the rainforest canopy.

Trip: Family Land of the Orang-utan

Who: Explore

When: 31 Mar, 22 7 29 Jul, 12 Aug and 23 Dec 2018

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1,255 (exc. flights)

7: Photograph Borneo’s wildlife

Photographer with a proboscis monkey (Dreamstime)

Photographer with a proboscis monkey (Dreamstime)

Add spectacular landscapes and forests and incredible array of wildlife to your portfolio on this photographic expedition through Borneo with Wildlife Worldwide.

Accompanied by prize-winning photographer Nick Garbutt, you will watch and photograph wildlife and landscapes in Sabah's premier wildlife locations. You’ll walk the through the tropical rainforest of Kinabalu National Park and visit Sepilok to observe orangutans before travelling the Kinabatangan River to see pygmy elephants.

The highlight of the tour is undoubtedly Danum Valley, where you will encounter some of Borneo's most exuberant inhabitants on a variety of day and night walks. Daily sessions with Nick will help you hone your photography talents in situ.

Trip: Rainforests and Rivers

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Departures Apr-Sep

How long: 17 days

How much: From £6,295 (exc. flights)