Borneo Kuching city waterfront esplanade with iconic Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building

Nestled between the jungle and the sea, Sarawak’s capital began life as a trading post, built up by the family of Sir James Brooke, the first of the line of “white rajahs” who ruled Sarawak for a century. The city has boomed in the last two decades, due in large part to its close proximity to a number of national parks and wildlife destinations. Kuching’s historic waterfront makes for perfect sunset strolling, before exploring the city’s sophisticated food and bar scene.

7 days

Sarawak’s national parks

Wildlife spotting and colourful Kuching
Kuching (2 days) Semenggoh Nature Reserve (2) Bako National Park (3)
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14 days

The best of Sarawak

Orangutans, rainforests and beaches
Kuching (2 days) Bako National Park (3) Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary (3) Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve (3) Kota Kinabalu (3)
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  • Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

    Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

    25km west of the waterside town of Sandakan is Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, a rehabilitation centre which runs popular pay-to-volunteer programmes...
  • Kota Kinabalu

    Kota Kinabalu

    Whether you’re wanting to scuba dive in pristine coral reef, trek Malaysia’s highest mountain or simply relax on the beach of a stylish resort, Kota Kinabalu seems to have something for everyone...
  • Tanjung Puting National Park

    Tanjung Puting National Park

    Tanjung Puting National Park
    Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park is famed for its conservation efforts, and with the world’s largest population of wild orangutans, you can almost guarantee you’ll see some of these free-roaming great apes...
  • Kumai

    Kumai

    Head to Kumai in Central Kalimantan, a port town and gateway to Tanjung Puting National Park...
  • Bako National Park

    Bako National Park

    Sarawak’s oldest national park is just over 20km from capital city Kuching, and is a popular day trip for tourists wanting a taste of the region's wildlife...
  • Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve

    Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve

    Sabah’s largest waterway is one of only two regions in the world which are inhabited by ten species of primate, and is Borneo’s most popular destination for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of a wild Orangutan...
  • Semenggoh Nature Reserve

    Semenggoh Nature Reserve

    A couple of hours south of Sarawak’s capital Kuching, Semenggoh Nature Reserve is a research and rehabilitation centre for orphaned, displaced and injured orangutans, hornbills and honey bears...
  • Danum Valley

    ...

Things to do in Kuching

Our recommended experiences and activities

Learn about the Iban in a longhouse
Kuching

Learn about the Iban in a longhouse

Batang Ai National Park is the only place to see orangutans in the wild in Sarawak. While here, learn more about the indigenous Iban people – once headhunters, but now forest conservationists.

See the legendary rafflesia flower
Kuching

See the legendary rafflesia flower

Blooming up to 1m in diameter, the world’s largest flower takes nine months to mature and only lasts for a week. Keep your ears pricked for a tip in Kuching, and take a day trip to nearby Gunung Gading National Park.

Where to go in Borneo

Our recommended places

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

25km west of the waterside town of Sandakan is Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, a rehabilitation centre which runs popular pay-to-volunteer programmes. Founded in 1964, the centre provides medical care for orphaned and displaced orangutans, along with dozens of other species, including elephants, gibbons and sun bears.

Alongside their four-week volunteering schemes, Sepilok is a popular day trip from Sandakan.

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Whether you’re wanting to scuba dive in pristine coral reef, trek Malaysia’s highest mountain or simply relax on the beach of a stylish resort, Kota Kinabalu seems to have something for everyone. The busy CBD and waterfront are compact enough to easily explore, and visitors can delight in the city’s emerging music scene and diverse culinary options.

Tanjung Puting National Park

Tanjung Puting National Park

Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park is famed for its conservation efforts, and with the world’s largest population of wild orangutans, you can almost guarantee you’ll see some of these free-roaming great apes.

Visitors can spot an array of other native wildlife — including proboscis monkeys, civets, gibbons and sun bears — so jump aboard one of the many traditional Klotok boats sailing up the Sekonyer River, and keep your eyes peeled. Spend a day visiting the orangutan research and rehabilitation centre, Camp Leakey, for an unforgettable, up-close experience.

Kumai

Kumai

Head to Kumai in Central Kalimantan, a port town and gateway to Tanjung Puting National Park. Grab a guide and a Klotok — a traditional houseboat — and venture into the park for excellent wildlife spotting opportunities.

Bako National Park

Bako National Park

Sarawak’s oldest national park is just over 20km from capital city Kuching, and is a popular day trip for tourists wanting a taste of the region's wildlife. Although Bako National Park is quite compact, it is home to a multitude of flora and fauna which call the mangroves, swamp forest and beach-speckled coastline their home.

Travellers can take advantage of the park’s well-marked trails, which range from short and sweet walks to full-day hikes.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve

Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve

Sabah’s largest waterway is one of only two regions in the world which are inhabited by ten species of primate, and is Borneo’s most popular destination for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of a wild Orangutan. Most visitors will opt to cruise down the river, combined with the odd trek and overnight stay in a jungle-fringed campground.

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

A couple of hours south of Sarawak’s capital Kuching, Semenggoh Nature Reserve is a research and rehabilitation centre for orphaned, displaced and injured orangutans, hornbills and honey bears. Like Sabah’s Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, the centre’s population of semi-wild orangutans are accustomed to human encounters, meaning visitors are able to get close to these playful orangutans during feeding time every morning and afternoon.

Visitors can also explore the reserve’s botanical research centre, which cares for a wide variety of plants and has a picturesque bamboo garden and pond with a floating pavilion.

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