16 Day Borneo Adventure

Women Only

Max group 12

Lifetime Deposit

Forget Kuala Lumpur. Forget Langkawi. We’ve got something even better – Malaysian Borneo! If you’re an adventurous traveller who loves to take the road less travelled, then this trip has got your name on it.

Borneo feels worlds away from mainland Malaysia and other popular Southeast Asian countries. It may be a bit trickier to get to but don’t let that stop you! After all, you just have to dig deeper to find those once-in-a-lifetime experiences… and we’ve done all the digging for you.

On this non-stop 16-day adventure, you’ll watch fuzzy orangutans swinging through the rainforest, float down a river on a bamboo raft, stay overnight with a local tribe, forage through the jungle to find ingredients for your lunch and snorkel through some of the clearest, fish-filled waters you’ve ever seen. And that’s just a sample of what we have planned for you!

If you love the natural world and want to see some of the most head-turning, untouched nature on the planet with your own eyes, then this tour is for you. 

Malaysian Borneo is calling. Are you ready?

Join eleven other women travellers just like you and experience the natural beauty of Borneo along its lesser-travelled paths, while having the absolute time of your life!!

Highlights

Explore mainland Melaka and sleep in a restored Peranakan House.

Lose yourself to the simple-life at homestays in Sarawak and Sabah.

Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Time for reflection at the Sandakan ANZAC Day Dawn Service.

Safari by riverboat in the heart of the Borneo jungle.

Chow-down at hawker stalls in KL’s Chinatown.

Trip Details

Price

$6,438 AUD (per person twin share)

  • $1,650 deposit.
  • 2 week cooling off period applies.
  • Lifetime Deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips.
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo.
  • Private supplement available: $1,456 AUD, max 2 spots (not available during homestays).

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Trip length

16 days, 15 nights


Dates

Starts: Melaka, 14 April 2024

Finishes: Kuala Lumpur, 29  April 2024


Meeting point

Hotel Puri, Melaka


Ending point

Verdant Hill Hotel, Kuala Lumpur 


Group size

Maximum 12


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section under the Participation Tab.


Included

  • Meals: 15 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 dinners
  • 3 Domestic Flights 
  • Private and air-conditioned road transport throughout.
  • Water transport as listed.
  • 12 nights boutique and premium accommodation
  • 3 nights simple homestay accommodation
  • A top-rated and English-speaking Tour Leader
  • Local guides as needed
  • Airport arrival and departure transfer.
  • All listed activities and more!

Not included

  • International Flights and travel insurance (necessary)
  • Additional hotel nights & late checkouts
  • Drinks and other other personal expenses
  • Tip kitty Note: as Aussies, we are not used to tipping! However, guide and driver tipping is customary for tours  in Malaysian Borneo.

Click the tabs to find out more
Day 1: WELCOME TO MALAYSIA

The adventure begins as soon as your plane touches down at Kuala Lumpur airport. Your trip of a lifetime is finally here! We’ll make your arrival a breeze by picking you up from the airport and dropping you off right at your hotel’s door, so you won’t have to worry about a thing.

Here’s the twist, though – the first stop on this tour isn’t Kuala Lumpur. We’re actually kicking things off in the gorgeous city of Melaka, around two hours away from Kuala Lumpur. You’ll be even more grateful for that airport transfer now!

This evening, you’ll meet the rest of your fellow Patchies and you’ll share a welcome dinner as the conversation flows. By the end of the night, you’ll feel like you’ve already known each other for weeks. But it’s only day one!

Accommodation: Puri Hotel (or similar)
Included: Dinner

Day 2: MELAKA

Well-rested after a full night’s sleep, you’ll be bursting with energy, ready to explore Melaka from top to bottom. This city is so gorgeous and historically significant that even UNESCO has given it a nod of approval – impressive, right?!

Joining a local guide, you’ll get a crash course on Melaka’s top sights, marvelling at the intriguing blend of Chinese and Malay cultures that have been influenced by the city’s colonial past. Then, you’ll arrive somewhere that’ll knock your socks off – the Red Square. Any idea what it’ll look like?

In the afternoon, you’ll head out on a journey to a traditional Malay village nestled right in the heart of the city. You won’t believe your eyes – what a contrast between the charming wooden houses and the gleaming skyscrapers towering above them! This is a city that truly knows how to blend the old with the new!

Accommodation: Puri Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

 

Day 3: PERAYA VILLAGE

Pinch yourself – today is the day you’ll finally touch down in Malaysian Borneo! A quick flight from Kuala Lumpur will take you to Kuching, known as one of the most liveable cities in Asia. Don’t go getting any ideas, though – you have a tour to finish first!

As well as being irresistibly liveable, Kuching is also famous for being home to several indigenous groups. You’re lucky, because today you’ll meet the second largest Dayak tribe in the region, learning about their age-old traditions and visiting the head household, where, you guessed it – they keep human skulls from their headhunting past! We’ve got an exciting surprise up our sleeves tonight – you’ll be staying with a local family in the village. After settling in, there’s no better way to round off the day than taking a dip in a nearby waterfall to cool off. This is the life!

Accommodation: Peraya Village Homestay (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: PERAYA VILLAGE

If rafting down a jungle-lined river to a secret riverside beach sounds like your idea of heaven, you’re never going to want today to end.

Bright and early, your group will hop aboard several traditional bamboo rafts skippered expertly by men from your host village, who’ll float you down a rainforest-lined river. Heart-pounding mini-rapids will be followed by calm tranquillity where all you’ll hear is the rustling of the wind through the trees. It’s pure magic.

On arrival at the secret pebble beach, it’s time for a different kind of lunch. With the rainforest as your grocery store, you’ll soon be foraging like a pro with the help of your guide. Then, it’s time to devour your locally-sourced lunch, complete with jungle ingredients. Can you taste the difference?

In the afternoon you’ll return by road to Kuching to retreat to your blissfully air-conditioned hotel rooms. After braving the humid jungle, the cool air has never felt so good!

Accommodation: Limetree Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 5: KUCHING

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but once you see what we have in store for your lunch today you’ll be rethinking that!

You’ll start by hitting up the market to soak in the sights, smells and flavours of the freshest local produce around. Then, it’s off to a local chef’s kitchen to learn how to cook up some of the most mind-blowing Malay dishes you’ve ever tasted. Once everything is ready, dig in! Mini-fireworks will go off in your mouth as you enjoy the still new-to-you textures and flavours of Malay cuisine. The fact that this food was made with your own two hands will make it taste all the better.

The afternoon is free to spend however you’d like. A post-lunch snooze, followed by some sightseeing or shopping perhaps?

Accommodation: Limetree Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: KOTA KINABALU

Boarding passes at the ready, ladies. After breakfast this morning, you’ll fly to the other end of Malaysian Borneo, leaving hundreds of miles in your wake. Your destination is the coastal city of Kota Kinabalu, a hub for tourism with all the modern facilities you could dream of.

Why do we mention this?

Well, this is Patch – you didn’t think we would spend the entire trip staying on the well-trodden path, did you? The adventure is going to be taking a turn into the wilderness very shortly, so embrace the wifi, warm showers and air conditioning while you can. 

On arrival, the day is free to spend however you’d like, so pick a couple of sights you’d like to tick off your bucket list and get exploring!

Accommodation: The Jesselton (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 7: KOTA KINABALU

You’ve only explored Malaysian Borneo from above ground so far, so let’s rectify that. On today’s snorkelling trip to Gaya Island, you’ll get to peep into the hidden world of Borneo’s marine life. Never snorkelled before? That’s ok – there will be an instructor on hand making sure you get the most out of your day.   

Lunch is served in the shade, before heading back out into  the water or some restful time on the beach. Sure – this is a spot popular with tourists, but the water is clear as glass and you’re surrounded by soft sand and colourful fishes darting through the waters – that more than makes up for not having it all to yourself! 

Accommodation: The Jesselton (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: KIULU VILLAGE

Leaving the coast behind, Kiulu Village will be your home for the next two nights – and what a home it is!

As soon as you arrive at the village, roll your sleeves up and get to work! The villagers are eager to show off their cultural activities and get you involved, so the only question is, what do you want to do most? Traditional rice planting and processing and also rubber tapping are all part of village life. You’ll have worked up an appetite, so after devouring lunch the locals will lead you through the village, pointing out the most beautiful and important areas for you to check out. You’ll draw a long breath at the sight of the surrounding paddy fields – the valley is like a hidden paradise and how special it is for the welcoming Kiulu locals to share it with you! 

Accommodation: Kiulu Village – Homestay (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: KIULU VILLAGE

After a hearty breakfast, lace up your runners for a trek through the jungle, enjoying a delicious homemade lunch at a villager’s home, followed by some handicraft making and traditional games. It’s hot, that’s for sure… so come prepared for  a refreshing dip in the river!

As the afternoon unfolds, return to the village feeling like a true local by now. This is your final night in Kiulu, so make the most of it! As the stars twinkle overhead, hang out with your newfound friends and share stories of your different cultures. This is the real Malaysian Borneo.

Accommodation: Kiulu Village – Homestay (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: KINABALU PARK

After saying fond farewells to your Kiulu family, you’re back on the open road for the 2.5-hour drive to the legendary Kinabalu Park. Wander around the park’s Botanical Garden. Even if you’re among the more plant-savvy of the group, prepare to have your mind blown by the sheer amount of plant species  – over 5,000 of them – that call the park their home. Spend your time ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at these impressive plants – store their sight and scents in your memory… because who knows if you’ll ever come across them again.

The rest of the afternoon is free for you to settle into your new home – a mountain lodge! Take a deep breath of the cool mountain air and savour the much-needed ‘me time’.

Accommodation: Kinabalu Pine (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: SANDAKAN

Today you’ll cover some serious ground, travelling on the road for five or six hours before checking into your Sandakan resort. You’re close to town and all of the action here, but also tucked away in a forested enclave. It’s the best of both worlds! 

Enjoy the peace, relax and unwind, because tomorrow is going to be a big day… rising at the crack of dawn to attend the ANZAC Day service at Sandakan Memorial Park. This important site was once a prisoner-of-war camp established by the Japanese during WWII. Now, it’s been transformed into a place of solemn reflection to honour the brave troops who lost their lives during imprisonment and the Sandakan Death March to Ranau. It’ll be an emotional and unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish forever.

Accommodation: Sabah Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 12: SEPILOK ORANGUTAN REHABILITON CENTRE

In the early hours of the morning, you’ll take a moment to pay your respects to the fallen ANZACS at the memorial site. It’s a reflective and moving start to the day, one that you will agree was totally worth it.

Next, it’s time for a complete change of pace, so you’ll go somewhere that’ll have you smiling from ear to ear – an Orangutan rehabilitation centre! Get ready to fall head-over-heels for these fuzzy orange creatures as they wander through the forest. And guess what? You’re in for a treat because it’s feeding time! From your front-row seat watching the orangutans gobble down their lunch, you’ll agree that experiences like these are part of why you travelled to Malaysian Borneo.

It’s been an incredible day, but once you check into your riverside jungle lodge for the night, you’ll realise that we have a surprise in store for you…

Accommodation: Myne Resort (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13 – KINABATANGAN RIVER

By the time the morning sun peeks through the clouds, you’ll already be on the water, exploring the wildlife all around you on a safari cruise. Surrounded by tweeting birds and rustling leaves, you’ll feel a million miles away from your everyday life at home. Quick! Look over there… is that a…?!

Escaping the midday heat, you’ll break for lunch and compare your biggest ‘pinch me’ moments of the morning with your fellow Patchies. It’s not over yet, though, because as soon as your plate is empty, you’ll be back on the water, scouring your surroundings for even more head-turning creatures. 

Accommodation: Myne Resort (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14 – KUALA LUMPUR

Today’s a travel day – it’s not glitzy, it’s not glamorous, but it is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some much-needed rest. After breakfast this morning, you’ll say goodbye to the jungle, check out of the Lodge, and head over to Sandakan for an afternoon flight back to Kuala Lumpur. It’s bittersweet leaving Malaysian Borneo behind, but, as they say, it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all!

We’ll only give you a few moments to sit in your feelings because tonight you’ll join the public transport-commute, via local bus and train to ChinaTown – for dinner at some of the best hawker food stalls in the city! From the silent depths of the jungle, to the hustle and bustle of the capital city all in one day, this adventure continues to mix it up and challenge your senses right until the end. 

Accommodation: Verdant Hill (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 15 – KUALA LUMPUR

We’ve snuck in one more village highlight for you, and that’s today when you visit the Orang Asli people. Indigenous to mainland Malaysia, they’re traditionally jungle dwellers and to this day many still practise their animist heritage. After being welcomed by the village chief, you’ll sit down with some of the ladies who will share their reed weaving skills – don’t be surprised if those intimate bonding moments you experienced during your village life in Borneo come flooding back in a rush of emotion! 

Tonight, your farewell dinner is just around the corner from the hotel – so when the belly laughs flow following reminiscent trip stories, it’s ok to stay up late because you don’t want the night to end!  

Accommodation: Verdant Hill (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16 – FAREWELL FRIENDS!

Hold back the tears – it’s departure day. Share one last breakfast with your new team of travel besties and one last round of hugs before saying your final goodbyes. We’ll arrange for a driver to transfer you to the airport in plenty of time for your flight, so all you’ll need to think about is what movies you’re going to watch on the plane.

Until next time!

Included: Breakfast

Trip Map
Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:MYR exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on this trip is based on an exchange rate of 1 AUD:3.00 MYR (Malaysian Ringgit).

A deposit of $1,650 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions for further information.

This is the most frequently asked question we get!

Nearly everyone is in their 50s and 60s, with some people above and below (but of course, everyone is welcome!)

Most Patchies come alone and are matched with a room-mate. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a single supplement if you come solo. We will place you with a similarly-aged roommate.

The typical Patchie has travelled a LOT, is a well-seasoned adventurer, and is not easily thrown by small things. However, many Patchies tell us that this is their first ever group tour. Many of our guests have avoided tours to this point as they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

Oh, and one last thing:

Patchies are warm, generous, and kind. We knew it would be like this, but we weren’t expecting it to be *quite* like this. We’re so blessed as a business to have the customers we do; we consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest people in the world.

There are several non-stop and 1 stop flights to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Australian and New Zealand cities. Arrival and departure for this trip is through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Included in the price of this trip are 3 domestic flights: 

  1. Kuala Lumpur to Kuching 
  2. Kuching to Kota Kinabalu
  3. Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur

Australians and New Zealanders don’t need a tourist visa to visit Malaysia. You’ll need evidence of an onward flight ticket and at least 6 months on your passport.

Before entering Malaysia, you must complete and submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) three days before arrival. The MDAC should be submitted through the Malaysian immigration website here: https://imigresen-online.imi.gov.my/mdac/main

The domestic flights during this trip (3), including to/from the Island of Borneo, are included in the trip price. International flights to/from Kuala Lumpur are not included.

Solo travellers will be matched with a room-mate. Of course, if you prefer to have your own space, you can reserve the private room supplement.

Please contact us for more information.

Three nights are spent at village homestays in bamboo huts. It’s more comfortable than bush camping and we’re sure you’ll feel your  sacrifice of amenities is well worth it by the connections you’ll make with locals. 

Day 3 – Overnight with the Bidayuh People in Sarawak.

Traditionally, the Bidayuh lived in ‘longhouses’, and tonight you’ll sleep in one that’s purpose built for visitors. The longhouse is divided into twin and triple shared spaces with individual entrance doors. Clean bedding, mattresses (laying on vinyl flooring) and mosquito nets are provided. There is electricity and an oscillating fan. Bathroom facilities are shared and clean, with sit-down-type toilets.

Day 8 and 9 – Two nights in Kiulu Village, Sabah.

Kiulu Valley is home to an idyllic farming community and you’ll stay in a twin share bamboo hut with off-the-ground beds and mosquito nets. There is electricity and an oscillating fan, but electricity supply may not be reliable 24 hours a day. Toilet facilities are shared, squat-type and not ensuite.

Airport transfers are included. You can plan to arrive at any time, but we recommend arriving in the morning to give yourself time to settle in.

Level 2 or Moderate

You’ll need a moderate level of fitness for this trip. If you can walk 3 – 4 hours at an easy pace on undulating and uneven ground, you’ll be fine. There will be days where you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet and times when you’ll need to get on and off different types of transport, including boats. From time to time, you must be ok with using a squat toilet – we do our best to accommodate what you’re used to (all hotel rooms have sit down toilets) but when you’re on-the-road, sometimes it’s the only choice available.

In the unlikely event of a health or security related incident during a trip, we’ve engaged a local partner to assist. From our experience, there is not one framework that fits all, and every incident is unique and requires a different approach. With all trips, your guides are your day-to-day support. While behind the scenes, there is an active line of communication – between your guide, the on-ground support team, and Australian Ops.

Have more burning questions?

Check Out Our Other Trips!