From isolated tropical islands to diverse National Parks, this itinerary will showcase some of BorneoÂ’s undiscovered jewels. Spend time in the outlying Islands of the Kangean and Karimata Archipelagos to experience the clear waters and colorful reefs of these seldom visited destinations. The landmark Camp Leakey in Tanjung Puting National Park will be a highlight, allowing you the opportunity to view the rehabilitation of the ex-captive orangutans. You will also visit Tanjung Datu, Gunung Palung and Bako National Parks to examine, first hand, the complexity of ecosystems that once covered the entire Island. They now provide a refuge for BorneoÂ’s 15,000 species of plants, 222 species of mammals, 420 resident birds, and numerous other reptile, amphibian and fish species.
Day 1: Benoa, Bali Â– Embark
Embark the Orion II in Bali. The Indonesian island of Bali represents an oxymoron. The city centre of Denpasar is crammed with hotels and tourist activity. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music. The countryside is picturesque incorporating rice paddies flooding the hillsides and volcanoes reaching to the skies. The rainforests are lush and tropical, and the beaches are washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority.
Day 2: Kangean Island
Kangean Island is 30,000 hectares in size. The attraction of Kangean Island can be felt, starting with the journey from West Kangean to East Kangean. All along the route, a combination of natural forests with the captivating beaches of the Java Sea, are stretched out. If you would like to buy souvenirs, in Arjasa of West Kangean, there are wood handicrafts of bahar and sentaki roots. It is said that a cane of such wood has certain virtues for the user. Apart from that, the area is also known for its jungle fowls that have melodious crows. The other attractions are found more in East Kangean. Between Tembayang Bay Harbour and Sepanjang Island, a little island south east of Kangean Island, a natural mangrove forestry is lined up. It even has a still intact habitat. Various animals, like monkeys, komodos and snakes, are still found here, in abundance. Hence, the mangrove forestry that functions as the transition between the marine and land eco-systems, can still be found on Kangean Island.
Day 3: At Sea
Enjoy some relaxing time at sea while your naturalist guides offer lectures on this beautiful region.
Day 4: Tanjung Puting National Park
Tanjung Puting is one of the natural wonders of the world! So an early arrival at Tanjung Puting seems a reasonable plan given its the largest and most diverse protected example of extensive coastal tropical heath and peat swamp forest, which used to cover much of southern Borneo. The area was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and a National Park in 1982. While the Park has a chequered history of weak protection, it remains substantially wild and natural. Best known for the orangutans and made famous through the efforts of Orangutan Research and Conservation Program, which is based at the landmark Camp Leakey research station. Tanjung Puting also boasts the bizarre looking proboscis monkey with its "Jimmy Durante" nose as well as seven other primate species. Clouded leopards, civets, and Malaysian sun bears cavort in the park as do mouse deer, barking deer, sambar deer, and the wild cattle known as banteng, two species of crocodiles, dozens of snakes and frogs, numerous threatened species, including the fortune-bringing and highly endangered "dragon" fish also known as the Arawana (bony-tongue). Tanjung Puting hosts over 220 species of birds, including hornbills, deep forest birds and many wetland species. Tanjung Puting is well known for its "bird lakes,Â” seasonal rookeries, endangered waterbirds and nesting grounds for white egrets. Among the most flamboyant of these animals are the many species of colourful birds, butterflies, and moths found in the Park.
Day 5: Karimata Island
The Karimata Islands are a chain of small islands off the west coast of Indonesian Borneo. Karimata has a wide range of ecosystems, from mangroves and tropical rain forest in the lowlands to montane shrub land on the summit of the mountain (a spectacular example of the Massenerhebung effect). The mountain is composed of granite. A substantial population of cave swiftlets has historically been the source of birdsÂ’ nests for birds nest soup, but has decreased recently to near extirpation, due to over harvesting by non-indigenous collectors who have been arriving from the mainland.
Day 6: Gunung Palung National Park
Gunung Palung National Park is notable for its diversity of habitat types, ranging from mangrove and freshwater swamp forest, to lowland alluvial forest, to montane forest, and for its diversity of wildlife. It is one of only a handful of parks in the world where orangutans can be seen in the wild. A research station, (Cabang Panti), was established at the western foot of the main Gunung Palung Mountains in 1985, and is owned and operated by the park management authority. Research there has contributed significantly to our understanding of Borneo forest biology.
Day 7: Tanjung Datu National Park
Tanjung Datu National Park situated at the westernmost tip of Sarawak on the Datu Peninsula. It is one of the smallest parks in Sarawak. Formerly known as Labuan Gadong, half of the peninsula is situated within Sarawak and the other portion lies in Kalimantan Indonesia. The park is also described as the "Heaven of Borneo" by most visitors. Interesting natural features with a splendid rain forest and unique coral reefs make the park an exceptionally significant area for biodiversity. It's pristine environment with a series of mountain ranges and luxurious mixed dipterocarp forest and fauna make the park a moving place to visit. The clarity of the South China Sea provides a wide range of marine life, which could be prime attraction to those who love snorkelling and scuba diving. Turtle spotting and watching turtles landing to lay eggs is a possibility. Remoteness and isolation, makes for a spectacular destination for you in Borneo.
Day 8: Bako National Park
Bako National Park heralds an early arrival for you as you have no time to waste in experienceing its rainforest abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and trekking trails, Bako offers visitors an excellent introduction to the rainforest of Borneo. There are very few places in the world that pack so much natural beauty into such a limited area, all its attractions and activities have made Bako one of the most popular parks in Sarawak. The park has been a protected area since 1957, so the animals are less wary of humans. You have countless opportunities to observe and photograph various types of wildlife.
Day 9: Santubong Peninsula
Mount Santubong rises majestically from the sea at the Mouth of the Sarawak River. Settled since ancient times, and once a major trading centre, Santubong has a great deal to offer. Your shore excursions include jungle treks around Mount Santubong, Irrawaddy dolphin watching, Zodiac expeditions in and around the Kuching Wetlands National Park and bird watching trips. You will also visit the famous Semengoh Wildlife Centre, established in 1975 for the rehabilitation of confiscated and surrendered wild orangutans. Observe the feeding and exercising of the young orangutans. There is also the opportunity to visit the Sarawak Cultural village. Described as a unique living museum, the village offers an insight into the culture, arts and crafts of SarawakÂ’s many ethnic groups.
Day 10: At Sea
As you sail toward Singapore, your guides will provide lectures to re-cap this incredible area you have explored.
Day 11: Singapore - Disembark
Disembark the ship this morning in Singapore. The British East India Company established a strategic trading post on the island of Singapore in 1819, which was to become an important post along the Spice Route. Although a thriving and modern metropolis, remnants of these early colonial days can be enjoyed in many traditional pursuits such as a rickshaw ride and Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel. A compact and efficient city, Singapore offers easy access from most international airports.