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Borneo with a Difference

Borneo Birding Tours in both Malaysia and Indonesia: our Borneo: Sarawak & Kalimantan bird watching holiday offers a very special bird watching experience on this superb, endemic-rich island: it is indeed ‘Borneo with a Difference’. This exciting adventure produces a rich bird list, including some very special Bornean endemics that are not seen on the traditional Sabah birding tours in north-easternmost Borneo. We first explore eastern Sarawak, a Malaysian province of Borneo with many bird specialities, including some very little-known endemics. During the second part of the tour we will travel to Kalimantan, the Indonesian section of Borneo, in search of the wonderful Bornean Peacock-Pheasant and Bornean Ground Cuckoo, as well as many other new birds.

Saturday 26th October — Friday 8th November 2019
(14 days)

Leaders: Craig Robson and a local bird guide

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking and accommodations ranging from comfortable hotels to simple guesthouses and camping

During this exciting and unusual journey, which we rightly refer to as ‘Borneo with a Difference’, we shall explore the state of Sarawak in northern Borneo, which is politically part of Malaysia, and then Kalimantan, the Indonesian section of Borneo. First we visit a selection of mainly upland areas in Sarawak in which some of the most localized and little-known Bornean endemics can be found, along with many more widespread Bornean and Sundaic specialities, some of which are easier to find in Sarawak than elsewhere. During the second part of the tour we explore lowland forest habitats in Kalimantan. These have a smaller component of Bornean endemics in their avifauna, but they include some truly wonderful bird species. Overall the lowland forests are the richest bird habitats in Borneo, with a dazzling array of Sundaic specialities.

Our journey commences at Kota Kinabalu, the provincial capital of the neighbouring Malaysian state of Sabah, from where we will travel towards the Sarawak border and visit Klias Peatswamp in search of several notable localised species such as Red-crowned Barbet, Hook-billed Bulbul, Grey-breasted Babbler and Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker. From here we will cross the border into Sarawak and start our exciting venture into the interior highlands.

The Kelabit Highlands of Eastern Sarawak are home to several Bornean endemic species that are either very difficult or impossible to find elsewhere, indeed two of these, Black Oriole and Dulit Frogmouth, have only been rediscovered by ornithologists within the last decade. The spectacular Hose’s Broadbill and diminutive Bornean Frogmouth are also present in this area and very rarely seen elsewhere, while species such as Mountain Serpent Eagle, Whitehead’s Spiderhunter, Blue-banded Pitta and Pygmy White-eye are generally easier to find in Sarawak than elsewhere in their range.

We will use two bases in the highlands in order to access a variety of upland forest habitats. At Ba’kalalan, where Dulit Frogmouth and Hose’s Broadbill are our top targets, we will stay in a simple but comfortable guesthouse from which we can access forests at varying altitudes along newly constructed but little used roads.

At Paya Maga we will be camping at two sites, one of which is frequented by the almost unknown Black Oriole.

During the second part of the tour we will explore the Balikpapan area of Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of Borneo). Here, the superb Sungai Wain Forest Reserve protects a bird-rich and valuable tract of lowland forest.

The star attraction of Sungai Wain is the lovely Bornean Peacock-Pheasant, a top endemic species not seen on birding tours to Sabah or Sarawak. This is also a good place for the furtive Bornean Ground Cuckoo.

We will also be looking out for many other specialities, including Malaysian Honeyguide, Blue-headed Pitta, the strange Bornean Bristlehead (a monotypic bird family) and Grey-breasted Babbler, as well as a really huge number of Bornean forest birds in total.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that, unlike Sabah, which has become very expensive owing to the state’s success in attracting a large 'general eco-tourism' audience, Sarawak and Kalimantan are still in their eco-tourism infancy and prices are much more reasonable. In consequence one can enjoy two weeks in these two regions for much less than a birding tour to Sabah now costs.

Birdquest has operated tours to Borneo since 1987.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels used are of a good standard. We will use simple homestay accommodation at Long Tuyo and Ba’kalalan in Sarawak, while at Paya Maga we will stay for two nights in simple camps set up by our local outfitters (tents are available for twin or single occupancy). Road transport is by small coach or minibus/passenger van (or 4x4 vehicles in some parts of Sarawak) and roads mostly range from good to reasonable, but are bad in parts of Sarawak.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, sometimes moderate. The hike up to our campsite at Paya Maga in Sarawak is mostly moderate, but a bit more demanding in places. There will be plenty of time to cover the ground.

Climate: At low altitudes mostly hot, dry and sunny, but overcast and rainy weather is not infrequent. It is often very humid.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Can be taken together with: BORNEO: SABAH


Birdquest Inclusions: our tour prices include all flights and all tipping, including tips for local guides and drivers. Some bird tour operators do not do this, yet for participants these costs are an unavoidable part of the tour. The value of these inclusions on this Birdquest tour amounts to approximately: $550.

£3700, $4850, €4180 Kota Kinabalu/Balikpapan. Deposit: 10%.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Also includes these flights: Kota Kinabalu-Tarakan and Tarakan-Balikpapan. Kindly note that, in the event the flights between Kota Kinabalu and Tarakan and Tarakan and Balikpapan do not connect at the time the tour operates, we may have to travel via Jakarta. In this case there will be a modest extra charge to cover the higher airfare.

Single Accommodation Supplement: £248, $325, €280.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Many of the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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