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BORNEO: SARAWAK

Borneo Birding Tours in Malaysia: our Borneo Sarawak birding tour is a great opportunity to explore Sarawak, a Malaysian province with specialities that cannot be seen on tours in the much more frequently-visited province of Sabah. This exciting adventure produces a rich bird list, including such special Bornean endemics as Black Oriole and Dulit and Bornean Frogmouths.

Thursday 11th April — Wednesday 17th April 2019
(7 days)


Leaders: a Birdquest leader and local bird guides

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy to moderate walking and mostly simple guesthouses and some camping

Borneo – island of head-hunters, orang-utans and mighty Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea. For several centuries after its discovery by Europeans this great equatorial island remained shrouded in mystery. Fables grew up about the ‘Wild Men of Borneo’, the fearsome Dyaks who brought the heads of their enemies back to their longhouses. In the 19th century the island came under British and Dutch colonial rule, passing later, with the exception of the tiny sultanate of Brunei, to newly independent Malaysia and Indonesia. Even today settlement is largely confined to coastal areas and much of the interior remains remote.

From a wildlife viewpoint Borneo is one of the richest places on earth. Tropical rainforests originally covered almost the entire island and, although widespread felling is now seriously shrinking the forest, vast tracts remain and support an exotic profusion of flora and fauna. A visit to Borneo offers the chance to see the island’s rich and varied birdlife, which includes many endemic species and also numerous other species restricted to the Indo-Malayan faunal subregion.

During this exciting adventure we shall explore the state of Sarawak in northern Borneo, which is politically part of Malaysia, visiting a selection of mainly upland areas in which some of the most localized and little-known Bornean endemics can be found, along with many more widespread Bornean and Sundaic specialities, several of which are easier to find in Sarawak than elsewhere.

Our journey commences at Kota Kinabalu, the provincial capital of neighbouring Sabah, from where we will travel towards the Sarawak border and visit Klias Peatswamp in search of several notable localised species such as Hook-billed Bulbul, Grey-breasted Babbler and Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker. From here we will cross the border into Sarawak for an overnight stay before venturing into the highlands.

The Kelabit Highlands of Eastern Sarawak are home to several 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’kelalan, 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.

Birdquest has operated tours to Sarawak in Borneo since 2016.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotel in Kota Kinabalu and Lawas are of good standard. We will use simple homestay accommodation at Ba’kelalan, while at Paya Maga we will stay for two nights in simple camps set up by our local outfitters. Road transport is by small coach or minibus (or 4x4 vehicles in some parts of Sarawak) and roads are variable in quality.

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 at times.

Climate: At low altitudes mostly hot, dry and sunny, but overcast and rainy weather is not infrequent. At higher altitudes conditions are similar but temperatures range from warm to cool. It is often very humid.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities are worthwhile.

Can be taken together with: BORNEO: SABAH and/or TAIWAN

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £1750, €1990, $2290 Kota Kinabalu/Kota Kinabalu. Single Room/Tent Supplement: £91, €103, $119. Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

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

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.150.

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 flights and 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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