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Birding Sarawak, Island of Borneo

Sarawak, Malaysia

Birds and Wildlife of Sarawak 

Sarawak is located on the northern part of the island of Borneo and is a state of Malaysia. Sarawak is rich in tropical rainforest, mountains and stunning coastal areas. Sarawak is lightly larger than the state of Florida and maintains 30 national Parks to protect distinct habitats and life zones for 185 species of mammals, 530 species of birds, 166 species of snakes, 104 species of lizards, and 113 species of amphibians including coral reefs and marine life.  Sarawak in an excellent place to view Orangutans in the wild. The Rhinoceros Hornbill is the national bird. There will be time for cultural activities and seven days for birding and wildlife viewing. We will be visiting three main National Parks:  Santubong National Park, Batang Ai National Park, Kubah National Park and many other reserves and wetlands for birds and wildlife viewing.

Printable Bird List 
(Checklist of birds that we have seen on this trip)

  • Travel Dates: October 3 – 12, 2019
  • Group Size: 8 travelers plus guides, spaces left for 2019 = 7
  • Trip Length: 10 days
  • Rates Rate per person = $3,450
  • Rates include:  Domestic transfers and transportation, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, group tours, entrance fees and Allianz travel medical insurance. 
  • Not included:  International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, travel cancellation insurance. 

Basic Itinerary

Day 1:   Arrival in Kuching, Sarawak
There are no direct flights to the Kuching International Airport; most flights depart from Kuala Lumpur, which is the capitol of Malaysia.  Flights from the states are overnight and include crossing the international dateline, so be sure to schedule your flight to arrive in Kuching on October 3rd, which is usually two days after the departure date.  You will be greeted at the airport and transported to the hotel in Kuching. Activities for the day will depend on your flight arrival.

Day 2:   Kuching
Kuching is the capitol of Sarawak and with a population of 325,000, it a nice size city with a lot of great food and culture.  Sarawak is located just north of the equator and has a tropical environment where the temperatures are consistent throughout the year.  The winter months are rainier than the dry season of the summer. Early October is a perfect time to visit before the rains start. Just outside the city is the Kuching Wetlands National Park.  This day will have time for both birding and getting to know some history about Sarawak. Bako Buntal Bay is an important migratory site for over 25,000 birds. October is an excellent time to see Grey-tailed Tattler, Lesser Adjutant, Chinese Egret, Nordmann’s Greenshank and Far Eastern Curlew.

Day 3:  Kuching
The city of Kuching is surrounded by numerous national parks and reserves and we will make it our home base for a few days.  About an hour drive south of Kuching, near the Indonesia border is the Borneo Highlands and Mount Penrissen raising to 4,200 feet.  Here is one of the best places to see the White-crowned Hornbill and the Mountain Serpent-Eagle, as well as sub-montane endemics such as Pygmy White-eyes, Chestnut -crested Yuhinas and the Borneo Barbet. After a day of birding and wildlife viewing, it is back to Kuching for great food and lodging.

Day 4:  Batang Ai National Park
About a 4-hour drive from Kuching is Batang Ai National Park.  On the way we will stop at local markets and other special locations important to the people of Sarawak.  Once we arrive at Batang Ai, we will travel by boat across the reservoir and here will be the best chances to see wild orangutans. The jungle here is pristine and full of wildlife and amazing plants. We will arrive late in the day and we will be staying at a lodge within the national park for 3-nights.

Day 5:  Batang Ai National Park
The Batang Ai area is home to the most significant population of wild orangutan in Sarawak. There are opportunities to spot pig-tailed macaques, hornbills and a variety of other birds as well. It may be humid and hot in the jungle but there is plenty of refreshing clear water as well. Swim in the waterfall or the river to cool off. Many lowland bird species reside at Batang Ai:  Garnet Pitta, Rail Babbler and Bulwer’s Pheasant.

Day 6:  Batang Ai National Park
Today will be a wonderful repeat of the previous day…. Jungle walks and slow boat trips to see what else we can find in the Borneo wilderness. 

Day 7:  Santubong National Park
After several days in the stunning Borneo jungle we will head to the coast and the beautiful beaches and highlands of Santubong.  Here will be more chances to see orangutans and many birds such as the Rhinoceros Hornbill.  We will be staying at a wonderful lodge with access to hiking trails and near the beach and water.  

Day 8:  Santubong National Park
Santubong National Park is a beautiful and rugged lowland forest of sandstone and tall rainforest trees and amazing coastal habitats.  We will spend time walking the land from the sandy beaches to the mountainous rainforest. There are many options for the day’s activities.

Day 9: Kuching
Today we will head back to Kuching and stop at several significant birding sites along the way.  Kubah National Park is just 30 minutes outside of Kuching and this beautiful lowland forest is home to numerous endemic birds including the Bornean Banded Kingfisher, Bornean Wren Babbler and Blue-banded Pittas. There will also be a stop at the Semenggoh National Reserve to view many lowland birds such as the Long-billed Partridge.  Lodging will be in Kuching city to get organize for flight leaving tomorrow.

Day 10:  Fly Home 
There will be a shuttle to the airport for flights back home.

Please note:  The lodging described in this itinerary is always our first choice based on availability.  If we must book with our second choice, the lodging type and style is comparable.