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Iban longhouse

Discovering the indigenous cultures of Sarawak

15 days from £3,440pp

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Tour highlights

  • Learn how to cook traditional meals in bamboo in a Bidayuh village.

  • Spend the night in a native Iban longhouse.

  • Try some of the delicious street food on offer in Kuching.

  • Cycle through local kampongs and take a sampan across the Sarawak River.

  • Explore the wonderful Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park from Gaya Island.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international and domestic flights
  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

With international flights from a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Kuching.

  • On arrival in Kuching, you will be transferred around 45 minutes out of the city to your hotel on the Damai Peninsula. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery this evening.

  • Explore Sarawak's oldest national park today. Bako is only accessible by boat and boasts a diverse wildlife population, including the endemic proboscis monkey. Spend your day exploring the park's many trails with your private guide before returning to your hotel this evening.

  • This morning, take the short journey with your private guide to the nearby Sarawak Cultural Village. This is a fantastic introduction to the varied tribal cultures of Sarawak, including the Bidayuh and the Iban. Local tribespeople demonstrate arts and crafts, including basketry and weaving, blowpipe shooting, top spinning and sago processing. Whilst the centre is created as an educational experience for tourists, it is tastefully done, and is a fantastic introduction in preparation for your experiences with the tribes over the next few days.

  • Early this morning you will drive from the Damai Peninsula to the Iban longhouse on the Lemanak River. This is a journey of around 300 km and along the way you will pay a visit to the markets of Serian, a pepper farm, and a small Chinese village for lunch. Accompanied by a private guide, it's a great way to explore the local area. The final 40 minutes of your journey are on the river, by longboat. This journey takes most of the day, arriving at the longhouse between 4pm and 5pm. On arrival at the Iban longhouse you'll be welcomed with a traditional meal and an introduction to the traditional customs of the Iban.

  • After breakfast, head out on a nature walk with your guide in the area surrounding the longhouse. You will see a blowpipe demonstration, which you are welcome to try for yourself. Lunch is served on the riverbank, where you also have the chance to swim. You will then retrace your steps back to Kuching with your guide, with a final night to enjoy the ambience and great food.

  • Kuching has an interesting history, having been ruled in the past by three 'White Rajahs' with plenty of colonial touches still to be seen. This riverside town has a fascinating mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, as well as the indigenous tribes and its colonial heritage, so there is much to see here. Your guide can show you the temple and churches as well as Fort Margherita and the stately Istana Palace along the banks of the Sarawak River. Along the way, try some of the delicious street food from each culture, truly bringing the experience to life. Enjoy the afternoon and evening at leisure in Kuching.

  • Visit the Semenggoh orangutan sanctuary this morning, which does fantastic conservation work for this endangered species. Continue on your journey around 90 minutes out of Kuching with your guide, arriving on the banks of the Bengoh Lake. Here you will be met by members of the Bidayuh community from Kampong Nyegol; board your boat and transfer around 30 minutes across the lake to the village. Explore Kampong Nyegol this afternoon with your guide and the villagers; the scenery here is stunning and you can see the traditional way of life here, including fishing and the pepper plantations. Weather permitting, you have the option of a short night walk after dinner.

  • Rise early this morning and enjoy the mist rising from the surrounding mountains. After breakfast, take a 20-minute boat ride across the lake to Kampong Sting, with stunning views out over the lake and the surrounding countryside. After exploring the village, embark on a trek for around an hour, along a trail to a waterfall. Enjoy a traditional lunch of chicken in bamboo, before returning to your boat. Cross back across the lake and reconvene with your driver, where you will be transferred back to Kuching for the evening.

  • Head out of Kuching this morning with your guide and enjoy a cycle through the suburbs, with a chance to try some of Sarawak's traditional layer cake, or kek lapis. Take a traditional sampan ride across the river — these traditional boats provide valuable employment opportunities for the locals and are a proud part of their heritage. Return to your hotel at lunchtime and enjoy your final afternoon in Kuching.

  • Transfer around 20 minutes to the airport this morning with your guide, in time for your short domestic flight across to Sabah's capital — Kota Kinabalu. From here, you will be met by your driver and transferred to Jesselton jetty, in time for your boat journey across to Gaya Island. Enjoy your evening at leisure here.

  • Enjoy your time at leisure on Gaya Island — the resorts here are doing fantastic work with marine conservation, so it is worth visiting the centre attached to your hotel here to learn more about the challenges they face.

  • For your final day on Gaya Island, perhaps take a snorkelling trip in the beautiful Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

  • Return to the airport in Kota Kinabalu this morning in time for your onward flight.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Kota Kinabalu
Gaya Island

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