The Orangutan and Tribes Tour

On this tour you can work towards the conservation of orangutans and experience traditional tribal life, while exploring the riches of the Bornean rainforest.

About the Project

On this orangutan tour you will take unforgettable jungle treks through the Borneo rainforests and get the chance to experience the beauty of orangutans in the wild. This tour also features two visits to the region's orangutan centres – the award winning Matang Wildlife Centre and the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, as well as three breath-taking national parks – Bako, Kubah and Batang Ai. Both Bornean orangutan sanctuaries and all three national parks are managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, who play an active role in the ongoing conservation of the area's orangutans.

This tour is designed to raise awareness of the conservation efforts made in Sarawak, to restore the harmony between people and orangutans that has become strained in recent years. This tour is a voyage of discovery for all of the travellers whom take part, giving them access to the rehabilitation efforts at Matang Wildlife Centre, the released, semi-wild orangutans of Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the seven different habitats of Borneo in the amazing Bako National Park and a one week trip into the rainforest. This tour will also involve meeting the descendants of the legendary Borneo head-hunters – the Iban tribe – who are now the custodians of the wild orangutans of Batang Ai. This will be an experience you certainly won't forget in a hurry!

This tour provides you with both the opportunity to learn and the chance to help make a difference to the lives of the critically endangered orangutan population in Borneo. You will spend your time visiting multiple orangutan conservation centres as well as get the chance to visit 4 national parks and experience once in a lifetime events, including a night time walk through Bako national Park, snorkelling at the stunning beach of Telok Serabang and experiencing the Iban way of life through interaction with the native tribe. There really is something for everyone on this tour and if you hold the orangutan close to your heart then this is the perfect trip for you.

Prior to Arrival

There is no prior visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia as a 90 day tourist visa is granted on arrival. However, please check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.

Tour Accommodation

In Kuching, you will be staying in a boutique guesthouse, which features Wi-Fi, television and a phone in shared rooms. All rooms are well equipped with en-suite bathrooms. (Day 1 & 13)

Whilst at Matang Wildlife Centre, you will be staying in a traditional longhouse in the grounds of the centre, an idyllic setting in a remote rainforest area, inside of Kubah National Park. (Day 2 & 3)

Accommodation at Bako is very basic and you will be sharing with up to three other participants on your tour. However, you will be spending little time in your room, so you will not pay much attention to the basic standards. (Day 4)

In Telok Serabang you will have the opportunity to spend time with a Malay community on one of Sarawak's secluded beaches.
Your accommodation will again be in a traditional wooden longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers. (Day 5-7)

Your accommodation in Padawan will be in a traditional bamboo longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. Learn about the traditional culture of this tribe, and see human skulls in their longhouse, kept from the head-hunting days of the past. You may also be encouraged to take part in cultural dancing through the evening. Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers. (Day 8)

In Batan Ai you will be living across the river from a small Iban community that have resided in this area of the rainforest for many generations. Bathroom facilities include western toilets and overhead showers. (Day 9-11)

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day

Your Tour Itinerary 
DAY 1: 
Arrive in Kuching Airport (KCH) between 9am and 5pm where you will be met at arrivals before taking a short transfer to the guesthouse where you can settle in, freshen up, and then have a full tour briefing with your guide over a welcome dinner with your fellow travellers.

DAY 2: 
After breakfast, you will make your way to the Matang Wildlife Centre. The facilitator will take you on a full tour of the facility, where you will have chances to see a wide range of species from birds, to reptiles and gibbons, and of course the amazing orangutans. You will also see the famous Aman, the huge male orangutan for the first time. It will be love at first sight.

DAY 3: 
Continue your behind the scenes experience with the staff at the busy rehabilitation centre and orangutan sanctuary. Get your hands dirty assisting with husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals. This will include feeding the animals and cleaning the wildlife cages and enclosures. Enrichment making is also a very important activity here as it promotes natural behaviours and enhances the potential for rehabilitation and release as well as improves the lives of the animals at the centre.

DAY 4: 
You will have one final morning working with the orangutans before at mid-day heading for Bako National Park by boat- watch out for the crocodiles! The day will end with an optional night walk in the jungle where there are opportunities to see some of Borneo's fascinating nocturnal species, this is not to be missed! Shine your torch up into the trees and keep an eye out for the little eyes staring back at you, Borneo truly comes alive at night-time.

DAY 5: 
Spend the day in Bako National Park. With its rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and extensive network of trekking trails, Bako National Park offers an excellent introduction to the rainforest and coastline of Borneo.

DAY 6-7: 
Two full days in Telok Serabang. Telok Serabang is a Malay community that is situated in a beautiful coastal area of Sarawak. You will have opportunities to Snorkel with the chance to see green turtles in their natural habitat, assist with beach clean ups, work with the local school. You will also participate in night-time turtle patrols, get sweaty on jungle treks with amazing opportunities to see wildlife such as gibbons and flying lemurs and even make traditional jewellery with the community.

DAY 8:
This is an opportunity to spend time with a Bidayau community, one of the indigenous Dayak groups from Sarawak. Your accommodation will again be in a traditional wooden longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. Learn about the traditional culture of this tribe, and perhaps even see human skulls in their longhouse, kept from the head-hunting days of the past. You may also be encouraged to take part in cultural dancing through the evening!

DAY 9-12: 
These days are spent in Batang Ai rainforest which is still home to wild orangutans. When in Batang Ai, as well as always being in search of orangutans high up in the trees, there are a lot of different activities to get involved in. These include learning traditional handicrafts, cooking, fishing, picnics amidst breath-taking scenery, swimming in jungle rivers and waterfalls and interacting with the tribespeople. Interacting and building bonds with the indigenous people is essential in repairing the fractured human – orangutan relations in this region. 

DAY 13:
Transfer back to Kuching and visit the Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre along the way. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was established in 1975 to care for wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets. 

DAY 14:
Time to say your farewells. Today you will be transferred to Kuching Airport for your return flight or to commence your independent travel plans.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
required
Other Skills
This tour does not involve a lot in the way of physical labour, but it will involve trekking in the rainforest on the tour - usually in fairly humid conditions.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Malaysia? Volunteer World directly connects you with The Great Projects

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Free-time activities

This two-week programme is both a dynamic, guided-tour around Borneo’s most fascinating wildlife centres and national parks, and a volunteering opportunity, based on forging connections between animal conservation and indigenous communities.

Diving/Snorkling
Hiking
Sports

Services

What's included?
Airport transfers - Overland transportation - Accommodation and meals as indicated - All traveling activity equipment - Local guides - English speaking project leader - Conservation donation
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

You will need to arrive into Kuching Airport(KCH) between 9am and 5pm on the start date of your tour where you will be met by a representative at arrivals who will take you by private transfer to the Basaga Guesthouse for your welcome dinner and first nights stay.

Accommodation

This tour has been categorised as Rustic. This is based on the standard of accommodation used throughout the tour, transport involved whilst the tour is in motion, and what modern facilities are available. This is more suited for travellers looking for a cost friendly experience at a basic level.

Guesthouse Hotel Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

Three meals a day and drinks are provided throughout the tour. Meals will typically consist of noodles, rice, vegetables and meat, however, vegetarian options are always available.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1386

You can volunteer at the project site in Kuching/Malaysia between 2 weeks and 2 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$693/week
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Malaysia

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Malaysia. Please check the visa regulations for Malaysia.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Malaysia.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Kuching (KCH) in Kuching. We assist you to find cheap flights to Malaysia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Malaysia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Malaysia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Malaysia.
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Malaysia upfront.
Borneo, Kuching, Malaysia