Tour escorts & guides for some segments
|Departures||October 2015 – January 2016|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), San Francisco (SFO) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Kuching, Bako, Batang Ai, Bangkok. Bako National Park, Semengok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Wat Arun. Optional extensions to Kuala Lumpur or Phuket Island|
|Themes||Active, Nature & Wildlife|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip.|
|As Seen in|
If you've been dreaming of a vacation to Southeast Asia, then this is the tour package for you! Your journey begins on the island of Borneo, where a mosaic of indigenous tribes, intriguing history, ancient rainforests, and diverse wildlife await. Your discovery of this fascinating region continues in Thailand, where you'll enjoy 5 days in the bustling capital city of Bangkok and a special opportunity to take an optional tour of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the historic River Kwai. Top off your visit by taking advantage of your already-included airfare and joining our optional extension to Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Mon||Sep 21||2015||Thu||Oct 1||2015||$2599||$2299||Closed|
|Mon||Oct 19||2015||Thu||Oct 29||2015||$2599||$2299||Available|
|Mon||Nov 23||2015||Thu||Dec 3||2015||$2599||$2299||Available|
|Mon||Jan 18||2016||Thu||Jan 28||2016||$2599||$2299||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Exotic Borneo & Bangkok|
|Single Room Supplement||+$500|
|Kuala Lumpur Pre-Tour Extension|
|Kuala Lumpur Extension||+$449|
|Single Room Supplement||+$199|
|Phuket Island Post-Tour Extension|
|Phuket Island Extension|
|All other departures||+$599|
|Single Room Supplement|
|All other departures||+$249|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||included|
|San Francisco (SFO)||included|
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||+$75|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Coming from New York Kennedy (JFK): Due to China Airlines' schedule, passengers returning to JFK from Bangkok will depart in the morning of Day 11, earlier than other gateways. Passengers with the Phuket Extension returning to JFK will overnight in Taipei, Taiwan en route, returning one day later than other gateways. Please refer to the flight schedule for details.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins tonight as you check-in for your flight bound for Malaysia.
Day 2: En route. Cross the International Date Line and lose one day en route. (You'll recover a day on your return trip.)
Day 3: Arrive Kuching. Via Kuala Lumpur, arrive today in Kuching, the gateway to the legendary island of Borneo. After customs formalities, you'll be escorted to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to relax and get acquainted with your new surroundings. Accommodations: Hilton Kuching.
Day 4: Kuching & Bako. Sightseeing begins today at Bako National Park, one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in its natural surroundings. After arrival at Bako, a Malay fishing village built on stilts over the river, enjoy a 30-minute cruise on the South China Sea to this remote coastal park.
Millions of years of erosion have sculpted a coastline of steep cliffs, rocky headlands, fantastically shaped arches and seastacks, and stretches of beautiful white, sandy beaches. The park is a unique botanical treasure housing 25 distinct types of vegetation that form seven complete ecosystems. Your local guide will help you to explore on well-marked jungle trails.
Keep an eye out for some of the park's most famous residents: the rare, long-nosed Proboscis monkeys, macaque monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, sambar deer, Borneo bearded pigs, mousedeer, otter, and monitor lizards. After lunch, return to your hotel in Kuching, where you'll have the rest of the day at leisure. (The Bako National Park excursion is subject to weather conditions, alternative sightseeing to Kubah National Park may be provided.) Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Kuching & Batang Ai. Today's touring begins with a short, scenic drive to the Semengok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Established in 1975, this 1800-acre virgin forest provides sanctuary to some of Malaysia's most protected wildlife, including hornbills, monkeys, and especially, orphaned or rescued orangutans. At the center, the orangutans are carefully nurtured and rehabilitated for eventual release into the jungle, their natural habitat. You will have the opportunity to learn about the rehabilitation process and to observe and photograph the orangutans from a distance. Note: Since the orangutans in Semengok are semi-wild, sightings cannot be guaranteed.
From Semengok, proceed to Batang Ai. After lunch in the small town of Lachau, sit back and enjoy the rest of the drive through the scenic countryside of rice fields, cocoa and rubber plantations, luxuriant tropical rainforest, wild orchids, and mountain ranges. Travel by boat across the Batang Ai Reservoir to your hotel. Accommodations: Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 6: Batang Ai Longhouse Excursion. A special treat awaits you today as take a longboat down the Engkari River to a real Iban longhouse, an entire village under one roof. Experience the legendary hospitality and charm of the locals as you learn about their fascinating culture. Join in their traditional dance and music as they welcome you with a cultural performance, followed by a blow pipe demonstration.
Enjoy a picnic lunch by the riverbank or in the longhouse, depending on water conditions. Time permitting, enjoy a short walk trek through the jungle around the longhouse before returning to Batang Ai. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 7: Borneo/Thailand. After breakfast, depart for Kuching, stopping for lunch at a charming roadside town. Later today, transfer to the Kuching Airport for your flight to Thailand. Following customs formalities, meet our representatives and transfer to your centrally located hotel in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand's bustling capital city. Accommodations: Royal Orchid Sheraton. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 8: Bangkok. After breakfast this morning, an exciting canal boat ride gives you a close up of traditional Thai life as you explore some of Bangkok's waterways. The network of canals (klongs) branching out from the main Chao Phraya river still follows an old lifestyle that leaves the modern face of Bangkok behind. Visit the Royal Barge Museum to view the beautiful barges used by the King on state occasions.
Continue to Wat Arun, the magnificent temple of Dawn with its 79-meter pagoda or 'prang,' built in Khmer style. After an included lunch, continue to Wat Po, founded in the 17th century and the oldest temple in Bangkok. This temple is also home to the amazing Reclining Buddha, one of the largest in the world, whose face depicts the attainment of Nirvana and whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Conclude your temple tour at Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the "Marble Temple' because of its abundance of white Italian marble. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Bangkok. Today you will have a full day at leisure to discover Bangkok on your own. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Bridge over the River Kwai (purchased locally). Explore the Damnoen Saduak market and the bridge over the River Kwai. Begin in the Ratchaburi province with boat ride along the canal to see the colorful Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, bustling with boats and vendors selling tropical fruits and other delights.
Continue to Kanchanaburi where you'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the historic bridge over the River Kwai, part of the infamous Death Railway built by the Japanese using Allied prisoners of war during World War II.
Visit the JEATH Museum, whose name is an acronym for the five main countries from which workers on the construction of the railway came from: Japan, England, Australia, Thailand and Holland. At the museum, you'll learn more about life in the camps, the building of the bridge, and the more than 8,000 POWs who died during construction. Return to Bangkok this evening. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Day 10: Bangkok. Your last full day in Thailand is at leisure for independent sightseeing, shopping, or optional tours. Your tour director will gladly offer suggestions for independent exploration. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha (purchased locally). Visit the Grand Palace, which for about 150 years functioned as the home of the King and his court as well as the entire administrative seat of government. Within its grounds, you'll also visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) built to house a large Buddha image carved from a solid piece of green jadite (jasper). This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: Siam Niramit Show with Dinner (purchased locally). Tonight, enjoy a visual extravaganza at the Ratchada Grand Theatre, one of the biggest stages in the world. Travel back in time through the Kingdom of Siam and experience Thai history and culture during this spectacular show. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Day 11: Bangkok/USA. Bid farewell to Thailand today as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Taipei. Or, take advantage of your already-included international airfare and join our optional extension to Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort island! Breakfast provided.
Passengers returning to New York (JFK) will depart in the morning of Day 11, earlier than other gateways.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and visit the bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia? You will depart the U.S. 2 days earlier than the departure dates listed.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins tonight as you check-in for your flight bound for Kuala Lumpur.
Day 2: En route. Cross the International Date Line and lose one day en route. (You'll recover a day on your return trip.)
Day 3: Kuala Lumpur. Arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital. After customs formalities, you'll be escorted to your 5-star hotel to check in and rest from your flight. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore the city on your own, or enjoy the wonderful facilities of your hotel. Accommodations: Prince Hotel & Residence.
Day 4: Kuala Lumpur. A city of contrasts, Kuala Lumpur blends modern skyscrapers with impressive historic buildings to create a unique cityscape. Today, enjoy a panoramic city tour including a photo opportunity at the Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest buildings until 2004, King's Palace, the National Museum, the National Monument, the Moorish-style railway station, and the superb buildings at the Independence Square, where you can observe the contrast between historical architecture and modern skyscrapers in an abundant setting of greenery. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure then later this evening enjoy dinner and a cultural performance at a local restaurant. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Craft Factories & Batu Caves (purchased locally). The area surrounding Kuala Lumpur abounds with cottage industries and nature reserves. See how beautiful pewter products are manufactured at the world famous Royal Selangor factory. Then stop by a batik factory and observe how this traditional fabric is designed and printed. The excursion concludes at the Batu Caves, the famous site of the annual Thaipusam festival in January and February, where almost a million devotees congregate. You'll pass a 140ft statue of the Hindu god Lord Murugan, the world's largest, as you climb the 272-steps to the top of a natural limestone cavern which houses a Hindu shrine. This optional excursion must be purchased locally.
Day 5: Kuala Lumpur & Kuching. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to meet your fellow travelers arriving from the USA and continue together on your flight to Kuching, where you'll begin your tour of Borneo. Breakfast provided.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort?
Day 11: Bangkok & Phuket. Today you'll fly to Phuket, where the balance of the day is at leisure. Accommodations: Avista Hideaway Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Phuket. Two full days at leisure to relax, shop or tour this scenic island, Thailand's largest. Phuket and the 39 smaller islands to the southeast are studded with tropical forests, mountains, gravity-defying limestone formations, and pristine beaches, surrounded by coral reefs and the aquamarine water of the balmy Andaman Sea.
With warm, humid weather year-round, you'll enjoy plenty of sun-drenched days lounging on the beach and all manner of water sports, including jet-skiing, parasailing, surfing, scuba and snorkeling. Most of the dive locations are suitable for all skill levels, and the waters abound with colorful coral forests, tropical fish and other marine life, including leopard sharks, moray eels, octopus and turtles.
Phuket is also the sailing and yachting center of Thailand and adjacent countries, with several races and regattas happening throughout the year. And in the unlikely event that you can pull yourself away from the beach, you'll find opportunities to ride horses or elephants, hike, mountain bike, and even golf. Afterwards, unwind at one of the many spas or one of the excellent acrobatic, theatrical or cultural shows.
Join an optional tour to the breathtaking Phi Phi islands, filming location of The Beach. Take a trip by boat and bus to Phang Nha Bay and to the famous limestone spire known as "James Bond Island" for its role in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Phuket is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies, whom you'll find warm and welcoming. The west coast of Phuket was hit severely by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, but the resilient people have quickly rebuilt, and almost no evidence of the damage now remains. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Phuket. Another day to relax and enjoy Phuket. Breakfast provided.
Day 14: Phuket, Bangkok, USA. Today, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei. Breakfast provided.
Passengers returning to New York (JFK) will overnight in Taipei on Day 14 continuing to JFK on Day 15.
When I called with a few additional questions, your staff answered them completely. They were friendly, professional and very helpful. Both Matt and Chi, our tour guides, were fantastic. They both made sure that we were well taken care of at all times. Chi was so much fun to be around. He went out of his way to see that we all had a perfect trip. He helped us plan evening events so our group could see the area at night. Just can’t say enough good things about Chi! You are so lucky to have him as a guide. Also, the hotel in Bako was fantastic! We have traveled with you in the past and been very happy with Friendly Planet. Again you exceeded our expectations; we consider this one of our best vacations ever! We look forward to traveling with Friendly Planet again. THANK YOU!
Susan L. Bowers