Journey to Kuching, Sarawak to witness the Rainforest World Music Festival in full swing. This unique festival draws in renowned international musicians and indigenous performers of Borneo for not-to-be-missed performances.. Spend a night in the home of one of the regular performers of the festival and learn all about the sape – an instrument used by some of Borneo’s indigenous musicians.. Borneo offers rare treats for the nature lover – see Orangutans at the Semenggoh Sanctuary and the quirky proboscis monkeys in Bako National Park.. Explore one of the world’s largest cave networks and witness a sunset hunting exodus of millions of bats, twisting through the sky like a plume of black smoke in Gunung Mulu National Park.
Full of lush rainforest landscapes, breathtaking cave systems, rolling rivers and lost islands, Sarawak is one of South East Asia’s best kept secrets. Take the opportunity to experience both the culture and the nature of this verdant wonderland on an adventure including the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival. This annual gathering brings a diverse spectrum of performers and culture to the coastline of the Santubong Peninsula for three days of celebration, allowing you to soak in both the beauty of the area and the artistic essence of its people. Meet local musicians, visit an orangutan sanctuary and delve into national parks on a jungle adventure you’ll never forget.
Breakfast Included: 10 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 1
Selamat Datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on day 1. Kuching, meaning ‘cat’ in Malay, is arguably the most pleasant city in all of Borneo. Full of captivating architecture, the waterfront here is well worth the visit – it houses a wealth of curio shops and local marketplaces, brimming with spices, vegetables and fresh fish. If you arrive early you may want to head to the Sarawak Cultural Village. A great introduction to the local culture of Sarawak.
Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival
Start off your adventures through Kuching with an orientation walk through its sophisticated streets. There’s plenty to do while here – perhaps take a visit to the museum or travel along the Sarawak River by boat. By mid morning, take a transfer to the Santubong Peninsular where the Rainforest World Music Festival takes place. Feel free to interact with the numerous workshops and jam sessions running casually in the area, or perhaps sit in on one of the lectures. There’s also plenty of food stands that your leader can introduce you to.
The first performances begin in the early evening. Artists from Solomon Islands to Poland, Mexico to Brazil may be some of the acts that will play a wide range of music at the festival – you may find yourself tapping your toes to some soulful blues, marvelling at a Malay nose-flute player or watching classical string instruments used in a traditional orchestral format. Expect your appreciation for music to be widened in ways you never thought possible by the end of the first day of the festival, then push them even further as the second and third days rolls on. Safe to say, the grand finale will be incredible.
If you’re feeling like you need a change of pace on the third day of the festival, there’s always the option to travel off site to catch some fringe theatricals being held in Kuching. Just let your leader know and they’ll be happy to set things up for you.
Travel to your homestay and learn about a traditional lute called a ‘sape’, an instrument you have no doubt grown to appreciate over the past few days at the festival. This instrument, used by some of Borneo’s indigenous tribes, is carved from a single piece of wood. Most sapes have three to five strings and produce rich, complex sounds. Learn about the production of the sape and get an informal lesson on how to play one. Spend the evening at this local home.
Bako National Park
Depart after breakfast and head onwards to the Bako National Park – you may have an early start depending on the tides. Once you arrive at Bako Jetty, board a boat towards the park itself. Bako is the oldest national park in Sarawak. The rainforests, abundant fauna, vibrant flora, jungle streams, waterfalls, secluded beaches and trekking trails ensure that a breathtaking view lies around every turn and an adventure is never too far away. Weather permitting, your leader will take you on a walk to the beautiful beach at Telok Pandan Kecil. Whatever you plan, check with the ranger to find out the best time to spy the proboscis monkeys as they come to feed from the beach mangroves – you may even spot some wild pigs along the way. Return to Kuching in the late afternoon and spend the evening in a hotel.
Travel by private minivan to the Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary. Once you arrive at the sanctuary, a government funded rehabilitation centre, take a walk into the lush jungle for a chance to watch these peaceful primates feed – a truly remarkable sight. Later, travel back to the hotel where you’ll be able to freshen up from the heat. Afterwards, perhaps stroll through one of the many Chinese-influenced hawker markets and grab a dinner of fresh, local seafood.
Mulu National Park
Transfer to the airport for a short flight to the Gunung Mulu National Park, one of the most spectacular reserves in all of Asia. Spend the afternoon strolling along the walkways and peering at the forest below before catching the sunset flight of the bats as they pour out of Deer Cave. This spectacular landmark is home to millions of these furry flutterers who emerge every evening to feed in the night – rising from the opening like a black plume of smoke across the darkening evening sky. We stay in multishare cabins inside the park.
Mulu National Park
Today’s adventures take you to visit a local Penan Settlement and spelunking through Mulu’s Clear Water Cave and Wind Cave systems, otherwise known as the hidden home of Asia’s longest underground river. You'll enjoy a picnic lunch here too. Take a brief longboat ride upstream and perhaps spend a bit of time splashing in the waters, then it’s time to return to the headquarters in Mulu. You’ve got a bit of free time to kill in the afternoon, so perhaps wander the self guided trails throughout the park.
Trek to the canopy walkways in the early morning. Take a flight to Kota Kinabalu – the capital city of Sabah. The largest commercial centre of Malaysian Borneo, this coastal city captures a fantastic mix of costal charm, rainforest splendour and bustling streets. After transferring to the hotel, take the chance to visit some of the islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park or visit the Sabah Museum for some cultural insight. The last evening has crept up on you – perhaps a fitting end to a trip dedicated to music is to join your group in a karaoke session or check out some local gigs.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.