Wonders & Wildlife of Borneo – Malaysia & Indonesia Cruise

Wonders & Wildlife of Borneo – Malaysia & Indonesia Cruise

From GBP £11,145


Straddling the equator, Borneo is the third largest island in the world and a wildlife wonderland, home to half of all known plant and animal species including some of the rarest and most endangered. It is not one country but shared by the states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. By far the largest portion of the island is Kalimantan which is part of the island nation of Indonesia, and to the north the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah reside with their tiny neighbour of Brunei. There are distinct differences between the more developed northern states and the larger region of Kalimantan and such differences make our voyage all the more interesting.

In order to get the measure of this extraordinary island with its vast rainforests, endemic wildlife and diverse culture something longer than a few days is required and as with most islands, the best way to explore is by sea. Borneo may be larger than most, but we feel the same rule applies and for this unique small ship adventure we have chartered the Heritage Adventurer at an ideal time of year for our exploration.

Marvellous experiences are to be had as we explore remote jungle and rainforest on foot or by boat, observe the diverse range of plants, trees and wildlife including the ‘wild man of Borneo’ – the orangutan, snorkel over coral reefs and visit remote offshore islands, returning each evening to the comforts of the Heritage Adventurer to sail on to our next adventure. If you enjoy immersing yourself in the culture and wildlife you will find our days in Kalimantan endlessly fascinating. By way of contrast the well-run order of the Malaysian States and the riches of Brunei all combine to create an intoxicating mix of cultures rarely found on one island.

Never far from our minds are the writings of Conrad and the adventures of James Brooke and the White Rajahs as we journey around the islands, rivers and jungles of Borneo. The privilege of exploring this remarkable land from a small ship and in the company of knowledgeable speakers, expedition team members and local guides is an opportunity not to be missed. Our voyage will be so much more than a holiday, it promises to be an adventure shared with like-minded travellers.

Exploring Ashore: This voyage will appeal to those who enjoy the natural world. We will be exploring some remote regions in Borneo and Indonesia and will utilise a range of modes of transport ashore including minibuses, rickshaws and local boats. We also expect to be at anchor in four ports of call where we will make use of the vessel’s Zodiacs. Many of the excursions include guided walks through rainforests and nature reserves in humid conditions and there will also be opportunities to snorkel. Our expedition team will endeavour to arrange a selection of walks to include longer and shorter options to cater for different abilities and interests. To best enjoy this itinerary, we do recommend a good level of mobility and if you would like to discuss the level of fitness required, please contact us.

Trip Name
Wonders & Wildlife of Borneo - Malaysia & Indonesia Cruise
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1 Singapore.
Arrive this afternoon and transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay. The remainder of the day and evening are at leisure.
Day 2 - Day 2 Singapore.
After breakfast in the hotel spend a relaxing morning enjoying the facilities or exploring independently. An afternoon tour will include the National Orchid Garden which displays the largest collection of orchids in the world with 2000 hybrids. Later we transfer to the Heritage Adventurer moored in the city and set sail this evening.
Day 3 - Day 3 At Sea.
Spend a leisurely day at sea as we make our way to the island of Borneo during which our lecture programme will commence.
Day 4 - Day 4 Kuching, Malaysia.
A day to explore this most charming of Asian cities that sits astride the Sarawak River in Malaysian Borneo. On our guided morning tour we will learn more about the exploits of the Brooke family who, some 200 years ago, were awarded Sarawak by the former owner, the Sultan of Brunei, in recognition for the aid provided to quash a rebellion. See Fort Margherita which was built in 1879 to guard Kuching’s river approaches from pirates and the Chinese History Museum which houses many artifacts of past eras and contains memorabilia of Chinese affairs during the time of Charles Vyner Brooke who is popularly known as the White Rajah in Sarawak history. Return to the ship for lunch and either spend the afternoon at leisure or join an excursion to the nearby Semenggoh Nature Reserve. Since 1975, the wardens here trained young orangutans, who had been orphaned or rescued from captivity, how to survive in the wild. The success of this programme has left the surrounding forest reserve with a thriving population of healthy adolescent and young adult orangutans, who are now breeding in the wild. Besides orangutans, Semenggoh Nature Reserve is also a habitat for rare flora and fauna including the giant squirrel, pigmy squirrel, gibbons and a splendid variety of birds.
Day 5 - Day 5 Bako National Park.
This morning we will anchor off of the Muara Tebas peninsula and use our Zodiacs to access the Bako National Park, the oldest national park in Sarawak and known for its amazing diversity containing almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo. Established in 1957 it occupies more than 27 square kilometres of rainforest, waterfalls, secluded beaches and rocky shorelines. On a series of guided nature walks for all levels we will explore the jungle keeping an eye out for proboscis monkeys, long tailed macaques, silvered langurs, monitor lizards and bearded pigs as well as some of the 190 species of birds that can be found here.
Day 6 - Day 6 At Sea.
Take some time to relax after a busy couple of days as we continue our journey up the Borneo coast.
Day 7 - Day 7 Brunei.
We arrive this morning in oil-rich Brunei. A full day excursion will include the immense Kianggeh open air market before taking a scenic boat ride along the Brunei River offering views of the magnificent Sultan’s Palace. The Istana Nurul Iman is the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and one of the largest residential palaces in the world. After cruising around the palace, we will make our way slowly under mangrove trees to view a myriad of marine life and maybe even proboscis monkeys. We will also see the colourful water villages built on stilts and connected by wooden walkways before continuing to the stunning Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque. We end at the Royal Regalia Building, which is home to the Sultan’s marvellous collection of royal gifts and ceremonial weapons. A local lunch will be served ashore and we sail in the late afternoon.
Day 8 - Day 8 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Returning to Malaysia we have a full day to explore the city and surroundings of Kota Kinabalu. A full day tour will take us to Kinabalu Park located beneath the jagged granite peaks of Mount Kinabalu. This UNESCO World Heritage Site provides a glimpse into the fascinating and often unique plant life of the region. Walk through the montane oak and chestnut rainforest at park headquarters to view some of the 700 species of orchids, nine species of carnivorous pitcher plants and 27 species of rhododendrons found here. Next, visit the botanical gardens where a diverse collection of unique flora is gathered from the entire park and transplanted here for conservation and educational purposes. Take lunch in the park before returning to the ship later in the afternoon. Alternatively enjoy a Kota Kinabalu Town Heritage walk this morning which provides the link between the pre-war, post war and post-independence eras and includes the famous Atkinson Clock Tower, North Borneo War Memorial, Australia Place and Museum Kopitiam. A further option is nearby Gaya Island, the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. The island is covered with unspoilt and undisturbed lowland rainforest with pockets of mangrove forest and beach flora along the coast. On a guided walk we may find long-tailed macaques, wild pigs, pangolins, squirrels, monitor lizards and numerous varieties of birds such as pied hornbills, whitebellied sea eagles and sunbirds.
Day 9 - Day 9 Sandakan.
After a morning at sea we arrive in the city of Sandakan. For the keen nature lovers there will be an excursion to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, one of the most accessible natural rainforests in Sabah. It sits by a lake at the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department which has been in operation since 1996 for environmental education purposes. Today, it is a 3-in-1 park (wildlife, bird and plant) for nature lovers and bird watchers where we can see the unique flora and fauna of Borneo. Our walk in the forest trails will lead to the canopy walkway where the centre boasts a pristine lowland dipterocarp forest with an astounding 300 species of birds recorded in the area. Alternatively a Sandakan city tour will visit the lively market, the old-fashioned stone building of St Michael Church, one of the few surviving pre-war stone building built in 1893. We will also visit Newlands, former home of author Agnes Newton Keith.
Day 10 - Day 10 Sandakan.
Today we will learn about the rehabilitation of the orangutans at the Sepilok Centre and hear about their threats to survival. We will visit the Sepilok Forest Reserve feeding platform and see orangutans in the third stage of their rehabilitation programme where the orphaned and injured orangutans are brought to Sepilok to be rehabilitated to return to forest life. Sepilok is a primary lowland forest and one of the few remaining rainforests in Sabah. Observe the fascinating diversity of plants, trees and wildlife as Sepilok is known to have more 450 species of trees and more than 250 species of birds and we also have a good chance of sighting macaques, leaf monkeys and other mammals. Close by is the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Opened in 2014 this centre provides rehabilitation to the smallest bears in the world which are at risk from deforestation and poaching. We end at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. These distinctive primates, endemic to Borneo, live mainly in the mangrove and lowland forests near fresh water and rivers.
Day 11 - Day 11 At Sea.
We have a day at sea as we continue our journey around the Borneo coast and make our way to Indonesia.
Day 12 - Day 12 Derawan Islands, Indonesia.
Here in the idyllic Derawan Islands, we spend the day either on nature walks or snorkelling over the colourful coral reefs. On Pulau Kakaban we can walk to the lake in the centre of the island which is home to many types of nonstinging jellyfish which are strangely beautiful. Over lunch we will relocate to another of the islands for an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling or Zodiac cruising.
Day 13 - Day 13 Sulawesi.
Today we sail over to Sulawesi and the charming township of Toli-Toli. Few tourists and even fewer cruise ships visit here. We will be collected by local becaks (cycle rickshaw) to explore the town including the local church, mosque and the small market to see the trading of local crops. At the traditional house ‘Rumah Adat of Toli’ we will be treated to a welcome ceremony.
Day 14 - Day 14 Menumbar River & Pulau Birahbirahan.
Today we enjoy the benefits of our small ship as we spend a day of exploration well off the usual cruise ship and tourist routes. Spend the morning at the Menumbar River where we will launch the Zodiacs. This remote river, flanked with pristine mangrove forest is a haven for birds and crocodiles and offers the opportunity to see an unexplored part of Borneo. Over lunch we position to the small island of Birahbirahan where our onboard naturalists will lead a series of nature walks in the rainforest. We will keep an eye out for kingfishers, sunbirds and Pacific swallows and learn about the flora. Alternatively a snorkel platform will offer the chance to explore the reef with its colourful fish and turtles.
Day 15 - Day 15 Samboja Lestari.
From our berth in Balikpapan we enjoy a full day excursion to Samboja Lestari, an area of restored tropical jungle. This once barren area has seen a remarkable regeneration with the planting of over a million trees. Wildlife has returned and the density of the forest has increased cloud cover, lowered temperatures and increased rainfall. The great work by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation has profoundly changed the lives of the local people and the wildlife. We will have the opportunity to see the great work being carried out by the foundation where 200 orangutans live in its protected environments as well as over 50 Malayan sun bears. We enjoy lunch at the lodge overlooking the jungle before returning to Balikpapan and sailing later this afternoon.
Day 16 - Day 16 At Sea.
Enjoy a day at leisure as we cross from the Makassar Strait and into the Java Sea sailing towards Bali. Maybe join the lecture programme in the lounge or find a spot on deck to relax with a book.
Day 17 - Day 17 Celukan Bawang, Bali.
We arrive in Bali this morning but are well away from the main tourist hubs as we land on the north eastern coast from where there will be a choice of two full day excursions. You may wish to visit the West Bali National Park which comprises of 19,000 hectares of land with an additional 7,000 hectares of coral reefs and coastal waters. Here we can take a gentle trek to the protected mangrove and monsoon forest and hope to see grey monkeys, black monkeys, giant lizard and some of the 160 species of birds that live here. Afterwards we take a short boat ride to Menjangan Island to snorkel in beautiful coral reef gardens and hope to also see electric clams, scorpion fish, starfish, eels and reef fish. Alternatively drive inland to the Munduk Highlands. Passing through Singaraja, the former capital city of Bali, we continue to the mountainous area of Bedugul to see the three lakes, Bratan, Buyan and Tamblingan. Alongside Lake Bratan is Pura Ulun Danu, an important Hindu-Buddhist temple dedicated to the water goddess and a site of pilgrimage. The scenery is stunning and we will have time to take in the surroundings before continuing to the appealing town of Munduk which is set amongst hillsides full of fruit trees, jungles and rice fields.
Day 18 - Day 18 Bali.
Disembark in Benoa and transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
Day 19 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
17-09-202404-10-2024GBP £11,145MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
17-09-202404-10-2024GBP £11,545SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 4
17-09-202404-10-2024GBP £11,545SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS. From
17-09-202404-10-2024GBP £12,045SUPERIOR CABINS DECK 5
17-09-202404-10-2024GBP £13,645WORSLEY SUITES
17-09-202404-10-2024GBP £14,445HERITAGE SUITES


    • Enjoy unique natural world experiences including opportunities to see orangutans, sun bears and proboscis monkeys.
    • Explore on nature walks on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu, in the Bako National Park and the rainforest near Sandakan.
    • Visit the off the beaten track township of Toli-Toli in Indonesian Sulawesi.
    • See the contrasting scenery in the oil rich Kingdom of Brunei.
    • Swim and snorkel in the Indonesian Derawan Islands, Pulau Birahbirahan and Menjangan Island.