In 2012 we joined a Pandaw cruise to Borneo.
Unfortunately it was one of the last cruises the company did to that destination because of problems with landowners and officials.
We were lucky to be on it and had a wonderful time in a fascinating part of the world.
We produced four short videos of highlights from different parts of the journey.
Borneo – Kuching
The island of Borneo is divided into two main regions. Sarawak if the Malaysian part, Kalimantan the Indonesian. The kingdom of Brunei occupies a small area of northern Borneo, a bite out of Sarawak.
We arrived in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, before the cruise began and took the opportunity to explore the town on foot and take an evening cruise on the Sarawak River.
This video also includes a Pandaw pre-cruise visit to wildlife reserves where we were lucky enough to see orangutans up close. Marvelous.
Sarawak Cultural Village is a living museum where we saw the houses, traditions and costumes of the various indigenous peoples.
Borneo – Rajang River
The Pandaw cruise was along the Rajang River and its tributaries the Kanowit and Baleh rivers.
We started from Sibu and cruised as far upstream as Kapit stopping to explore towns and markets and watching the fascinating river life.
We visited schools and clinics and took donations, mainly of books and stationery, with us. And one highlight was a visit to an Iban wooden longhouse.
It was depressing, though, to see huge rafts of logs being towed downstream – local people are clearing the jungle at an alarming rate.
Borneo – Jungle and Rapids
Two of the more exciting excursions happened on the same day.
We first travelled to a clearing in the jungle to begin a trek, through rivers and up slippery paths beneath a canopy of green. It culminated in a sliding backward descent, clinging to a rope, down to the river. An exciting morning was followed by an exhilarating afternoon trip to shoot the famous Pelagus rapids.
Borneo – Mulu
The Pandaw post-cruise extension took us to Gunung Mulu, Mulu national park. This world heritage area is covered by rocky crags and thick jungle criss-crossed by rivers – the only way to get to many of the villages.
We visited caves large and small but unfortunately missed seeing the world-famous bat exodus from Deer Cave because it was raining!
Nevertheless Mulu is a wonderful place and we would love to go back.