Best of Borneo : Jul 23—Aug 05, 2011

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Departs: Kota Kinabalu
Tour Limit: 8
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (313.8 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


David Bishop

David Bishop loves his vocation and cannot imagine anything better than exploring wild and b...

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Bornean Bristlehead

Bornean Bristlehead— Photo: K. David Bishop

Borneo is one of the premiere birding and wildlife destinations in the world. The birds are plentiful, exotic, rare, and colorful, from the weird Bornean Bristlehead and the shy Blue-headed Pitta to the sublime Whitehead's Trogon. There is a rich, charismatic fauna of orangutans, Bornean elephants, remarkable proboscis monkeys, rare clouded leopards, and a profusion of so-called flying animals—flying squirrels, gliding frogs, geckoes, lizards, and even an airborne snake! Colorful butterflies, a collection of bizarre carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants, and many unique creatures of all hues and characteristics pique the imagination at every turn. Join Susan Myers, author of the new field guide, Birds of Borneo, on this memorable birding and wildlife tour!

Borneo is rightly regarded as one of the great storehouses of our planet's incredible biological diversity. Charles Darwin called Borneo, "one great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hothouse made by nature herself." What a fabulous summation of this remarkable place! It succinctly conjures an image of an Henri Rousseau jungle painting. In reality, much of the rich and verdant rainforest of Borneo has been lost forever, given up to the world's greed for fuel and comfort. This third largest island in the world is rapidly being taken over by oil palm plantations and timber companies. The Malaysian state of Sabah in the north harbors the largest remaining tracts of lowland and montane rainforest in Borneo. From here the towering spinal mountain range dominated by Mount Kinabalu emanates, and the teeming, complex rainforests still fan out below them to the lowlands and ultimately to the coast. The wildlife of this remarkable island is incomparable. With a host of enticing birds (including 48 endemics), a charismatic mammal fauna, many strange and unusual reptiles, and the largest collection of carnivorous pitcher plants, it's not surprising that naturalists are irresistibly drawn to this island.


This shorter, condensed sojourn in Borneo is really a "Greatest Hits" tour. We visit the three major birding and wildlife sites: Mount Kinabalu, the Kinabatangan River, and Danum Valley. Mount Kinabalu is one of those memorable mountains that seem to burst from the ground. It dominates the west coast and is pivotal to the identity of the local people. The cool montane forests on the slopes of Kinabalu and the surrounding Crocker Ranges are home to most of Borneo's endemic species. By contrast, the meandering passage of the lazy Kinabatangan River feeds the low-lying swamp forests that harbor rambunctious troops of proboscis monkeys, herds of gentle Bornean elephants, and a vast array of wonderful birds including eight species of hornbill and the strange Bornean Bristlehead. To complete the picture, we travel to the remote Danum Valley, one of the largest remaining stands of primary forest in Borneo where luxuriant forests host a dazzling cast of pittas, babblers, trogons, barbets, broadbills, and many other mouth-watering goodies!

BIRDS OF BORNEO by Susan Myers, a Princeton Field Guide covering all the birds of Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, and Kalimantan, was published by New Holland Publishers in September 2009.

Good to outstanding accommodations; good to excellent and varied food; moderate pace with easy to moderate terrain, with most birding on foot on trails and roads; warm and humid in the lowlands, cool in the mountains, always a possibility of rain; excellent photographic opportunities.