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Borneo

Sarawak to Sabah

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

13 days

Prices from

£3,175 P.P.
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Two countries, eight international crossings and just over 1,000 km of great riding spread over ten amazing days in the saddle.
This ground-breaking journey through Borneo sees us cycling from the western state of Malaysia’s Sarawak and takes us, in style via the Kingdom of Brunei, to the eastern state of Sabah.
Our riding takes us along the coast and beaches of the South China Sea Coast, through mangrove forests, plantations, stunning landscapes and peaceful villages before taking on some tough climbs which will allow us to truly appreciate the natural splendour of Borneo.
We start on mainly flat terrain through dense mangrove forests as we move away from Kuching, Sarawak’s charming capital. During the first half of our tour we discover Sarawak’s interesting cultures, sample its delicious cuisine and learn of its colonial past as we pass through a series of fascinating fishing villages, rustic old towns and vibrant coastal cities.
After a relaxing evening at the seaside resort city of Miri, we start the second, and very different, half of the trip by criss-crossing the border with the Kingdom of Brunei, the richest oil rich country in the world.
After crossing the border back into Malaysian Borneo we spend our final days in the state of Sabah, taking on the dramatic mountains of the stunning Crocker Range. We end our adventure with a thrilling descent from the base camp of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Borneo, to our final destination of Kota Kinabalu.
Accommodation varies between beachside and mountain resorts, and modern hotels. 
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Holiday Highlights

  • Magical Miri and its stunning sunsets
  • Exploring Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei, all in one trip
  • Stunning National Parks
  • Kundasang and its views to Kinabalu
  • Delicious Laksa and mouthwatering Asian cuisine
  • Speeding along the backwaters of Dalat

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Itinerary

Day 1
Departure for Borneo
Non Riding Day

Today we leave for Borneo from your chosen departure airport, arriving into Sarawak’s Kuching International Airport (KCH) the following day.

Day 2
Arrival: Kuching
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Dinner

Following your arrival, we transfer the short distance (20-30 mins) to the Heritage Quarter of Kuching. Situated close to the Sarawak River, our small boutique hotel is the perfect place to rest up following your flights. This former boarding school has been painstakingly renovated and retains many of the building’s original features as well as a lovely pool for those looking to take a dip or relax.

With most flights arriving late morning / early afternoon we’ll meet up as a group for dinner in the early evening, which will be taken at one of the great local restaurants situated close to the hotel.

Day 3
Kuching - Sarikei - Sibu
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 100 Metres Approx.

We start the Trans-Borneo journey with a morning speedboat ride from Kuching Pending Jetty to Sarikei Sibu with a scenic 3.5 hour boat trip that follows the coastline of Sarawak.

Our bikes will be waiting for us near the jetty in Sibu and after unloading and changing into cycling gear we take lunch before saddling up for our first taste of rural Sarawak on two wheels with a warm-up ride to Sibu where we plan to arrive mid-afternoon.

Once checked in to our accommodation there will be time to roam the city’s lively bazaar and scenic waterfront. Dinner will be at one of our favourite restaurants with famous local dishes such as kampua (noodle) and kongpia (mince meat bun) ready to treat your tastebuds.

NB: At the time of writing, the Kuching – Sarikei Express Boat has yet to restart operation after the Covid-19 pandemic. If this service is no longer available, we will make a 5 hour land transfer from Kuching – Sarikei on the newly completed Trans-Borneo Highway in place of the express boat journey to Sarikei before our warm-up ride.

Day 4
Sibu - Dalat - Mukah
34 Miles / 54 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 100 Metres Approx.

Sibu is the major river gateway to Central Sarawak and the Sibu Central Market next to the riverfront is buzzing with trading activities in the morning. After breakfast, we take a quick stroll to the Sibu Central Market to explore this unique market experience before taking a district speedboat for a 2 hours boat trip to the town of Dalat.

The boat journey will take you along a meandering waterway, passing Melanau villages, timber and sago processing factories and Iban longhouses. Back on land and after a quick lunch at one of the wooden shophouse cafes, we cycle the backroads experiencing rural Sarawak at its best as we cycle past colourful remote villages and sago tree plantations.

The road is pretty flat and we’ll end the day by riding to a costal resort. Tonight meal is taken in downtown Mukah where we discover some of the area’s famous delicacies including Umai, a dish of fresh raw fish.

Day 5
Mukah to Bintulu
86 Miles / 138 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 280 Metres Approx.

Our route today flirts with the sea the whole distance and is more undulating than your first day’s cycling, especially the latter stages. The morning sees us passing through several rustic, rural towns which provide some welcome shade and an excuse to stop for a cold drink or two or to gorge ourselves on the juicy papayas, melon or mangoes which grow abundantly here. In the afternoon we continue, exploring a series of quiet roads through some seemingly-endless palm plantations.

We end our longest stage with a very short transfer (to avoid some busier roads as we approach Bintulu), to the Similajau National Park and it is here, in more tranquil surroundings, where we will spend the evening in our delightful chalet-style accommodation.

NB: At the time of writing (April 2022), the Similajau National Park chalet-style accommodation is still undergoing significant renovation. If this accommodation is still not available, we will overnight at one of the Bintulu city hotels.

Day 6
Bintulu to Niah
85 Miles / 136 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 720 Metres Approx.

The natural sounds of the National Park will wake us early and we’ll enjoy breakfast in the company of exotic birds and other flora and fauna before continuing our journey north.

After spending a few more kilometres hugging the coast, the road begins to undulate and villages become less frequent and noticeably smaller. At around 70km into the ride we arrive at Similaju where we will stop for lunch before pressing on through more typical rural land, paddy fields, and villages. The lush scenery leads us finally to the Niah Cave National Park.

The Niah Cave system is considered to be of enormous archaeological importance and, set against a dramatic backdrop of limestone cliffs and pinnacles that dominate the skyline, there is a lot to savour here. Depending on park opening schedules during our visit, we will spend time, either this evening or tomorrow morning before departure, enjoying the spectacles, especially the painted cave houses and the Great Cave, home to hundreds of thousands of bats and swiftlets.

NB: At the time of writing (April 2022), the Niah Cave National Park accommodation is still undergoing renovation. If this accommodation is not available, we will overnight at one of the Niah Town hotels.

Day 7
Niah to Miri
53 Miles / 85 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 365 Metres Approx.

Our destination today is Miri, a city which found wealth during the region’s oil boom but has somehow managed to retain a friendly, small-town atmosphere. The city, sitting on a stretch of coastline looking out across the South China Sea, is in close proximity to Sarawak’s most attractive and photogenic beaches and with this in mind we will make an early start today so that we can take full advantage.

The route today follows a lovely coast road and is mainly flat so we’ll be aiming to arrive in Miri in time for lunch with time in the afternoon set aside for relaxation. We can choose between simply enjoying the facilities at our beautiful hotel or, if time allows, taking an excursion to visit one of the beaches.

We’ll arrange to meet up in the evening to watch the sunset and enjoy pre-dinner drinks before heading out into town to enjoy dinner together.

Day 8
Miri to Bandar Seri Begawan
95 Miles / 153 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 770 Metres Approx.

We’ll start the day with a short transfer to safely clear the hustle and bustle of Miri’s busy city-centre traffic. Soon after getting back on the bikes we’ll cross the Baram River and once passports have been dutifully stamped we’ll temporarily say goodbye to Malaysia and enter Brunei.

Thanks to its bountiful oil and gas reserves Brunei is one of the richest countries in the world, with its head of state, the Sultan of Brunei, famed for his huge personal fortune. Culturally vibrant, Brunei’s population is roughly two thirds Muslim and contrasts noticeably with neighboring Sarawak & Sabah.

From the border we continue our way eastwards past Kuala Belait and Seria, home to the majority of Brunei’s oil and gas industry. After lunch at Seria, rolling rural roads through the lush green vegetation lead us past the Andulan Forest Reserve, through Tutong, and ultimately to Bandar Seri Begawan, the country’s capital.

After checking in to our hotel, we can take a stroll through the city’s historical center where the skyline is dominated by the Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, one of the most magnificent mosques in South East Asia. We can also see Kampong Ayer (literally ‘water village‘), the world’s largest stilt community, dating back over 600 years, with its cluster of some 40 villages connected by 24 miles / 38km of boardwalk.

Day 9
Bandar Seri Begawan to Lawas
84 Miles / 135 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1,400 Metres Approx.

We’ll make an early start to avoid the traffic and it won’t be long before we are out of the city and once again riding quiet rural roads through farmland and paddy fields. This will be our hilliest stage so far and it really marks the end of the first, mainly flat, phase of our tour. We’ll have to keep passports handy as we will be making three international crossings, passing from Brunei to Sarawak to Brunei and finally Sarawak once again.

We’ll spend some time in Limbang, a charming Sarawak town which, as home to Bruneian Malay, Kedayan, Iban, Lun Bawang and Orang Ulu people, is a genuine cultural melting pot. The whole place buzzes with border trade and, after soaking up the atmosphere wandering through the bustling Tamu (Wet Market), we’ll settle for lunch on the waterfront from where we can observe the locals trading fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood.

As we press on after lunch the terrain really does start to get hillier and towards the end of the day we make our final border crossing before eventually reaching Lawas, the northernmost town in Sarawak. We’ll spend the evening close to the river and a short distance away from the center of the town. We’ll have dinner in an amazing outdoor Hao Wei restaurant offering a huge array of delicious seafood treats.

Day 10
Lawas to Tenom
74 Miles / 119 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1,850 Metres Approx.

It’s time to bid farewell to the state of Sarawak as we enter Sabah and prepare to cross the mountains of the Crocker Range. This impressive mountain range is the home to Mount Kinabalu which at 4,095m / 13,400ft is the highest mountain in Malaysia and separates the west and east coast of Sabah.

The day begins, as many have until now, with approximately 18 miles / 30km of flat rural riding, but almost as soon as we cross the state border in Sabah, the road begins to rise and it isn’t long before things get considerably more lumpy. By the time we’ve reached the 43 mile / 70km mark the gradient ramps up into the mid-teens and things are suddenly much more serious as we weave our way upwards through the lush pristine rainforest. Thankfully the challenge is a relatively short one and within a few kilometers we‘re enjoying the magnificent vistas and preparing for the inevitable thrilling descent into Tenom.

The fertile land surrounding Tenom is primarily an agricultural area and boasts the famous Tenom highland coffee plantations. Naturally we’ll overnight at a small hotel close one of the town’s coffee factories so that we can sample the local produce with ease. For lovers of a brew, the Old School Coffee House, with an indulgent slice of cake, takes some beating!

Day 11
Tenom to Tambunan
59 Miles / 95 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 1,440 Metres Approx.

The road from Tenom begins with a long but steady climb brushing the edges of Crocker Range and although we‘re climbing for most of the day with the high mountains as a backdrop, our route through the paddy fields is mainly along a gently rolling road. Having completed the first significant climb of the day we’ll descend into the charming old town of Keningau at approx 25 miles / 40kms, where we’ll replenish energy levels with dim sum and bak tuk teh, a famous regional dish consisting of a hot and savory herbal broth.

More upwardly rolling roads follow and the day’s second climb leads us ultimately to Tambunan at an altitude of 750m / 2460ft above sea-level. The pleasant town set in a valley enjoys a mild tropical climate all year long and is surrounded by hills peppered with villages and beautiful terraced paddy fields.

This highland area is home to the Dusun people who grow mountain rice on the hills and are famed for their Lihing and Tapai, fermented rice wines which we can sample over dinner before retiring to our simple hotel set amongst the paddy fields.

Day 12
Tambunan to Kota Kinabalu
50 Miles / 81 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: 2,100 Metres Approx.

The last day of the ride is also the most challenging with the tough ascent of 1,100m over the first 30km. The route passes through the northern age of the Crooked Range National Park that is blessed with spectacular jungle scenery.

Before we make the final descent, we make a stop at a local restaurant for an early lunch and take a stroll to shop for local natives products and handicraft. Back on the saddle, it is all the way downhill with a descent of 1,700m to the flat plain of western Sabah. The incredible winding descent offers spectacular views of Kota Kinabalu and the South China Sea on the way down. The ride ends in Kota Kinabalu with the final 15km through the city’s suburbs. Once in Kota Kinabalu we check into our hotel near the central district.

Once settled in to our centrally-located hotel we‘ll take a stroll along the waterfront where we can visit the vibrant seafood market or just relax at one of the many bars before meeting up in the evening for a final farewell dinner.

Day 13
Departure: Kota Kinabalu
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Time for one more bowl of noodles before we head to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) for onward connections.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Borneo offers a wonderfully diverse landscape, with the variations an added aspect of this tour. We start on mostly flat terrain, through plantations and thick mangrove forests, before the mid-point of the trip where the terrain becomes more rolling. On leaving Brunei our most challenging riding commences as we enter the Crocker Mountains of Sabah around the legendary Mount Kinabalu.

Road conditions, whilst generally of a very good standard, may contain short sections of unsealed roads. However, the entire route is suitable for road bikes.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 - 4: Moderate/ Challenging

Moderate to Challenging. For more regular riders who like to push themselves a little from time to time. Not extreme but certainly challenging on occasions with some good climbing opportunities. Distances between 80-120km per day.

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re an enthusiast. Road cycling is probably your main hobby and you ride regularly at weekends, staying on the bike for much of the day. You’re in pretty good shape, and you might also participate in cylo-sportive events. You also love a challenge and are looking for a tour with some good climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols, or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You might even take a stint at the front of the pack if the need arises.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
12/11/2022
Return Date
24/11/2022
Duration
13 days
Price
£3,175.00
Start Date
25/02/2023
Return Date
09/03/2023
Duration
13 days
Price
£3,275.00
Start Date
03/06/2023
Return Date
15/06/2023
Duration
13 days
Price
£3,275.00
Start Date
11/11/2023
Return Date
23/11/2023
Duration
13 days
Price
£3,275.00

Whats Included Tick

A) All Accommodation

B) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Entrance fees to National Parks as per the itinerary

D) River journey from Kuching to Dalat (Day 3)

E) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

F) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

G) Support vehicle(s) and all luggage transfers

H) Boat rides Day 3 and 4

I) Airport transfer on scheuduled arrival day (day 2) from Kuching Airport (KCH)

J) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day (day 13) to Kota Kinabalu Airport (BKI)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (not available on this tour)

B) Flights and bike carriage charges (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel/medical insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, etc.)

H) Airport transfers on non-scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Kuching Airport (KCH) on the scheduled arrival date.

At the end of the tour, we will transfer the group to Kota Kinabalu Airport (BKI) on the scheduled departure date.

Although there are no direct flights to Kuching (KCH) or back from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) from the UK / Europe you may fly via Kuala Lumpur (KUL) with Malaysia and Singapore Airlines from London Heathrow (LHR). Emirates also offer options from UK regional airports via Dubai (DXB).

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your holiday.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee the trip, and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make alternative travel arrangements, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

Tourism is very much in its infancy in this part of Malaysia which adds to the lure and attraction of this unique area.

Accommodation standards are, overall, very good and styles range from sophisticated tourist class hotels, lodges and guesthouses in the more touristic regions to slightly more simple accommodations in more remote or rural areas. All accommodations are pleasant, clean and secure and have been chosen for their location and the hospitality of the hosts.

Bike Hire

Road cycling is very much in its infancy in Borneo with road bikes of a decent quality difficult to source. With this in mind we will not be currently offering hire bikes as standard.

Should you wish to join this holiday and are unable to travel with your own bike we should be able to source these, dependent on the size(s) required.

Please contact us for the current situation relating to this.

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