The Orangutan and Tribes Tour

From £1,195.00

Become immersed in tribal life, whilst working towards the conservation of magnificent orangutans



Project Description

On this orangutan tour you will take unforgettable jungle treks through the Borneo rainforests and get the chance to experience the beauty of orangutans in the wild. This tour also features two visits to the region's orangutan centres – the award winning Matang Wildlife Centre and the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, as well as three breath-taking national parks – Bako, Kubah and Batang Ai. Both Bornean orangutan sanctuaries and all three national parks are managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, who play an active role in the ongoing conservation of the area's orangutans.

This tour is designed to raise awareness of the conservation efforts made in Sarawak, to restore the harmony between people and orangutans that has become strained in recent years. This tour is a voyage of discovery for all of the travellers whom take part, giving them access to the rehabilitation efforts at Matang Wildlife Centre, the released, semi-wild orangutans of Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the seven different habitats of Borneo in the amazing Bako National Park and a one week trip into the rainforest. This tour will also involve meeting the descendants of the legendary Borneo head-hunters – the Iban tribe – who are now the custodians of the wild orangutans of Batang Ai. This will be an experience you certainly won't forget in a hurry!

This is the perfect opportunity for anyone who has always wanted to see orangutans, go in search of them in the wild and aid their conservation.

Why This Project Needs Volunteers

Volunteers on this project will be interacting with local tribes, providing a cultural exchange. This will benefit the locals as it provides them with an opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding, as well as giving them a platform to teach others about their ancient ways of life.

Throughout your time on this project you will also visit two wildlife centres to assist with conservation activities such as; providing enrichment items for the orangutans, husbandry and should the centre require it, assistance with construction and maintenance work.


Day 1:
You'll arrive into Kuching Airport where you will be met at arrivals by your guide before taking a short transfer to the guesthouse where you will spend your first night. Here you will settle in and freshen up before having a full tour briefing over dinner with your guide and the rest of your group.
Day 2:
After breakfast you will make your way to Matang Wildlife Centre in Kubah National Park which is home to 30 orangutans, sun bears and many other animals. On arrival you will receive an exclusive behind the scenes tour from the team who run the orangutan conservation project here. After lunch you will get involved in an activity such as creating enrichment for the orangutans. This will give you the chance to see what it is like to work with orangutans on a daily basis. You will also get to meet the famous Aman who is believed to be one of the biggest orangutans on the planet!
Day 3:
Continue your behind the scenes experience with the staff at this busy rehabilitation centre and orangutan sanctuary. Get your hands dirty assisting with husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals. This will include feeding the animals and cleaning the wildlife cages and enclosures as well as more enrichment making. This is a key activity when it comes to the rehabilitation of orangutans as it helps to promote natural behaviours and enhances the potential for release.
Day 4:
You will have one final morning working with the orangutans before, at mid-day, heading to Bako National Park by boat. The day will end with an incredible night walk in the jungle where there are opportunities to see some of Borneo's fascinating nocturnal species - this is not to be missed! Shine your torch up into the trees and keep an eye out for the little eyes staring back at you, as at night-time, Borneo truly comes alive!
Day 5:
Wake up to the sounds of Bako National Park. With its beautiful rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams and waterfalls, Bako National Park offers an excellent introduction to the rainforests and coastline of Borneo. As one of Sarawak's most famous locations for wildlife Bako will not disappoint. You will spend the morning trekking through the rainforest admiring the interesting flora and fauna and going in search of the famous proboscis monkey. In the evening you will transfer to the Malay community of Telok Serabang.
Day 6-7:
You will spend two full days in Telok Serabang, a Malay community that is situated in a beautiful coastal area of Sarawak. Here you will have opportunities to snorkel with green turtles in their natural habitat, assist with beach clean-ups, and work in the local community school. You will also participate in night-time turtle patrols, get sweaty on jungle treks (with amazing opportunities to see wildlife such as gibbons and flying lemurs) and even make traditional jewellery with the community.
Day 8:
This is an opportunity to spend time with a Bidayau community, one of the indigenous Dayak groups from Sarawak. Your accommodation will again be in a traditional wooden longhouse, with shared bedrooms and amenities. You'll get to learn about the traditional culture of this tribe, and perhaps even see human skulls in their longhouse, kept from the head-hunting days of the past. You may also be encouraged to take part in cultural dancing through the evening!
Day 9-12:
These days are spent in Batang Ai rainforest which is still home to wild orangutans. When in Batang Ai, as well as always being in search of orangutans high up in the trees, there are a lot of different activities to get involved in. These include learning traditional handicrafts, cooking, fishing, picnics amidst breath-taking scenery, swimming in jungle rivers and waterfalls and interacting with the tribespeople. Interacting and building bonds with the indigenous people is essential in repairing the fractured human – orangutan relations in this region.
Day 13:
Transfer back to Kuching and visit the Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre along the way. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was established in 1975 to care for wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets. As a result of its success, Semenggoh’s role has changed and it is now a natural haven for dozens of semi-wild orangutan and graduates of the rehabilitation programme who you can see as they come to the platforms to eat. You will spend one final evening at the Basaga Guesthouse where you will enjoy a warm shower and a farewell dinner with your guide and all of the new friends you have made along the way.
Day 14:
Time to say your farewells. Today you will be transferred to Kuching Airport for your return flight or to commence your independent travel plans.

Additional Information

Group Size Up to 14 People
Meals All Meals Included
Duration 13 Nights
Start Dates 3rd of every month
Minimum Age Minimum Age 17 (Or 14 With An Adult)

You will need to arrive into Kuching Airport(KCH) between 9am and 5pm on the start date of your tour where you will be met by a representative at arrivals who will take you by private transfer to the Basaga Guesthouse for your welcome dinner and first nights stay.

If you would like help booking your flights please feel free to contact our Flight Partner via our flights page.


There is no prior visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia as a 90 day tourist visa is granted on arrival. However, please check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.


Three meals a day and drinks are provided throughout the tour. Meals will typically consist of noodles, rice, vegetables and meat, however, vegetarian options are always available.


This tour does not involve a lot in the way of physical labour, but it will involve trekking in the rainforest on the tour - usually in fairly humid conditions. Therefore, you should have high enough levels of fitness to be able to partake in regular treks on slippery mud trails.


The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is around 1 GBP to 6.42 MYR. For up-to-date conversion information click here.

What's included in the price of the Tour?

• Airport transfers
• Overland transportation
• Accommodation and meals as indicated
• All traveling activity equipment
• Local guides
• English speaking project leader
• Conservation donation

What's not included?

• All flights
• Vaccinations and anti-malarials
• Travel insurance
• Alcoholic beverages

No Contact Policy

We are often asked whether or not travellers will have the chance to touch or play with the orangutans whilst at the wildlife centres. Our answer to this question is, and will always be no, and this is for good reason.

Orangutans are highly susceptible to human diseases and something as minor as the common cold can prove fatal to these Great Apes. Also an environment of constant change, with new people going to the centre every month and being in contact with the orangutans would be very detrimental to the Orangutans wellbeing. With no consistency in their lives behavioural problems arise. They also have a tendency to begin to trust humans which is damaging should they be released back into the wild, as they will become easy targets for poachers. Finally, an orangutan is around 7 times stronger than an adult male human so a no contact policy is just as crucial for your wellbeing as orangutan welfare.

That is not to say that you will have no interaction with the orangutans, it simply means that you will have no direct contact with them. You will still observe them on a daily basis and see how your contribution to their husbandry and enrichment makes a real difference in these great apes' lives. For more information please view our article on hands on contact with orangutans here.


Craig Macpherson - 2018

My wife and I absolutely loved our trip and it's very difficult to pick a favourite moment. However, we would have to definitely say that seeing wild orangutans was our favourite moment. We also thoroughly enjoyed our time at Bako and Minhad's place.

Emma Burkinshaw - 2018

My favourite moment was living in a longhouse in the jungle and having the most amazing guide, Alvin teaching and guiding us about the orangutans and the entire ecosystem that is affected by deforestation.

Heidi Burgoyne - 2017

We had a great group, great guides and all in a great country! I've been on a number of similar'ish trips and can vouch that the Orangutan & Tribes Voluntour has been one of my most memorable. There isn't ONE favourite moment I have from the trip, there are many! I left our last location: Batang Ai, with a tear in my eye.

Jasmine Woods - 2017

The entire trip will stay with me forever! Most of all being in the jungle and being with the locals. Such a fantastic experience I will never forget and I will do again if I can make it happen! A huge thank you to all the staff who have hearts of gold overflowing with compassion for the wildlife and their environment . You taught me a lot.

Carla Magari - 2016

The main memory I will be bringing home with me is spotting semi-wild Orangutans enjoying and living their lives exactly how they choose to. I loved spending time with the different tribes, being invited into their homes and meeting their families. I felt truly honoured to be invited into their homes. It was fantastic to listen and hear how passionate the local people are about the crisis their country is in due to deforestation for palm oil. It is great to see that they are motivated towards conservation of their forests and wildlife. We all stand together for the same purpose.

Dawn Vickery - 2016

I will never forget the overwhelming beauty of Telok Serabang. When we arrived off the long boats and waded into the warm South China Sea, I was completely transfixed by the beauty of this magical area. Listening to the jungle at night time was mesmerising, exciting and unforgettable - so much so I was too excited to sleep! The simple lifestyle of this awesome community will remain with me always and will inspire me to seek a more simplistic way of life for myself and my family.

Rebecca Dahlquist - 2016

My best memory from the trip was drifting through a stream in life vests in the middle of the rainforest. It was so amazing!

Sophie-Mae Smith - 2016

I had many memorable moments including the amazing stars at night, the trees filled with fire flys, watching the sunrise over turtle island, and seeing the sun ears rip open my enrichment within 5 mins when it took me over 2 hours to make. My overall favourite moment has got to be seeing a semi-wild dominant male orang about 10 ft away from me swinging freely, it was incredible!