7-Day Headhunter's Heartland by Bike

Cycle the Trail of the Legendary Dayaks

Stay in Traditional Longhouses

Experience the Lives of Bornean Natives

One week of culture, history, and adventure as we follow the trail of the White Rajahs in the bygone era of their conquest to suppress the rebellious headhunters. Ride into the Iban Heartland of authentic longhouses, interior waterways, and rustic forts. 

Tour Highlights

Delve into Borneo’s rich history as we follow the trail of the White Rajahs.

Stay in unique Dayak longhouses and enjoy the hospitality of the tribal hosts.

Indulge in authentic cuisines prepared from nature’s freshest ingredients.

Navigate the remote interior riverways and ride the outback country lanes to travel among the Dayak people.

Enjoy this epic 7-day cycling tour which takes you through some of Borneo’s most impressive landscapes

Click the Tabs to Find Out More

Trip Details
Price
  • Adult (12+): 7626.00
  • Single supplement (for solo travelers who want their own room): MYR 908.00

If you have a group of more than 6 pax, ask for our group pricing!


Departure Time

To be arranged upon booking as it depends on your arrival flight time


Meeting Point

Kuching Airport


Availability

2020

  • 25 Oct – 31 Oct 2020
  • 22 Nov – 28 Nov 2020
  • 27 Dec 2020 – 2 Jan 2021

2021

  • 14 Feb – 20 Feb 2021
  • 30 May – 5 Jun 2021
  • 24 Oct – 30 Oct 2021
  • 21 Nov – 27 Nov 2021
  • 26 Dec 2021 – 1 Jan 2022

2022

  • 13 Feb – 19 Feb 2022
  • 29 May – 4 Jun 2022
  • 23 Oct – 29 Oct 2022
  • 20 Nov – 26 Nov 2022
  • 25 Dec – 31 Dec 2022

Contact us if the scheduled dates don’t fit your schedule and you would like to customize your tour to an alternative date.


Duration

7 days, 6 nights


Number of Cycling Days

3 full days, 1 half day


Distance

202 km


Group Size

Minimum 2 adults, for groups of more than 6, please inquire for a special price


Difficulty Level

3/5 Active: paved roads and gravel tracks with some undulations and some easy off-road biking


Included
  • Airport transfer
  • Local, English-speaking guide
  • Bikes, helmets, and backup support
  • Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Support vehicle and all luggage transfers
  • Rain ponchos
  • Drinks & snacks during the rides
  • Other non-riding activities as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fees

Not Included
  • Bikes – for the longer tours we offer bike hire as a supplement in case you prefer to bring your own bike
  • Bikes can be rented from us on an availability basis – we provide front-suspension mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 27-speed gearing, dish-brakes, and Shimano components – all in good condition
  • Travel insurance

What to Bring

Essential Items

  • Multiple sets of cycling or sporting clothing
  • Multiple sets of spare casual clothing, including long trousers and shorts, hat/cap, swimming costumes, sandals, and extra walking shoes
  • Cycling gear: gloves and sunglasses
  • Personal care: small towel, toiletries, personal medication, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent
  • Camera and chargers, dry bag, and torchlight
  • Extra cash/credit card
  • Passport with 6 months validity and spare pages (additional immigration check at Sarawak’s entry points) and travel insurance details

For More Comfort

  • Padded bike shorts with something to put on over the top when not on the bikes
  • Cycling shoes or comfortable sports shoes
  • Your own personal helmet, water bottle, and raincoat

About Your Guide

From start to finish, your trip will be led by 1 or 2 English-speaking cycling tour leaders, depending on the size of the group. Along with further support from an assistant and support vehicle driver, the team’s aim is to deliver a comfortable, safe, fun, and enriching travel experience by ensuring that everything runs smoothly. Our local, English-speaking tour leaders take great pride in their heritage (as well as their own personal stories) and are well informed on Borneo’s history, culture, and natural wonders.


Good to Know
  • Our tour leaders carry spare parts and tools for basic repair
  • Age restriction: all participants must be aged 12 and over
  • For correct bike sizing, please provide personal height measurements during the booking process
  • Tell us your food preference, accommodation preference, and any other personal request, etc
  • Come into our shop a day before the tour to meet your tour leader and test out your bike, and for fixing your personal saddle, clips, bike bag or phone rack, etc, if any
What You'll Do
DAY 1: Arrive at Kuching, Cycle the Heritage Trail (12 km)

Pedal into history on this heritage tour of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. Explore the main bazaar of the picturesque Old Town, stop at the Square Tower by the ‘stone jetty’. In the early days of the Brooke Rajah, this fort and a nearby courthouse were the full extent of government buildings. Cross the river in the traditional fashion, in a ‘sampan’ ferry deftly steered with oars, to visit Fort Margherita, built by Charles Brooke in 1879 and named after his bride. The Fort’s cannons were trained on the river, both a traffic route and a possible source of an enemy attack. After substantial renovations, it is now a museum of Brooke memorabilia.  

Accommodation: Basaga Hotel/The Marian

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: Long Boat to Banting

We make our first stop at the Serian Market, a great place to find every kind of fruit imaginable. The next stop is the trading bazaar, Lachau, and a village-style lunch.

The river adventure starts at Pantu, in shallow-draft longboats all the way to the Iban villages of Banting. Banting is an old rallying point of the Ibans, who use the fertile lowlands for padi farming. The rocky hill by the river was a primitive fort; in times of danger, the villagers found refuge here. The early Christian missionaries recognized the importance of the vantage point and crowned it with St.Paul’s Church which, improved and renovated many times, has stood here since 1859.

Enjoy the simple longhouse welcome – refreshments will always be offered to visitors, no matter what time they arrive! Once you’ve been shown to your rooms you’re welcome to stroll around the village, climb the hill to inspect the church, ask someone to explain the mysterious rock formations near the river, drop into the school, see people produce artistic handicrafts like mat-making and weaving, or wander off to the rice fields and vegetable gardens. The river here is famous for its prawns! Unfortunately, crocodiles like the tasty crustaceans almost as much as we humans do, so swimming in the river is NOT recommended!

Accommodation: Banting Longhouse

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 3: Cycle to Fort Alice (51 km)

You’ll set off by longboat for the Lingga bazaar, center of the lower Batang Lupar, where you’ll enjoy a coffee shop breakfast. In James Brooke’s time, the township was ruled by two feisty Malay women of the aristocratic class who weren’t afraid to don male attire and join their followers in warfare if the occasion demanded it!

You’ll enjoy an easy cycle ride along the banks of this great river. Make a couple of detours to have a look at particularly interesting longhouses. You’ll pedal into the capital of the Batang Lupar, Sri Aman (formerly known as Simanggang) in time for lunch. You can’t miss Fort Alice (1864) perched on a riverside mound, commanding a good view of the river to where trouble might be expected to arise in the old days… and it frequently did. Like all forts, Alice served for defense and security, as administrative headquarters, and as a prison!

Accommodation: Seri Simanggang Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 4: Cycle (58 km) & Transfer to Ulu Bayor Longhouse

After breakfast, you’ll cross the river and pedal overland to the next main township, Betong, on the Layar River. You may get a chance to pay your respects to a veteran warrior who was awarded the George Cross by King George VI. He lives in quiet retirement near his hometown Sri Aman. After a good stint of pedaling, you will have earned a good coffee-shop lunch in Betong!

Visit Fort Lily (1855), built to fortify this ‘outstation’. Lily saw considerable action in the turbulent times when Iban chief Rentap challenged the Rajah; some of the cannons used in the skirmishes are preserved in the Betong District Office.

From here cycle along winding roads surrounded by small scale pepper farms, rice fields, and rubber plantations, to reach the rustic old town of Debak. Your journey continues by car for 20 km on hilly terrain until you reach Ulu Bayor Longhouse. On arrival at the authentic, century-old longhouse, you join the host for a tour of his farm and then continue to a waterfall. Longhouse hospitality is from the heart, but the facilities tend to be fairly simple; be prepared to eat seated on the floor, and sleep on a mattress under a mosquito net.

Accommodation: Ulu Bayor Longhouse

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 5: Cycle (51 km) & Boat to Batang Ai Resort

Today you really do travel upcountry! After an hour trip in the van, you’ll cycle away from the trunk road, southwards, towards the Kalimantan border. Numerous longhouses along the trail clearly indicate: this is the Iban heartland. You’ll make a side excursion up the Lemanak River, where the terrain gets hilly. Pedal and pedal until you can literally go no further, and you’ll reach a man-made lake snuggled among the hills.

This lake supplies hydro-electricity to most of Kuching and West Sarawak. You’ll embark on a lake craft that looks roughly like the ‘African Queen’ to cross the Hydro Lake to the Batang Ai Resort. Yes indeed, the cluster of longhouses bedded against the green slopes is a resort! Spend a leisurely afternoon and evening recovering from the rigors of the trail.

Accommodation: Batang Ai Resort

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 6: Cycle (30 km) & Transfer to Kuching

Depart Batang-Ai early in the morning by boat and take a 30-minute transfer to the small, rural town of Lunbo Antu. Start today’s 30 km cycling trail on a country lane and slightly hilly terrain, you will be rewarded with scenic mountain and forest views along the way. The trail is along the Sarawak border with Kalimantan, Indonesia. Lunch will be enjoyed at Engkilili, after which, we’ll set off for Kuching. The return journey to Kuching is for relaxing, talking, singing, and re-living the adventure you’ve just enjoyed. 

Enjoy one last glorious meal together at the Topspot Food Center in Kuching, where all the great Sarawak food comes together. The waiters don’t carry white serviettes over their arms and the ambiance leaves something to be desired, but the food is seriously something to write home about!

Accommodation: Basaga Hotel/The Marian

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 7: Tour Concludes in Kuching

Today the tour concludes. For those who are not in a hurry to leave, the wildlife and adventures of Borneo await. For more information on these amazing adventures and other destinations to extend your holiday, please ask our team at the time of booking. We will take you to Kuching Airport for your return flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Frequently Asked Questions


What does the support vehicle do?

Our bike tours are fully supported by air-conditioned vehicles, so should you want to put your feet up, there will be a seat for you and a place to put your bike. The support vehicle also carries your luggage, as well as keeping you topped up with water, tropical fruit, and snacks.

What safety measures do you take?

Wearing a helmet is strongly recommended on all our biking adventures. Your tour leader will conduct a group cycling safety meeting on day one, as well as a briefing at the beginning of each day on what to expect during the day’s ride. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue but, to a certain degree, you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. For non-biking activities such as kayaking, safety measures such as life-jackets are compulsory and a separate safety briefing will be given before the start of each activity.

What kind of food will we be eating?

Meals and snacks are included as per the itinerary. We take care in our planning to include the best of Sarawak cuisine, including delicacies from a mixture of Dayak, Malay, and Chinese cuisine that all use local, fresh ingredients from the tropics. Some can be hot and spicy. We eat dinner together, Malaysian style, by sharing all of our delicious dishes. Alcoholic drinks are available at your own expense, but they might not be served in some Muslim halal restaurants.

What will our accommodation be like?

We have carefully chosen the best available accommodation in different locations with friendly, local hosts. To ensure your comfort after a hard day in the saddle, we strive to offer a range of accommodation that is clean, comfortable, and represents the local culture. The type of lodging can vary depending on the location and what is available: a local tribal homestay, a jungle lodge, a national park cabin, a historical shophouse, and seaside resorts. Rooms are based on a sharing basis with double beds and if you are a single traveler, you might be paired with another traveler of the same sex unless you pay the single supplement.

How fit do I need to be for the tours?

The details of the number of cycling days, cycling distances, and difficulty levels for each tour are listed in the fact sheet. All our trips require basic fitness, preferably acquired through cycling. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy the riding. However, we try to make our Sarawak bike tours as accessible as possible with the average cycling distance of 30-40 km per day and the longest distance no more than 70 km. Most cycling terrains are on paved roads (and limited gravel tracks) with some undulations.

What will the weather be like?

Being on the equator, Borneo is generally hot (average daily temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius) and humid, especially around noon. Therefore, we like to start our day early and rest at points of interest during the hottest part of the day. Short rain showers are fairly common during the mid to late afternoon but we provide waterproof ponchos for continuous riding, which can actually be very entertaining.

What do I need to bring with me?

Once you have booked your tour, we will send you a pre-tour information pack that will have all the information you need to prepare for the tour, such as the packing list and joining instruction, etc.

I am a solo traveler, can I join this tour?

Solo travelers are always welcome and those who would like their own room have the option of paying a single supplement. Otherwise, we will arrange for a shared room with another solo traveler (of the same sex) at no extra cost. If there is no roommate available, we will cover the additional cost of a single room.    

Do I need insurance?

We include very limited corporate insurance coverage with minimum coverage. It is a condition of participating in a Paradesa Borneo that each traveler holds his or her own travel insurance for the duration of the trip. It needs to include coverage of medical expenses, emergency evacuation, personal liability, and accident insurance. You should email us a copy of your insurance coverage for our reference in case of an emergency.

Which currency shall I bring with me?

The official currency is the Malaysian ringgit (RM). Foreign currencies are not generally accepted and currency exchange is only available in major banks, as well as larger hotels. Credit cards can be used only in larger hotels and shops. ATMs are widely available in cities and towns, but you’ll need cash in villages to pay for some extra meals, drinks, activities, and, of course, shopping. There will be limited opportunities to spend money whilst cycling through rural areas outside of personal items, extra snacks, drinks, and the odd souvenir. Tipping at restaurants and for local guides and support staff is uncommon. Should however you feel the staff/guides have provided excellent service you may wish to give them some form of gratuity. We recommend that you bring an equivalent of US$ 400 (in Malaysian ringgit) for incidentals.

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