A myriad of exciting destinations await us as we voyage along the southern and western coastlines of Borneo. From isolated tropical islands to diverse National Parks, our itinerary will showcase some of Borneo’s undiscovered jewels. The landmark Camp Leakey in Tanjung Puting National Park will be a highlight, allowing us the opportunity to view the rehabilitation of the ex-captive orangutans. Tanjung Puting is one of the great wonders of Borneo and is a wildlife mecca. We also visit Gunung Palung and Bako National Parks to examine, first hand, the complexity of ecosystems that once covered the entire Island. They now provide a refuge for Borneo’s 15000 species of plants, 222 species of mammals, 420 resident birds, and numerous other reptile, amphibian and fish species.
Faces in the Forest itinerary:
Day 1 - Benoa, Bali, Indonesia
The Indonesian island of Bali represents an oxymoron. The city centre of Denpasar is crammed with hotels and tourist activity. It is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.
The countryside is picturesque incorporating rice paddies flooding the hillsides and volcanoes reaching to the skies. The rain-forests are lush and tropical, and the beaches are washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority.
Day 3 - Tanjung Puting National Park (for Camp Leakey)
Tanjung Puting is one of the natural wonders of the world! To make the most of this location we will arrive early, and stay for two days and one night.
The area was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and a National Park in 1982. While the Park has a chequered history of weak protection, it remains substantially wild and natural. Best known for the orangutans and made famous through the efforts of Orangutan Foundation International, which is based at the landmark Camp Leakey research station. Tanjung Puting also boasts the bizarre looking proboscis monkey with its “Jimmy Durante” nose as well as seven other primate species. Tanjung Puting hosts over 220 species of birds, including hornbills, deep forest birds and many wetland species. Tanjung Puting is well known for its “bird lakes,” housing seasonal rookeries, endangered waterbirds and nesting grounds for white egrets.
Camp Leakey was established in 1971 by Dr. Biruté Galdikas and former spouse Rod Brindamour. It was named after the legendary paleo-anthropologist, Louis Leakey, who was both mentor and an inspiration to Dr. Galdikas as well as Drs. Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. Originally consisting of just two huts, Camp Leakey is now an assemblage of permanent wooden structures designed to provide a base for scientists, staff, students, and Park Rangers.
There are two main activities to be enjoyed whilst at Tanjung Puting National Park. One activity involves taking local boats for a full day exploration of the river system surrounding Camp Leakey and visits to several feeding stations and Camp Leakey itself. This area will give you the rare opportunity to get very close and interact with the orangutans. This will be a full day activity including lunch based on the local boats, which are large and spacious and have their own bathroom onboard, and includes the landings at the feeding stations, which are all quite easy to reach on foot.
Today will be a prime wildlife experience like no other! The other activity we have on offer here at Tanjung Puting is a visit to the Orangutan Foundation International's wildlife rehabilitation centre. Orion offers you an exclusive look into the operation of the centre with all three stages of orangutan rehabilitation being visited; the forest training area, the "pre school" and the infant care facility.
Day 4 - Tanjung Puting National Park
Tanjung Puting National Park
Day 5 - Gunung Palung National Park
Gunung Palung National Park is notable for its diversity of habitat types, ranging from mangrove and freshwater swamp forest, to lowland alluvial forest, to montain forest, and for its diversity of wildlife. It is one of only a handful of parks in the world where orangutans can be seen in the wild. The orangutan is considered the umbrella species for conservation in the National Park, and is also an important ecological agent for seed dispersal and seed predation. It is believed that orangutans at Gunung Palung constitute one of the most dense and largest populations on Borneo. A census conducted in 2001 gives an estimate of 2500 individual orangutans, about 17% of the estimated population in Borneo and close to 10% of the world’s population.
Today we will use our Zodiac fleet to explore the Bayas River that flows through the national park. No landings are planned today but we will have ample opportunity for wildlife spotting, with orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques and numerous bird species all living in the park.
Day 6 - Pontianak
Pontianak is one of the major cities in Kalimantan. The city was formerly the capital of the independent Sultanate of Pontianak and was founded in 1772 around an old trading station on the Borneo coast. It is built on swampy ground that is subjected to regular flooding by the river, requiring buildings to be constructed on piles to keep them off the ground. It has its name due to the story that the founder had seen appearance of pontianak ghost at the place to be built for the palace, which he fought to save the people. Pontianak sits right on the equator hence being widely known in Bahasa language as Kota Khatulistiwa - the Equator City.
Our inclusive expedition into Pontianak City today will include visits to many of the highlights of the town. One of Pontianak's "prides" is the Mujahiddin Mosque, which is the biggest mosque in the province. In the village of Bugis Dalam, is the Jami' Mosque of Sultan Abdurrahman Al-Qodri. This historical mosque was built in 1771 by Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman. The Sultan Palace of Khadariyah lies nearby with a shape in Portuguese style, and was a fort against enemy attacks in the past. You can also find a monument of the Sultan Kingdom nearby. The historical cathedral with a clock on the top of the church sign for the historical Christian influences at Pontianak City.
We will also visit the well-known Equator Monument, standing on the exact spot, passed by the equator. The Museum of Pontianak is a beautiful building in modern design, with the ornamental characteristics of the area. The museum's collections include relics from the time of the arrival of Islam in West Kalimantan. All of these locations are planned as part of our included expedition today. A shuttle bus into the city will be available for those wishing to explore on your own.
Day 7 - Kuching, Malaysia
The capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, and also the largest city on the Island of Borneo, Kuching is today a vibrant and lively city. Kuching is also home to the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Established in 1975 for the rehabilitation of confiscated and surrendered wild animals, including orangutans, it is located just south of Kuching city and is situated within the beautiful Semengoh Nature Reserve. The city itself has a bustling China Town district and many delightful buildings such as the palace of the White Rajah along with temples and mosques. We will arrive in Kuching mid morning, staying overnight and into the next day.
Included Expeditions for Camp Leakey – Faces in the Forest itinerary
On offer the first afternoon is a city tour which will visit the Cat Monument, the symbol of Kuching, and Sarawak's oldest temple in the China Town area. The tour will take a route that showcases much of the famous architecture of Kuching including Astana (the former palace of the White Rajah), the old Colonial Law Courts, crossing the Satok Suspension Bridge dating from 1926, past old Malay style stilt houses, and stopping at a beautiful local Mosque. The highlight of the tour will be a visit to the Sarawak Museum which is acknowledged as one of the finest in the world. This evening we will have an exclusive cultural performance and Malay style banquet ashore.
Day 8 - Kuching (for Semonggoh Rehabilitation Centre)
Included Expeditions for Camp Leakey – Faces in the Forest itinerary
This morning we will visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and witness the work they do in caring for orangutans and other wildlife of Borneo. For those feeling a bit more independent a shuttle bus will be available in the afternoon to and from the city area and optional tours are available to purchase to further explore Kuching's rich cultural and natural history. A series of optional tours are also available for purchase.
Optional Expeditions for Camp Leakey – Faces in the Forest itinerary
ANNAH RAIS LONGHOUSE (Half day)
If you are looking to learn more of the culture of this area an optional tour to the traditional Annah Rais Longhouse is available for purchase. The Anna Rais Longhouse is an authentic Bidayuh Longhouse located in the hills outside of Kuching. This Bidayuh village is accessible by road and it is the nearest native village from the city. On tour you will also get to enjoy the encompassing beauty of the scenery around the longhouse. The Bidayuhs are mainly farmers and they plant crops like corn, rice, pepper, cocoa and local vegetables for their own consumption as well as for sales at the local city markets. The chief of the longhouse is called the "Tuai Rumah".
Price: To be confirmed
EXCLUSIVE GUNUNG GADING RAFFLESIA VIEWING (Half Day)
(CAN NOT GUARANTEE DEPARTURE, WE WILL BE NOTIFIED ONLY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL IN KUCHING IF THE RAFFLESIA IS FLOWERING)
The Rafflesia is a giant carnivorous plant first discovered in Borneo in 1818. Gunung Gadung is famous for its rafflesia and if the plant is flowering during our visit we will make this option available. We will be in communication with the rangers a few days before arrival and they will let us know if we will be able to see the giant flowering carnivorous plant. The flower can grow over one metre in diameter and weigh over 10 kilograms. The tour will take us into the park area with a guide who knows the location of the plant that is flowering on that day.
Price: To be confirmed
Day 9 - Bako National Park
Bako National Park heralds an early arrival for us as we have no time to waste in experiencing its rainforests, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and trekking trails. Very few places in the world pack so much natural beauty into such a limited area. Bako is one of the most rewarding parks in Sarawak for wildlife and protected since 1957, the animals are less wary of humans.
A series of walks of varying degrees of difficulty are available today throughout the Bako National Park. Once again we will be surrounded by wildlife, including numerous proboscus monkeys and macaques. Zodiac cruises will also be available today. Due to the fact that wildlife here have been protected since the 1950's the animals are quite used to humans and do not see them as a threat which allows us to walk through the park and see the animals quite easily.
Please note Camp Leakey – Faces in the Forest itinerary will also have a beach BBQ today on a beautiful secluded beach in the National Park.
Day 11 - Singapore
The British East India Company established a strategic trading post on the island of Singapore in 1819, which was to become an important post along the Spice Route. Although a thriving and modern metropolis, remnants of these early colonial days can be enjoyed in many traditional pursuits such as a rickshaw ride and Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel. A compact and efficient city, Singapore offers easy access from most international airports.
Orion II is a private yacht-like expedition cruise ship built by Cantieri Navale Ferrari of Italy. After a number of years as a private yacht, Orion II was relaunched in 2009 following an extensive technical refit. Little expense was spared with this stylish, Italian built, all-suite Mega Yacht. Orion II now offers the finest standards in small-ship cruise travel. She also has an ice-strengthened hull for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic and is fitted with stabilisers.
The expedition equipment includes Zodiacs and fast tender to deliver the Orion expedition experience. Combining luxury and service will require staffing by 68 offices and crew to serve Orion II’s capacity of 100 guests. Excellence of design, craftsmanship and quality materials combined with Orion II’s spaciousness and intimate ambience make her ideal for distinctive cultural and expedition voyages.
Length: 88 metres
Beam: 15.3 metres
Draft: 4.5 metres
Hull: Ice- strengthened hull for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic
Gross Tonnage: 4,077
Engines: MAN B&W Diesel 2 x 2520 KW
Speed: 14 knots. Cruise speed 13.5 knots
Stabilisers: Retractable fin stabilisers
Manoeuvrability: Bow thrusters
Built: January 1991. Refitted 2009
Builder: Cantieri Navale Ferrari (Italy)
Guest Capacity: 100 (twin occupancy).
Regulations: Orion II is built according to the latest international safety regulations, including those of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health, Canadian Arctic Shipping, and St. Lawrence Seaway.
Additional Craft: 6 Zodiac Heavy Duty MK5, 1x36 passenger tender
Communications: Direct-dial satellite telephones; fax; e-mail; Internet access; internal telephone system.