15-Day Trans-Borneo Road Bike

Visit Two Countries

1,300 km of Great Road Riding

Explore Borneo’s Natural Wonders

Two countries, eight international crossings, and just over 1,300 km of great road riding spread over fifteen invigorating days in the saddle. This is the pioneering road cycling trip across Borneo. Conquer this epic challenge and enjoy all that Borneo has to offer. We cycle on flat terrain through mangroves and paddy fields as we hug the coast for the first few days. On day 6 we encounter some rolling hills as we head towards Similajau National Park, and this continues as we change direction and start heading inland.

Before arriving in Miri, our route flattens out again and we spend some time recuperating our energy by the beach. The undulating hills return as we head for the capital of Brunei. After a relaxing, slightly flatter path out of the capital, we cross back into Sarawak and are once again greeted with some rolling ascents and descents. On day 11 we are ready to begin our mountain challenge and the ascent into the Crocker Mountain Range. We gradually climb, making our way through the mountains to Mount Kinabalu on day 14 and after this, we will begin our descent to our final destination, the beautiful coastal capital of Kota Kinabalu.

Tour Highlights

Experience the diverse culture through homestays, visits to tribal villages, and visiting local producers.

Visit national parks such as Maludam National Park, Similajau National Park, Kinabalu Park, and Niah Cave National Park.

Discover the Kingdom of Brunei, the richest in the world, visit the capital’s Old Town and its traditional water villages, and cycle through its countryside.

Ride steep climbs to the base camp of Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest peak.

Have the chance to see sea turtles, estuarine crocodiles, Irrawaddy dolphins, and proboscis monkeys.

Visit the beaches along Borneo’s picturesque coastline, and learn about the traditions in the fishing villages scattered along it.

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Trip Details

Trip Details

Price

  • Adult (18+): MYR 16,200.00
  • Single supplement (for solo travelers who prefer their own room): MYR 2320.00

Departure Time

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


Meeting Point

Kuching Airport


Departure Point

Kota Kinabalu Airport


Availability

2020

  • 18 Oct – 1 Nov 2020

2021

  • 25 Apr  – 9 May 2021
  • 20 June – 4 July 2021
  • 17 Oct – 31 Oct 2021

2022

  • 19 Dec 2021– 2 Jan 2022
  • 24 Apr – 8 May 2022
  • 16 Oct – 30 Oct 2022
  • 18 Dec 2022 – 1 Jan 2023

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


Duration

15 days, 14 nights


Number of Cycling Days

12 full cycling days


Distance

1,370 km, average 114 km per day


Group Size

4-14 riders


Difficulty Level

Road riding for experienced riders with stamina and a good level of fitness. Long, challenging days with some days of steep ascent over extended distances.


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

  • Bike hire: Not available for 2020 – 2023
  • International and domestic flights
  • Visa fees
  • Alcohol
  • Tips
  • 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 18 and over
  • Bike hire is not available for this tour in 2020 – 2023, therefore guests must bring their own bicycles
  • Share with us your food and accommodation preferences, and any other personal requests
What You'll Do

We meet at the hotel in Kuching for a trip briefing about the epic ride ahead of us! Get a first taste of the local specialties with a seafood dinner.

Accommodation: The Marian

Meals: Dinner

The first day is all about acclimatization with a flat and scenic ride as we hug the coast. After a quick transfer out, to avoid the busy traffic of Kuching, we will ride together at a steady pace through mangroves, paddy fields, and rubber tree plantations. At the 45 km point, we’ll take our first break at a local kopitiam (cafe) after our warm-up ride. 

As we continue our way north-eastward we’ll cross a few big rivers, including one on a car ferry. The road is flat throughout the day and we’ll end by riding into the Kampung Hilir Maludam, a peaceful Malay fishing village, where we’ll check into a local homestay. We will leave our bikes at the homestay and take a 45-minute boat ride to the little-visited Maludam National Park in search of big-nose proboscis monkeys. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the quaint Malay fishing village that is famous for its jellyfish and dried fish processing. We then join a family dinner with our local host. Stay overnight in this simple homestay for a full experience of a traditional Malay fishing village.

Accommodation: Maludam Homestay

Distance: 133 km  +141 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

After an early breakfast, we will start by riding on a scenic road along the coast, before a ferry crossing into an outpost town of Pusa for a roti-canai (local bread) coffee break. Back in the saddle, we’ll be cycling through mangrove forests and rubber and palm plantations, taking in the fresh air and peaceful natural surroundings along the way to Serikei.

The first 100 km is flat and the remainder of the ride undulates through plantations, fields, and many birdhouses (man-made structures for harvesting the swiftlet bird nests). As we slowly ride into the heartland of the Iban tribe, we will discover more and more traditional longhouse settlements lining the side of the road. We load our bikes at a busy junction for a quick transfer and spend the night in the small town of Serike on a tributary of Rajang River.

Accommodation: Oriental Evermore Hotel

Distance: 124 km +576 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

We will aim to get the distance done (60-kilometres) in the morning so that we can spend time in Sibu, the gateway to Central Sarawak. Famed for its extraordinary market, take a leisurely stroll to discover some of its 1,200 stalls and see Iban ladies selling exotic fruits, jungle produce, and handicrafts. Lunch will be at a local hawker with famous favorites such as “kampua” (noodle) and “kongpia” (mincemeat bun). But the main highlight of the day is the speedboat to the town of Dalat. The Melanau tribe here is one of the most celebrated ethnic tribes in Sarawak, known for their gentle, loving nature and seafaring skills. The boat journey will bring you through the meandering river, passing Melanau villages, timber & sago processing factories, and Iban longhouses. 

Back on land, we stick to back roads to see rural Sarawak at its best and cycle past colorful, remote villages and sago tree plantations. Depending on time, we can even visit the local sago processing center, a cottage industry that produces Sago Pearl, the traditional way. The road is flat and we’ll finish by riding to a seaside resort. Tonight we’ll hit the town to discover some of the famous local delicacies especially the “umai”, a dish of fresh, raw fish.

Accommodation: Kingwood Resort Mukah

Distance: 113 km + 326 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

We start from the seaside resort of Mukah and will be chasing the coast all day before arriving at our overnight destination of Bintulu. Along the ride, there are several rustic, rural towns where we will stop and take in the local market scenes. After lunch at a riverside village, we ride through palm plantations where there will be some undulations as we cycle on quiet roads. Traffic will pick up just outside the city area of Bintulu, the home of Sarawak’s heavy industry and a booming new town. Here, our bikes are loaded and then it’s just a 20-minute transfer to Similajau National Park.

The afternoon is free for some easy trekking in the national park to spot sea turtles, estuarine crocodiles, and even Irrawaddy dolphins. A 2-hour boat trip can be arranged (at guest’s own expense) with the National Park management for access to remote stretches of a golden sand beach. We will spend the night in a national park chalet.

Accommodation: Similajau National Park

Distance: 138 km + 280 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

We head back inland today to continue our ride towards north Borneo. Once we have cycled our first 10 kilometers along the coast, there will be a few rolling hills before we have lunch at the industrial park of Samalaju. The remainder of the ride undulates through plantations, fields, and villages. The highlight of our day will be the entrance into Niah Cave National Park where we will stay overnight in the National Park Chalet. We’ll hit the town in the evening to discover some of the town’s famous delicacies.

Accommodation: Niah National Park

Distance: 136 km +717 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

In the morning, we explore Niah Cave National Park on foot. Niah Cave is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and soon-to-be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a thriving local economy based on birds-nests and guano; ancient cave paintings; and a majestic rainforest crisscrossed with walking trails. Adjusting our eyes back to the light, we get back into the saddle, using the coastal route that has a few rolling hills for the next 60 km before our route flattens out all the way to the resort city of Miri, the second-largest city in Sarawak. After dinner, we can visit a foot reflexology center to provide a perfect post-ride muscle relaxer.

Accommodation: Miri Pullman Hotel

Distance: 85 km + 365m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Today we rest, and you are free to discover Miri and explore this city on your own. The city found its riches through the oil boom and boasted the Grand Old Lady, a historic derrick serving as a monument to commemorate the discovery of oil in 1910. Alternatively, we can arrange an optional tour for you, such as a visit to a nearby national park or a scuba diving tour. Today, lunch and dinner  is for you to decide, and at your own expense.

Accommodation: Miri Pullman Hotel

Meals: Breakfast

This morning starts with a short transfer to avoid the rush hour traffic. We start our ride near the border and here, we’ll say a temporary goodbye to Sarawak Malaysia, and hello to Brunei. Brunei is one of the richest countries in the world thanks to its petroleum income, with its head of state, the Sultan of Brunei, among one of the richest men in the world.

We ride past Kuala Belait and Seria where Brunei’s oil and gas industry is centered. After lunch, we head into the capital of Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan, using the rural backroad, where our path will be surrounded by rolling hills covered in vegetation. After checking into the hotel, take a stroll through the city’s Old Town where the skyline is dominated by Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, one of the most magnificent mosques in Southeast Asia, and a replica of a 16th-century royal barge is moored in an adjoining lagoon. Make a quick photo stop at Kampong Ayer or Water Village before heading off for dinner at a local restaurant. 

Accommodation: Brunei Hotel

Distance: 153 km + 768m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

After leaving the capital of Brunei, we are back to the flats as we ride south-east onto some nice stretches of farmland and paddy fields. We finally arrive at another international border crossing with Sarawak. There will be 3 international crossings today as we ride from Brunei to Sarawak back to Brunei, and back again to Sarawak. Our lunch destination is Limbang, a charming Sarawak town where the market is buzzing with border trading. Explore an interesting mix of cultures as we have lunch here. Limbang is the most culturally diverse and distinct part of Sarawak and is traditionally home to Bruneian Malay, Kedayan, Iban, Lun Bawang, and Orang Ulu people. Take a stroll through the bustling Tamu (Wet Market) at the waterfront where the locals get fresh vegetables, fruits, and seafood such as crabs and clams.

After lunch, the remaining ride is undulating as we cycle over another international border and get our passport stamped for the 8th time since the arrival in Borneo! Once we reach Lawas, the northernmost town in Sarawak, take some time to freshen up in your room before meeting your guide for a splendid seafood meal at one of the local favorites.

Accommodation: Seri Malaysia Lawas

Distance: 136 km + 1,401 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Today is the start of the mountain challenge. We enter the Malaysian state of Sabah at a domestic crossing as we have our passport check again. As we turn off the main road, we start the crossing of the mighty Crocker Range which divides the western coastal plains from the rest of Sabah and ends south of the magnificent Mount Kinabalu. We’ll see some interesting landscapes, lots of friendly smiles, and plenty of unspoiled mountain forests. At the 50 km mark, the ride up the Crocker Range will be tough and is sure to get your heart rate up! After a challenging uphill ride, we, of course, have a great downhill to follow, before enjoying flat and smooth riding all the way to our hotel in Tenom, the unofficial capital of the Murut community in Sabah.

The fertile land in Tenom and its surrounding area have made it primarily an agricultural area, including the famous Tenom highland coffee. True to form we will stay at a small, whimsical boutique hotel next to a coffee factory. Perhaps the best way to really experience Tenom is by sampling locally grown coffee at the old school coffee house with a side order of toast, half-boiled eggs, or local desserts.

Accommodation: Yit Foh Coffee Park

Distance: 119 km + 1,854 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

After another round of Tenom coffee at breakfast, it is a long and steady uphill as we cycle on the edge of the Crocker Range. Mountains will frame most of our ride today, but our path will be on rolling hills, surrounded by paddy fields. We reach the charming, old town of Keningau for lunch, a busy commercial center right in the middle of Sabah. We recharge with a Bak Tuk Teh lunch, a famous dish in Southeast Asia with cuts of pork in a hot, savory herbal broth. The final destination today is Tambunan. At an average altitude of 750 meters, this valley town experiences a mild tropical climate all year long. The valley is peppered with terraced paddy fields and 70 villages. The Dusun people who live in the highland grow mountain rice on the hills, and it’s famed for its good quality lihing and tapai, fermented rice wines. After a few rounds of the traditional rice wine, we settle in a small, simple hotel surrounded by paddy fields, as we rest early and get ready for the big climb tomorrow.  

Accommodation: Padi View Resthouse

Distance: 95 km + 1,440 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Today, we continue to head northwards in our quest to reach the base camp of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia. The gradient starts to steepen as we approach the midway point of Ranau, a busy crossroads between East and West Sabah. After a local lunch, we take a sharp left turn and begin the final stretch of the climb with +600m elevation gain over 13 km. On the climb up to Kundasang, a resort town at the base camp of Mt Kinabalu, the view of the valley will keep your mind off the ascent. This area is the largest producer of highland vegetables in the state of Sabah, growing cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, and even strawberries. We check into a mountain resort and on a clear day, one will be able to see Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding valleys from the garden of the hotel.

Accommodation: Kinabalu Pine Resort 

Distance: 78 km + 2,050 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

This morning starts with a 7-kilometer ride to Kinabalu Park, the entrance to Mount Kinabalu, which at 4,095 meters, is the highest mountain on the island of Borneo. Head over to the Botanical Gardens to discover why it is recognized by UNESCO as one of the most important biological sites in the world with more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna. 

Before we make the final descent, we make a stop at Nabalu Market and take a stroll to shop for local natives products, homegrown vegetables, and handicrafts. Back in the saddle, it is downhill all the way with a descent of 1,500m to the flat plain of western Sabah. The winding descent can be tricky when it is misty or at times congested with traffic. At the junction with the highway, we’ll take a 40-minute transfer to the center of Kota Kinabalu. Once in Kota Kinabalu, we’ll check into our hotel near the central district. Take a stroll along the waterfront and visit the vibrant wet and dry seafood market, or just relax at one of its many waterfront bars. We meet up in the evening for a final farewell dinner.

Accommodation: Dreamtel (3 stars) 

Distance: 60 km + 964 m

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Our tour ends after breakfast. We can help you arrange a transfer to the airport or to extend your stay in Sabah.

Meals: Breakfast

Frequently Asked Questions


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.

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.

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.

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.

The tour statistics of cycling days, cycling distances, and cycling grades are listed in the fact sheet. This is a road bike trip for experienced riders with stamina and a good level of fitness. Long and challenging days with some steep sections over extended distances. The tour is considered to be challenging and is not for beginners with 45-80 miles / 80-130 kms per day.

Borneo and Brunei benefit from year-round temperatures averaging between 23°C/73°F and 32°C/90°F and are relatively humid for much of the year. A peak in rainfall occurs between November and March, the monsoon season, although even in these months rainfall can be sporadic. Being on the equator, the hottest part of the day is at noon, therefore, as much as possible, we like to start our day early and find points of interest where we can rest and have a long lunch break. Short bursts of rain are fairly common during the mid to late afternoon. Weather conditions can however be localized throughout Borneo and Brunei. Towards the end of the trip, whilst in the area of the Crocker Mountains in Sabah, you may experience late afternoon or early evening low cloud or misty conditions with cooler temperatures (15°C/59°F and 32°C/90°F).

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.

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.    

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.

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 in Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Brunei, and Kota Kinabalu. 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. Most of your shopping will likely be done in Kuching, Miri, and Kinabalu. You will also be visiting Brunei for a day, the currency there is the Brunei Dollar (BND). Although your accommodation costs and evening meal are included in the trip cost, you may wish to withdraw a small amount of cash for this part of the trip. The banks and money changers at the border towns, as well as the hotel, offer BND currency exchange. 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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