April 2011 Archives

Travel to Borneo in Style

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conrad's voyage map

Inspired by the writer Joseph Conrad and adventurer James Brooke, Conrad's Voyage is a 2 week journey that takes you from the port of Singapore to the islands, rivers and jungles of Borneo.

A voyage for an ambitious adventurer, it is a journey that reminds us of why Southeast Asia holds a mystique matched by few other areas on earth: A crossroads between Eastern and Western civilizations, with its ancient spice routes, amazing cultural diversity and, at it's heart, the jungles of Borneo, with its history of headhunters, traders and explorers.

The journey begins in Singapore, a port the young Conrad was very familiar with during his time working aboard the trading ship S.S. Vidar as first officer. From Singapore we sail to Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo (ancient land of headhunters), where we visit the remnants of the Brooke Raj (a dynasty of British men known as the "White Rajahs").

Borneo is also an opportunity for Wildlife and Rainforest adventures. This is the overland section where you visit the UNESCO World Heritage Mulu Caves, and the discover the spectacular wildlife of the Kinabatangan River. The Kinabatangan is one of Borneo's largest rivers, where you can see Orang Utan, pygmy elephants, pythons, crocs, and other wildlife up close. Our guests rejoin the Raja Laut in Semporna and the journey continues to Sipadan an oceanic island with world class scuba diving once described by Jacques Cousteau as "an untouched piece of art".

Finally, we sail from Sipadan to the Berau islands in East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), including Kakaban, Maratua, and Sangalaki. The area has a variety of dive sites including pristine reefs, wall diving, drift dives, caves and lagoons. Manta Rays sometimes gather in great numbers on Sangalaki, which is also a year round nesting site for turtles. On the mainland is the Berau river, the original setting of Conrad's first novel Almayer's Folly. For those who want to continue the journey there are proboscis monkeys in the delta, and further up river the town of Berau (formerly the seat of the Sultan of Gunung Tabor, who had bestowed William Lingard with the "Raja Laut" title). Further still, in the heart of Borneo, are indigenous Dayak people who live in longhouses and love to share with you their love of rice wine and dancing.

Day 1: Embarkation in Singapore. Sail to Riau islands.
Day 2: Riau islands
Day 3: Riau islands
Day 4: Sarawak, Kuching. Explore the remnants of the Brooke Raj
Day 5: Fly to Miri and then to Mulu National Park
Day 6: Mulu caves tour
Day 7: Fly to Sandakan for Kinabatangan river and wildlife tour
Day 8: Kinabatangan river and wildlife tour
Day 9: Rejoin the vessel in the Semporna Marine Park
Day 10: Mabul and Sipadan islands
Day 11: Mabul and Sipadan islands
Day 12: Maratua and Kakaban islands
Day 13: Sangalaki island
Day 14: Transfer to Tawau Airport for return flight home

Further Reading:
Conrad and the S.S. Vidar
Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad
The White Rajahs
William Lingard
Borneo Wildlife and Rainforest Tours
Berau/Derwawan Marine Park
We also recommend this account of overland travel from Singapore to Berau by Eric Madeen called
"In Conrad's Wake"

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Conrad's Voyage.

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