Into the Heart of Borneo
A Journey on the Mighty Rajang River
Pandaw Cruises are excited to announce that they will inaugurate a new expedition cruise on the Rajang River in Sarawak from July 2009.
Following in the footsteps of the British explorer and travel writer Redmon O'Hanlon, the brand new ORIENT PANDAW will make an eight night cruise three times a month from Sibu to the Pelagus Rapids and beyond up the Baleh River.
The Rajang River is rarely visited by travellers on account of its inaccessibility and lack of tourist facilities. It is though the longest river in Malaysia. Cruising in the extreme comfort of a Pandaw, passengers will be able to visit Iban longhouses, make boat trips up tributary rivers and see the vestiges of the colonial Brooke Raja.
But above all, passengers can view from the Pandaw's observation decks the rich tropical rain forest close at hand. Jungle treks, for all levels of walker, are a must - this is after all one of the most diverse and exotic eco paradises on the planet.
*Cruises depart 3 times per month from 01 July 2009 to 30 November 2009
Example of 9 Day/8 Night Cruise
10 July 2009: Sibu
Transfer from airport; board ship in the bustling city port set close to the local markets and temples. Free time to explore the town on foot with its attractive streets of old Chinese shop houses, redolent of Malacca or Penang but without the tourists. Sibu is a big port with sea going ships coming up and off loading. From here the fast express boats depart for the interior.
11 July 2009: Kanowit
Cast off at dawn and proceed up the mighty Rajang. Morning stop to visit rattan workshops. Here the river is still wide and full of shipping. At the river station of Kanowit we visit the Brooke Raj Fort Emma, of wooden construction and amazingly surviving intact after 150 years. Explore deeper inland by long boat up the Kanowit River and voluntary jungle trek back to the Pandaw moored at Kanowit.
12 July 2009: Kapit
The upriver capital has an even more interesting Brooke Raj fort called Fort Sylvia with the adjacent tattoo museum showing traditional Iban designs and techniques. We make further explorations to visit an original Iban longhouse, a rare sight as most have been rebuilt in a modern style
13 July 2009: the Baleh River
Just above Kapit we turn up the main tributary of the Rajang, the Batang Baleh navigable for a Pandaw for another day’s sail. Along the river we see a number of logging camps and fine new long houses. Logging is strictly controlled by the Sarawak government, who have a strict replanting programme. We will visit a logging camp and stop overnight at Nagamujong village with its long house, school, clinic and church. We will also see loading points for coal coming from mines deep in the jungle.
14 July 2009: Pelagus Rapids
Return down the Baleh to rejoin the Rajang and proceed another 40km towards the Pelagus Rapids. This section of the river is incredibly beautiful with thousands of islands, reefs and shoals. Navigation here can be difficult depending on water levels and it may be necessary to transfer to long boats to continue our journey. At Pelagus we make a short trek to the Pelagus Resort Hotel for afternoon tea and stupendous views of the rapids.
15 July 2009: Pelagus and Beyond
Further opportunity to trek in and around the Pelagus Resort in this primary rain forest so rich in fauna and flora. After lunch return downstream past Kapit.
16 July 2009: Song
Song is a small river station between Kanowit and Kapit and we stop here to make a boat trip up the Katibas river to visit long houses and the opportunity to trek part of the way back to Song. Continue downstream through evening.
17 July 2009: Sarikei and Tanjung Manis
We now enter the Rajang delta area with its rich agricultural life. At Sarikei we visit a deer farm and pepper plantations. On the coast Tanjung Manis is the main seaport and gateway to the Rajang. Though a modern city it is not without interest. A short drive away, village workshops specialise in songkat weaving. Return upstream stopping over night at Bintangor.
18 July 2009: Sibu
Dock in Sibu early morning and disembark and transfer to airport for onward flights.
More information like pricing and e-booking at eTravel website. This website is meant for the Australian culture vultures and eco-tourists. Tell your Australian friends! Don't miss the boat.
Updated: Booking info for other countries at Pandaw
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Into the Heart of Borneo