HOW TO SEE SARAWAK’S WILD ORANGUTANS
Most wildlife tour operators visit Sabah, the northern part of Malaysian Borneo, to see orangutans at locations such as Danum Valley and the Sepilok rehabilitation centre. Yet Sarawak, the westernmost region, has much to recommend it: huge forests, fewer visitors, spectacular wildlife and fascinating culture.
Batang Ai is the best place to watch wild orangutans in Sarawak. It’s not necessary to make a long trek into the park – many visitors get lucky even within a short walk of the accommodation at Nanga Sumpa Lodge (just across the stream from the longhouse). You can book a three-day tour from the capital Kuching with Borneo Adventure (www.borneoadventure.com).
Borneo Adventure also offers a five-day ‘Red Ape Trail’ featuring a more intrepid expedition to Mawang River jungle camp, which includes transfers from Kuching, boat travel upriver, guides and porters. Rickshaw Travel (www.rickshawtravel.co.uk) offers an eight-day ‘Wild Heart of Borneo’ tour that takes in Batang Ai, as well as Semenggoh Orangutan Centre, Bako National Park and Kuching.