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Indonesia & Borneo – Cultures & Wildlife Photo Tour 2025

US$12,835 person sharing

Spaces Available 

 

Please note that costs & dates for 2025 are subject to change as not all our partner properties and local airlines have released their rates. Should we need to revise costs, we will endeavour to keep fees & dates as close to the original.

11 May 2025  – 24 May 2025

 

The Ubud area, renowned as one of Indonesia’s cultural hotspots, boasts a rich tapestry of temples and scenic rice paddies. Exploring this region offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Balinese culture, highlighted by private Balinese costume dances that add an extra layer of authenticity to the experience.

 

Moving on to the Komodo and associated islands, guests are greeted by the iconic Komodo Dragon in its natural habitat. The adventure continues with snorkeling and sailing around the picturesque islands of the Indonesian Archipelago, all aboard a “traditional” Phinisi boat, providing an enchanting blend of wildlife encounters and breathtaking island landscapes.

 

In the Sepilok area, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary serve as gateways to the fascinating world of Borneo’s unique mammals. These sanctuaries offer a captivating introduction to the island’s biodiversity, allowing guests to witness the charm of sun bears and proboscis monkeys up close.

 

Embarking on a cruise along the Kinabatangan River offers a splendid opportunity to encounter the diverse wildlife of Borneo. With the possibility of spotting Bornean orangutans, Bornean pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, Buffy fish owls, saltwater crocodiles, and red leaf monkeys, the Kinabatangan River becomes a haven for wildlife enthusiasts seeking an immersive experience in the heart of nature.

 

Deep within the Danum Valley lies a stunning lowland rainforest, where an endless variety of macro subjects await discovery. From insects and spiders to snakes and frogs, the biodiversity in this region is unparalleled. The Danum Valley also provides a chance to witness iconic species such as the Bornean orangutan, Great Argus, and engage in night activities with the possibility of spotting elusive creatures like the Leopard Cat, Western Tarsier, and Slow Loris.

Why this Photo Tour is for You

Destination Allure

The Ubud area, renowned as one of Indonesia's cultural hotspots, boasts a rich tapestry of temples and scenic rice paddies. Exploring this region offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Balinese culture, highlighted by private Balinese costume dances that add an extra layer of authenticity to the experience. Moving on to the Komodo and associated islands, guests are greeted by the iconic Komodo Dragon in its natural habitat. The adventure continues with snorkeling and sailing around the picturesque islands of the Indonesian Archipelago, all aboard a ``traditional`` Phinisi boat, providing an enchanting blend of wildlife encounters and breathtaking island landscapes. Visit some of the most famous wildlife sites in Borneo including Sepilok, the Kinabatangan River, Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Danum Valley. These areas are some of the oldest and tallest tropical rainforests in the world!

Month of Travel

Our photo safari takes place in April and May, which is prime time to visit Indonesia, the Sabah in Malaysian Borneo as drier conditions at this time of year are more conductive to wildlife photography and viewing when compared to the wetter months on the island.

Wildlife

Ubud area of Indonesia. A variety of temples and scenic rice paddies around Ubud, which is one of the cultural hotspots of Indonsia. Experience a private Balinese costume dance. Komodo and associated islands. The famous Komodo Dragon, snorkelling and sailing around islands in the Indonesian Archipelago in a “traditional” Phinisi boat; beautiful island scenery of Sepilok area. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary give excellent introduction to some of the island’s special mammals. Borneo is famed for its rainforest wildlife and memorable photographic experiences may include interactions with Bornean Orangutan, Bornean Pygmy Elephant, the long bulbous-nosed Probosics Monkey, Red Leaf Monkey, Bornean Gibbon and possibly even the adorable Western Tarsier, while appealing bird species include colourful kingfishers, broadbills and mighty rainforest hornbills.

Small Group Departures

Travel to this exotic location with like-minded individuals and share your photographic bucket list together.

Guided Experience

Local knowledge of the region and its wildlife is key to crafting the ultimate photography tour experience. Combined with the photographic expertise of your ORYX Photo Tour Leader, and you are in for an adventure that will further fuel your excitement for photography and the destination.

Dale Morris - ORYX Photo Tours

ORYX LEADER
Dale Morris

14 Days
6 Guests + 1 ORYX Leader
Classic
Wildlife
  • Destination
  • Departure
    Ngurah Rai International Airport
  • person sharing
    US$12,835
  • Single Supplement
    US$1,200
  • Photographic Highlights
    Culture, Scenic Landscapes, Komodo Dragon,Bornean Orangutan, Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Proboscis Monkey, Red Leaf Monkey, Bornean Gibbon, Danum Valley rainforest at dawn, large and colourful kingfishers, broadbills and rainforest hornbills
  • Guide
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Day 1: Arrival Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), Bali, Indonesia and transfer to Ubud

After arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport, you will be transferred to your lovely hotel in Ubud that will act as your lovely base for the next three nights.
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Day 2: Ubud: Jatiluwih Rice Terrace, Ulun Danu and Taman Ayun

You have an early start this morning (breakfast boxes suggested) in order to get to Jatiluwih Rice Terrace early (travel time about 90 minutes). Jatiluwih is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the name translating to “supreme beauty of nature”, and with terraced rice fields flanked by waving palms stretching out into the distance where volcanoes stand tall. Afterward, you will continue to Bedugul to see the recreation Center of Beratan Lake and Candi Dewi Temple - The Goddess of the water temple, before heading for Ulun Danu. Ulun Danu Temple is a famous Hindu temple located on the lakeside of Beratan and owns a beautiful panorama with Beratan Lake and mountain as a backdrop view. Early lunch will be served at local restaurant near the lake. After lunch you continue drive back down to the holy monkey forest at Kedaton - noted for its temples inhabited by colonies of friendly monkeys. You may also pay a visit to Pura Taman Ayun (“Garden Temple in the Water), an impressive temple of the Mengwi Empire and one of six royal temples in Bali. It was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2012. Completed in 1634, it is thought to have Chinese architechutal inspirations and is considered one of the most beautiful temples in Bali. With expansive gardens and fish ponds, it is an impressive site indeed. Thereafter, you last site of the day is the Tanah Lot Temple. Tanah Lot is attributed to the architectural ingenuity of the 16th-century Hindu sage, Dang Hyang Nirartha. Revered for centuries in Balinese mythology, the Tanah Lot temple holds a prominent place in the cultural tapestry of Bali. This temple stands as one of seven distinct sea temples, strategically positioned along the Balinese coastline to create a symbolic chain along the southwest shore. This interconnected network of temples, in addition to its significance in Balinese lore, embodies profound Hindu influences. At the foundation of the craggy island upon which it perches, folklore tells of venomous sea snakes serving as guardians, entrusted with the solemn duty of protecting the temple from malevolent spirits and any would-be intruders.
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Day 3: Ubud - Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud Monkey Forest and organized Costume Dance

An early departure will have you in the Tegalalang area, where you can see the beautiful rice fields characterized by their terracing (known locally as "terasering"). These rice fields are one of Ubud’s iconic sites and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your journey continues as you drive to Tampak Siring to see the holy spring water temple Tirta Empul. Spring water of Tirta Empul is believed by the Balinese to have magical powers to purify people of their sins, give youth, and to heal diseases. You will then continue to Wenara Wana, which is also called Ubud Monkey Forest. This is a nature reserve and a temple complex located in Ubud that provides a home to approximately 1,260 Balinese Long-tailed Macaques. There are 10 groups of monkeys that occupy different areas in this park. It has grown in popularity since Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of England visited the village in 1974, and is now one of the more visited sites in Bali. Lunch will be served at Café Lotus Ubud. After lunch you will visit: Ubud Palace (Puri Saren Agung), which is royal palace with beautiful Balinese traditional houses and was a residence of the Ubud King. Ubud Art Market places selling souvenirs Bali. This is a popular site that sells a lot of fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, poultry and local snacks can be purchased from the wet market. Then in the afternoon, a private dancing session for cultural photography has been arranged. You will be able to photograph the adult Balinese dancers in traditional Balinese costume and makeup as they perform dance routines.
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Day 4: Depart Bali, flight DPS - Labuan Bajo, sail to Rinca Island then Kalong Island

After breakfast at your hotel, you will meet your guide and then drive to the airport for your flight to Labuan Bajo. From the airport, you will head for Labuan Bajo harbour where you will board your phinisi boat (this is an Indonesian sailing boat, with the name “phinisi” specifically referring to the rigging that is done in a special way in the area, although now phinisi essentially refers broadly to wooden Indonesian sailing boats) that will be home for the next three nights. You then cruise south west to Rinca Island, passing several small islands en route. Upon arrival in Rinca Island you will then get an opportunity to observe your first Komodo Dragons. Rinca Island is one the of the three major islands included in Komodo National Park, and other animals on the island includes deer, horses and wild water buffaloes. Lunch on board the boat. Later you will cruise to cruise to Kalong Island, which is mostly covered in mangrove forest and is home to large numbers of Large Flying Fox (the name Kalong means “bat”). Upon arrival at Kalong Island, you will have time to see the beautiful panorama as thousands of bats fly out from their roosts at dusk to locate fruit on the surrounding islands.
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Day 5: Kalong Island - Padar - New Long Pink Beach - Komodo Island - Taka Makassar

You will cruise early this morning towards Padar Island, where you will be able to walk to a viewpoint in order to enjoy the beautiful panorama of water and mountain. Your day continues as you cruise to Long Pink Beach (still on Padar Island) for swimming and / or snorkelling, whereafter you cruise to Komodo Island. Lunch will be served on board. You will then head to Komodo Island for a walk of 1,5 miles to Banugulung, photographing the giant monitor lizard known as the Komodo Dragon as you go (this will be your second opportunity to view them, after your initial visit to Rinca). They were scientifically described in 1912 and may reach 3m long and maximum weight of 80 kg / 176lbs in the wild (captive ones have been known to weight almost double that). The total number of these lizards is estimated at around 3,000 individuals, scattered on Komodo, Rinca, Gili Montang, Gili Dasami and small parts of Flores. The last specimens on Padar Island were seen in 1975. You may also see other wildlife while on Komodo, including Timor Deer, Crab-eating Macaque, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Great-billed Parrot, Helmeted Friarbird, Green Imperial Pigeon and possibly even the Critically Endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo. Cruise to Taka Makassar for anchor. Meals and overnight on board.
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Day 6: Taka Makasar - Manta Point - Gili Lawa - Kanawa Island - Bidadari Island

Breakfast on board. At Taka Makassar you can enjoy swimming and snorkelling at the beautiful beach, whereafter you cruise to Manta Point to observe the rich marine life such as turtles, huge clams, various kinds of sponges, and cuttlefish, along with healthy reefs and corals. If you are lucky, you will get to swim with manta rays! From Manta Point, you continue to Gili Lawa Laut, which is one of the most beautiful sites of the park; white sandy beach and crystal clear water for snorkelling only. A freshly cooked lunch is served onboard as the boat sails to Kanawa Island. Kanawa Island has two bulging hills with fantastic panoramas from its hilltop from Kanawa Island. Afterward continue your cruise to Bidadari Island. Meals and overnight on board.
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Day 7: Bidadari Island - Labuan Bajo, flight to DPS, flight to Kuala Lumpur and overnight

Leaving Bidadari Island you head to Labuan Bajo, where after an amazing exploration of the islands around Komodo, you depart Indonesia and begin your journey to Malaysia. **Flight Labuan Bajo to DPS, flight to Kuala Lumpur; please note this is based on current timings and may change once the 2025 flight schedule has been announced** Flying into Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), you will head to a nearby airport hotel prior to your flight to Sabah State in Malaysian Borneo tomorrow.
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Day 8: Flight KUL to Sandakan, visit Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, proceed to Sandakan Jetty, boat ride (2,5 hours) to Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Today you have an early morning start as you fly out of Kuala Lumpur bound for Sandakan, which is a coastal city in Sabah State of Malaysian Borneo. After arrival, you will pay a visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. There are currently 44 rescued ex-captive sun bears residing at the BSBCC. The facility includes large forest enclosures that provide a natural environment suited to the needs and welfare of the sun bears and facilitate their rehabilitation back into the wild. Next you will visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary which should allow you excellent photographic opportunities of these fascinating, droopy-nosed primates! Your mode of transport changes after breakfast and drive to the Sandakan Jetty, as you hop onto a boat and head for Sukau and your wonderful lodge. **Please note that the speedboat journey initially covers part of the Sandakan Bay and open sea before navigating into the Kinabatangan River and heading upstream to the lodge. Wildlife can be encountered en route to the lodge including Saltwater Crocodile, Proboscis Monkey a number of flyover hornbills and possibly even Bornean Orangutan. Note that as they journey is fairly long, the captain will only stop the boat on special occasions and for a short period of time** Sukau Rainforest Lodge is perched on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, and is well situated to give you the best opportunities to photograph the remarkable wildlife of Borneo. During your time here, you will have the opportunity to embark on walks and boat cruises (both during the day and at night) to photograph Borneo’s wildlife. A night cruise gives you additional chances of finding Bearded Pig, Malay and Common Palm Civet and, if you are very lucky, the strange Binturong (Bearcat), and if you were extremely fortunate, even the very rare Fishing Cat could be sighted! Bird highlights could well include the impressive Buffy Fish Owl, roosting Stork-billed and Blue-eared Kingfisher, White-crowned Shama and Malaysian Blue Flycatcher. The lodge has a short boardwalk system that runs into the forest behind the lodge, and you will also be able to take short walks to look for wildlife. Although not always productive, there can be some wonderful wildlife seen from time to time, and if a fig is fruiting, may include Orangutan by day and Asian Palm Civet by night, and with luck and careful scanning, even a Western Tarsier!
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Days 9 and 10: Kinabatangan River

Superb rainforest wildlife is to be seen along the extensive riparian forests on the Kinabatangan River at Sukau. The surrounding area has unfortunately been reduced to endless tracts of commercial palm oil plantations, and as a result, nearly all the local wildlife has been forced into a narrow strip of forest along the river. This concentration of wildlife is phenomenal, and you will spend your time on the Kinabatangan River and its black-water tributaries in small-motorized boats. These boat trips are simply amazing as one is able to creep up quietly and get close to both mammals and birds. The highly endangered Bornean Orangutan is one of your main targets for the trip and Sukau offers you your first real chances for this lowland species in the wild. The word orangutan means “man of the forest” in the Malay language, and you will be very fortunate to witness this creature in its natural habitat and at close range. Some of the other wildlife you may encounter while meandering through the quiet channels include both Red and Silvered Leaf monkeys, Long-tailed and Pig-tailed macaques, the amazing Proboscis Monkey (named for its exceptionally large fleshy nose), Bornean Gibbon, Oriental Small-clawed Otter, Bearded Pig and Colugo (Malayan Flying Lemur). Reptilian possibilities include the striking black and yellow Mangrove Cat-eyed Snake, Reticulated Python (the longest snake in the world) and even the formidable Saltwater Crocodile. The Kinabatangan River also offers a chance to find an incredible array of birds and highlights could well include the rare and highly endangered Storm’s Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Grey-headed Fish Eagle. A special effort will be made to find and photograph the Bornean Pygmy Elephants that are often found in the area. This is not as yet an official subspecies of the Asian Elephant but new genetic data provides compelling evidence that these elephants may be a distinct population. The broad Kinabatangan River often has huge banks of cloud floating over the horizon, giving it a distantly tropical feel!
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Day 11: Depart Sukau, drive via Lahad Datu to Danum Valley

Today you cross the Kinabatangan River and climb aboard your awaiting vehicle on the opposite bank, which will transport you south on a tar road through to Lahad Datu town, whereafter you enter a dirt track (sometimes bumpy) and navigate river crossings to access the vast primary forest of the Danum Valley Conservation Area before arriving at the world-famous Borneo Rainforest Lodge. The Danum Valley conservation area protects some of the last remaining pristine lowland Dipterocarp forest on the island. You will spend the next few days of your adventure along the road and network of excellent trails where you have a good chance of seeing some of the fantastic mammals and birds of the area. Your accommodations for the next three nights are superb – an unexpected luxury in this remote rainforest location!
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Days 12 and 13: Danum Valley

Your rainforest lodge, situated along the banks of the Danum River, allows you access to work your way through the diverse and often muddy trails to search for mammals such as Sambar Deer, Greater Mouse-Deer, Bearded Pig, Common Tree Shrew, Prevost’s Squirrel and the diminutive Plain Pygmy Squirrel. A major attraction of this reserve is the fantastic canopy walkway that allows unique access to the little-known canopy world of Borneo’s rainforest lowlands, and here you have excellent chances of photographing the Bornean Orangutan. The Danum Valley is a hotspot for primates. Highlights could include the scarce Slow Loris, Western Tarsier, Bornean Gibbon, impressive troops of Red Leaf-Monkey and Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques. Night drives and walks in the Danum Valley can be very productive at times and provide a superb opportunity for seeing a range of secretive rainforest mammals. Species that are regularly seen include Sambar and Red Barking Deer (Muntjak), Greater and Lesser Mouse-Deer, Red and Thomas’s Giant Flying-Squirrels, Colugo (Malayan Flying Lemur), Thick-spined Porcupine, Banded Palm, Common Palm and Malay Civet, and Leopard Cat. Rarer species that occur include the spectacular Sunda Clouded Leopard, Flat-headed Cat, Malayan Sun Bear, Malay Badger and Western Tarsier. Danum Valley is also very rich in birdlife, and is one of the best areas in the world for the colourful pittas. One of your tour highlights could include a sighting of the Great Argus, a type of pheasant which is famous for having the longest feather of any of the world’s bird species! Photographic opportunities abound – whether it is a bright green, slender Vine Snake or a rainforest frog, there will plenty to keep you busy in Danum!
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Day 14: Depart Danum Valley to Lahad Datu, flight to Kota Kinabalu, flight to Kuala Lumpur and depart

After a final morning in the Danum Valley, you will be driven to Lahad Datu as you depart via flight to Kota Kinabalu and then onward to Kuala Lumpur.

Location

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