Arrive in Singapore and explore its diverse neighborhoods before you board the National Geographic Orion. Set sail on the South China Sea and get acquainted with the ship, its staff, and its amenities.
Stop along the remote Anambas Archipelago and snorkel in the unspoiled reefs which surround Pulau Bawah and Pulau Lintang. End the day with a beachside barbecue.
Scattered in the South China Sea between Borneo and the Malaysian peninsula, the 272 islands of the Natuna Archipelago are graced with white-sand beaches and volcanic peaks, and fringed with coral reefs. Depending on the weather, the ship is likely to stop to snorkel at either Pulau Senua or Pulau Tiga, both pristine and uninhabited, and later enjoy a festive welcome ceremony in one of the fishing villages that dot the islands.
In Bako National Park, thick rain forests give way to secluded beaches, and the coast is carved with sea arches and colorful sea stacks. The park harbors seven distinct ecosystems and most of the plant species found in Borneo. Enjoy a full day to explore on a variety of walks and hikes, go birding, and track rare primates like the proboscis monkey.
Continue to Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Center and discuss the ongoing research on orangutan behavior. Join a specialist and learn about a highly successful program which has reintroduced more than a thousand endangered animals into the wild. During free time this afternoon, discover the cultural treasures of Kuching. Spend two days relaxing at sea, tracing the western coast of Kalimantan, or Indonesian Borneo.
Set on a peninsula jutting out from the southern edge of Kalimantan, Tanjung Puting National Park is a trove of rare species and diverse habitats. While the park is home to some 220 bird species and numerous monkey species, its most famous residents are the endangered orangutans. Board local boats for a full-day excursion into the forest, gliding on narrow channels on the lookout for hornbills, crocodiles, and perhaps the unusual proboscis monkey.
Your destination is Camp Leakey, a research station established in 1971 by primatologist Dr. Biruté Galdikas, a protégé of legendary paleontologist Louis Leakey and the founder of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI). A many-time National Geographic grantee, Dr. Galdikas discusses her efforts to save the orangutan from extinction through rehabilitation and habitat preservation. Later, your boats bring you to feeding stations throughout the forest, where you can observe these gentle creatures at close range.
The following day, visit the OFI’s wildlife rehabilitation center to learn how captive and orphaned orangutans are rescued and rehabilitated.
Spend a day crossing the Java Sea to Bali. Overnight at sea before arriving in Denpasar.
Disembark and transfer to the airport for your connecting flights.