Published on November 29, 2017
Tourist overlooking Taal Volcano crater lake. Image courtesy of Mike Aquino.
What You’ll Get
A 9-day/8-night cross-border jaunt that reaches into the hearts of three countries: Brunei, Malaysia (via the state of Sabah) and the Philippines.
From Brunei’s mangrove forests to Sabah, Malaysia’s scenic coasts to the Philippines’ colonial buildings, you’ll find multiple worlds of wonder in this single trip connecting three great Southeast Asia destinations.
In Brunei, you’ll discover an Islamic Kingdom thriving on the banks of a mangrove-lined river. From the capital Bandar Seri Begawan, you’ll explore old and new water villages that give way to mangrove channels that harbor a wealth of natural life – among them the elusive proboscis monkey. Further afield, you’ll go deep into the rainforest at Ulu Temburong National Park, accessible only by longboat.
In Sabah, eastern Malaysia, the culture of the local peoples will be opened to you, via a visit to the Mari-Mari Cultural Village, where five different ethnic tribes – the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun – display their cultural traditions for visitors.
You’ll also embark on a river cruise deep into the Sabah jungle, in search of wildlife such as the proboscis monkey and an endless assortment of birds, monitor lizards, and crocodiles, only ending your day when you see flickering fireflies lighting up the river banks at dusk. The Moyog River that courses through Tagal Tinopikon Park will be your last stop in the island of Borneo before proceeding to the last leg of your trip.
In Manila, capital of the Philippines, you’ll visit the walled enclave known as Intramuros and its historic structures: San Agustin Church; Casa Manila; Manila Cathedral; and Fort Santiago. On the flipside, the Makati financial district boasts of millionaires’ mansions, towering high-rises, and a surprisingly calm gravesite for World War II soldiers in the American War Memorial.
Winding up in Tagaytay City, located some 630m above sea level, you can have a laid-back meal while glancing over the calm blue waters of Taal Lake and its dormant volcano in the middle. An optional Taal Trekking Tour can be undertaken for USD 50/pax (inclusive of boat ride and horse ride).
Water taxis coursing through Kampong Ayer, Brunei. Image courtesy of Tourism Brunei.
Hunting at Mari-Mari Cultural Village, Sabah, Malaysia. Image courtesy of Malaysia Tourism.