RAG Borneo Expedition
What is a RAG Borneo Expedition?
The RAG Borneo Expedition is a trip run for university volunteer groups in collaboration with our sister charity, the Moving Mountains Trust. In this trip, we fly, trek, sail and drive off-road deep into Borneo’s primary rainforest to work with and learn from the indigenous Penan Tribe. The expedition is run and managed through Adventure Alternative but the project aspect of the trip is determined by the charity, Moving Mountains.
The RAG Borneo Expedition is designed to challenge students; you will trek for several days in primary Borneo rainforest with local guides, learning about the jungle, culture and environmental aspects of the Penan Tribe in Sarawak. There will be a jungle survival course and a multi day trek to hidden waterfalls, involving two nights sleeping outdoors in expedition hammocks.
Students on the RAG Borneo Expedition will also contribute to Adventure Alternative's long-term development aims in the Penan Communities. As part of a sustainable tourism initiative, the Penan tribe have established a series of homestays in their villages where volunteers, students and tourists can experience a unique way of life while supporting alternative income sources through paying for accommodation and meals in family homes.
Is the RAG Borneo Expedition for Charity?
The RAG Borneo Expedition is also a volunteering expedition. The Penan tribe of Borneo face a continued struggle against deforestation through illegal logging and palm oil plantations, which is increasingly endangering the tribe's forest, land and way of life. In a partnership designed to support their communities through sustainable tourism, Moving Mountains work addresses both the short and long-term environmental and community development aims.
In the Rag Borneo Expedition, students will spend several days volunteering on the reforestation project in the villages. Jobs will include collecting seeds, planting the seedlings, replanting the saplings in the wider forests and collecting data. However, these jobs are seasonal and depend on the stage of planting at the time of visiting.
Moving Mountains currently helps the Penan communities to plant ten to fifteen thousand seeds a year in areas most affected by logging and deforestation but the work is an ongoing necessity for the forest and the Penan people.
Who benefits from the RAG Borneo Expedition?
The RAG Borneo Expedition is designed to benefit both the Penan communities we work with, and the students who join the trip. Through a series of training sessions, Moving Mountains staff will meet with the students to discuss cultural awareness, trip preparation as well as the wider issues of conservation and international development that will broaden students' understanding of the project.
As well as the reforestation project, the Rag Borneo Expedition aims to provide a research and learning exchange between the students and Penan tribe. Through several cultural activities lead by the villages, students will learn about a unique way of life; their language, history, stories and beliefs. This will be collated as part of an ongoing effort to record the Penan culture.
Find out more about the Penan tribe here.
RAG Borneo Expedition
Arrive Miri, Sarawak for preparation and briefing
Acclimatisation visit to Lambir Hills National Park & Conservation lecture & discussion.
Fly into jungle airstrip and overnight jungle & hammock trek.
Trek to first Penan village for introductions to homestays and project.
Volunteer work on the reforestation project.
Two-night jungle survival expedition to hidden waterfall with local Penan guides.
Volunteer work on the reforestation project.
Travel by long boat & 4x4 out of the rainforest back to Miri and onward flight to Kuching.
Free morning in Kuching. Afternoon trip Borneo wildlife safari.
Visit Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre.
RAG Borneo Expedition Cost: £1,095
- Expedition guide, local Penan guidesand porters
- All food and meals during the trip, which includes any food eaten in homes in the village, and any time spent collecting food on our behalf, and collective parties.
- All accommodation throughout
- 4x4 and river transport in the Penan area and all other road transport
- Entry to Lambir Hills National Park
- Kuching Wetlands National Park river safari
- Entry to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
- Satellite phone communication support
- UK and Borneo office backup, organisation and support
- £600 fundraising amount which is paid directly to our charity, Moving Mountains Trust
- Internal flights from Miri to the jungle airstrip & return flight from jungle to Miri, and from Miri to Kuching
- International airfare to Borneo, via Kuala Lumpur (Miri arrival and Kuching departure)
- Personal travel insurance
- Vaccinations and medication required
- Personal expenses for soft/hard drinks, souvenirs, phone calls, laundry, tips, etc
A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. We make payments as flexible as possible and you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.
This trip works directly with the Penan people in Sarawak. We are also working with the Penan people through Moving Mountains Trust to protect and enrich their rainforest. This work is to assist the Penan communities in a process of long-term sustainable community development. All of our International Development Projects have been identified, researched, assessed, priced and approved by our charity Moving Mountains. All people going on this trip receive a clear breakdown of the projected outcomes and expenditure of the money which has been raised.
Fundraising for charity allows you to use sites like MyDonate and Justgiving where you can set up a personal fundraising page to take advantage of the Gift Aid scheme. Gift Aid adds 25p to every £1 donation from a UK tax payer.
RAG Borneo Expedition Kit List
Borneo Trekking Kit
Rucksack with waterproof bags inside for individual items
Sleeping bag and/or sleeping sheet (a cotton sheet to cover yourself on a warm night, it can be made in the shape of a sleeping bag out of an old bed sheet at home)
- Trekking clothes- either T-shirt / shorts or lightweight long pants and shirt (synthetic is better than cotton)
- Expedition hammock
- Variety of cool clothing for travel, city restaurants, leisure time
- Swimming costume & small towel
- Lightweight trekking boots with good ankle support and rugged sole
- 3 pairs of socks
- Sarongs (easily bought in Borneo on arrival)
- Rubber flip flops or local rubber hiking shoes for leisure times and around the villages.
- Head torch with batteries
- Toiletries & wet wipes
- Personal medication and small first aid kit with plasters, ibuprofen etc
- Water purification tablets, iodine or other water purification system
- Camping bowl, mug, spoon
- Sun hat or baseball hat
- Camera with batteries
- Waterproof dry bag, plastic bags or zip lock bags for keeping belongings dry during trekking
- Sun cream and insect repellent
- Reusable water bottle
RAG Borneo Expedition additional Kit Information
On this trip there is a strict baggage allowance of 10kg on the flight to the jungle airstrip. You can carry and wear as much of your heavy gear, but don't forget you will also be carrying your bag on the trek so you will want it to be as light as possible. Pack light for the jungle!
It is possible to leave some items in Miri on Day 3 for collection upon our return on day 17.
Anything delicate, absorbent or electronic is likely to suffer from the damp atmosphere, so all such items should be housed in a good quality waterproof bag or pouch.
There are many brands/types of water purification bottles and you can get them in good outdoor/travel shops and online shops. The Aquapure Traveller Bottle or something similar will work well in Borneo.
The two main brand names for suitable hammocks are 'Hennessy Hammocks' and 'Nomad Travel' though if you end up getting the a Nomad hammock then remember that you will also need to get a mosquito net too, all suitable Hennessy hammocks have a mosquito net built in. A Nomad hammock and mosquito net should work out much cheaper than a Hennessy hammock.
RAG Borneo Expedition Clothing Advice
Clothing for a Borneo Expedition should be lightweight cotton or synthetic (bear in mind that cotton is slow drying, a synthetic fabric like polyester or nylon will be much quicker drying). No matter how quick drying your clothes are you should expect them to be damp at best throughout your time in the jungle trek!
RAG Borneo Expedition Personal First Aid/Medical Kit
Adhesive Plasters &Blister Plasters
Water Purification Tablets
Personal Medication as required:
eg. Anti-Malarials, Asthma Inhalers, Insulin, Epi-Pen etc
Prochlorperazine tablets (for sickness/nausea)
Ciprofloxacin tablets (general antibiotic; prescription required)
Note: you must check with your GP for your personal suitability to all medicines and their possible side effects and interactions. Please inform us of the details of all regular medication that you intend to use though the course of your trip and any relevant allergies and medical history related to them. You also need to check the requirements and regulations of the airline and all countries visited in relation to medications.
RAG Borneo Expedition Fitness
How fit do I need to be for RAG Borneo Expedition?
You do not need to be super-fit for the RAG Borneo Challenge, although a reasonable level of fitness and physical health is required. While not climbing a mountain, trekking in primary rainforest can be extremely challenging and some training if advised for the trip. Due to the heat and humidity, doing any kind of physical activity can be exhausting and it is easy to become dehydrated quickly. It is very important to drink plenty.
Terrain will be muddy and uneven, and often up and down hills. While jungle trekking, we will be moving slowing at around 10k per day.
Do I need any trekking experience for the RAG Borneo Expedition?
For the RAG Borneo Expedition, you do not need any trekking experience. Our Penan guides and your expedition leader will assist on all trekking days with what to expect, distances and in explaining the many fascinating secrets of the rainforest.
It is most important to have an open mind and a positive attitude. Jungle trekking can be wet, muddy, uphill and challenging, but it is mental preparation that is most important!
You do need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.
Why choose us for your RAG Borneo Expedition?
For the RAG Borneo Expedition, Adventure Alternative works with the Penan communities, Moving Mountains Trust and the students to ensure this trip benefits all involved.
- We adhere to Fair Trade Volunteering trademark, even if you are not actually volunteering to do some work in the jungle; the visit is still about making a positive impact on the people who live there.
- Our personal development course ensures students are fully prepared for the cultural expectations in a new environment as well give a broader understanding of the international development and environmental aims of the project.
- We never out source to other travel providers. Our local staff in the Adventure Alternative Borneo office manage all travel logistics ensuring our trips adhere to the British Standards 8848 specification for expeditions and adventure activities outside of the UK.
- We have separate and transparent fundraising costs that are entirely handled by the Moving Mountains Trust.
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