Sarawak Regatta 2018

Sarawak Regatta at Kuching Waterfront.

The 30th edition of the annual Sarawak Regatta is set to take place from November 2 to 4, showcasing the exciting boat races with participation from various government agencies, private sectors and neighbouring countries of Indonesia and Brunei. Teams from villages around Sarawak make it a grand affair and also a great occasion for families from outside Kuching to visit the city. The blue-ribbon event is the coveted ‘Raja Sungai’ (king of the river) title in the ‘bidar’ category.  Each longboat carries thirty paddlers and this category is always a closely fought affair.

The significance of regattas in Sarawak dates back to 1872 during the James Brooke era. It started with the intention to stop racial wars among local tribes where headhunting was largely practiced. James Brooke then instructed all tribes to instead challenge each other by having boat races to prove their power and strength. The call to challenge each other through the boat race rather than headhunting was successful in bringing peace to the area.

James Brooke called all tribes to challenge each other not in violence, but instead in sportsmanship, by having boat races to prove their power, strength and speed; a call that has since continued to bring peaceful competitiveness between the tribes along the Rajang.

The villages throughout Sarawak will be sending their representatives to compete in the regatta for the coveted ‘Raja Sungai’ title, making a grand occasion of comradery, teamwork and healthy rivalry.

Each longboat carries thirty paddlers and this category is always a closely fought affair and a major crowd puller, while the programme also includes the “Brooke Swim”, Raft Tug-of-war, and duck catching as well as various exhibitions and markets along the waterfront selling cultural crafts, wares and food.

The Sarawak Regatta takes place along the Sarawak River.  The 1.3 km Kuching Waterfront provides ample vantage points to watch the action on the water.

Jarak A ke Penamat : 1500 meter
 B ke Penamat : 1000 meter


Your choice for an authentic way of discovering Sarawak at fair price!


The Sarawak Regatta is an annual event held at Kuching’s Waterfront. For 3 days boat races of different categories will take place along the Sarawak River. Be it engine-powered or non-motorised, traditional longboats, dragon boats or modern water vehicles – every participating team is competing for the title of “Raja Sungai” (king of the river).

The origin of this great spectacle dates back to the era of the White Rajah James Brooke, an English adventurer who was ennobled as Rajah (king) of Sarawak by the Sultan of Brunei for his efforts to restore order in times of revolt.

As part of his quest to stop piracy and headhunting in order to bring peace to Sarawak, James Brooke initiated a regatta. He called upon the natives to challenge each other through boat races rather than showing strength and power through headhunting. The first boat race was held on the Sarawak River in front of the Astana in 1872.

The Sarawak Regatta has been an important social event and a reminder of peace, harmony and unity regardless of race and religion ever since. This year it will be held from 02 to 04 November 2018 and promises to be an outstanding spectacle once again!

Photo source: Fotolibra



November 02nd, 2018 – Arrival in Kuching

Meet & greet upon arrival at Kuching International Airport. Transfer to your choice of accommodation in Kuching city centre.

The rest of the day is free at your leisure.

As today is the start of the Sarawak Regatta you may want to stroll along the Waterfront and enjoy watching some of the races!

November 03rd, 2018 – Kuching city tour on foot

The best way to explore the city centre of Kuching – with its historical buildings, traditional temples and small hidden alleys – is on foot and accompanied by a guide. Walk along the bustling Main Bazaar, Chinatown with its red lanterns, the colourful India Street, as well as the aromatic spice market.

Old Courthouse

A ride on a ‘sampan’, a traditional river taxi, will bring you across the river to stroll through a Malay village with traditional houses on stilts. You will get to see mosques, churches and temples. It is thanks to your guide’s explanations, that you will slowly realise how multifaceted Sarawak is, with all its various races, cultures and religions living together peacefully.

Kuching’s Waterfront, an esplanade with little patches of gardens and cafes along the Sarawak river, boasts perfect motifs for photographers. And so do the stunning historical buildings from bygone eras, like the Fort Margherita, the old Court House, the Post Office or the famous Sarawak Museum. Listen to your guide relating the unique history of Sarawak, which sounds like right out of a fairy tale book with stories of rich sultanates and oppressive rulers, headhunters and pirates, European adventurers and the “White Rajahs”.

Your guide will also bring you to visit the ‘Urang Sarawak’ Gallery, located in the Sarawak Museum’s complex, which showcases the culture, traditions and spiritual beliefs of Sarawak’s diverse ethnic groups and gives an insight into the historic developments of Sarawak.

After this half-day tour, the rest of the day will be free at leisure. Check out the program of the Sarawak Regatta!

Note: Depending on the programme of the Sarawak Regatta we will schedule this tour either for the morning or the afternoon.


November 04th, 2018 – Semenggoh Nature Reserve & Kayaking Adventure

Depart Kuching early morning to the orang utan center of Semenggoh Nature Reserve.

Borneo is one out of two places in the world where orang utans exist in the wild. At Semenggoh Nature Reserve you get the rare chance to see some semi-wild orang utans that had been rescued as orphans or confiscated from illegal pet trade and underwent rehabilitation training in order to have a chance at life in the jungle again. Observe the impressive big apes at feeding time as they come, swinging high up in the trees, towards the feeding platform to grab a meal of fruits. However, please note that the animals roam free in the nature reserve and are not in cages and therefore sightings cannot be guaranteed.

After this fascinating experience, you will hit the road again and continue to Kampong Bengoh, the starting point for your kayaking adventure.

Pay attention to the safety briefing, before you start paddling leisurely along the Sarawak Kiri river. Enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings of the limestone formations and the towering trees along the riverbank.

About half-way through the journey you will stop at a Kampong Danu, a village inhabited by native Bidayuh people. A lunch will be served, after which, you may take a stroll around the village to see herb and vegetable gardens as well as tropical fruit trees.

Then get back onto your kayak and continue your journey, accompanied by the sights and sounds of the rain forest. On a hot day you may take another break at a sandy riverbank, where you can plunge into the river to cool off from the midday heat.

The ending point of your kayaking activity is at the village of Semadang, where your transport will be waiting for you to take you back to town in the afternoon (expected arrival around 04:00 pm).

After having done some paddling for yourself today, you will enjoy watching the boat races of the Sarawak Regatta even more.


November 05th, 2018 – Bako National Park & Malay cooking

You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and transferred to the jetty at Bako village for your boat ride to Bako National Park.

Located on a peninsula stretching out into the South China Sea and with no road access, Bako National Park is the oldest national park in Sarawak, boasting a real treasure trove of flora and fauna. It is a famous place to observe the odd-nosed proboscis monkey, which can only be found in certain areas of the island of Borneo. Other wildlife frequently spotted here includes macaque monkeys, langurs, bearded pigs, flying lemurs, snakes and a myriad of birds, frogs and lizards.

Although the national park only covers an area of 27 square kilometres, it comprises several different types of forest with various types of vegetation.

From majestic rain forest trees with extensive canopies, to tough mangrove plants, to orchids and carnivorous plants, here you can find it all within a relatively small area.

Several different trails with various levels of difficulty are available. Your guide will choose the trails best suited to your level of fitness and your interest.

A lunch will be provided by the park’s canteen.

In the afternoon return to Bako village to visit a Malay family home. Being a guest of a local family will give you insight into the culture, customs and traditions, as well as the daily life of the people of Borneo. Feel free to ask questions about your host and be ready to answer questions yourself as well. Amongst the first questions that locals would ask during small talk are: «Are you married?», «Do you have children?» or «How many children do you have?». You may bring along some photos of your family or your home, as the locals are usually also interested to learn what life in other places of the world is like. Enjoy the intimate intercultural exchange!

While chatting away, your host will show you how to prepare some typical local afternoon snacks, which you will then savour together over a cup of coffee.

Then it’s time to say good-bye to your newly found friends and return to your hotel (expected arrival around 06:00 pm).


November 06th, 2018 – Departure from Kuching

Transfer to Kuching International Airport for the flight to your next destination or back to your home country.



Note: For the adventurous travellers we have many more attractive tours to offer as an extension to this programme! How about a homestay in a mountain village of the Bidayuh tribe or a stay in an authentic Iban longhouse for example? Or may be a trek to a breath-taking waterfall, a caving tour or an exciting night walk in the rain forest? Just let us know and we will be happy to tailor an individual extension programme for you!




SARAWAK REGATTA – Special Package
Package price on Seat-in-coach basis (SIC)  with a minimum of 2 person 02nd – 06th November 2018
Tour package only excluding accommodation in Kuching MYR 559 per person
Standard package including accommodation at

Telang Usan Hotel (Deluxe room) with daily breakfast

based on twin/double room occupancy MYR 854 per person
based on single room occupancy MYR 1,075 per person
Superior package including accommodation at

The LimeTree Hotel (Deluxe room) with daily breakfast

based on twin/double room occupancy MYR 938 per person
based on single room occupancy MYR 1,275 per person
Deluxe package including accommodation at

Batik Boutique Hotel (Run of House) with daily breakfast

based on twin/double room occupancy MYR 1,117 per person
based on single room occupancy MYR 1,633 per person


















Note: Our rates are in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR or RM) and per person.


Rate includes:

  • Tours & activities on joint tour basis with English speaking guide
  • All transportations as per itinerary (land & water) in shared vehicles – Meals as mentioned in the programme (B: breakfast / L: lunch / D: dinner) – Accommodation (except for the category ‘tour package only’):
    • Standard package: 4 nights accommodation incl. breakfast at Telang Usan Hotel in Kuching (Deluxe Room)
    • Superior package: 4 nights accommodation incl. breakfast at LimeTree Hotel in Kuching (Deluxe Room)
    • Deluxe package: 4 nights accommodation incl. breakfast at Batik Boutique Hotel in Kuching (ROH) – All entrance fees related to described tours


Rate excludes:

  • International and/or domestic flights
  • Meals or activities other than mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with meals
  • Accommodation for the category ‘tour package only’
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips & personal expenditure
  • Paypal or other payment processing fees
  • Tourism tax of MYR 10 per room per night (to be paid directly to the registered accommodation provider on spot)



Mode of Payment:

The easiest and most secure modes of payment available to settle the invoice for your confirmed booking are payment through PayPal or payment by credit card.

Online transfer through PayPal:

If you choose to make payment through PayPal, we will send you the link accordingly together with the invoice. If you do have your own PayPal account, payment will be very easy and quick following the link. If you don’t have a PayPal account, you would not have to subscribe to any PayPal account for this transaction. Following the link will also give you the choice to make credit card payment through PayPal, which works just like any other online purchase. PayPal charges: 4.5% of the invoice total

Credit card payment:

Borneo à la Carte accepts Visa and Mastercard. If you wish to pay by credit card, we will send you a credit card authorisation form for you to fill in and sign. This form will permit us to debit your credit card for the indicated transaction. Processing fees: 2.5% of the invoice total

NOTE: We do accept split payments, but the full invoice total has to be settled at least 15 days before the tour begins.


Change of dates and/or programme

For any changes of dates and/or tour programme after confirmation and payment of the tour arrangements, Borneo à la Carte charges a service fee of:

MYR 65 per adult and per modified day

MYR 40 per kid (from 10 to 17 years old) and per modified day

MYR 25 per child (below 10) and per modified day

Should the cost for the modified tour itinerary be higher than the initial invoice/payment, the client will have to cover the balance as well as any extra transaction costs. However, should the cost for the modified tour itinerary be lower than the initial invoice/payment, Borneo à la Carte reserves the right not to refund the balance.


Tour cancellation by the client:

For any cancellation of tour programme made by the client after confirmation of the tour arrangements, following cancellation charges apply:

16 days or more before arrival date > same charges as for changes of dates and/or tour programme (see above)
15 – 12 days before arrival date > 25% of the invoice total
11 – 8 days before arrival date > 50% of the invoice total
7 days or less before arrival date > 100% of the invoice total

The client bears the full cost of any transaction charges incurred.


Tour cancellation by Borneo à la Carte:

Borneo à la Carte sPPhall not be held accountable for any loss or tour cancellation incurred due to flight delay/cancellation, outbreak of epidemic disease, strikes, thefts, war and acts of God.

The company reserves the right to alter routes, itineraries, timings and accommodations reserved as and when deemed necessary. Any tours or tour components may be postponed or replaced by similar tours without refund.



We highly recommend all clients and travellers to purchase a travel insurance.



For more information, contact:

Bornéo à la Carte

A product of « Telang Usan Travel and Tours (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd », CO.NO.60725-U

Tour desk at « Le Café Rouge »

N-3 GF Jalan Green Hill, 93100, Kuching Sarawak, Malaysia Tel (+60)82234126 – (+60)168564802

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