Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure locations and how to follow in her footsteps

Judi Dench has been giving her fans major holiday envy with her latest adventures in Asia.

The British actress has gone exploring the breathtakingly beautiful rainforest on the island of Borneo for her new ITV show Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure.

The two-part series has seen her discovering the highlights of the island, which sits in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago.

And considering she’s described it as the “most extraordinary time of my life”, it’s no surprise that she’s already got viewers inspired to take a trip of their own.

The best part is that if you are feeling inspired to go on a new trip, you can follow in her footsteps quite easily as there are a host of companies offering escorted tours of Borneo which include trips to the rainforest and orangutan rehabilitation centres.

We take a look at the highlights of Judi’s trip – and how you can recreate it yourself…

Where Judi Dench went in Borneo

Judi’s trip began by flying over the rainforest in a helicopter ride that showed off the pretty spectacular landscapes to be found.

Spotting the dense green jungle for the first time she said: “It is spectacular. I never imagined that it would be quite so over powering to look at. It is like flying over broccoli. It is like nothing I have ever seen before”.

It’s not surprising that the Borneo jungle impressed – it’s 130 million years old and in fact was around when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. 

Judi Dench explores Borneo in a brand new adventure


During her trip the actress also got a chance to head high into the canopy of the trees to discover the exotic wildlife to be found her.

After the rainforest, it was time for a cruise down the island’s jaw-droppingly beautiful Kinabatangan river where not only can you take in some brilliant views of the landscape, but there are plenty of creatures to look out for including crocodiles.

Judi was hoisted up one of the tallest trees in the forest

Judi even got to participate in a crocodile spotting session to learn more about the creatures.

Another highlight included a visit to the Gomantong Cave, which is home to over a million bats!

Eco-friendly travel in Borneo

At the heart of her visit was the aim of learning more about the conservation works and research taking place on the island.

For example, Judi got to spend time with scientists who taught her about the loss of rainforest for timber and for palm oil which is having a devastating impact on the planet.

The Kinabatangan river is pretty spectacular


She also spent time with orangutans and learned how these creatures help to prevent global warming by spreading seeds of large trees that can hoover up harmful carbon in the atmosphere.

That included a trip to a rehabilitation centre for orangutans.

She said: “Such a great sight. They are being looked after so brilliantly. And when they are released they will have all the skills they need to survive. I never thought I would get so close to an orangutan. This is a never to be forgotten moment.”

Judi met orangutans during her visit


Orangutans were not the only creatures which Judi encountered during her holiday.

Other wildlife which made an appearance included giant grasshoppers and moths, a dung beetle she named Bob, a crocodile, bats, Hornbills, a python named James Bond and even some orphaned elephants.

The actress revealed: “This jungle is beyond my wildest dreams. Around every corner there’s always an extraordinary creature.”

Orangutans live in Borneo and you can often spot them on dedicated tours

How to recreate Judi Dench’s Borneo holiday

If you’re getting major holiday envy then the good news is that there are plenty of escorted holidays which include stops to some of the same destinations, as well as similar offerings especially when it comes to seeing the wildlife.

We take a look at some that caught our attention…

  • Saga offers a Borneo Rainforest Wildlife Adventure itinerary from £3,199pp for 14 nights, which includes plenty of the locations visited by Judi herself including a cruise on Kinabatangan River, a visit to the Gomatong Caves, a trip to meet orangutans and heaps of various research and conservation centres.
  • Mercury HolidaysBorneo itineraries include visits to an orangutan rehabilitation centre, as well as a guided tour of Kinabalu National Park and a trip to the Gomatong Caves with prices starting from £1,659pp.
  • Wendy Wu offers luxurious escorted holidays from £3,990pp which include meeting orangutans as well as a Kinabatangan river cruise.
  • Hayes and Jarvis has a host of tours including Borneo Explorer Tours from £539pp which include the highlights of the island, although you can also find tours dedicated to seeing the wildlife.

Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure airs on ITV on Tuesdays at 9pm.


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