In the Footsteps of Wallace in the Malay Archipelago

20 Sep - 6 Oct 2024
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Alfred Russel Wallace was one of the greatest - and most fascinating - intellectuals of the nineteenth century. He developed the theory of evolution through natural selection in the Malay Archipelago, independently of Charles Darwin. He was passionately engaged in social issues and also made significant contributions in areas ranging from land reform to astrobiology. He was known as the greatest living authority on the region, particularly of its zoogeography and discovered what is now known as the Wallace Line - a dividing line between Asian and Australasian animal species that extends between the islands of Bali and Lombok and Borneo and Sulawesi.

This tour follows in the footsteps of this remarkable naturalist, through the cultures and spectacular landscapes of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The tour is led by George and Jan Beccaloni, world-renowned authorities on Wallace. These expert naturalists are also highly knowledgeable about this region, with a number of unique personal contacts.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Dr George and Jan Beccaloni

Dr George and Jan Beccaloni

Dr George Beccaloni is an entomologist/evolutionary biologist, museum curator and the Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project. George founded the Wallace Memorial Fund in 1999 and in 2002 he played a key role in helping acquire the world’s largest and most important collection of Wallace’s manuscripts, books and insect specimens from Wallace’s grandsons for the nation. George co-edited the book ‘Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace’ (Oxford University Press) and was the historical consultant for the highly acclaimed BBC series “Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero”. George has travelled widely in the tropics and has led scientific expeditions to Papua New Guinea, Ecuador and Madagascar. He has visited the 'Malay Archipelago' on four occasions and has been to most of the important Wallace-related sites in the region - including all the places which this tour will be visiting. George has a broad interest and knowledge of natural history and is a keen macro-photographer.

Jan Beccaloni is a museum curator specialising in spiders and their relatives, Secretary of the Wallace Memorial Fund, the Meetings Secretary of the British Arachnological Society and the author of the acclaimed book “Arachnids’. Jan enjoys travelling and has conducted scientific fieldwork in the UK, Brunei, Madagascar and Costa Rica.

Both George and Jan have led previous successful tours for Jon Baines Tours.

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  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (Fri, 20 Sept) Arrive in Kuching, a cosmopolitan city set on the Sarawak River that blends many cultures and races. Check into the Ranee Hotel and at leisure.
  • Day 2: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (Sat, 21 Sept) Alfred Russel Wallace came to Sarawak in 1855 at the invitation of the ‘White Rajah’ Brooke. Visit the Sarawak Museum to learn about the peoples of Borneo and Wallace’s contribution in Sarawak. Visit Fort Margherita and the Brooke Gallery to learn about the ‘White Rajahs’ of Borneo. Overview of the tour and hear a talk on Wallace before a welcome dinner at the Kuching Old Courthouse.
  • Day 3: Kuching (Sun, 22 Sept) Drive to Bako and take a boat trip into beautiful Bako National Park. Encompassing seven distinct ecosystems, it is also one of the best places in Sarawak to experience wildlife, with opportunities to see multitudes of colourful birds, long-tailed macaques, water monitors, wild boar and the proboscis monkey. In the late afternoon visit Siniwan. In Wallace’s day, this town provided a stop for the boats plying from Kuching to Buso. The old shops hark back to the days when the town was a trading centre and a major gold producing area. Enjoy dinner in the open air market in Sinwan.
  • Day 4: Kuching (Mon, 23 Sept) Visit the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a centre for reintroducing once captive orangutans to the wild, giving visitors the opportunity to see orangutans up close in their natural habitat. Continue to the longhouse village of Anna Rais for a local lunch. This community was visited by Wallace during one of his collecting forays. Although he approached it from upriver, having come up the Sadong River, crossed over into the water catchment above Anna Rais and then descended to Kuching along the Sarawak River. As with us, Anna Rais provided a relaxing stop in the journey and a chance to experience Bidayuh hospitality. Return to Kuching.
  • Day 5: Kuching / Singapore (Tues, 24 Sept) Fly from Kuching to Singapore. Arrive and transfer to the Swissotel Merchant Court on the Singapore River. Explore the cultures of Singapore from little India, to Kampong Glam, the Malay quarter. Continue to Arab Street and onto Chinatown.Take a boat trip along the Singapore River before dinner on the Singapore River.
  • Day 6: Singapore (Wed, 25 Sept) Visit Singapore’s Natural History Museum and see the Wallace Exhibition, including the statues of Wallace and Ali, a Malay man who accompanied Wallace. At leisure with the option to visit the extraordinary Gardens by the Bay or the Aquarium.
  • Day 7: Singapore / Manado, Indonesia (Thur, 26 Sept) Fly to Manado in northern Sulawesi. Arrive and check into your hotel.
  • Day 8: Manado (Fri, 27 Sept) Take a scenic trip up into the beautiful highlands of the island, a cool retreat away from the coast. Wallace visited here in 1859, including the cemetery with ancient monuments and the pottery. Enjoy lunch by the lake overlooking the water. The rest of the day is at leisure.
  • Day 9: Manado (Sat, 28 Sept) Spend the following day in beautiful Tangkoko National Park with its lush rolling hills. Spot black macaques, hornbills, kingfishers and perhaps the tiny nocturnal tarsier, which fits into the palm of a hand. Have a packed lunch on the beach. Return to the hotel.
  • Day 10: Manado (Sun, 29 Sept) Take a boat trip out to the islands where you can relax on the beach, with options for snorkelling in the Bunaken Marine Reserve, amongst some of the best coral reef diving and snorkeling areas in the world. Lunch is at the Sea Garden on the beach. Alternatively, you may spend the day at leisure.
  • Day 11: Manado / Ternate (Mon, 30 Sept) Fly to the dramatic cone shaped island of Ternate next morning. Ternate was the most important of the "Spice Islands" of Maluku, once the world’s single major producer of cloves. It is also from where Wallace posted his famous “Ternate Essay”, his pioneering account of evolution by natural selection, to Charles Darwin in 1858. Spend the afternoon exploring the island and its history, including historic Fort Oranje where you will learn about the history of the Dutch in the Moluccas, and visit the clove market and the probable site of Wallace’s house.
  • Day 12: Ternate / Tidore / Ternate (Tues, 1 Oct) Travel by boat to the neighbouring island of Tidore, known for its history in the spice trade. See sago cakes being created and visit a spice plantation, the weaving workshop and the Portuguese Fortress. See the Sultan’s palace and the blacksmith and explore the colourful market. Lunch is at a restaurant on the coast. Return by boat to Ternate.
  • Day 13: Ternate / Halmahera / Ternate (Wed, 2 Oct) Take a boat across to Halmahera. Drive to Dodinga village and visit the older part of the village, where Wallace lived. Visit the old fort and enjoy coconut milk from coconuts cut fresh from the tree. Return by speedboat to Ternate.
  • Day 14: Ternate / Makassar (Thur, 3 Oct) Fly to Makassar in southeast Sulawesi, where Wallace visited in 1856 and 1857. Here he collected tiger beetles and wrote to Darwin (his first surviving letter). Visit the Bantimurung–Bulusaraung National Park, located amongst beautiful Karst scenery, tropical vegetation and waterfalls. Wallace called it the Kingdom of the Butterfly and he identified 250 species. The beautiful region is also known for having some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, depicting hand prints and wild pigs, up to 35,000 to 40,000 years old.
  • Day 15: Makassar / Bali (Fri, 4 Oct) Fly to Bali and transfer to the beachfront Puri Santrian Hotel in Sanur.
  • Day 16: Bali (Sat, 5 Oct) Drive east to Amed and have lunch overlooking the Wallace Line. Return to Sanur and at leisure. Enjoy a farewell dinner in the evening.
  • Day 17: Bali (Sun, 6 Oct) Depart after breakfast or extend.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour sharing a room is US $8,092. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is US$ 9,136.

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