10 PLACES TO VISIT IN BORNEO | EXPLORING ASIA

BORNEO – MALAYSIA

Borneo is known as the  richest equatorial rainforest in the world, Borneo’s spectacular rainforests are home to a number of rare species and many indigenous tribes. Borneo is a destination where you can really get OFF THE BEATEN PATH and explore its many villages, towns, jungles, and vast landscapes as well as taking part in a number of incredible activities. We have put together 10 places and things to do in Borneo, check them out below. 

 

Borneo is one of Southeast Asia’s few summer destinations, with the best time to travel being between March and October when the island is at its driest.  

 
The island is divided between three countries: the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in the north, the Indonesian state of Kalimantan to the south, and the tiny sultanate of Brunei. Orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and clouded leopards thrive in Borneo’s conservation areas, while, off the coast, reefs teem with tropical fish and turtles.

1

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) was founded in 1964 with the aim of rehabilitating baby orangutans and those saved from captivity and is only 1 of 4 worldwide. It is known to be the best in the world for its fantastic work in protecting this species, it remains Sabah’s main attraction for wildlife lovers and traveller wanting to learn more about Borneo’s orangutans. Sepilok is huge site of over 15 square miles of tropical rainforest where the orangutans live.

Sepilok is mainly for  orangutang rehabilitation, but also provides public education, conservation projects and exercises as well as research and information on other endangered animals like the rhinoceros, making it an important centre for wildlife and ecology. In the area you can also do bird watching, trekking and trips along the river in the neighbouring areas of Sepilok to fully appreciate the other natural and wildlife attractions.

Sepilok Nature Resort is a uniquely positioned lodge, set in the heart of the tropical rainforest and bordering a lake that lies in the dense jungle. It has comfortable timber chalets with hot and cold running water as well as air conditioning.

This is a great place to visit to experience Borneo’s wildlife.

2

Kota Kinabalu

There are a number of interesting things to do in Kota Kinabalu. From historical sites to cultural attractions, and numerous  local attractions in Kota Kinabalu,  such as historical monuments, natural attractions, adventurous and entertainment activities to do, places to eat and drink. This is a wonderful place to base to explore the island from. 

3

Mount Kinabalu in Sabah

Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Malaysia and the 20th tallest in the World. Due to its biological diversity the mountain is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climbing the mountain is not an easy task, although it ca be done. Watching the sunrise form the top is an unforgettable experience and a must do if you can. Its summit reaches 4,095.2 meters. From the summit you will have the best view of the rising sun, and when you walk down, you can see several small villages.

You will need to pre plan prior to visiting the mountain, such as  registering in advance, best way to do this is with the help of an agent or travel organisation. The local government only allow around 150 people on the mountain at all times. 

 

4

Trek in Bako National Park

Trekking in Borneo will prove to be a very exciting experience as the rainforest consists of some rare and endangered species which cannot be found anywhere in the world. A track in this nation park will allow you to see the proboscis monkeys, orangutans, clouded leopards and some of the most poisonous snakes on the planet, there are also some stunning beaches and dramatic waterfalls witting this national park.

Sabah and Sarawak, the two states of Malaysia are quite fully equipped for visitors and consist a rich history of wildlife sanctuaries, nature parks, world-class diving resorts and the amazing mountain treks. However, this is one of the things to do in Borneo that you must definitely include on your bucket-list of things to do while you are on a trip to Borneo.

5

Gaya Island

Just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island Resort is located on the beautiful island of Pulau Gaya and reached by the hotel’s own speedboat in just 10 minutes. Offering guests a taste of traditional Sabahan architecture blended seamlessly with contemporary luxury design, relax in your spacious villa and soak up the tropical jungle scenery that surrounds you. There is plenty of wildlife on Pulau Gaya, so make sure you visit the nature centre and take a walk with the resident naturalist Justin, if you are lucky you may see wild proboscis monkeys. Meanwhile under the water you will be greeted with a variety of tropical fish at the coral reef just to the side of the arrival jetty, complimentary snorkelling equipment can be hired from the watersports desk on the beach. Ann amazing island to relax after exploring Borneo’s may island.

6

Diving in Sipidan 

Sipidan is a  beautiful isle situated at the east coast of Malaysia Borneo in Sabah, and if you love travelling then you must definitely add this destination to your bucket list. This island is world-renowned for its scuba diving and snorkelling. It is also raked one of the TOP 10 DIVING sites in the world.

 

7

Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sabah

Is also home to the  Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. You can walk along the 147 member long canopy, which is 28 metres above ground through the forest and enjoy amazing views over the rainforests, whilst spotting the local wildlife. The centre also don night tours to see the wildlife at night. The centre also has about 250 species of orchid flowers. This is a great place to learn about conservation and wildlife. 

8

Stay in an Iban Longhouse

A stay at the renowned Sarawak Iban Longhouse must definitely be on your list while you are visiting Borneo. You can take a long-boat ride around the Lemanak River and grab a sight of some of the most primeval longhouses. Here you will learn how the native people actually live and get a glimpse of their daily lives.

9

Kinabatangan River area in Sabah

Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. It is approx  560 kilometers long and runs across the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. It is also part of the Sukau-Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The beautiful river offers great opportunities to see amazing wildlife. Water takes in a central position in the local people’s lives. There are numerous small villages along the river; often forming the starting point for tourists that visit the area. Bilit is such a village; from here boats to lodges in the area leave. There are several lodges that accommodate tourists; most of them in and nearby the small town of Sukau (the tourist ‘center’ within the Kinabatangan area). Kinabatangan River is one of the most popular destinations within Sabah.

10 

Mulu Caves

Mulu caves are one of Borneo’s World Heritage Site, the caves are thought to be the longest cave systems in the world. The ecology and the geology of the caves will truly amaze you.  Gunung Mulu is Sarawak’s largest national park at (544 sq km), and also Malaysia’s first World Heritage Area, a status it was awarded in 2000.

The park’s main attractions are the four show caves (Wind, Clearwater, Deer and Langs Caves), all readily accessible by wooden walkways and paths. Other fascinating sights and activities include; a bat observatory; a 480m rainforest canopy skywalk (the world’s longest tree-based walkway); adventure caving trips to some of Mulu’s less accessible caves; the challenging Mulu Summit climb, the spectacular Pinnacles trail, and the historic Headhunter’s trail through remote rainforest scenery. Mulu’s wildlife includes bats, swiftlets, cave dwelling insects, snakes, lizards, tree frogs and an abundance of beautiful butterflies.

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Showing 18 comments
  • lexieanimetravel
    Reply

    Borneo is such a beatufil place, it has a big reputation with wildlife, rainforest, and all its natural beauty. I’ve heard a lot of story about Sabah and its wonderful features. I would love to explore its wilderness and just stay there for a year visit all this site, well except diving I need to learn to swim first.

  • Travelquartz
    Reply

    I am in such an addiction to your posts they are always so perfect. I have bookmarked this post for planning my destination. Would love to check out the rainforest surely.

  • Michael
    Reply

    I saw a TV programme about the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. They do really good work. Nice read,

  • Aditi
    Reply

    I just love Kota Kinabalu. I witnessed some of the best sunsets and moonrise there. Truly gorgeous. This list is just perfect <3 Cheers!!

  • Helene
    Reply

    Wouild love to see the Orang Utans sometime:D I have a friend from Brunei, so I can go visit her:D Looks like a great place to travel to and explore! Thanks for all the info:)

  • Katie
    Reply

    Borneo has been on my bucket list for a while and it looks great! Would love to see those Orang-utans !

  • Karo
    Reply

    Borneo looks amazing, there seems to be so much to explore! I especially love the Orang-Utangs! Thanks for your helpful article and the great pictures.

    Cheers,
    Karo

    https://karoadores.com

  • Renata Green
    Reply

    I’ve been to Malaysia, but unfortunately never to Borneo. According to your post it must be more jungle-y . Especially the Mulu Caves and the diving looks sooo beautiful. Thanks for this very inspiring post – will revert when I go.

  • Travelquartz
    Reply

    The Iban tribe surviving skills and Tattoos the video link is just amazing , its good to know about such offbeat part of the world and this post gives so much information, thank you 🙂

  • Ali Dunnell
    Reply

    This is such an interesting and informative guide to Borneo. Your photographs and videos are absolutely amazing, especially those of the orangutans.

  • Cyril Deeming
    Reply

    Borneo looks really nice. We have to been to Asia, so may have to add Borneo to our list

  • Taryn
    Reply

    Wow! The videos are amazing. Looks like a spectacular place for unique wildlife, an off-the-beaten path treasure!

  • Dany
    Reply

    You had me at “off the beaten path”: I hate the overtouristy areas and this itinerary would be just about perfect for me, thank you!

  • Mary
    Reply

    The pictures are amazing! I saw a show about the sanctuary before. The work they are doing is really important.

  • Shaily
    Reply

    OMG!! Such a lovely post.. Super Amazing pictures and videos.. Love the animals, nature and the peaceful vibes.. Oh that sunset is to die for.. Love this post. Thanks for sharing this amazing experience!! 🙂

  • Alexander Popkov
    Reply

    I love visiting the indigenous tribes. Somehow, at this period. I find it the most interesting thing to do when traveling. I would definitely love visiting the people Borneo.

  • Lena
    Reply

    oh the monkeys are sooo cute. It almost looks like they were posing for the picture.

  • PossesstheWorld
    Reply

    What a diverse and fascinating place to travel, I think we shall have to add this to our list of places to visit in Asia, it is after all not very far from home. Great tips thanks for sharing

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