Why Borneo Holidays and Safaris have that unique touch...
Indigenous tribes, playful orangutans and ancient emerald rainforests; the third largest island on earth is a veritable treasure trove of resource-rich natural attractions. Borneo holidays tease and tantalise the curious traveller’s taste buds; Borneo’s topography ranges from the oldest rainforest on earth to craggy mountains, swamps and valleys where wide rivers wind lazily toward the crystal waters of the South China Sea. Magical settings combined with Borneo's tropical animals and pristine beach retreats make Borneo a must on any wildlife lovers list.
Borneo Holiday Highlights
- Orangutans – See them in the wild or get up-close and take some amazing photographs during feeding times in rehabilitation centres.
- Weird wildlife – Marvel at the honk-nose proboscis monkeys or the small pygmy elephants in Borneo’s pristine rainforest.
- Sun Bears – Visit the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to meet these small bears with a golden sun on their chest.
- Marine life – Dive or snorkel with turtles and whale sharks.
- Rainforest lodges – Get close to the wildlife and immerse yourself in the jungle in these incredible lodges.
- Desert island beaches – White sand and turquoise sea backed by tropical jungle.
- Mountain sun rise – Climb Mount Kinabalu and watch the sun rise from the highest peak in South East Asia.
Occupying a large archipelago between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Borneo is partly in Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah - northern Borneo), and partly in Indonesia (Kalimantan - southern Borneo). Nowadays it is more of a geographical term rather than political, yet it conjures in the imagination vast rainforests, extravagant nature and colourful, friendly people who are sure to extend a gracious welcome to anyone travelling on Borneo holidays.
The dramatic peak of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu (4,101 metres), rises above swirling cloud to loom majestically over the Sabah region, which along with Sarawak is the most popular area of Borneo to visit due to its ease of connection from the mainland Malaysian Peninsula. Starting from the bustle of Kota Kinabalu you can visit the popular Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which is home to many an orphaned or rescued ‘man of the forest’. The traditional fishing village and port of Sandakan, protected lowland forest of Danum Valley Conservation Centre and thriving wildlife hotspot of Kinabatangan River all thrill before the coral islands and dive resorts of Sipadan, Lankayan and Mataking entice with their white-sand brilliance.
Where to go in Borneo
- Sepilok – Visit sun bear and orangutan sanctuaries
- Kinabatangan River - Best place to see oranautans in the wild
- Danum Valley – Pristine virgin rainforest and plenty of wildlife
- Kota Kinabalu – Bustling city and good base to start your trip from
- Gaya Island – Great beaches in Tunku Rahman Marine Park
- Kinabalu National Park – Highest mountain in SE Asia, waterfalls & hot springs
- Kudat – Stay with tribes at the northern tip of Borneo
Wild Encounters and What to Expect
The island plays host to an enormous assortment of uniquely endangered wildlife, such as the charming and gentle Orangutan, noisy Proboscis monkey and diminutive pygmy elephant. Flora and fauna abound on this Eden-like sanctuary, with a staggering 15,000 species of flowing plants and 3,000 tree types, in addition to rare orchid, 12 species of rafflesia (the world’s largest flower) and in excess of 600 bird species all adding to what is an incredible area of biodiversity and ideal for the ultimate Borneo safari.
When travelling the interior, there may be times when the experienced boatmen will hold the journey for an hour or two for the roaring river to subside, travellers may have to oblige with the local customs and join in the wedding celebrations or respect taboos following a death in the village. All these contribute to the unique experience of Borneo and the magic she brings to any family, lone traveller or honeymooner on a wide variety of trips.
Did you know...
A great way to explore the coast and jungle is by bicycle. Travel along the coast from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat by bike, passing through little villages. We can arrange a support van to follow and provide all safety equipment such as approved cycle helmets. You can also hire bicycles to explore the jungle covered banks of the Kinabatangan River; there are well signposted cycle trails.
Great for family holidays
At the Jungle Survival Camp in the Kinabalu National Park learn basic survival skills with local eco-hero Miki who has a real passion for showing people his way of life.
Take a break from the beach on Gaya Island with an organised treasure hunt and let the children be pirates for the day. Other family favourites here are handicrafts and cooking courses.
Planning your Borneo Holiday
For further information on when is the best time to go to Borneo, where is the best place to see orang-utans, what the accommodation is like, etc, please visit our Borneo Frequently Asked Questions page. Alternatively get in touch with our Borneo specialist Jessica Tiffin who is happy to chat about your visit to this incredible destination.
Speak to one of our consultants now:
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