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Best time to visit Borneo

The best time to visit Borneo is during the dry season, which typically falls between the months of March and October. Borneo lies within the tropics and for this reason you should expect high humidity and rain at any time of the year, the seasons do not vary as dramatically as they do in other parts of the world.

The wettest months are generally between November and February when the Northeast Monsoon hits, with the milder better months for travel being between March and October. Do be prepared for rain at any time of year as you’ll be exploring rainforest, however the dry season is a lot busier and can be more expensive.

Specifically, the peak tourism season is between May and September, and accommodation can be booked up well in advance for these periods, particularly in the rainforest areas such as Danum Valley where there are less lodges, making early booking highly recommended.

Ga Borneo Orangutan Credit Sticky Rice
Ga Borneo Sticky Rice

Talk to a Borneo Destination Specialist

The Best Time to Visit Borneo

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

High rainfall sees Borneo’s wildlife sheltering in the dense forest, meaning they are difficult to find. We would not recommend traveling at this time if you are looking to see the orangutans.

January is not the best time to visit Borneo, with high humidity, heavy rainfall and hiding wildlife.

Diving is not recommended as the seas can be very rough with storms brought on by the winds of the north-east monsoon. In Sabah, the temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius for the month with about 300 mm of rainfall. By sticking to the north, it is possible to travel in January if you avoid the roads as they can be rough with the heavy rain. We do not recommend heading to the Sarawak area of Borneo, which includes Kuching, Damai Beach, and Mulu National Park.

March to October

The dry season from the end of March to the beginning of October is the best time for wildlife, when there is less rain and it is hot and humid throughout. The trees are fruiting, particularly between June and August, meaning the orangutans venture down from the trees to feast; they would eat a diet consisting of 100% fruit if they were able to!

November to February

Despite being commonly perceived as the ‘wet’ season in Borneo, travel to the world’s third largest island during these months is still completely possible. Rainfall is generally unpredictable at any time of year so you should be undeterred by 'wet' season forecasts. With the highest rainfall and roughest waters, it is possible to travel but we don't recommend it as conditions are not favorable for wildlife and much of it hides in the dense jungle.

If you want to see Orangutans

As soon as the rains start to cease, around April and May, the hungry apes can be seen swinging from branch to branch in search of plump ripe fruit, as well as for potential mates. April to August has the driest weather giving optimal chances of good sightings of orangutans in the wild. See the new born baby orangutans starting to emerge, as they make their way out into the creeping boscage for the first time now it’s not so wet!

Things to do in Borneo

Visit the Orangutans

Borneo is one of the few places on Earth where you can see orangutans in the wild. Head to places like Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah to observe these incredible primates up close.

River Cruises

Take a river cruise on the Kinabatangan River or the Borneo Rainforest River in search of wildlife, including pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, and a variety of bird species.

Trekking and Jungle Adventures

Go trekking through Borneo's lush rainforests, like Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, which offers a pristine environment for nature lovers.

Night Safari

Experience the fascinating nocturnal wildlife by going on a night safari in one of Borneo's national parks.