Authentic Experiences in Borneo

07 December 2020

Borneo is the third-largest island in the world and home to one of the oldest rainforests in existence. The island is a paradise for nature lovers thanks to its incredible biodiversity, which is one of the highest on the planet, it’s undulating mountain landscapes which create beautifully picturesque scenery, and it’s thriving marine wildlife which lights up Borneo’s crystal clear waters with a rainbow of vivid colours.

Here’s a list of recommendations to ensure you have an authentic experience on your next trip to Borneo.

Cruise down the Kinabatangan River

The Kinabatangan river flows from its headwaters in the mountains to its mouth in the Sulu Sea, passing through over 500km of tropical rainforest as it goes. A river cruise along a section of the river is an excellent opportunity to spot some of the species that make Borneo so special. From high in the forest canopy where Hornbills and Proboscis monkeys sit perched, to down on the forest floor where pygmy elephants march through the undergrowth and crocodiles lay in wait on the river banks – the forest around the Kinabatangan River is buzzing with life and the best way to see it is to enlist the help of a local guide and set sail on their boat along the river.

Take a tour through Danum Valley Conservation Centre

Deep in the heart of Borneo sits the Danum Valley Conservation Area, a 438 sq. km tract of lowland rainforest that is protected by the Malaysian government. The Conservation Area was established for the purpose of research and education and is now one of the most pristine examples of a tropical Bornean rainforest where guests van visit on carefully selected tours with expert guides.

See Orangutans at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre

If you are unable to spot Orangutan out in the wild, then consider a trip to Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre for Orangutans. The centre is home to semi-wild orangutans and operates with the aim of returning orphaned, injured or displaced orangutans back to the wild. Staff here are trained to help orangutans learn the skills they need to survive in the wild and visitors can watch as these great apes come and go as they please.

Climb Mount Kinabalu

Standing at almost 4,100m tall, Mount Kinabalu towers above the rest of Borneo and offers a challenge to anyone looking to climb to its pinnacle at Low’s Peak. To climb the mountain takes over a day, so climbers spend the night up on the mountain side near to the summit so they can rise early for the final ascent and catch sunrise from this stunning viewpoint.

Admire the flora in Kinabalu National Park

At the foot of the Mountain is Kinabalu National Park. Home to over 5,000 species of plants, the National Park is jewelled with the petals of flowering plants amongst the thick green vegetation. Interwoven through the forest landscape is a great selection of walking trails that are suitable for beginners right through to those looking to practice before their big climb up the mountain.

Scuba dive in Sipadan

Several miles off the north east coast of Borneo is the island of Sipadan. Formed over thousands of years as coral grew up the side of an extinct volcano, the island now sits surrounded by coral reef with a 2,000-metre plunge straight to the ocean floor and is one of the finest diving destinations in the world.

The island is home to several dive spots, each of which provide a unique experience for divers. Barracuda Point (as the name suggests) is home to thousands of barracudas as well as spotted garden eels, scorpion fish, octopus and many more. Meanwhile, the magical Turtle Cave is a giant cavern that runs right through the island and is often visited by white-tip reef sharks. In total the island is home to over 3,000 species of marine life so any dive here is sure to turn up some surprises.

Take a walk through the immense caves of Sarawak

Sarawak is home to a vast selection of incredible caves, each of which is unique in its formation and current state. Walk through the largest cave passage in the world and into Deer Cave, in Gunung Mulu National Park, where over two million bats are said to reside. The cave is unique in that light penetrates deep inside of it and fresh air flows through, which has allowed vegetation to flourish within it.  

For a look back into human history, pay a visit to Niah Caves where 65,000-year-old artefacts and cave paintings decorate the walls and the oldest human remains in South East Asia were found.


To book your wild adventure to beautiful Borneo, contact your local Travel Counsellor!

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