Borneo Holidays: An Overview

One of the most alluring destinations in the Far East, the island of Borneo offers an unparalleled diversity of activities and cultures, and is a destination in its own right, even when not combined with mainland Malaysia. The two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak are comprised of dense rain forest, unique fauna and flora, white sandy beaches and remote islands. The island is also home to the wonderful and rare Orangutans.

Miranda, Katie and Carrie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Sabah and Sarawak are primarily known for the natural wonders of their national parks, comprising dense rainforest, unique fauna and flora, white sandy beaches, and remote islands

Luxury Borneo Holidays: The Detail

Sabah and Sarawak also have an interesting cultural aspect as this is home to many different ethnic groups, and Sarawak was also the setting for a curious episode of colonial history - once been ruled by the Brooke family, known as the 'White Rajahs' - for over a century prior to Malaysia's independence.

Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah, is the usual point of entry for any visit to this fascinating island. From here, one instant focal point of the region is the brooding presence of Mt Kinabalu, at 13,500 ft the highest peak in Southeast Asia. Despite its height, the mountain makes for a challenging but eminently achievable climb. No special skills or equipment are needed, and the views from the top are worth the effort. The round trip takes two days, with an overnight stay in a lodge part of the way up. The mountain dominates the surrounding landscape of Kinabalu National Park, home to some of the richest flora in the world. As you climb the mountain, you pass through a variety of ecosystems, ranging from tropical forest at the bottom to cool alpine meadows at the top.

Further afield, the creatures the island is most famous for are the so called 'men of the jungle', or orangutans. These apes can be seen at the Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary, located in an area of virgin equatorial rainforest. Sadly, this is one of only a few places remaining on Earth where this endangered species can be viewed. Borneo's rainforests also contain a stunning biodiversity of other plant and animal life, and the forest itself is some of the most ancient on the planet, far older than the equatorial forests of the Amazon or the Congo.

For marine wildlife, the island of Lankayan has some of the best dive sites in the region, and Selingan Island is a favourite nesting place for giant turtles that travel hundreds of miles to lay their eggs on the same beach they were hatched on years before. Altogether, it would be difficult to overstate the attraction of Borneo for anyone with a passion for the natural world.


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A note on price

There is a great deal to do in Malaysia, and there are some fantastic hotels to stay in too. For two weeks, prices start from around £3,500 per person, including flights. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 31°C / 87°F
  • Rainfall — 16cm / 6.5 inches
Flight from London

12:45 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +8 hrs


Top picks for Borneo

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Borneo

Borneo Rainforest Lodge is located in the heart of the Danum Valley Conservation Area – a remote 200 square mile area of tropical lowland rainforest in Sabah province.

Where to stay

Sepilok Nature Resort

Sepilok Nature Resort

Borneo

Nestled within tropical gardens, the 23 chalets of the Sepilok Nature Resort are the perfect base from which to explore the neighbouring Kabili-Sepilok Rainforest Reserve which is home to all manner of flora and fauna, including those famous orange fellows, the orangutan.

Where to stay

 Shangri-La Tanjung Aru

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru

Borneo

For sheer ease of access alone this resort hotel is worth considering. Just ten minutes from Kota Kinabalu Airport Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru is also within easy reach of the city centre and several pristine coral islands.

Where to stay

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Borneo

Reconnect with nature in a private eco-resort of just 20 bungalows nestled in Malaysia’s largest wildlife reserve, and by large we mean twice the size of Singapore. Tabin Wildlife Reserve occupies an expansive area of dipterocarpaceae rainforest in the eastern part of Sabah, and is coloured in beautifully diverse flora and fauna.

Where to stay

Gaya Island Resort

Gaya Island Resort

Borneo

Gaya Island Resort is a luxury resort on the little known Pulau Gaya, the largest of a cluster of five islands that form the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Gone are the days where visitors to the island had to settle for a rustic beach hut, Gaya Island Resort has set the precedent for hotels in one of Original Travel’s favourite destinations.

Where to stay

Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa

Borneo

Amid lush grounds on the shores of the South China Sea, Bunga Raya Resort & Spa is everything and more when you picture when considering Borneo. Surrounded by nature, this is a jungle-meets-beach retreat.

Where to stay

What has been most impressive with you is your speed of response, the accuracy of your information and the fact that you really make us feel you listen to our wishes and adapt itineraries to suit.

Katie

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