Borneo is a wild island, home to the infamous Headhunter Tribe and an ancient dense rainforest full of wildlife including the beautiful orang-utans and even the rarely spotted Clouded Leopard. Many people want to head here to explore this remote destination where the last headhunting took place in the 1950's. Despite being wonderfully wild, it is also home to some great properties which make a visit perfect for those after something comfortable but adventurous. I have put together my ideal itinerary including my favourite properties. Staying at these properties will give you wonderful beaches, amazing remote jungle experiences and wildlife spotting.
Shangri-la Rasa Ria
After a long flight from the UK and a seven hour time difference to adjust to, it makes sense to unwind for a few days to recover from any tiredness so you can then throw yourself into something more active. The Shangri-la Rasa Ria is a 45 minute drive from the airport, through local villages, luscious countryside and is situated on a heavenly bay. The hotel has sweeping views across a vast beach with no other hotel in sight. Aside from the beautiful beach, great views, wonderful sunsets and amazing facilities, it also offers some adventure for those wanting to dip their toes into something active - horse riding on the beach, breakfast treks through the jungle and water sports are all possible. This is the perfect place to spend 3-4 nights.
Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort
Onto the adventure! Situated along the banks of the Kinabatangan River, deep in the mangrove jungle where there is the most densely populated wildlife, is this stunning property. Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort is a unique place, with stunning chalets offering huge amounts of space and comfort, great staff that really make you feel at home, and most importantly, incredible trips. During your time here you will head out on safari by boat in the morning and night to spot wild proboscis monkeys (one of the most bizarre animals I've ever seen), orangutans, crocodiles, Pygmy elephants, fireflies, bearded wild pigs and much more. You will even be able to see wildlife around your own chalet. I would suggest 3 nights here.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Now, some time for trekking and getting deeper into the jungle. Head down to Lahad Datu where you can stay at the wonderful Borneo Rainforest Lodge. This lodge is the finest in the area and famously where Prince Wills and Kate stayed. The lodge is surrounded by primacy ancient rainforest with trees taller than sky scrapers, abundant wildlife and amazing guides. Here you can trek to an ancient burial site and watch the mist rise through the canopy in the morning along the suspended walkways among the trees, look out for sunbears, orangutans and much more. You can even head out on night walks to look out for nocturnal wildlife such as Tarantulas, frogs, the slow loris, flying squirrels and the leopard cat. I would suggest 3 nights here.
After all the action, you are going to want some down time and Bunga Raya is the perfect place for this. Located on Gaya Island, just 20 minutes by boat from the mainland of Kota Kinabalu where you will be flying back home from, is this paradise. The hotel is beautiful with a great long white stretch of beach, a tropical rainforest surrounding the hotel, ample snorkelling off the beach and stunning villas - you will never want to leave. Here you can enjoy the pool, beach and also the hotel's zip line through the trees. Wildlife still heads here, so look out for the Rhino Hornbill, monkeys and an array of amazing creatures. I would suggest 3-5 nights here.
Here you have it! My perfect trip in Borneo, showcasing the very best of this wonderfully wild island.