Your things to do in Borneo list should include experiences like caring for orangutans, visiting natural and marine parks, enjoying sunrise at the top of the tallest peak in South East Asia, enjoying river safaris in longboats, and relaxing on pristine beaches and taking in the sun, sand, and the soothing waves.
Rolling hills, vast plains, and long, winding roads make for a perfect ATV or quad-biking experience! Few places are better-suited for that than in Kiulu Valley, where you'll be able to satisfy the thrill seeker within you while also enjoying the beautiful scenery of golden paddy fields, crystal-clear rivers, local Kadazandusun villages, and heavily-forested hills.
There's something almost zen-like when you finally arrive at your destination, enjoying a refreshing beverage while fully immersing in Kiulu's serene surroundings, after an hour or so of quad-biking through some challenging off-roads. A must-try for both adrenaline junkies and nature lovers!
Bornean orangutans, Clouded leopards, Proboscis monkeys, Pygmy elephants, Hornbills, and Sun bears, and many more... the forests of Borneo are home to an incredible amount of endemic wildlife! So, if you're heading here, checking them out should definitely be No. 1 on your list!
At mighty Kinabatangan River, take a safari boat cruise to spot orangutans swaying from the branches, hornbills soaring through the misty air, and even the world's smallest elephants playing in the muddy riverbank, among other rare and unique animals. Or venture deep into the heart of Borneo itself, in the untouched rainforests of Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary. Either way, Borneo's exotic wildlife will leave you in awe and wishing for more!
One of Southeast Asia's greatest peaks and the tallest, most prominent feature of Borneo Island, is Mount Kinabalu. Revered by locals as a sacred place, many legends surround it, including one about a dragon living atop the mountain! Dragon or no dragon, most people climb the mountain for the challenge, as well as the unimaginably beautiful sight of the sun rising over the horizon once you reach the peak.
The mountain and its surroundings, including the UNESCO World Heritage site Kinabalu Park, are also surrounded by forests teeming with an incredibly rich diversity of flora and fauna. It's also where you can find the Poring Hotsprings, famous for their geothermally-heated pools, and various nature trails including dizzying treetop canopy bridges!
A popular activity among locals and tourists alike: island hopping! Borneo's shores are just a boat ride away to some of the most gorgeous islands on the planet, including Sipadan Island who the late explorer Jacques Cousteau famously called "an untouched piece of art". Sipadan's waters are home to hundreds of species of fish and coral, so diving into them is like being transported into a colourful, completely different world!
You can also get awesome diving/snorkelling sites around the waters off of Lankayan, Mabul, and Kapalai, among other beautiful islands surrounding Borneo. So, if you enjoy feeling sand between your toes, basking under the warm tropical sun, watching golden sunsets draping the waves, and breath-taking underwater scenes, then Borneo is definitely the place for you!
Marine life is always exciting to watch, especially if they happen to be sea turtles! Every night, as if guided by a magical compass, these majestic creatures swim up the shores of Selingan Island in order to lay their eggs on the sandy beach. It's a beautiful procession, one that you won't want to miss in your lifetime!
Selingan, as part of the Turtle Islands National Park, is also home to a turtle conservation programme, so you can rest assured that your stay on the peaceful island will not be a disruptive one towards these endangered creatures. You can even take part in some of the conservation activities, such as personally releasing one of the hatchlings into the sea. It's an unforgettable experience, through and through!
Venture into misty Kiulu Valley, where the rural people live peaceful lives as farmers and fishermen. Enjoy local delicacies such as hinava, bambangan, and sago worms (which are traditionally eaten while they're still alive!). Break free from the daily stress of city life with a retreat to Kiulu Farmstay - a serene, off-the-grid location that allows you to soak in Mother Nature's beauty while enjoying the company of local villagers. Or head off to Mari-Mari Cultural Village, where you'll get a taste of the simple yet fascinating lifestyles of Borneo's various ethnic tribes.
Either way, you'll quickly find that there is much to discover, and much to love about Borneo's rich tapestry of history and culture. That, and the warm and friendly locals who have a way of making you feel right at home!
An adventure in Borneo will not be complete without trekking through the pristine and awe-inspiring rainforests of Borneo. Take some time-out away from the noise and distraction of everyday life and get connected with Mother Nature and her beautiful gifts!
Borneo, especially here in Sabah, the Land Below the Wind, there are numerous trekking and hiking trails to venture through. Outdoor enthusiasts will be amazed at the flora and fauna that they'll be able to see and experience. It's probably a great and ideal time to try out "forest meditation", which is actually a legit thing that's being practiced in Japan! Anonymous.
Here in Borneo, we've got some pretty incredible caves for curious wanderers to explore. There's the Mulu Caves of Sarawak, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Gomantong Caves in Sabah.
The Mulu Caves of Sarawak has four show caves that you can get to explore, all with their own unique features and landscapes. The Gomantong caves on the other hand is also another unique cave for the more adventurous to check out. Definitely a go-to for travellers who enjoy spelunking, or exploring the chambers of a cave as a hobby.
If there's one thing that Borneo is famously known for is its rich nature and wildlife. Travellers can experience that and more when they choose to stay at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, a charter member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. Where nature and luxury go hand in hand, travellers can expect a comfortable and memorable stay in the midst of the jungle whilst being treated to wildlife sightings at Kinabatangan River.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge promises to create an unforgettable experience of its guests through its exceptional service and tours that is suitable for any travelling group.
Birding enthusiasts are going to love Borneo for its amazing birding scenes! From jungle wetlands to cool montane forests, birders will enjoy the different landscapes and terrains to try and spot the birds of Borneo. With over 688 birds to discover, and 60 being endemic to Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, it will be a birding escapade like no other.
Some of the best locations to explore includes the Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley Forest Reserve, Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sandakan and the montane forests of Kinabalu National Park.
Trek the jungle hillslopes in search for the rafflesia, the world's largest flower! One of the rarest species, Rafflesia keithii, can only be found in Sabah along the eastern slopes of mighty Mount Kinabalu. But no matter the species, and there's many, the rafflesia flower has one thing in common- It gives out a repulsive odour of rotting flesh! That's probably why they call it the "corpse flower", a rough translation of its local name.
Unfortunately, all known species of this remarkable flora are endangered- with some nearing extinction. So to see one in the wilderness makes anyone lucky!
Travellers who crave for adventure should know that it can be found in Borneo, and white water rafting here is definitely a must-do for any adrenaline junkie. White water rafting is famous in two different locations in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This includes Kiulu, which is at grade 1-2 and the excursion runs for 15km, suitable for the whole family. White water rafting at Padas River however, is grade 3-4, which is much more difficult than Kiulu's. Though the excursion covers only 9km, rafters are going to be in for a treat of dips, rapids and whirlpools!