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The idea of holidaying in Malaysia evokes images of the glamorous nightlife of Kuala Lumpur, the breathtaking vista of the Petronas Towers, the bazaars at China Town, and the opportunity to dig into an eclectic range of delicious street food. While such an urban holiday can be a very enjoyable experience, planning a back-to-nature trip in the Malaysian provinces of Sabah and Sarawak on the Borneo Island can be a once-in-a-lifetime trip with amazing experience and wonderful memories.

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.


borneo island

The province of Sabah, with its 140-million year old rainforests, is home to three terrestrial and three marine natural parks. If you enjoy being surrounded by lush greenery and a wide range of flora and fauna, then Borneo is one destination that you just cannot afford to ignore.



summit of mount kinabalu

Make sure a visit to Kinabalu Park is on your list of things to do in Borneo. 4500 species, forest trails, hill treks to Layang Layang, or an attempt to reach the summit of the Kinabalu peak, which is the 20th tallest peak in the world, are just some of the things you can do during your trip.




Instead of watching animals in artificial surroundings in zoos, the Sepilok's Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre allows you to enjoy the antics of orangutans in their natural settings. A boardwalk that winds through the jungle will allow you to roam around and take in the surroundings even as these primates entertain your family. You can also plan a night trek, which will help you check out exotic nocturnal animals in a natural and unregulated environment.



river cruise

If you are not very enthusiastic about long hikes, treks, or mounting climbing expeditions, then you can opt for an open boat ride on the Kinabatangan River, the longest in the province. Monkeys, river sharks, Pygmy elephants, hornbills, eagles, and kingfishers are just some of the animals and birds you can observe during the boat ride.



tunku abdul rahman park

The TAR marine park is a great place for scuba diving, snorkeling and other aquatic sports. The Sipadan Island, one of the top diving sites in the world, is in so much demand that only around 120 permits are issued by the government to minimize damage to the natural beauty of the Island.

Want to relax after a day filled with diving, snorkeling, and underwater frolic? You can relax at the Poring hot springs, which are said to have healing properties due to the sulfuric minerals dissolved in the water. Of course, relaxing in these natural hot springs can be a fun experience even if you are perfectly healthy. Make sure you carry waterproof cameras for clicking selfies at this offbeat attraction.



pulau tiga

There are many fun things to do in Borneo even if you are not very enthusiastic about forests, flora, and fauna. After treks, hikes, and diving expeditions, you can unwind by opting for a romantic interlude at the Mataking Island, a veritable paradise with clean sandy beaches and cool blue waters.

If you loved the Survivors show, then you must visit the Pilau Tiga Island where the first edition of the show was filmed. Try your hand at surviving the rigors of living in an isolated island without any modern comforts. Alternatively, you can simply visit the various places that were highlighted on the show and get back to your hotel room to enjoy the reminder of your stay in comfort.




A good holiday should go beyond fun and entertainment and enrich your life by giving you a peek into the culture of your destination. Covered with rainforests, Borneo has developed its own culture and heritage, which is an added attraction for those who want their children to learn more about the immense diversity of the human race during the holidays.

You can peek into the living style of the Iban tribe by taking a long boat to Nanga Delok. Go back in time and live with a race that is at complete harmony with nature and its surroundings. Communal houses, a lifestyle where the jungle provides for all essentials and luxuries, and simple yet delightful dishes cooked using traditional methods - there is so much to learn from the uncomplicated habits of the Iban tribe.

Thankfully, you can enjoy access to basic amenities like shelter and electricity even as you learn more about the harmonious balance that the tribe has established with its surroundings.




In a world where a swipe on a touchscreen is enough to identify your location through GPS, there are spots on the planet that remain untainted by human contact. The Maliau Basin in Borneo Island is one such place where less than 2000 people have actually entered the rim of the basin.

Described as Sabah's lost world, a trip to the Basin will definitely form the highlight of your Malaysian vacation. The best thing about this destination is that you can plan your trip to ensure you return to civilization by the end of the day without any hassles. Or, you can plan an overnight stay and enjoy a night trek into an area that continues to toss out new surprises at regular intervals.



Unlike other destinations that offer a restricted set of attractions, a list of things to do in Borneo strikes the right balance between exploration, relaxation, modern tourism, cultural education, adventure sports, and romantic getaways. Whether visiting for your honeymoon, taking a family vacation, or embarking on a trip with your friends, spending time in Borneo will be an enriching experience that will allow you to create unforgettable memories.

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