Latest Travel SOPs to Malaysia and Sabah, Borneo

To get the latest update on the travel requirement and SOPs, please check out this page

General Information

Borneo is a tropical paradise that attracts visitors all year-round. Sabah is commonly known as The Land Below The Wind due to its strategic location just beneath the typhoon belt and is protected from cyclones. Borneo has two types of seasons: the dry season, which starts from March to September; and the wet season, which lasts from October to February. That said, these seasonal periods are becoming less distinct and there is no significant division between the two. You can expect sunshine in the morning and rain in the afternoon or evening, which generally last a few minutes to hours. There’s no such thing as bad weather in Borneo, only pure excitement and adventure!
This is a good question for your cell phone service provider. You’ll want to check with your service provider regarding international coverage and make sure you understand exactly what you’ll be charged for making calls and, if you have a smart phone, for using data (email/internet). Another option is to buy a local SIM card once you are in Borneo if you do have an unlocked phone.
Borneo is in the Malaysia Time Zone (MYT), or UTC+08:00

Yes. Borneo in general is a safe destination with relatively low crime rates. Visitors should exercise the usual precautions – not walking alone at night, not leaving valuables such as cameras and smart phones on display, using registered and licensed taxis and many more. For the latest safety and security information, please see your government’s travel advice, Sabah Tourism Board’s Advisory and our Travel Advisory.

Borneo has an equatorial climate, which means it is generally hot and sunny all year with a relative humidity of around 80%. The average temperature in the lowlands is 32°C, while in the highlands it is around 21°C. Temperatures remain stable throughout the year, giving the climate a sense of uniformity on a day-to-day basis.

To enter Malaysia, a passport or internationally recognised travel document must be VALID for more than SIX (6) months from date of entry.

Visitors from most countries are not required to obtain a visa and receive an immigration stamp upon arrival at the airport or other entry points. Nationals of Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America and Other European Union are EXEMPTED from obtaining visa for visits NOT exceeding 90 Days (3 Months).

To find out more which countries have visa-free entry and the length of stay allowed, please visit the Immigration Department of Malaysia website.

The Malaysian Ringgit (RM) is the official currency. It’s a good idea to arrive in Borneo with the local currency RM as that is generally accepted here. However if you only have US dollars with you, you can exchange this easily as all money changers accept any major currency, so you’d be fine with US dollars, Euros, sterling, etc. You can also order Ringgit from your bank before you travel. Note that torn and old US dollar notes are not generally accepted in Borneo. Make sure to bring crisp, untorn and unmarked bills with you for exchange. Upon arrival, you should plan to exchange your money at bank for good exchange rates.

Banks in Borneo are linked to networks such as PLUS, Maestro, Cirrus and many more. You can withdraw cash at local ATMs 24 hours a day. ATMs are readily available in the city, major shopping malls, airports and some rural towns.

For safety reasons, DO NOT go to the bank alone. Please bring a friend along with you. Always be alert of your surroundings and on the lookout for snatch thieves and other suspicious people/activity around you.

Yes. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are widely accepted in shopping malls, hotels, resorts and when eating out in modern restaurants. Retail outlets often have a RM20 – RM50 minimum charge for paying with a credit card and levy a 2-3% fee for using a credit card.

However, ALWAYS be ready with Cash as some stores, restaurants or establishments DO NOT accept credit cards as a mode of payment.

Please visit this to know about Malaysia’s public holidays. Our reservation office is closed only on Public Holidays observed by the State of Sabah. Our tours will operate as usual.

The electricity supply is 230/240 volts at 50/60 hertz. The 3-pin electrical sockets used in Borneo are similar to those used in Britain.

You’ll find a lot of squat-style toilets in Borneo, particularly in public bathrooms. Western-style seated toilets are the norm in hotels and guesthouses. You may be expected to flush using water from a plastic bucket. Toilet paper is often unavailable in public toilets, so keep a stash handy. In urban areas you can usually discard used toilet paper into the bowl without causing clogging, but if there is a wastepaper basket – as there often is in rural toilets – it’s meant to be used.

Tourism Tax (TTx)

Effective 1st September 2017, foreign tourists will be charged a flat rate of RM10 per room per night for all Tourism Tax (TTx) registered hotel classifications in Malaysia. The Tourism Tax Bill was passed in April 2017.
The TTx is collected by your hotel/lodge upon your arrival

Before Travelling to Borneo

Yes. Please inform our tour consultants at the time of booking of any food requirements or allergies and we’ll make the necessary arrangements.
Yes. Starting from 1st April 2022, all short-term foreign visitors are required to have COVID-19 travel insurance for their COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Malaysia, with a minimum coverage of US$20,000. This applies to all short-term foreign visitors regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination or recovery status. Also, due to the nature of some tours (e.g. adventure trekking, hiking, mountain climbing etc.), we recommend you select a travel insurance policy that covers not only your medical expenses (including emergency repatriation) but also personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage. Doing so can prevent major disruptions and additional costs.
In addition to Covid-19 vaccinations, and other routine vaccinations (i.e. measles/mumps/rubella/tetanus etc.), we recommend vaccines such as Typhoid (food & water borne diseases), Hepatitis A (food and water borne diseases) and Hepatitis B (liver infections).

Please refer to our Health & Safety page for further details about vaccines and other health related topics.

Cases of Malaria commonly occur in rural and undeveloped areas in Borneo, and it is very rare in towns and cities. However, it is advisable to take them as a health precaution.

Please refer to our Health & Safety page for further details about vaccines and other health related topics.

Most of our tours INCLUDE airport transfers. Please provide your arrival/departure details at the time of booking. Transfer arrangements will not be provided for bookings with inaccurate or missing arrival/departure information. For all land transfers, we will make all the necessary arrangement in advance.

However, there are some tours that DO NOT include airport transfers and so we recommend you arrange a taxi on arrival/departure. If you would prefer a pre-arranged transfer, please contact us for more information.

Please note that airport transfers vary according to package type and arrival/departure date.

There are different clothing, footwear and gear that you must bring along during your trip to Borneo and it really depends on the tour that you are taking on and places you will be visiting.

You can check out our Things To Bring for more details about what you should bring with you for your Borneo trip.

Before I Book

In the recent years, there has been a rise in the number of illegal tour operators and tour guides in Borneo. However, you can rest assured that Borneo Eco Tours is a LICENSED tour operator in Borneo (License Number: KKKP2277). All of our tour guides are certified with a GOLD badge. Our boats (Small Ship License) and vehicles (Bas Persiaran Permit) are also licensed and insured. All licenses are authorised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.

Absolutely. Our tours tend to attract a great mix of solo travelers, families, friends, etc. we can often match you up with another group traveling on the tours so long as it lines up with your dates and tour availability

A solo traveller is charged with a single supplement which is a premium charge in order for him/her to have a room all to his or herself. Nearly every hotel and tours are based on double occupancy, which is why solo travellers will need to pay the single supplement rate. This is to compensate the hotel for losses incurred as only a single person is using the room and service.

Please take note that our bookings require a minimum number of 2 adults simply because the prices of room, transfers and day tours are quoted based on twin sharing, and in order to cover the extra cost that is meant for 2 adults, an additional charge of 100% is applicable for a single traveller.

However, this premium charge can be avoided if you bring another travelling companion with you during your travels.

YES. Please write to us to arrange your preferred departure dates for a minimum of two travelers subject to availability of guide accommodation guides. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.

Yes, we offer discount for children, but only for some of the published tours up on our website. The special rate given depends of the child's age (based on their BIRTH YEAR, not birth month) and also on the type of service that's being offered.

The following discounts apply to tours to Sukau Rainforest Lodge ONLY:

  • Children age 3 and below - Free
  • Children aged 4 to 12 may share a room with ONE adult - 25% discount
  • Children aged 4 to 12 may share a room with TWO adult - 50% discount
  • Children aged 13 and above pay full price.

Contact our tour consultant for further information.

Most hotels have private baths, hot water and clean, comfortable rooms except in instances like Laban Rata climbing hut on Mount Kinabalu or rural-family run guesthouses. We also strive to use charming accommodations that are locally owned and characteristic of that area.

YES. Simply get in touch with our tour consultant to make necessary arrangement at

Generally we do last minute booking but this highly dependent on tour availability. To put your mind at ease we suggest that you pre-book at least two weeks in advance for tours that involve accommodation.

Absolutely. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.

This can be done by emailing us directly. If you wish to have a combination of several tours, mention this in your enquiry and we will arrange a tailored itinerary to fit your interests.

This can be done, however Do take note of our terms and conditions as several conditions do apply shall amendment or postponement occur. This is because we have prearranged fees and payment in order to secure your reservation. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.

All of our tours are conducted daily including weekends and public holidays unless stated otherwise. All tours must be pre-booked in advance to secure preferred travel dates and accommodation.

It may take some time to make all the necessary arrangements for a tour package, as our tour consultants must reserve each service individually with our suppliers and personalise your itinerary accordingly.

Due to the limited number of accommodation during the peak travel periods and festivals, we recommend that you book our tours 6 months to a year in advance.

If you are requiring very specific dates for your holiday, we highly recommend that you book 12 months in advance.

As much as possible, we will try to control the group size so that it will not be too overcrowded. However, it is challenging especially during peak seasons.

Additionally, we have no control over the number of tourist visiting to the tourist attraction area, for example Selingan Island (Turtle Island), Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Gomantong cave etc. Nonetheless, the rangers and guides will always make sure that there is a rotation so that all guests will have the chance to see the animals, or egg laying process in turtle island.

Please note that our group size may follow our vehicle size. For Sandakan we have 8, 14, 17, 25 and 32 Seaters vehicle. As for the trip to Sukau, we carry a maximum of 12 persons on our speedboats, and 8, 16 and 25 seaters boat for our river cruise in Sukau Rainforest Lodge (SRL). In Kota Kinabalu, we have 8 & 25 seaters vehicle. Our tours is with 1 guide and 1 captain.

All of our tour packages and services are priced in Malaysian Ringgit (RM/MYR).

Unless otherwise stated, the following refund policy applies:

Accommodation: A 100% NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT of the total accommodation cost is required to confirm reservation of accommodation at Sabah Park/National Park i.e. Selingan island chalet, Kinabalu Park accommodation, Laban Rata Resthouse, Poring Hot Springs accommodation and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park accommodation.

Tours: Hotel, carriers, restaurants and service contractors will impose cancellation fees depending on the circumstances of the cancellation.

Such cancellation fee(s) may vary upon Third Party Suppliers or other suppliers’ conditions. If you cancel any Product (including any element of a Package) you may incur cancellation charges from the Third Party Providers supplying the cancelled Travel Product and you agree to indemnify Borneo Eco Tours (and any related parties) for any fees or charges incurred by them in relation to your cancellation.

A cancellation will only be effective when we receive written confirmation of the cancellation.

Please be informed that our refund process will take about 14-30 working days.

Unfortunately full payment MUST be paid for all confirmed tour packages.

Borneo Eco Tours is a low impact tour company with our own in-house "green policies" and Code of Practice. An in-house Green Force team was set up to monitor our green practices. These include supporting hotels and restaurants that respect the environment, support ecotourism education and employ guides who are well versed in local cultures and the environment.

We are ecotourism pioneers in helping local communities in Sabah through our non-profit organisation, Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society. Projects include medical camps, supply of water tanks, and providing assistance to produce and promote Virgin Coconut oil and building capacity through developing community based ecotourism CBET projects and training.

We DO NOT arrange international flights to or from our destinations, however upon request, we can help you book domestic flights based on your tour itinerary. Please visit our Flights Info page for more information.

There are no available guidelines on type of luggage at this moment. However you are advised to travel light especially if you are travelling to Sukau and Islands in the West coast. For travel to Selingan Island, guests are advised to bring the suitable luggage for short overnight stay.

YES, most of our tour packages include airport transfer (pick-up and drop off). Please consult us through email on your arrival/departure time so we could make the necessary arrangement for you.

Our tour guides can easily be identified as they are wearing Borneo Eco Tours uniform with our logo while holding a placard bearing your name.

Yes. You must call us to change your pick-up location. We cannot process last minute pick-up changes online, so please call our hotline at +6088 438 300 if you would like to change your pick-up location

Please note that all pick-up locations and phone numbers are listed in your tour itinerary and pre-travel notes, which are sent to you via email.

Our tours utilize vans/coach to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area.

Our tour leaders have outstanding performances. They are fluent in English and Malay, and often able to speak other native dialects as well. Our tour guides holds official guide license after fulfilling a government training program.

Click HERE to get to know our tour guides

We are OPEN from Monday to Friday – 8AM to 6PM; Saturday – 8AM to 12PM (GMT +08); and CLOSED on Sunday and Public Holidays.

You can contact us via:

  • Phone: +6088 438 300 (Monday to Friday – 8AM to 6PM; Saturday – 8AM to 1PM, GMT +08).
  • Email:, and
  • Skype ID: borneoecotours

Please click here for more contact information.

Borneo is blessed with a vast array of bird habitats and the best time to visit our feathery friends is from March to October! Find out more about our birding tours here.

Most of our tours are suitable for all ages. You can refer to the Physical Level of each tour, which are indicated with 1 (Easy); 2 (Medium); and 3 (Strenuous). Strict adult supervision is required at all times to ensure the safety of children throughout the tour.

Most of our tours are family friendly, so there are no age limits. Do take note that some of our adventure/trekking tours are of strenuous level and requires a certain level of fitness. Please refer to the Physical Level of each tour, which are indicated wit 1 (Easy), 2 (Medium); and 3 (Strenuous). Strict adult supervision is required at all time to ensure the safety of children throughout the tour.

Please refer to the Physical Level of each tour, which are indicated wit 1 (Easy), 2 (Medium); and 3 (Strenuous).

While On Tour

Tips are NOT included in the tour and package price. Tipping is not mandatory in Borneo but will be greatly appreciated by the guides and captains.

Our guests often ask us whether or not they should tip their guides and captains. You can use tipping to reward exceptional service, particularly for those who go the extra mile and work beyond the normal eight hours day. This will encourage those providing the service to continue doing so for you and others.

For general guidance, you can tip your guide and captain RM10 – 20 ($3 – 5) per person per day. For Specialist Guides, you can double the tipping amount to RM20 – 40 ($5 – 10) per person per day DEPENDING on the expertise, level and quality of service provided.

You can also show appreciation by leaving a TripAdvisor or Google+ review and naming your guide and captain OR fill in a feedback form at the end of the tour or via email (sent to you after the tour).

We strongly advise you NOT to drink tap water in Borneo unless it is boiled. However, tap water is safe for cleaning teeth and personal hygiene. In our efforts to reduce waste in Borneo, we highly recommend that you bring your own water bottle to refill along the way.

Our tours are INCLUSIVE of:

  • Van, coach or boat transport – and occasionally other forms of transport – as detailed in each specific itinerary
  • Accommodation and meals as detailed in each specific itinerary – included Breakfasts are indicated with a (B), included Lunches with a (L), included Packed Lunches with a (PL), and included Dinners with a (D).
  • Transfers as specified in each itinerary
  • Entrance fees as specified in each itinerary
  • English speaking guide
  • Our commitment to corporate social responsibility – for every tour that you purchase from us, Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge will contribute RM8.00 per guest and RM4.00 for every international guest who stays at the lodge to our non-profit organisation, BEST Society to carry out various community and environmental projects.

Our tours are NOT INCLUSIVE of: :

  • Tipping
  • Airport and other transfers that are not specified in each itinerary
  • Domestic flights (upon request)
  • Some meals that are not specified in each itinerary
  • Optional excursions and sightseeing
  • Travel visas
  • Camera fees
  • Personal expense money
  • Travel insurance and medical fees
  • Other items that are not mentioned in each itinerary

No, we do not provide bottled water during the tours. However, we encourage guests to bring their own water bottles during the tour. A water dispenser available in all our vehicles so that guests can refill their water bottles anytime for free.

We are moving towards a single-use plastic free environment. Please join us in this movement by bringing along your own water bottle.

If you wish to store your luggage, you can simply drop off your luggage at our Sandakan office or jetty. Please kindly inform in advance shall you wish to store your luggage.

Food in Borneo is not one particular kind of food, but instead a unique culinary spectrum of tastes and textures. Borneo has plenty of simple yet delicious dishes, which are mainly pickled or preserved. The staple food in the interior areas include rice, noodle, fish, meat, local vegetable dishes and fresh fruits. In the city, you can easily find restaurants catering to different tastes such as Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Korean, Indian, Western and many more. Fresh seafood is the most popular menu selection and it is widely available in the city.

YES, but because we work as a team, please be in touch with our tour consultant team in advance, so arrangement can be made with our operation team.

Your guide is a great resource for free time options. If you wish to have free-time activities arranged in advance, please contact us directly through email.

Please be advised that smoking is STRICTLY PROHIBITED during all tour.

During an emergency you may contact us via our 24 hours hotlines :

088-438300 or 019-881 4008

All major towns in Borneo have internet access. Coverage and speeds in rural areas are patchy. Restaurants, cafes and fast food joints often have Free Wi-Fi. There are some hotels in Borneo that still charge a fee for in-room internet access. However, internet access is often free in hotel lobbies and certain public areas. Sukau Rainforest Lodge has free lounge and in-room Wi-Fi for all guests. Internet speeds in Borneo are generally slow to medium.

Personal Data Protection & Privacy

We will collect personal data such as general information which includes your name, gender, age, date of birth and occupation, as well as any other information for identity verification.

You may refer to our Privacy Policy for a more detailed list of the personal data that we collect.

Please be informed that your Personal Data will not be kept longer than necessary, which means that we will retain them until we have no more use for it.

Please click here to find out more

If you do not provide us with the necessary personal information or data that we require, we will not be able to proceed to give you the services that you requested for. This in turn, will also affect the transaction process of your booking with us.

Please click here for further information.

Your Personal Data will be stored in protected databases at addresses that are secure. This is to prevent unauthorised access, which are also protected by encryption mechanism, firewalls as well as passwords. However, data that is transmitted over the internet cannot be guaranteed to be fully secured. So please be very cautious when you transmit your Personal Data over the Internet.

Please click here for further information.

Cancellation Policies

Please contact your Tour Consultant as soon as possible if you wish to change or cancel your booking. Any cancellation requests must be submitted to us in writing via email. We regret that we are unable to issue a full refund for cancellations. Please refer to our Cancellations Policy to know more.

Unless otherwise stated, the following cancellation policy applies :

Accommodation: A 100% NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT of the total accommodation cost is required to confirm reservation of accommodation at Sabah Park/National Park i.e. Selingan island chalet, Kinabalu Park accommodation, Laban Rata Resthouse, Poring Hot Springs accommodation and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park accommodation. A fee will be imposed if any amendment, cancellation or number of person or room reduced is made after booking is confirmed.

Tours: Hotels, carriers, restaurants and services contractors, will impose cancellation fees depending on the circumstances of the cancellation. The following Cancellation Fees will be charged to you through Borneo Eco Tours Sdn. Bhd. and the remainder will be refunded.

  • More than 31 days prior to arrival: 10% cancellation fee of the total package price
  • Less than 30 days prior to arrival: 50% cancellation fee of the total package price
  • Less than 14 days prior to arrival: 100% cancellation fee of the total package price

Such cancellation fee(s) may vary upon Third Party Suppliers or other suppliers’ conditions. If you cancel any Product (including any element of a Package) you may incur cancellation charges from the Third Party Providers supplying the cancelled Travel Product and you agree to indemnify Borneo Eco Tours (and any related parties) for any fees or charges incurred by them in relation to your cancellation.

Please be informed that our refund process will take about 14-30 working days.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances, you can postpone your trip to a later date. The remaining amount of your total package cost AFTER DEDUCTING the Cancellation Fees will be held under our 12-Months Flexi Travel Program. Please visit this page for more info.

Making Payments

Payment for Borneo Eco Tours and any of its subsidiary companies can be made following the steps below:

Once your tour is confirmed, your assigned Tour Consultant will email you a link for you to proceed with the online payment. You will go through the steps below:

  1. Login to your email account and click on the link given by your Tour Consultant. You will then be directed to a payment page.
  2. Go through the payment process by providing your credit card details. The payment gateway is secured, and we will not store any payment details from our side.
  3. Once the transaction is successful, a confirmation email will be sent to your email and your Tour Consultant will be automatically informed.
  4. Full payment is required for all confirmed tour package. Failing to do so will result in the cancellation of booking. We DO NOT accept cash payments.

We welcome Visa and Mastercard. Unfortunately, for now, we do not accept Amex.

Yes. You may contact your Tour Consultant. He/she will advise you on the process. Although Borneo Eco Tours will take all the security measure to ensure cardholder’s data are secured, we do not recommend payment made using other methods than what is recommended.

Further Question

If you have any other questions regarding our tours and your trip to Sabah, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to provide you with an answer.