Reasons to Visit
Simply grab your snorkelling gear and jump in to the warm turquoise waters awash with life! Coral reefs, turtles and brightly coloured fish can be seen all over the east coast. For keener divers, several islands off the east coast are considered amongst the world's best locations.
The times of headhunting in Borneo are behind us now but even up until the 1960's this was common practice in the interior of the country. Today you can still visit the riverside tribal longhouses and enjoy a glass of rice wine with the elders of the village.
Critically endangered, orang-utan are now found on only two islands in the world, Borneo being one of them. There are three main areas where you can see these fantastic creatures: the Kinabatangan River, the Danum Valley and the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia, is top of many people's list when they come to Borneo. The five day Headhunters Trail takes you through longhouses and forest camps. In Maliau Basin you can experience a unique Lost World rarely visited by anyone other than researchers. In Danum Valley you can explore the jungle on the look out for wildlife.
Taking a boat through the jungles of Borneo gives you an amazing opportunity for a close-up view of pygmy elephants, proboscis monkey, crocodile and dozens of bird species, such as native hornbills. If you prefer to explore by land then you can trek through pristine rainforests on the look out for monkeys swinging through the trees - and of course there are orang-utan.
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Orang ulu lady with tattoos, Sarawak
Critically endangered, with a population as low as around 15,000 today, orang-utan are found wild on only two islands in the world: Borneo and Sumatra. For anyone planning an orang-utan spotting holiday, the first question is which country to choose?
Spend time in an Iban's tribal longhouse and visit endangered orang-utan of Borneo's Sabah and Sarawak regions.
The cultural village is around an hour from the city, close to Damai beach. It has examples of traditional dwellings built by different peoples of Sarawak- in this case Orang Ulu, Bidayuh, Iban and Melanau- as well as Malay and Chinese houses.
Guests will journey up one of the smaller tributaries of the Kinabatangan River such as the Menangol River. Wildlife abounds in this part of Borneo, and you may see chattering monkeys and many species of birds.
Borneo’s sheer, jagged valleys shelter a rich variety of creatures, such as elephants, proboscis monkeys and, of course, orang-utan. Among them, tribes still practice ancient ways of life in harmony with their pristine surroundings, and lazy rivers snake through the jungle past stunning caves, before finding the South China Sea at idyllic beaches.
13 Days from £2,145pp
A 13 day trip exploring the highlights of western Sarawak including the riverside city of Kuching; Iban tribes bordering Kalimantan; Semenggok orang-utan centre and the beaches of the Damai Peninsula.
14 Days from £2,675pp
Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo combine easily together. On this trip, you can take in some of the wildlife and culture of Borneo along with a stay in a beautiful beach property on Tioman Island in Peninsular Malaysia.
15 Days from £2,825pp
This is a great trip for those wanting to get off the beaten track. A mix of history, culture, wildlife and jungle, there is also plenty of trekking to be done for the more active traveller. Starting in the colonial city of Kuching, you will then be thrown into the heart of the jungle and the legendary ‘Headhunter’ territory before relaxing on a beautiful island for a well earned rest!
15 hours (Kuching, via Singapore)
Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines & Singapore Airlines
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
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Further reading:When to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout BorneoCountry Guides
Other countries in Southeast Asia:BurmaCambodiaIndonesiaLaosMalaysiaPapua New GuineaThailandThe PhilippinesVietnam
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