Borneo Island Guide

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Borneo Island is one of the rare places on the Earth where the air is filled with a vibe of adventure, while the lush-green rainforests shelter the unique species of flora and fauna waiting to be explored. Being the third largest island in the world, the splendid surroundings of the island create a virtual paradise for the travelers who love adventure and nature.

So if you’re tired of the cliched mountains and beaches, then Borneo Island might be the next adventurous escape to discover the rare wildlife, unique Borneo Island beaches, and a gorgeous floating mosque. Hence, get scrolling down this handy guide on Borneo Island, and witness a completely different side of this Malaysian paradise.

Borneo Island Facts

Borneo Rainforest
  • Borneo Island is the third largest in the world, which is divided into four political regions namely, Kalimantan, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei
  • The island is spread across an area of roughly 2,87,000 square miles
  • This tropical island majorly has only wet and dry climate throughout the year
  • The island is home to around 200 ethnic groups which are also called Dayaks

Best Time To Visit Borneo Island

Borneo Island

The Borneo Island is a tropical region which has typically a hot and humid weather mostly throughout the year. Usually the monsoon hits the region during the months of November to January and Sarawak region receives an abundance of rainfall. However, the dry season arrives from May to October.

The showers of rain brings respite from the humid weather but it can be detering for the travelers looking out to experience adventurous activities. This weather also result in delay of flights, thus the dry season is best to experience adventure activities and to explore the swampy rainforests.

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Must Experiences In Borneo Island

Here are some of the top things to experience on a Borneo Island tour. Have a look.

1. Spend A Day With Wild Orangutans

Wild Orangutans

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After the Sumatra island, the Borneo island is the only place in the world which is a foster home for the endangered wild Orangutans. These creatures have taken shelter in the dense rainforests of the island and can be spotted while taking a river cruise along the Kinabatangan river. Apart from this the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre located at East Sabah is another popular place where one can spot these Orangutans.

Must Read: 10 Things To Do In Ipoh, The Malaysian Gem Far Away From The Crowds

2. Explore The Dense Rainforests

Dense Rainforests

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The Borneo island is a home to the lush-green dense rainforests which shelters numerous endangered and rare species of flora and fauna. Officially opened for the public in 2006, the Rainforest Discovery Centre gives a glimpse of wide array of plants, animals and insects found in the rainforest. In addition to this the tour takes on a journey to the well manicured botanical gardens, while the visitors can also experience the thrill of trekking amidst the rough trails of the jungles. Above all these, there is a web of canopy walks which help the visitors elevate from the dense forests to spot some rare species of birds.

3. Go Scuba Diving

Scuba Diving

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Just like the enchanting attractions on the land, the crystal clear water of Borneo island are welcoming too. Sabah is a paradise for the adventurous souls, as it boasts some of the most magnificent scuba diving sites. Enjoying a scuba diving experience at Borneo can be a huge hit to the budget, but it all makes worth with the sightings of the incredible underwater creatures like the green turtles, whales and hammerhead sharks.

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4. Trek Up To Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu

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Along with offering an incredible diving experience to its visitors, Sabah is also a home to Mount Kinabalu which is the tallest mountain in Malaysia. Resting at an altitude of 13,435ft above sea level, this is the most adventurous height to conquer for the enthusiastic trekkers.

Suggested Read: 18 Best Places To Visit In Malacca That Bring Out The Other Side Of Malaysia

5. The Wildlife At Kinabatangan River

Wildlife At Kinabatangan Rivera

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Meandering 560 kilometers around the lush-green forests of East-Sabah, the Kinabatangan River is the longest flowing river in Malaysia. Adorned with the picturesque view of dense rainforests, this region is also shelters numerous species of animals like the wild proboscis monkeys, hornbills and crocodiles. Hop on a river cruise and sail along the water to take a close glimpse of the wildlife living at the shores.

Suggested Read: 10 Best National Parks In Malaysia That Will Evoke Your Love For Nature & Wildlife

6. Capture The Sea Glow Of Tusan Cliff Beach

Tusan Cliff Beach

The Borneo island will leave you spellbound as you will witness once in a lifetime sight of the luminous water at the Tusan Cliff Beach. It is a matter of luck as the waterbed turns into blanket of colors due to a reaction done by bioluminescent organisms under certain weather conditions. So, only if you’re lucky enough you will be able to capture this mesmerizing view.

7. Spend A Night At The Real Survivor Island, Sabah

Semporna Laut Sunset Malaysia Mabul Island Sabah

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Live the reel life of the famous TV Series ‘Survivor’ for real by spending a night at Pulau Tiga, located in the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu. The travelers can land at this deserted island and enjoy the silence and isolation amidst the mud volcanoes and they can also go for snorkeling. Whereas the travelers on a strict budget can find a place to stay at Gaya Island Resort or Pulau Island Resort.

Suggested Read: 7 Invaluable Malaysia Travel Tips For First-time Visitors

8. Explore The Natural Caves At Niah National Park, Sarawak

Niah National Park_22th oct

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Just a few hours away from Miri rests the Niah National Park which famed to be having numerous natural caves within its boundaries. Claimed to be the location of Asia’s oldest archeological sites, from where discoverers have excruciate bones believed to be 40,000 years old. Despite being ages-old, these caves create a mystical sight to be witnessed amidst the lush green forests.

9. Watch An Exotic Sunset At Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Sunset At Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

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Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah island is the most exotic place in Borneo Island as it takes the traveler on a journey to experience an exotic sunset over a floating mosque. Along with this, there is a coastline stretching along the Likas Bay. This place is the first resort for every traveler while on the island and the mesmerizing things to do within its boundaries makes this place worth a visit.

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10. Brunei


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Despite being the least visited country, the experience Brunei holds is incomparable to anything. Starting from the floating mosque of Omar Ali Saifuddin, stilted Kampong (village) Ayer and the Royal Regalia Museum which boasts Sultan’s opulent displays the city has everything to make it worth a visit.

Accomodations At Borneo Island

Here are some of the resorts where one can stay on a Borneo Island trip. Have a look at some of the nice options on the island of Borneo.

1. Sunborneo Island Resort

Sunborneo Island Resort

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On the lap of serene surroundings of the island, rests this island resort which gives a relaxing stay experience amidst nature’s wilderness. Equipped with basic amenities, this place is just 15 kilometers away from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport which is covered by a private jetty.

Rating: 4.3/5
Tariff: INR 11,500 onwards (On double sharing basis)
Location: KM22, Papar Road, Kg. Laut Kinarut,, 88200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

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2. Gaya Island Resort

Gaya Island Resort

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Wake up to the view of pristine coast of the Malohom Bay and enclosed mangroves while enjoying a stay at the Gaya Island Resort. Resting at an island protected by the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, this resort takes on a journey to live an authentic experience in nature’s den.

Rating: 4.5/5
Tariff: INR 32,000 onwards (On double sharing basis)
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

3. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort

Shangri La Resort

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Enjoy the surreal view of the sun rising over Mount Kinabulu and the serenity in the atmosphere as the dawn sets in the sky sitting at the porch of this 5-star hotel. Along with a room adorned with local Malaysian theme, the place ensures that its visitors build the most memorable moments while staying at this luxurious resort.

Rating: 4.7/5
Tariff: INR 15,000 onwards (On Double Sharing Basis)
Location: Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club, 89208 Tuaran, Sabah, Malaysia

How To Reach Borneo Island

How to reach Borneo Island

These are some of the best and convenient ways to take Borneo Island tour.

By Air: The Borneo Island and its three nations are well-connected with other countries by air. The international airports connecting to Borneo island are Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Kuching International Airport-Sarawak, Sepinggan International Airport-Balikpapan, Syamsudin Noor Airport-Banjarmasin, Supadio Airport- Pontianak.

By Road: For the people avoiding the air and waterways, there are AC express buses which is an economical choice which runs within the island and also connects to the neighboring states.

By Water: There are ferry boats which connects the Borneo island to the Labuan island, Brunei, KK, Limbang, and East Kalimantan. Along with this, there are public express boats to cover distances till Rejang river or from Kuching East to Sibu.

Borneo Island Map


Further Read: Best Hotels In Malaysia: For Those Who Love Living Life To The Fullest

So if exploring the rainforests and spending a vacation amidst the splendours of nature is in your travel bucketlist, then pack your bags and book the best Malaysia holiday package from Travel Triangle and don’t forget to spend few days at this Malay Archipelago!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Borneo Island

Which country is Borneo in?

Borneo is a part of three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Is Borneo part of Malaysia or Indonesia?

Borneo politically is a part of both Indonesia and Malaysia.

Is Borneo expensive to visit?

It is more expensive to visit Borneo than any other places to visit in South East Asia but that does not mean you cannot plan a budget trip to Borneo. You will require at least INR 3000 to sustain every day.

Is Borneo safe for tourists?

Borneo Island is a safe destination with a low crime rate. Know more about this island here.

Is Borneo worth visiting?

Yes, definitely. Borneo Island is one of the most beautiful places on earth with bountiful nature. You will get to explore the picturesque waterfalls, sandy beaches, idyllic islands, and lush green forests.

What vaccinations do I need for Borneo?

Here are some of the vaccines that are mandatory for all the travelers planning to travel to Borneo for a vacation:
1. Tetanus
2. Hepatitis A
3. Typhoid

What is the best time to go to Borneo?

The best time to visit Borneo is from March to October. Even though it remains hot and humid in Borneo throughout the year, March to October is a dry season on the island. So, you will be able to enjoy watersports and other outdoor activities without any hassle.

Can you drink tap water in Borneo?

No, it is not suggested to drink tap water in Borneo unless you have verified it is safe. If you are in Sabah, Brunei, and Sarawak, then it might be safe as these places have modern water treatment plant but don’t take our word.

Which currency is used in Borneo?

Indonesian Rupiah is acceptable in Borneo and so are Malaysian Ringgit and Brunei dollars since it is a part of all the three islands.

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