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Borneo is a breath-taking country of unspoilt nature, secluded beaches, and diverse cultures blended together to create a vibrant mix...

a monkey sitting on a branch

Borneo is a breath-taking country of unspoilt nature, secluded beaches, and diverse cultures blended together to create a vibrant mix of customs, verdant landscapes teeming with rare wildlife experiences. To explore this rich and bio-diverse country, use Gaya Island Resort as your authentic hideaway and base from which to explore.

When to visit Borneo

Borneo is the third largest island in the world. It’s divided among three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak in the north account for around 26% of the island.

Getting there is accessed via Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore via Kota Kinabalu Airport. The best times to visit the lush countryside of Borneo is the dry season from May to September.


Borneo has the third largest rainforest on Earth and is home to over 200 species of mammals, and 600 species of birds, plus and 150 reptilian and amphibian species. Its vast variety of plant species 5,000 are found only in this country. If you’re a nature-lover, this is the bio-diverse region will be near the top of your travel wish-lists. Featuring sun bears and mouse deer, pygmy elephants and clouded leopards, it offers some of the greatest animal viewing opportunities in the world.

Mount Kinabalu rises to a height of 4,095ft above the surrounding dense national park, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The two-day ascent is a popular challenge for those who desire to reach the summit and witness the sunrise.

The culture of Borneo

We suggest you tour Borneo to experience the magic of visiting a Sarawak Longhouse, and to experience some friendly Dayak hospitality, and experience how entire villages live under one roof. The locals are very hospitable and love to hold cultural performances and colourful rituals that you may be expected to join in; that’s all part of the joy of visiting this incredible island.

Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary

One of the stand-out experiences of visiting Borneo is getting close to the orang-utan. As spotting these great apes is becoming increasingly difficult, we suggest you visit the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary, founded in 1964, to rehabilitate, conserve and protect this rare species.

However, if you are keen to track these beautiful creatures in the wild, then Gaya Island Resort should be your perfect base, particularly in June, in the rainforests of Sabah when orang-utans become braver in their search for juicy fruit to eat.

Gaya Island Resort

At Gaya Island Resort you’ll enjoy direct ocean views over to Mount Kinabalu, to watch both sunrise and sunset without the need for a pair of climbing boots. There’s also magnificent diving to be experienced in the warm surrounding waters, particularly if you visit during July and August, when visibility is better.

Hotel grounds

Accessible only by boat, Gaya Island Resort is a stunning hotel, is set within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, a group of 5 islands located off Kota Kinabalu, each with fringing coral reefs. The resort offers guests the ability to stay amid Sabahan inspired villas and suites. Surrounded by nature trails including undisturbed mixed dipterocarp forest found only on Gaya Island, it is also and perfect for adventures below the waves including snorkelling and diving.

It’s worth noting that the Gaya Island Marine Centre is committed to three pillars of conservation, turtle rescue, coral restoration and conservation through education. Above the waves, complete your day with a cruise onboard a luxury yacht, sipping sundowners while the sun sets over this tropical scene.

There’s a Spa Village, in which to unwind after your rainforest tour or just to be pampered on outdoor decks or within one of six treatment rooms. Meanwhile, there’s a 40 metre pool to practise your front crawl or to laze in one of the floating cabanas, sheltering the in the shade with a cocktail or two.

Gaya Island Wildlife Centre

Eco-friendly, this hidden gem of a resort also offers glimpses of the rare Proboscis monkey and other exotic animals within its wildlife centre, while resident naturalists and marines biologists are on hand to help you learn about the wonderful ecology of Borneo. Look up, and you may be lucky enough to witness red giant flying squirrels gliding from tree to tree, or fireflies (Pteroptyx) buzzing around your guest suite.

Written by: Clive Wedderburn
Posted in: Into the wild

Borneo inspiration

For more exciting destination ideas, browse these Borneo pages and start planning your next adventure.

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