Holidays in Borneo take you to some of the world’s most unusual wildlife and rich jungle-like rainforests. Here, you’ll discover UNESCO World Heritage sites, fascinating wildlife and wonderful marine life. If you want to lie back and soak in the Malaysian sun, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Unwind among astonishingly bright blue waters and glistening white sand beaches.
Borneo is home to some of the world’s most interesting and biodiverse wildlife. In the jungle-like rainforests, you may be able to find orangutans living, playing, eating and blowing raspberries and hooting at each other throughout the day. A lesser-spotted but equally fascinating animal is the nocturnal sun bear - they’re the smallest bears in the world and you won’t find them anywhere else. Get stuck in and make a difference at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where you can help care for the bears threatened by hunting and poaching.
Holidays in Borneo: a mix of eclectic wildlife
Borneo holidays are ideal if you are a wildlife lover. As well as orangutans and sun bears, in the Eastern Sabah, you may catch a glimpse of what might be Borneo’s most unusual animal, the proboscis monkey. There are only 1,000 of them in the wild – you can spot these mischievous monkeys by their unmistakable reddish-brown skin, unusually wide and long nose, and big pot bellies. Although they’re known to roam around the entire province, visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary for the best close up views. Keep a keen eye out for the mouse deer, these shy little animals are as adorable as they sound, with the world’s smallest hooves, big brown eyes, and standing ears.
Visiting Borneo takes you to one of the world’s most prominent peaks. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Kinabalu soars over 4,000 metres above sea level and is a favourite among adventurers and explorers. Book an exciting two day climb up Mount Kinabalu and discover fascinating ecosystems and habitats on the way - you’ll pass the Sabah rainforest, Montane grasslands, and alpine meadows before the triumph of reaching the mountaintop. The climb might be tough but you’ll capture some of the most beautiful sights of biodiverse Borneo. The mountain is home to more than 100 mammal species, over 5,000 types of plants, and over 300 different bird species.
The eclectic and rare wildlife in Borneo doesn’t stop there - the Danum Valley Conservation Area is home to a startling spectrum of creatures. You might spot tarsiers, orangutans, bearded pigs, flying squirrels, sambar deer, king cobra, red leaf monkeys, gibbons and pygmy elephants all in this area of central Sabah. Scientists are discovering new species of plants every week - the ecosystem here is phenomenal. Explore this jungle fortress to the sounds of the gibbon’s chorus, the cricket’s chirp and the raspberry-blowing from the cheeky orangutans swinging from tree to tree.
A holiday in Borneo wouldn’t be complete without exploring some of the best diving sites in the world. Beneath the striking sapphire waters of the less-crowded Lankayan Island awaits an explosive variety of marine life. Snorkel and discover over 3,000 species of marine life, including the rare jawfish.
Holidays in Borneo are full of fascinating wildlife and biodiversity, perfect for adventurers, nature lovers and solo travellers alike.
Great sample itineraries
Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for Borneo holidays, from wildlife tours of Borneo to multi-centre holidays where you can pair the city and beach, or the city and jungle.
Singapore And Borneo Multi Centre Holiday
Borneo Adventure Tour
Our favorite hotels
Browse our favourite places to stay in Borneo - we are here to help you find the perfect hotel.
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
Hot Springs Boreno
- APPROX. 4 HRS
Prepare to be mesmerised by Borneo, the largest island in Asia where you’ll uncover some of the most rugged and unspoilt scenery on Earth. As you’ll know, Borneo is famed for its population of orang-utans which in Indonesian literally translates to ‘person of the forest’. Plus, the 4,095 metre-tall Mount Kinabalu in the northern region of Sabah is the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia.
Sepilok Orangutan Centre
For a completely unrivalled experience, visit Sepilok Orangutan Centre. Sepilok is an ethical reserve which has been rehabilitating and protecting the majestic and endangered orangutans since 1964. Witness the feeding of the young ones and marvel as the elders swing through the canopies above you. Excursions are also available for a truly immersive experience.
Hike through lush jungle on your Borneo holidays and become intoxicated by the striking sounds and smells of the flora and fauna. Watch in awe as flame-orange orangutans swoop through the tree tops. Your expert guide will be able to help you track these famously shy creatures, as well as telling stories and anecdotes about the fascinating jungles and its many plants, trees and animals.
Scuba Diving trips
The coral reefs around the island offer some excellent opportunities for those wanting to scuba dive or snorkel. Sipadan Island is rated as one of the best sites for diving throughout the world and allows you to see brightly colour corals, endangered turtles and a huge variety of fish.
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“Get up close to the endangered species like the orangutan and sun bear. They’re notoriously shy so I recommend booking in a visit to a sanctuary or wildlife centre where you’re more likely to see them.”
“Dive into the island’s pristine waters and experience the amazing underwater world and all the fascinating marine life here.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Borneo holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
Kaamatan (or Pesta Kaamatan) is an annually celebrated harvest festival in Sabah. For the whole of May, you can enjoy singing contests, dance performances and lots of arts and craft shows. Feel like a local and fill up on the traditional alak drink, kinomol and tapai, which are drunk from small bamboo vessels.
Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Borneo holiday. Discover our top recommended dish to try.
Seafood is the main dish in Borneo and it comes incredibly fresh. For a true taste of local life, try the deliciously fragrant hinava, a large bowl crammed with fresh mackerel, ginger, mango seeds and red chillies, which are then drenched in lime juice.
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