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Shining brightly on the tourist’s radar, the Island of Borneo, shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak with Brunei and Indonesia’s Kalimantan is a clear choice for the lover of beaches, plants, wildlife, and adventure. Cruising along the rainforest-cloaked rivers to be enchanted by chattering gibbons, or curious Orangutans, or scuba-diving in Sabah to experience incredible action underwater, this place is a virtual paradise with exotic creatures like a Borneo bay cat and elephants. Sophisticated cities of Kuching (Sarawak) and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), on the other hand, offer climbing and trekking facilities, boating opportunities, and opportunities for experiencing Southeast Asia’s best-stocked coral reefs.
Unfortunately, over 50 percent of Malaysian Borneo’s rainforests have been demolished by poachers, loggers, miners, and farmers in just 15 years, and the existence of creatures such as the orangutan is at risk. On the brighter side, for visitors, Sabah and Sarawak are now well furnished with phenomenal birding tours, boasting wildlife sanctuaries with animals like a pygmy elephant, adventurous mountain treks, and world-class dive resorts. New species are discovered each month in Borneo despite being a road less traveled. Its rich avifauna, beautiful coastal regions, and unique wildlife make it a key destination for explorers and adventurers.
Location: Malaysia (for Malaysian Borneo)
Nearest Airport: Kota Kinabalu
How to reach: Most of Malaysian Borneo is within 1-4 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu
Famous for: Orangutans,
Exotic birds and Wildlife
Best time to visit: March to October
WHAT TO SEE
Birds: Great-billed Heron, Black Magpie, Whitehead’s, Diard’s, Red-headed & Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Jambu Fruit Dove, Blue-banded, Blue-headed, Giant & Black-crowned Pitta, Dusky Broadbill, Great Argus, Bornean Bristlehead, Black-throated Wren-Babbler, Storm’s Stork, Rhinoceros, Helmeted and White-crowned Hornbill
Mammals: Orangutan, Bornean Gibbon, Leopard Cat, Bearded Pig, chance of Clouded Leopard, Greater & Lesser Mouse Deer
Orangutans & wildlife
Witnessing the tricks of the intelligent creatures like a wild Orangutan, watching a Borneo bay cat, or a boat trip down the Kinabatangan River to see chattering wild proboscis monkeys looking fascinated by the arrival of visitors and swinging through the jungle canopy, unbothered, or even getting a glimpse of an Irrawaddy dolphin in the glimmering south China sea, brings guests into a different world. Besides, observing wild animals in their natural habitat is a bit trickier, but efficient guides help guests to spot the vine snakes camouflaged by wild vines, differentiate insects that look like twigs, and understand the distinction between the cry of a hornbill and the call of a gibbon.
From spotting an elusive clouded leopard, slow lorises, tiny tarsiers, sun bears, and a pygmy elephant, to getting excited and charmed by the crowd-pleasers like Long-limbed Orangutans and proboscis monkeys, the wildlife enthusiasts cannot help but being mesmerized by what they see at Borneo. The exotic animals in Borneo sure leave a lasting impression on visitors’ minds.
Peddling around on a bicycle and exploring small villages, national parks, and wandering through mountain trails, offers a relaxed experience while enjoying a Borneon holiday. Fortunately, with experienced local guides to help visitors explore stress-free, and decent biking infrastructure, Sarawak and Borneo is a perfect holiday destination for cyclists.
For a humbling experience, visitors are welcomed to stay on a rustic longhouse homestay and get a deeper glimpse of the culture and tradition of Borneo’s locals. Refreshing one’s appetite with the flavors of home-cooked food, relishing a cheeky glass of rice wine, and enjoying traditional dances lure tourists towards these rustic longhouse homestays instead of booking luxurious lodges, remote resorts, and hip hotels.
Tourists looking for an immersive and educational treat can be delighted to visit Borneo as well. From learning the unique skills of creating batik textiles, rattan baskets and mats, weaving intricate bead jewelry, and hunting with a blowpipe to cooking with unique ingredients of the island, Borneo attracts people from all over the world looking forward to having a cultural experience and good fun.
Cultural pick & mix
Buzzing with tourists during the festive seasons, floating markets, music festivals, living museums, temples, and blowpipe demonstrations are the things that are in the to-do list of every visitor. Besides, modern cities with Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Malay, and Filipino fusions are enough to entice cultural guests.
You will find something to relish and savor in Borneo if you have a fondness for Malay, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, or Indonesian food.Mouth-watering local delicacies made from fish and prawns produced by the rivers and coastal regions and served with perfect seasonings of local spices in the street-side stalls and a high-end restaurant, leave visitors craving for more.
From the mesmerizing tropical islands scattered around Borneo to luxury resorts, marine sanctuaries, reef-ringed diving Meccas, engrossing forests, and intriguing wildlife with an opportunity to spot a clouded leopard, for an epic holiday that promises extravagance to adventure, Borneo is a paradise for both thrill lovers and for those who are looking forward to having a restful trip.