Holidays in Borneo
At Freedom Destinations, we’ve been designing tailor made holidays for over twenty years, and we’d love to use our expert knowledge to help you plan your Borneo adventure.
The island of Borneo is the third largest in the world, and politically divided between three separate countries: Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. From architecture to cuisine, you can find influences from each of these destinations throughout the island, giving Borneo its own unique Asian identity.
In the north of Borneo are the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Between them, they offer fantastic national parks where you can watch orangutans swinging through the forests, deserted islands where you can witness turtles come ashore to lay their eggs, and towering mountain scenery, including the magnificent Mount Kinabalu. Most of our holiday ideas and guided tours feature Malaysian Borneo.
Borneo’s biggest draw is its remarkable wildlife – approximately 222 different species of mammals, 420 birds, 100 amphibians and 394 fish call this island home. Many of these animals are endemic to Borneo, meaning you can see wildlife here you won’t see anywhere else on earth!
Its most famous resident is the Bornean orangutan, an endangered primate with distinctively long arms and a vibrant orange coat. With only 100,000 of these extraordinary creatures left, seeing an orangutan is a truly humbling experience.
A great way to support orphaned orangutans is by visiting the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Based in the Sabah District, this exceptional centre rescues and rehabilitates orangutans who have lost their homes to deforestation. Though sightings are not always guaranteed due to the semi-wild nature of the reserve, usually a few familiar faces appear for feeding time!
After your visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, we recommend heading next door to meet the smallest member of the bear family, the Malayan sun bear. The founders of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre have dedicated their lives to the research of these endearing creatures, aiming to educate their visitors on the welfare of sun bears whilst simultaneously attempting to rehabilitate them back to the wild.
Get up close and personal with orangutans, turtles, proboscis monkeys and more on our 3 day Private Tour Borneo Wildlife Experience.
At 140 million years old, Borneo’s rainforest is one of the oldest in the world. This biodiverse wonderland has over 15,000 species of plant (that’s more plants than in the whole continent of Africa!), including the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, which spans over one metre wide when in full bloom.
Borneo’s rainforests are also an important refuge for many critically endangered animal species; the Borneo elephant, the eastern Sumatran rhinoceros, and the elusive Bornean clouded leopard all call Borneo’s jungles their home.
Kinabalu National Park
Awarded the status of Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Kinabalu National Park in Sabah is considered one of the most important biological sites in the world. Its lush forested interior houses 4,500 different types of flora and fauna, including 326 different bird species.
Visitors can choose to hike the park’s verdant rainforest, soak themselves in the hot springs or for those feeling brave, take the two day return hike up the 4,000m high Mount Kinabalu!
See the wonders of Kinabalu National Park on our 14 day Private Tour Borneo Adventure.
Found throughout Malaysian Borneo are hundreds of intricate cave systems, showcasing geology at its finest.
One of our favourites, and arguably the most famous, are the Mulu Caves in Sarawak. They can be found within the impressive 528km2 Gunung Mulu National Park, an area that also boasts rocky escarpments, towerings karsts and steaming hot springs. Explore this geological wonder for yourself on our 10 day Private Tour Borneo Discovery.
Visited by David Attenborough himself, the spectacular Gomantong Cave is renowned for its unique ecosystem and valuable edible swiftlet nests. These nests are harvested twice a year by licensed locals who take on the dangerous task of retrieving them using just ropes, rattan ladders and bamboo poles. If you’d like to learn more about the Gomantong Caves, join our 8 day Borneo Highlights Private Tour.
Wildlife holidays may be a popular choice for this destination, but we’re here to say Borneo’s beaches are truly so beautiful that they can make for a great trip just on their own!
Beach lovers will especially appreciate Tajung Aru Beach and Pantai Dalit, both of which boast golden sands washed by translucent waters and are just a short drive from the city of Kota Kinabalu.
Three of our favourite Borneo beach hotels are:
- Nexus Resort – Guests here can enjoy three swimming pools, large landscaped gardens and an 18 hole golf course from where you can play a round with stunning views of the beach on one side and tropical rainforest on the other.
- Shangri La Tanjung Aru Resort – Set on a sweeping bay with its own exclusive white sand beach, the five star Shangri La Tanjung Aru provides guests with an array of restaurants and bars, 25 acres of gardens, a spa and private marina.
- Shangri La Rasa Ria – A luxurious stay on the beautiful Pantai Dalit Beach offering beautifully appointed rooms, a range of restaurants, and an onsite golf course with magnificent views of Mount Kinabalu.
All of our accommodation has been carefully selected by our team of Asia Experts, and chosen for their great locations and exceptional service. See more Borneo hotels to find a stay beside the sands that suits you.
For those looking for a taste of the castaway life, Borneo has a number of beautiful neighbouring islands to lose track of time on. The spectacular Sipadan Island is a Malaysian favourite, with excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities in the surrounding crystalline waters.
Selingan Island, or Turtle Island as it is more affectionately known, is a haven for marine life. Green and Hawksbill turtles flock to the island year-round to lay their eggs, meaning visitors are often treated to the sights of these incredible creatures making their way along the beach or swimming in the island’s glistening shores. Overnight guests are able to witness baby turtles being released into the sea from the islands Turtle Hatchery, which assists in the conservation of these ancient reptiles. You can visit this magical island on our 8 day Borneo Wildlife and Beaches itinerary.
See More of Malaysia
Thanks to its excellent transportation links, Borneo is well connected to the rest of Malaysia and Southeast Asia; making it a popular choice for travellers to combine their holiday to Borneo with another country.
Three of our favourite multi-destination itineraries include:
- Discover Malaysia – A 12 day trip encompassing all of Malaysia’s highlights; including the tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands, beaches of Penang and orangutans of Borneo.
- Borneo & Bali – The perfect blend of city, wildlife and beach. Beginning with a wildlife adventure in Malaysian Borneo, this itinerary then takes you to city of Kuala Lumpur and ends with a relaxing stay on Bali’s golden sands.
- Malaysia Experience – Starting in Malaysia’s capital city, this 21 day adventure also explores Borneo, Singapore and Langkawi. A truly unforgettable multi centre adventure.
If you’d like to pair Borneo with another one of our South East Asian destinations, talk to one of our Travel Consultants and they will be happy to arrange this for you.
Tailor Made Itineraries
At Freedom Destinations, we specialise in creating experiences that are unique to you. All of our holiday ideas can be tailored to suit you and your plans, or alternatively take advantage of our Free Planning Service and allow our Asia Experts to design a tailor made holiday for you. Each member of the team has travelled throughout Southeast Asia and will use their expert knowledge to provide recommendations for your trip.
The Freedom Package
Our friendly team of Travel Experts are here to make booking your holiday as easy as possible. Alongside planning a seamless itinerary, they will also take care of all arrangements for you; booking your hotels, day tours and even finer details such as airport pick-up and drop-offs should you wish. This leaves you with nothing to do except look forward to your trip!
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