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Young orangutan Borneo Malaysia

Orangutan in East Kalimantan, Borneo

Borneo holidays

An island that unites cultures and nature in perfect harmony

Witness the wonders of wildlife, explore ancient rainforests, bask on pristine shores, and learn about the diverse cultures that call this island home.

Borneo, the third-largest island in the world, is a land of mesmerizing contrasts and natural splendour. This tropical paradise is shared by three nations: Malaysia, Indonesia, and the tiny sultanate of Brunei. Each country contributes its own unique flavour to Borneo's captivating tapestry.

The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak occupy the northern part of Borneo. These regions are known for their stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and incredible biodiversity. The friendly locals and well-preserved ecosystems make Malaysia's Borneo a haven for visitors seeking unspoiled natural beauty. The Indonesian portion of Borneo, known as Kalimantan, covers a vast expanse of lush rainforests and winding rivers. This is where you'll find orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and countless other species in their natural habitats. Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Borneo is Brunei, a nation that combines rich tradition with modern prosperity. The Sultanate of Brunei offers a glimpse into a royal heritage and is famous for its opulent mosques, serene water villages, and lush greenery.

The collaboration of these three countries on the island of Borneo results in a diverse and enchanting blend of cultures, landscapes, and experiences. From the bustling streets of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia to the tranquil river cruises of Kalimantan in Indonesia and the regal grandeur of Brunei's Bandar Seri Begawan, Borneo offers an array of experiences that cater to every desire.

Borneo is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The island is famous for its orangutans, and you can witness these incredible primates up close in the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. You can also spot proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and an array of bird species in the wild.

Borneo's rainforests are among the oldest in the world, and they house an astonishing array of plant and animal species. Explore the Danum Valley Conservation Area, where towering trees, hidden waterfalls, and unique flora provide an immersive rainforest experience.

Borneo isn't just about dense jungles; it boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Asia. The Gaya Island and its crystal-clear waters offer a serene escape for those looking to unwind. You can also explore the coral reefs of Sipadan for world-class diving and snorkelling. If you're an adventure seeker, you can try out white-water rafting in the Padas River to trekking up Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest peak, there's no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities.

Whether you're intrigued by the lush rainforests, cultural diversity, or pristine beaches, Borneo has something for everyone.

When to go to Borneo

A month-by-month guide of when to visit Borneo

  • Best
  • Good
  • Mixed
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

January

January is part of the rainy season, particularly in the northern parts of the island. Cultural events such as Chinese New Year (depending on the cycles of the moon this can be January or February) are a good bet to attend rather than venturing into the jungles where wildlife will largely be hiding from the intense weather.

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February

There is still rainfall in the southern parts of the island but the north is starting to dry up so a good time to head to the beaches around Kota Kinabalu for underwater activities such as snorkelling if you want fewer crowds. Potential Chinese New Year celebrations are good to look out for (check the calendar for the year for when the celebrations start)

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March

Good for wildlife viewing, especially orangutans. Cooler temperatures for jungle treks. As the weather cools down a bit, it's prime time to explore Borneo's diverse flora and fauna with fewer crowds before tourist seasons ramps up.

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April

Great weather, dry and good for trekking. Head out to the rainforests to try and spot orangutans. Visit cultural festivals and enjoy water-based activities. Join in the festivities during various cultural celebrations and explore the island's rivers and coastlines.

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May

Experience vibrant local cultures. Weather is favourable for outdoor adventures, especially wildlife viewing. Connect with the indigenous communities and take part in their customs while enjoying outdoor activities in comfortable temperatures.

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June

Great for hiking and exploring the rainforests. Wildlife is active. See orangutans in the jungles and sea turtles in the ocean. The lush rainforests are alive with wildlife, making it an excellent time for nature enthusiasts.

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July

Warm temperatures make July the most popular month to visit Borneo, meaning prices are often higher and crowds larger. Excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Ideal for river cruises and exploring markets. Enjoy the warmth and explore the island's waterways and vibrant markets.

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August

Warm and dry weather. Possibly the best month to visit Borneo, as it is perfect for outdoor adventures. The dry season ensures excellent conditions for hiking, jungle exploration, and other outdoor pursuits. Turtle hatching season begins in August so head to Lankayan Island to watch this adorable event.

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September

Tourist season slows down so there are fewer crowds and lower prices but September is still a good time for jungle treks and wildlife spotting. September maintains favourable weather for outdoor activities and wildlife encounters.

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October

Octobers marks the start of the wet season so if you want to visit in this month, try to get in in the first few weeks. Outdoor activities can be challenging. The onset of the wet season means more rainfall and the need to plan outdoor adventures more carefully. A great time for diving around the coral reefs.

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November

Rainy season persists. Limited outdoor options. The wet season continues, which can limit outdoor activities, so plan accordingly.

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December

Middle of the rainy season, bringing storms and heavy rainfall. Large parts of the island become inaccessible due to weather constraints so avoid visiting in December if you can.

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Alistair

Alistair

Managing Director

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