Borneo sunset

Best time to visit Borneo

Month-by-month guide of when to visit.

Sunset over the rainforest

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When to go to Borneo

A month-by-month guide of when to visit

Planning a trip to Borneo requires careful consideration of when to visit to make the most of your experience. This tropical paradise experiences both wet and dry seasons and understanding the distinctions between these periods can significantly impact your journey. Here's a breakdown of the best, okay, and suboptimal times to visit Borneo.

Dry Season (April - September):

The best time to visit Borneo is during the dry season, which extends from March to October. These months are marked by pleasant weather, clear skies, and lower humidity, making it ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities. It's a time when the lush rainforests are vibrant, wildlife is active, and the entire island seems to come alive. Borneo's rainforests are at their prime, making this period perfect for jungle treks, canopy walks, and immersive nature exploration in the Danum Valley. Wildlife sightings are frequent, with opportunities to spot orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and more. Borneo's pristine coastlines offer a superb setting for beach lovers. Enjoy sun-soaked days, water sports, and underwater adventures with clear visibility for diving and snorkelling.

Shoulder season (February-March and October-November):

In the shoulder season, the weather can be less predictable, and outdoor excursions may face interruptions due to rainfall, but this season still offers its unique appeal. If you prefer quieter, less crowded experiences, this is the time to explore Borneo. Fewer tourists mean a more intimate interaction with the island's wonders. November to February presents a different perspective of Borneo's natural beauty, particularly for birdwatching enthusiasts. Head to Kinabatangan River for optimal wildlife spotting opportunities. The rainforest flourishes, turning the landscape lush and green, attracting a wide variety of bird species.

Monsoon season: (December - January):

While the entire wet season presents its charm, December and January are considered the suboptimal months to visit Borneo. These months experience the highest rainfall and the most unpredictable weather. Heavy downpours can disrupt outdoor activities, and some areas may become challenging to access due to flooded paths and rivers.

Choosing the best time to visit Borneo ultimately depends on your preferences and what kind of experience you seek. Whether you prioritize dry weather for outdoor adventures, enjoy the lush greenery of the wet season, or want to experience local culture during festivals, Borneo offers unique experiences throughout the year.

Kingfisher Borneo

January

In January, Borneo experiences its wet season, characterized by increased rainfall. This period brings warm temperatures and high humidity to the region. While outdoor activities may be impacted by the frequent rain showers, the landscape becomes a vibrant tapestry of green, making it an excellent time for birdwatching as many avian species become more active in the rain-drenched rainforests. Additionally, the wet season provides an opportunity for cultural experiences, allowing visitors to engage with local communities and partake in cultural festivals, providing insights into Borneo's rich heritage. On rainy days, exploring indoor attractions such as museums, art galleries, and indoor markets in Borneo's cities can be a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the island's culture and history.

Chinese lanterns

February

In February, Borneo continues the wet season, maintaining warm temperatures and high humidity, although things do ease up somewhat in the northern parts of the island. While frequent rain showers are a common feature during this month, February offers a unique appeal. February also brings with it a special cultural dimension with the celebration of Chap Goh Mei, the Hokkien Chinese Lantern Festival. Visitors can partake in vibrant processions, admire lantern displays, and engage in traditional cultural activities, gaining a deeper understanding of Borneo's rich heritage. On rainy days, exploring indoor attractions like museums, art galleries, and indoor markets in Borneo's cities remains a delightful way to delve into the island's culture and history.

Malayan civet Borneo

March - April

March ushers in the dry season in Borneo, offering an ideal climate for outdoor adventures. The weather during this period is pleasantly comfortable, and wildlife becomes more active, providing fantastic opportunities for encounters in the rainforests. It's a time when you can immerse yourself in local traditions and witness vibrant festivities, further enhancing the unique charm of your Borneo experience.

Lizard Jalan Mulu NP Sarawak Borneo min

May - June

May and June are some of the best months to visit Borneo and immerse yourself in vibrant local cultures, adding a cultural dimension to your Borneo experience. The weather is great for outdoor activities, and the lush rainforests are ripe for exploration. As May transitions into June, jungle treks and rainforest adventures take centre stage, with wildlife sightings reaching their peak. It's an ideal time to connect with nature, witness the incredible biodiversity of Borneo, and embark on thrilling excursions into the heart of the rainforest.

Sapi Island Borneo

July - August

July and August are the most popular months to visit Borneo. The warm and dry weather during these months sets the perfect stage for river cruises, allowing you to navigate Borneo's waterways while basking in the sun. It's also an ideal time for market exploration, where you can immerse yourself in local culture and pick up unique souvenirs. As August continues the pleasant conditions, it becomes a prime time for aquatic adventures. The clear waters of Borneo's coastlines are a haven for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. The visibility underwater is excellent, ensuring that you can explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter diverse marine life.

Mt Kinabalu Borneo Malaysia

September

In September, Borneo continues to enjoy favourable weather, making it an excellent time for jungle treks and wildlife spotting. The rainforests remain accessible, providing fantastic opportunities to explore their lush depths. Additionally, this month offers a unique chance to visit indigenous communities and partake in local traditions. Immersing yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of Borneo during September can be a deeply enriching experience, as you witness traditional practices and engage with the island's diverse communities, adding a unique cultural dimension to your adventure.

Young orangutan in Tanjung Puting National Park Indonesia

October

October in Borneo marks the end of the dry season, offering pleasant weather with warm temperatures and less humidity. The month is perfect for outdoor activities such as jungle treks in the vibrant rainforest and serene river safaris. Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy sightings of orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Borneo's coastal areas present pristine beaches ideal for relaxation or water sports. The clear waters make it an excellent time for snorkelling and scuba diving to explore vibrant coral reefs. Don't miss the opportunity to savour Borneo's diverse local cuisine, featuring dishes like laksa, rendang, and exotic fruits.

Chestnut crested yuhina Sabah Borneo Malaysia

November

November in Borneo marks the transition to the wet season with increasing rainfall, creating a unique atmosphere. The weather is warm with moderate humidity, characterized by rain showers interspersed with sunny intervals. While outdoor activities become more challenging, November does offer excellent birdwatching opportunities with rainforest avian species in their element. Additionally, the fewer crowds make for a more intimate exploration, and on rainy days, indoor attractions like museums and art galleries provide a deeper understanding of the island's culture and history.

Sunrise over dipterocarp rainforest Borneo

December

December in Borneo continues the wet season, characterized by increased rainfall and higher humidity. This month represents the heart of the monsoon season in many parts of Borneo, especially in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. The weather can be quite unpredictable, and heavy downpours are common, leading to occasional flooding and disrupted outdoor activities. December is less suitable for beach and water activities due to reduced visibility, but it provides a unique chance to experience local culture through various festivals and traditional celebrations, offering a glimpse into Borneo's rich heritage. Visitors may find a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere during this off-peak period, perfect for those seeking a different perspective on Borneo.

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    Alistair

    Managing Director

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