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Malaysia

Borneo Holidays

Get inspiration

Borneo break? Walk in the park.

Anchored in-between mainland Malaysia and Indonesia, Borneo is packed with stunning natural landscapes and incredible wildlife. The island’s rich interior is a mishmash of tropical rainforest and soaring peaks, while the white-sand coast is brushed by vivid blue waters. And, of course, you can expect to see a whole host of animals on your holiday to Borneo, including ghostly whale sharks, cheeky monkeys and the island’s iconic orangutans.

The third-largest island in the world, Borneo is shared between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. You’ll be spending your holiday in the Malaysian state of Sabah, which lies to the north. Home to the bustling city of Kota Kinabalu, as well as the world’s oldest rainforest, Sabah has everything you need for an incredible holiday to Borneo. You can hike through ancient jungles, climb to the top of Mount Kinabalu, and swim beneath tumbling waterfalls. In the wild, you’ll be able to see dozens of rainbow-coloured birds and exotic plants, while Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre allows you to marvel at Borneo’s most famous mammal. On the coast, meanwhile, you’ll find paradisiacal islands and vibrant coral reefs in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Why not snorkel with colourful fish and sea turtles, or curl up on the sugary sands and read your book beneath a palm tree?

Borneo is a bucket list dream for adventurers and nature-lovers alike, thanks to its diverse and wonderful landscape. And, with Travelbag, the options really are endless. You could kick off your trip with a city break in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong or Singapore. Or you could book a spot on a hassle-free Borneo tour, so you can take in the sights without having to lift a finger. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action-packed trip, our experts will help you plan the perfect holiday to Borneo.

Borneo's wildlife

Kota Kinabalu & beyond

Where to stay

Best time to go

Wildlife

Borneo is synonymous with rich rainforest – so you’ll want to pack your hiking boots. You can walk along the jungle-clad peaks of Crocker Range National Park, where you’ll be able to spot gibbons, macaques, civet cats and a variety of birdlife. Or you could explore ancient rainforest in Taman Negara Gunung Kinabalu. Spanning 750 square kilometres, this park was Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is crammed with more than 4,500 types of flora and fauna, including over 320 bird species.

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But one animal in particular is the real star of the show – the orangutan. No holiday to Borneo would be complete without a sighting of this flame-haired primate. It’s unlikely you’ll see one in the wild, so set aside a day to visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Home to about 80 orangutans – either ex-pets or rescued orphans – Sepilok teaches their residents how to look after themselves, before releasing them back into the wild. You’ll be able to see both baby and adult orangutans swinging through the large forest reserve, and filling up on bananas at feeding time.

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Show Less

Kota Kinabalu & beyond

Diverse Borneo has an endless amount of things to do. It’s worth visiting the capital, Kota Kinabalu, where you’ll find colourful markets and a picturesque boardwalk along the seafront. KK, as the city’s affectionately known, is also close to some of Borneo’s best beaches. To see them, take a boat trip out to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and its five postcard-worthy islands – Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan, Sapi and Sulug. You can unwind on powdery sands, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and walk along trails in search of monkeys and monitor lizards.

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Show Less

If it’s diving you’re after, though, it’s best to head further afield to Lankayan Island. Anchored off Borneo’s northeast coast, this beauty spot boasts dozens of dive sites and ship wrecks, plus a variety of marine life. You’ll be able to see turtles, pufferfish, leopard sharks, whale sharks and more.

For a different view of Borneo, why not trek to the top of Mount Kinabalu? At 4,000 metres high, it’s one of the tallest mountains in Southeast Asia, but a guided climb only takes two days. You can stay overnight near the summit, then hike the final stretch in time for sunrise.

Show More
Show Less

Best hotels in Borneo

You’ll have plenty of accommodation options on your Borneo holiday, ranging from jungle lodges to island resorts. But if you’d like to combine nature with the beach, we’d recommend staying at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa. Just a 50-minute drive north of Kota Kinabalu, this picturesque retreat is sandwiched between tropical forest and a white-sand bay. You can snorkel in the bath-warm sea, or go on a guided walk through the resort’s very own nature reserve, which is home to more than 60 species of bird. Plus, there are three pools and a spa – perfect for when you need some downtime.

Show More
Show Less

Alternatively, if you want to stay on one of Borneo’s idyllic smaller isles, head to Gaya Island Resort. Tucked within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, this luxurious resort combines style with sustainability. You can stroll along the private beach, swim in the protected waters, and unwind in one of the pool’s floating cabanas. Make sure you also explore the nearby rainforest, where you’ll see exotic birds, flying squirrels and proboscis monkeys.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go to Borneo

Borneo is famous for its steamy rainforest, and has a tropical climate to match. Temperatures average 27-32°C throughout the year and humidity is often very high, particularly in the jungle. As you’d expect, this lush island sees more than its fair share of rain, so the weather can be unpredictable – whatever the time of year, you’ll need to pack a lightweight waterproof. But you can certainly look forward to plenty of sunshine, too, if you plan your holiday to Borneo carefully.

Show More
Show Less

In the Malaysian state of Sabah, the dry season runs from March to September. Rainfall is usually lightest between March and May, so this is the best time to go to Borneo – particularly if you’re staying on one of the smaller islands and hoping to catch some rays on the beach. But August is also relatively dry, which is perfect timing for families.

Sabah’s wet season runs from October to February, with October being the wettest month – so it’s best to avoid visiting Borneo at this time of year.

Show More
Show Less

Borneo's wildlife

Wildlife

Borneo is synonymous with rich rainforest – so you’ll want to pack your hiking boots. You can walk along the jungle-clad peaks of Crocker Range National Park, where you’ll be able to spot gibbons, macaques, civet cats and a variety of birdlife. Or you could explore ancient rainforest in Taman Negara Gunung Kinabalu. Spanning 750 square kilometres, this park was Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is crammed with more than 4,500 types of flora and fauna, including over 320 bird species.

Show More
Show Less

But one animal in particular is the real star of the show – the orangutan. No holiday to Borneo would be complete without a sighting of this flame-haired primate. It’s unlikely you’ll see one in the wild, so set aside a day to visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Home to about 80 orangutans – either ex-pets or rescued orphans – Sepilok teaches their residents how to look after themselves, before releasing them back into the wild. You’ll be able to see both baby and adult orangutans swinging through the large forest reserve, and filling up on bananas at feeding time.

Show More
Show Less

Kota Kinabalu & beyond

Kota Kinabalu & beyond

Diverse Borneo has an endless amount of things to do. It’s worth visiting the capital, Kota Kinabalu, where you’ll find colourful markets and a picturesque boardwalk along the seafront. KK, as the city’s affectionately known, is also close to some of Borneo’s best beaches. To see them, take a boat trip out to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and its five postcard-worthy islands – Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan, Sapi and Sulug. You can unwind on powdery sands, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and walk along trails in search of monkeys and monitor lizards.

Show More
Show Less

If it’s diving you’re after, though, it’s best to head further afield to Lankayan Island. Anchored off Borneo’s northeast coast, this beauty spot boasts dozens of dive sites and ship wrecks, plus a variety of marine life. You’ll be able to see turtles, pufferfish, leopard sharks, whale sharks and more.

For a different view of Borneo, why not trek to the top of Mount Kinabalu? At 4,000 metres high, it’s one of the tallest mountains in Southeast Asia, but a guided climb only takes two days. You can stay overnight near the summit, then hike the final stretch in time for sunrise.

Show More
Show Less

Where to stay

Best hotels in Borneo

You’ll have plenty of accommodation options on your Borneo holiday, ranging from jungle lodges to island resorts. But if you’d like to combine nature with the beach, we’d recommend staying at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa. Just a 50-minute drive north of Kota Kinabalu, this picturesque retreat is sandwiched between tropical forest and a white-sand bay. You can snorkel in the bath-warm sea, or go on a guided walk through the resort’s very own nature reserve, which is home to more than 60 species of bird. Plus, there are three pools and a spa – perfect for when you need some downtime.

Show More
Show Less

Alternatively, if you want to stay on one of Borneo’s idyllic smaller isles, head to Gaya Island Resort. Tucked within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, this luxurious resort combines style with sustainability. You can stroll along the private beach, swim in the protected waters, and unwind in one of the pool’s floating cabanas. Make sure you also explore the nearby rainforest, where you’ll see exotic birds, flying squirrels and proboscis monkeys.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to go to Borneo

Borneo is famous for its steamy rainforest, and has a tropical climate to match. Temperatures average 27-32°C throughout the year and humidity is often very high, particularly in the jungle. As you’d expect, this lush island sees more than its fair share of rain, so the weather can be unpredictable – whatever the time of year, you’ll need to pack a lightweight waterproof. But you can certainly look forward to plenty of sunshine, too, if you plan your holiday to Borneo carefully.

Show More
Show Less

In the Malaysian state of Sabah, the dry season runs from March to September. Rainfall is usually lightest between March and May, so this is the best time to go to Borneo – particularly if you’re staying on one of the smaller islands and hoping to catch some rays on the beach. But August is also relatively dry, which is perfect timing for families.

Sabah’s wet season runs from October to February, with October being the wettest month – so it’s best to avoid visiting Borneo at this time of year.

Show More
Show Less

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Whether you're looking for luxury or simplicity, we've got the perfect holiday for you.

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