orangutans in Borneo Where to go in Borneo

Where to go in Borneo: A tailor-made guide

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The captivating island of Borneo boasts an abundance of natural wonders, cultural richness, and adventure opportunities. With so much to explore, planning a trip to Borneo might feel a little overwhelming. But, that’s where we come in! With the help of Erin, our Borneo Destination Manager, and all of the love, knowledge and first-hand experiences of Borneo bouncing around in her brain, you’re sure to experience all of the best Borneo has to offer.

Below are some of Erin’s favourite spots in Borneo and why you might love them. Ultimately though, your adventure is yours alone and Erin is the one to help you figure out how to make your Borneo adventure perfect for you.

Erin HA Borneo Destination Manager

Kinabatangan River

An adventure along the Kinabatangan River is one you won’t want to miss on your Borneo holiday. Picture yourself cruising along the river, keeping your eyes peeled (and binoculars handy) to spot exotic birds and the cheeky proboscis monkeys who will almost definitely be swinging from the trees above you. You’ll feel like you’ve floated into your very own nature documentary! Known for its rich biodiversity and diverse wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, orangutans, and pygmy elephants – all surrounded by beautiful, lush rainforest, it’s a Borneo holiday highlight for sure.

Where to go in Borneo - Image of the Kinabatangan River, Borneo


Where to go in Borneo - Image of orangutan in Danum Valley

Danum Valley

If you’re looking for where to go in Borneo to really get you away from it all, immersed in nature, deep within a pristine rainforest – the Danum Valley is for you. It’s a true jungle paradise, with towering trees, sparkling rivers, and so much wildlife to spot. If you’re lucky, you might even encounter rare and endangered species such as the Bornean clouded leopard or the sun bear. Imagine trekking through the dense forest and feeling like you’re the only person on the planet, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature at its finest. The Danum Valley is a Bornean gem that will have you falling in love with the natural world all over again.

Sepilok orangutan sanctuary Borneo

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

An unforgettable experience on any Borneo holiday will always be that moment when you first come face to face with a wild orangutan and the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is a great place to head to for your best chance of an encounter. This is an open sanctuary for orphaned orangutans but, rather than being an enclosed space, it’s simply a safe area of the rainforest where the wild orangutans are able to come and go as they please, knowing that they’ll be fed and looked after wonderfully whenever they visit. With outdoor playgrounds and full feeding stations, the centre is basically a five-star hotel resort for orangutans to swing by whenever they fancy. So, you get to watch these happy, hairy fellas in action all whilst learning all about the incredible conservation efforts happening to save them from extinction. With perfectly placed viewing platforms you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your very own version of the Jungle Book – with lots of feel-good education value thrown in. We’ll always make sure you experience the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre on your Borneo holiday, it’s not to be  missed.


Proboscis monkey in a tree in Bako National Park Borneo

Bako National Park

A visit to Bako National Park on the coast of Borneo is like stepping into another world. With towering cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine beaches that will take your breath away – the landscape is truly unique. And that’s before we’ve even started on the wildlife. There’s so much to spot here, from the proboscis monkeys with their funny, bulbous noses and the bearded pigs that look a bit like they’re wearing moustache toupees, to the rare silvered langurs and the crocodiles lurking in the rivers. So, lace up your hiking boots and head off on one of the many jungle trails if feeling like a real explorer is top of your Borneo holiday wishlist.


Cultural Experiences and meaningful encounters

Where to go in Borneo - Stay in an Iban Longhouse in Sarawak

Spend a night with the Iban people in a traditional longhouse

Here at HA, we’re strong believers in the importance of including meaningful interactions and local experiences on your holidays. It’s a surefire way to good whilst you travel and ensure your holiday is directly benefitting the communities you’re visiting. An overnight visit to a traditional Iban longhouse is a brilliant way to learn more about the history of the Iban people, and gain an authentic insight into this indigenous culture and lifestyle. Your adventure here will begin before you’ve even arrived, with an authentic journey by wooden longboat. Once you arrive at the longhouse, you’ll be welcomed by the friendly Iban families who all live under the one roof. With separate areas for each family, all joined by one central corridor, it’s a real community vibe here. Your bed for the night will be basic, a simple mattress with mosquito net and shared bathroom facilities (these have recently been updated to include western facilities – but you may well have to navigate a squat toilet – all part of the experience!) Embrace the simplicity and realness of it all, soak up the different way of life and don’t be surprised if you’re woken up early by the family roosters making a racket! A visit to the longhouses will surely be one of the highlights of your Borneo holiday.



Where to go in Borneo

An authentic cycling adventure through Kiulu

Kiulu is one of our Erin’s favourite spots to visit in Borneo. And heading off into the beautiful countryside, visiting this authentic village and meeting the people who live there will be a highlight of your Borneo holiday for sure. What’s more, it gets all the more special when you experiencing it on your very own bicycle. You’ll get to pedal through the Bornean countryside, along peaceful trails, venture through rice paddies and small villages and across hanging suspension bridges, all while feeling the wind in your hair. If that’s not enough to make your heart skip a beat, you’ll also get to visit a local Dusan house to learn about traditional culture and ways of life. And every good adventure needs some serious snacks. So, you’ll get to munch on some authentic goodies to refuel before heading off to a nearby rubber plantation to learn all about the process of rubber tapping. After a stroll around the plantation to learn how everything works, it’s time to satisfy your taste buds with a local lunch before a relaxing drive back to the city.


Where to go in Borneo - Visit the Sarawak Cultural village

Sarawak Cultural Village

Head to the living museum of Sarawak Cultural Village, step back in time and soak up the traditions and culture of vibrant Borneo. Walking into a world of longhouses and traditional customs, you’ll watch local artisans weaving intricate baskets and carving incredible wooden masks, you’ll learn how they make local delicacies and taste the flavours for yourself, and you may even be treated to a traditional dance performance. What’s more, you’ll have the chance to try your hand at blowpipe shooting and rice pounding – who knows, they might be your calling?! This authentic and educational visit makes for a great addition to any Borneo holiday – helping you learn as much as you can about this special country before you head home.




Beauty spots and adventures

Mount Kinabalu Borneo - Where to go in BorneoMount Kinabalu

Southeast Asia’s highest peak, Mount Kinabalu, offers incredible panoramic views, hiking trails, and flora and fauna unique to the region: if you’re adventurous enough!

If you’re looking for a serious challenge on your Borneo holiday that’ll leave you breathless in more ways than one, conquering Mount Kinabalu could be for you. This bad boy mountain is the highest peak in Borneo, standing at over 13,000 feet tall. And let us tell you, the views from the top are totally worth the sweat, tears, and occasional cries for your weary limbs. You need to be fairly confident with mountaineering to tackle this challenge, it will also take a good three days out of your holiday, so that’s worth bearing in mind. However, if climbing is for you, the journey up is full of lush greenery, unique flora and fauna, cool waterfalls, and all sorts of wildlife. Just remember to bring some warm clothes – it can get pretty chilly up there! If you’re ready to conquer your fears, push your limits, and experience some staggering views on your Borneo adventure, head to Mount Kinabalu and get ready for the hike of a lifetime.



Gaya Island Borneo

Gaya Island

Yes there are an awful lot of incredible wildlife encounters to have on your Borneo holiday, but, if you’re keen to factor in some serious R&R too, Gaya Island might just be calling your name. This little slice of paradise is just a short boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu, and trust us, it’s worth the journey. The beaches are pure soft white sand, the waters are crystal clear, and the surrounding rainforest is filled with all sorts of exotic creatures. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous, there are plenty of non-motorised water sports and activities to keep you busy – from snorkelling and scuba diving to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, there’s plenty to drag you away from the sun-lounger. We can’t lie though, the best thing to do on Gaya Island is absolutely nothing at all. Just find yourself a cozy spot on the sand, crack open a cold drink, and let the stress of the world melt away. Grab your suncream, your favourite book, and your sense of adventure, and head to Gaya Island for some serious island vibes and sunshine.


Mulu national Park

Mulu National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to some of the most jaw-dropping caves on the planet, including the world’s largest natural chamber, the Sarawak Chamber. But that’s not all – there are also miles of hiking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, and a whole host of unique wildlife to discover. And if you’re feeling brave, you can even take a dip in the icy cold waters of the Clearwater Cave. Trust us, it’s a refreshing way to cool off after a sweaty jungle trek. But fair warning – this place is not for the faint of heart. You’ll need to be in fairly good physical shape and be prepared to get a little dirty. But, if you’re up for the challenge, the rewards are truly out of this world. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and make sure you experience the wild side of Borneo at Mulu National Park.

If you’re heading this way, we hugely recommend a stay at the newly renovated Marriott Mulu. This gorgeous accommodation is the perfect place to base yourself for a well-deserved touch of R&R after adventurous days spent exploring the caves and National Park.


Borneo is a destination that really offers a unique blend of nature, culture, and adventure. By travelling to Borneo with HA means you can head off knowing your holiday has been designed to fit you and what you want from a trip. Whether you’re seeking a wildlife adventure, cultural immersion, or scenic escape, Borneo has something for you, and our Erin can help you uncover it.


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