Best of Borneo Adventure

Best time to visit
March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Borneo conjures mystical images of an unknown world. This is a destination of jungle wilderness, wild animals, sublime marine life and a remarkable coastline. So what is it like to travel to Borneo island?

This best of experience will give you a clue as to what is possible. Redolent landscapes set the scene. Lush jungle will immerse you in another world. And then there is the coast, where you will swim with turtles and sharks, in blue waters that surround the world’s third largest island.

Day 1 - Arrival

People shop for seafood at the night market in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia's Sabah state. (August 2019)

Kota Kinabalu Night Markets Food Tour


The spirit of the market bustles with life, vibrant in colour, rich in spice. A series of stalls boast tempting flavours at every turn.Savour in the smell of local treats, as your connoisseur guide shows you all the best spots. As a local foodie, he is prepared with plenty of recommendations. So follow your nose and take your pick.Savoury or sweet. Malay or Thai. The options are many, as you walk among smiling merchants and generous stands. Treat yourself to a range of delicacies. A dance of delight for your tastebuds with invasions of flavour infused in each bite.

Day 2 - Marine Bliss

Layang-Layangan, Labuan, Malaysia seascape during full moon. The beautiful serene moonlit vista was captured few hours before sunrise. The long exposure setting rendered the sea to smooth and silky mirror look with interesting foggy effects on the edges of the rocks.

Diving Day Trip to Layang Layang With Private Air Charters


A man-made island boasting one of Borneo’s best dives. Your journey to Layang Layang begins with a private air charter straight from Kota Kinabalu. Sit back comfortably and enjoy the view, over gleaming waters and blankets of blue.The ocean soon covers, as you smoothly plunge below. Welcome to an underwater paradise bursting with life, home to singing sea creatures and corals galore. “Swallows Reef” greets you.The rawness of the reefs and exclusive location puts this aquatic lagoon on the top of many diving wishlists. Dance with the dolphins. Swim among sharks. See what awaits as you venture down further, into the depths of this mystical waterworld.

Days 3 & 4 - Sarawak Jungle Experiences

Borneo-Orang-Utan (Pongo pygmaeus) - Semenggoh Borneo Malaysia Asia

Ethical Orangutan Feeding at Semenggoh


In Malay, they call them “forest man”, and once you meet them you’ll soon see why. Argued to be our closest living relatives, the orangutans can be revered for both beauty and brain.Native to the countries of Borneo, come face to face with these mysterious mammals with a visit to Semenggoh Nature Reserve. Witness their wisdom firsthand, as you learn more about them from your naturalist guide.Baby orangutans live in their mother’s nest for up to eight years. If you’re lucky, you could even catch a glimpse of an infant up close.

Proboscis Monkey Spotting at Bako NP


Long-tailed and agile, the proboscis monkey moves. A powerful leaper and stealthy swimmer, these unique mammals use their distinctive nose to attract a mate.These strange monkeys are atypical in aesthetic, but full of jungle spirit. Let these Bornean natives swing their way into your heart by catching them in action at Bako National Park.As Sarawak’s oldest park, there’s much to explore. Follow trails through various forests. Enjoy beach walks and cliff views, letting the rich rainforest backdrops entice your way.

Day 5 - Crossing Borneo By Air

Beautiful sunrise overlooking Mount Kinabalu

Helicopter Ride Over Mount Kinabalu


Glorious Mount Kinabalu stands in the distance, stretching rugged fists and rocky peaks up into the air. Take to the skies for a private helicopter tour of this majestic mountain. Such a peak emits greatness and you can enjoy exclusive views of its impressive summits as you soar through the clouds.Expect complete clarity throughout this early morning trip, as your panoramic vision is faultless. Appreciate the sheer height and magnitude of nature’s finest skyscraper, as your pilot reveals the myths and legends of South East Asia’s grandest peak.

Pygmy Elephant Spotting at Sukau


Adorably majestic, yet incredibly humble, the Borneo Pygmy Elephant is a very special member of the jungle clan. Combine their grand diet and impressive daily travel, and you get a creature that not only helps keep the rainforests healthy, but provides nutrients for other wildlife.Spreading seeds all through the forest, in their own way, these fine mammals are like the jungle’s own personal superhero. So it’s no wonder they’ve earned a place right at the top of most animal spotting lists.Based along the banks of the Kinabatangan River, the Sukau Rainforest Lodge boasts one of Borneo’s best locations to observe these gentle giants. A natural congregation spot for many species, don’t be surprised if they’re not alone.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge


Effortlessly hidden along the Kinabatangan River, Sukau creates a complete immersion in the Borneo rainforest. Orangutans and elephants call from the surrounding trees. Proboscis monkeys swing past as you swim in the outdoor pool. Adventures extend from your doorstep.Blending ecological design with contemporary style, this lodge ensures you can be completely comfortable in the heart of an untamed wilderness. The biggest luxury is the location. For wildlife viewing and jungle activities it's unrivaled on the island.Cruise the river in silence, contribute to wildlife conservation, and expect magical moments as Borneo's unusual species grace your presence.

Days 6 & 7 - The World's Best Scuba Diving

Colorful coral reef

Scuba Diving Barracuda Point, Sipadan


A hidden world of watery wildlife waits below Sipadan. Venture into the depths of Barracuda Point, an underwater city full of scuba diving dreams.Paddle your way through this aquatic paradise, exclusively yours to explore. A tornado of fish assemble in your honour. Turtles introduce themselves with a dance. Hundreds of reef sharks patrol the water and barracuda schools number billions of individuals.Peaceful and calm, the bubble of blue around you goes on for miles. The sun pokes its rays through this sleepy sea, but this only magnifies her beauty. Submerge yourself further into this intrepid experience. Let the ocean lead the way.

White sand beach on Mabul island, Sipadan, Borneo Malaysia

Snorkelling and Sunset at Mabul Island


Snorkel your way round Mabul Island, during an intimate exploration of mesmerising waters and captivating reefs.Coral kingdoms lay just below the surface, with an abundance of sea life waiting to greet you. Float alongside swarms of fish. Swim through clear waters, revelling in the coolness of their touch.As you make your way back to shore later, the air tastes sweet. The sun kisses the sea, sending light in all directions. Pastel paints dot the sky. A beautiful view over the ocean, as you leave behind the watery world below.

Day 8 & 9 - More Stunning Wildlife

Bear Spotting at Sun Bear Conservation Centre


A date with the world’s smallest bear waits for you at BSBCC, a conservation centre offering sanctuary and care to the great Malayan sun bear.Make the most of the centre’s many observation spots, and spend your afternoon getting to know this modest creature, symbolic of the rising sun itself.Take a tour of the facility, as your bear keeper guide explains the intricate inner workings of animal welfare. If wildlife rehabilitation is a big interest of yours, you can even have the chance for an exclusive chat with a research worker on site.

Beautiful sunrise over the tropical beach, Libaran island, Borneo, Malaysia

Turtle Sanctuary & Glamping, Libaran Island


Jungle glamour and charming tents. A lavish camping experience on one of Borneo’s quieter islands. Enjoy a night away from the crowds, with a coastal retreat right by the sea. Expect beach breakfasts and starry nights.The pristine shores of this serene isle makes it an ideal spot for turtle landing. Spend your afternoon exploring the Libaran hatcheries. And once night falls, return to the sanctuary for the grand release.Witness the baby turtles returning home, as they paddle their way back to sea. An endearing display of innocence and serene end to the day.

Day 10 - Departure

This experience was created by
Stephen John
Show more from Stephen