Wherever else you've been lucky enough to travel, there's nothing quite like a holiday in Borneo. The superstar wildlife in this rainforest paradise will knock your leech-socks off, and the opportunities for adventure will have you gleefully stepping out of your comfort zone! To top it all off, there’s the superb snorkelling, beautiful beaches, and wildlife-focused resorts that stand in a class of their own.
In Borneo, we can get you conscientiously close to some of the world's most thrilling wildlife in its natural habitat. You can head into the Danum Valley and Tabin conservation areas, which offer sanctuary to Bornean orangutans, gibbons, sun bears, wildcats, and the rarely seen pygmy elephant, clouded leopard and Bornean rhinoceros. Rainforest lodges offer accommodation deep in the jungle, with expert rangers on hand to help you spot the animals. Boat trips along the Kinabatangan River also offer great wildlife opportunities, plus the chance to visit tribal villages and join in their reforestation efforts. We also enjoy visiting ethical orangutan rehabilitation centres for an insight into the challenges faced by those who depend on the jungle.
Even on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state, there are stunning beaches with clean white sand, warm tranquil waters and luxurious resorts. Head offshore, and you’ll find idyllic tropical islands, marine parks protecting turtles and many other exciting species, and responsible resorts that combine conservation with just the right level of luxury. We particularly enjoy snorkelling around Gaya Island, where the protected waters throng with colourful marine life, and resort guests can help out at a coral reef restoration nursery.
The Iban people (a name encompassing Borneo's indigenous groups) have thrived within the island's habitats for thousands of years. They still uphold many traditional ways of life, albeit whilst sporting football shirts and enjoying a spot of karaoke. The most authentic tribal longhouses are now built of concrete (a few old-style wooden ones are kept for show) but their communal approach to living persists, with a number of families living in each longhouse and sharing resources. You can stay in a longhouse for a couple of nights, joining the tribespeople on their daily activities, and even camping in the rainforest if you’re feeling particularly adventurous!
Malaysia’s highest mountain, one of the largest cave systems in the world, thrilling treks deep into the rainforest — Malay Borneo offers some excellent opportunities for light adventure, most of which can be tailored to your ability level. Many walking trails criss-cross UNESCO World Heritage site Kinabalu National Park, ranging from an hour or two along a river valley to the strenuous overnight climb to the peak of Mount Kinabalu itself. You can embark on adventurous hikes into the Maliau Basin, sleeping overnight at research camps, or perhaps you’d rather venture underground into the Mulu caves, one of which is the largest known cave chamber in the world.
Explore an untamed habitat concealing endangered animals, rare birds and plants with mysterious medicinal properties; all before steeling away for a remote island retreat.