Borneo’s landscape is one of the most extraordinary on Earth, and the regions of the island that remain unspoilt are home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna found anywhere. Trekking through the wilderness, surrounded by dense jungle and towering mountains, is completely immersive. You feel as far from the urban rush as if you were on a different planet, and viscerally connected to Borneo’s natural wonders.
Gunung Mulu National Park, with its contrasting terrains of dense jungle, record-breaking caves and exposed rocky peaks, offers the perfect setting to challenge yourself to climb highest, search deepest and wander furthest. Accessible by plane or boat, this remote park in the north west corner of Sarawak is famous for its stunning karst rock formations, including the awe-inspiring Pinnacles, and a labyrinth of caverns that give you a glimpse into the landscape’s subterranean secrets.
If you want to investigate the rich jungle above ground there are several appealing trails to follow. A two or three day rainforest hike gives you the chance to fully engage with Borneo’s natural wonders, with overnight stays in simple chalet-style accommodation. For a different challenge, trek to the Pinnacles’ magnificent limestone spikes stretching 45 metres into the air on the slopes of Gunung Api - one of the park’s most popular routes. Trekking to the top of Gunung Mulu itself is a tougher 4-day affair, but perfect for those with a high level of fitness and enthusiasm.
Tucked away in northern Sarawak, near to the border with Kalimantan, lie the remote and rugged Kelabit Highlands. A hidden gem for keen hikers, these jungle-covered peaks and valleys offer some of the very best trekking in Borneo. Until the 1940s, this isolated area was only accessible by a week-long journey on foot, but these days a short flight from Miri to Bario provides an immediate route in. A stay can range from a few days gentle hiking between local villages to tougher treks across the highlands, or even a challenging expedition to scale Sarawak’s highest mountain, Gunung Murud.
A great day-hike takes you from Bario to the remote settlement of Pa’Umor, meandering through rich jungle vegetation scattered with delicate orchids and carnivorous pitcher plants to the mysterious stone carving of Batu Narit and the natural rock formations beyond. For a more demanding adventure, one popular 4 to 5 day hike passes through the settlement of Pa’ Lungan, with its magnificent ancient stone ‘table’, many intriguing carvings and imposing standing stones, before taking you right up to the border with Kalimantan’s wilderness.
Your home-from-home while travelling through this remote region will be traditional longhouse accommodation, where you can mingle with locals and other travellers and enjoy regional delicacies (including the famous sticky Bario rice, fresh fish and sweet pineapple) while you share in the thrill of having explored this unspoilt paradise.