Borneo’s rainforest landscape exerts an irresistible pull on anyone dreaming of a genuinely extraordinary trip, and it really does have it all: wildlife, adventure, culture and some of the best beaches in Asia. Whether floating down the Kinabatangan River in search of gibbons, pygmy elephants and orangutans, walking through the treetop canopy in the Danum Valley, or diving around its idyllic northern islands, the possibility of extraordinary wildlife encounters is never far away. Add in excellent infrastructure, and the bonus of a surprising amount of easy travel by road, and you’re looking at a phenomenal holiday experience.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
Sepilok's criss-cross of raised boardwalks make it a near certainty that you’ll spot an orangutan or two at some point. This well-established, well-known nature sanctuary has feeding platforms, walkways and even a nursery play area for the youngest orangs. Whilst visitors must maintain a respectful distance, the orangutans do sometimes come very close of their own accord! Feeding times turn the sanctuary into a raucous raft of noise, and hourly educational talks offer informative learning about the surrounding habitat. Visiting Sepilok is a must on a trip to Borneo. Not only will you get to experience orangutans in their natural habitat, but you'll also find out some on-the-ground details about the continuing conservation and animal welfare projects.
There’s nothing to compare to a stay at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley. The perfect end to a day’s safari in Sabah has to be sipping a chilled glass of something fizzy whilst sitting on a wooden veranda overlooking the Danum River. Booking into this unique eco-lodge surrounded by jungle allows you to do just that. Stilted wooden chalets and bungalows provide comfort and privacy as well as access to rainforest trails, tropical gardens and a suspended canopy walkway. Evenings at open-sided restaurants offer the chance to socialise or enjoy candle-lit meals for two, whilst nocturnal jungle walks round the day off on a high.
You can lose yourself on Gaya Island, in every sense. Whether it's underwater, being captivated by clams, clownfish and colourful coral gardens, or hiking through jungles where monkeys, giant moths and bearded pigs may make an appearance, this is an island that sings with adventure but also allows you to unwind and enjoy some absolutely splendid food. You can stay in a hillside villa, surrounded by thick forest, or enjoy a rooftop dining experience under a blanket of stars. Visit the Marine Ecology Research Centre, or stroll across a sand-dusted pontoon and watch rays swimming underneath. Whatever you set your sights on, Gaya Island is an accessible option that ticks a lot of boxes.