Borneo weather & when to go: January

January overview

January is one of the wettest months of the year in Borneo, particularly in Sarawak. Torrential downpours are the norm (making trekking activities problematic) and sunny days are few and far between. However, travellers to Borneo at this time of year will benefit from fewer crowds and discounted rates. 

Very Good
Not Advised

Annual overview

  Best   Good
  Mixed   Poor
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

January's weather in detail


Kota Kinabalu, Kinabalu NP, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley, Sepilok, Gaya Island, Lankayan & Selingan Islands, Mabul & Sipadan Islands

In January, the winds of the north-east monsoon bring changeable and occasionally stormy weather across Sabah. High rainfall can be expected (although less than in neighbouring Sarawak) and fine days can quickly turn wet. Similarly at sea the weather can deteriorate rapidly, with calm seas quickly turning rough and, unsurprisingly January is not recommended for diving. 
Less rain is expected in the south of Sabah although road conditions to the more remote jungle regions of Danum Valley and Tabin may be poor, making travel more difficult to these areas. January’s wet weather is not ideal for climbing Mt Kinabalu as paths can be slippery and muddy – best to wait for drier conditions.

Avg daily temp: 27°C; avg monthly rainfall: 300mm.


Kuching, Damai Beach, Miri, Mulu National Park, Batang Ai

January is one of the wettest months in Sarawak, and whilst a visit to Sabah is certainly worth considering (despite heavy rainfall), it is considered a poor time of year to visit Sarawak. Mulu National Park is not strongly affected by monsoon seasons, but January is particularly wet and trekking will not be as enjoyable as in other months.
However, for hardy travellers there are many benefits of travelling in January: lower visitor numbers can be enjoyed and the National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries, jungle lodges and caves may be far more appealing without the hordes.

Avg daily temp: 27°C; avg monthly rainfall: 680mm.

Our recommended journeys

You’ll get generous helpings of everything this remarkable island is best at on our 10 day Borneo Rainforest & Beach holiday. Snorkel over coral reefs in a Marine Park, see rescued orang-utans at Sepilok - and spot for wild ones deep in Danum Valley Conservation Area - before kicking back for a final few days of tropical bliss on the beach.

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