Borneo: Top 20 best things to do and see

best things to do in borneo

WHAT TO DO IN BORNEO?

Borneo is an island located in Southeast Asia. It’s divided into three between Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabbah regions), Brunei (a tiny state located in the Malaysian part), and Indonesia (Kalimantan region). The latter is the most difficult to access and will require a lot of planning and time ahead to explore it.

The list below will help you prepare and organize your trip to Borneo.

Here are 20 things to do and see during a trip to Borneo:

ON THE MALAYSIAN SIDE (SARAWAK AND SABBAH):

1. CLIMB MOUNT KINABALU

top sights borneo

The highest peak in Southeast Asia (4094 meters) lies in the Kinabalu National Park in northeastern Borneo and offers a spectacular view of the island. Most hikers begin the climb in the evening to get to the summit in time to admire the sunrise.

  • Don’t forget to book your hotel in Kota Kinabalu on Booking.com

2. VISIT THE TRADITIONAL HOUSES OF THE INDIGENOUS TRIBES

borneo what to see

Do not miss the Sarawak Cultural Village which is 45 minutes from Kuching, and which shows a glimpse of indigenous culture and traditional longhouses.

3. BAKO NATIONAL PARK

borneo top sights

Located not far from Kuching, you can see snakes (long-nosed monkeys) walking in the forest and mangroves.

4. SEE ORANGUTANS

best places to see in borneo

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center provides an opportunity to get close to orangutans. It can also be seen at the Semenggoh Reserve, near Kuching (Borneo’s largest city).

5. TAKE A BOAT TRIP ON THE KINABATANGAN RIVER

where to travel in borneo

The longest river in Sabah, home to a rich ecosystem and important wildlife. You can see snakes, monkeys, Sumatran rhinoceros and Asian elephants.

6. DIVE IN SIPADAN

things to do in borneo

For scuba diving enthusiasts, the Malaysian side of Borneo offers one of the best diving spots in the world, in Sipadan. If you prefer snorkelling, go to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (in Sabah). To dive on the wrecks of World War II, go to Redang Island.

7. TURTLE ISLAND

borneo must see places

An island located off Borneo where you can see many sea turtles and have the chance to watch their laying every month of the year. You can also visit a conservation center that collects sea turtles. More info here.

8. GUNGUG MULU NATIONAL PARK

borneo best places

Located in Sarawak, near Brunei, it is an ancient territory of the head hunters and a world heritage site thanks to its network of underground caves that can be visited (there is the largest underground chamber of the world). We can also see karstic peaks with a dangerous aspect.

9. DO RAFTING

borneo must visit places

Rafting is becoming an increasingly popular activity in Borneo, where the best rapids are to Sabah.

ON THE INDONESIAN SIDE (KALIMANTAN):

10. LOKSADO AND THE MERATUS MOUNTAINS

top things to see in borneo

The Meratus Mountains are a popular trek destination in South Kalimantan and are accessible from the small town of Loksado. You can also go rafting and discover the Dayak culture.

11. TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK

must see places in borneo

A national park of 4000 m² where you can have the chance to see orangutans in their natural state and many birds.

12. THE DERAWAN ARCHIPELAGO

top places in borneo

The perfect place for snorkelling and diving, especially at Sangalaki Island and Maratua Island.

13. GUNUNG PALUNG NATIONAL PARK

borneo things to see

A national park that is home to nearly 2,000 orangutans. The starting point for access is Pontianak.

14. THE WEHEA FOREST

what to see in borneo

A very old rainforest home to hundreds of animal species. Accessible from the village of Nehas Liah Bing (very difficult, you’re warned!) .

15. BANJARMASIN CITY

top sights in borneo

The capital of the province of South Kalimantan. You can see authentic floating markets.

16.  SAMARINDA CITY

borneo points of interest

From Samarinda, you can get to Kutai National Park and go up the Mahakan River by boat. The mosque is to visit.

17. BALIKPAPAN CITY

borneo places to go

A city known for its oil resources but has very beautiful beaches (kemala and melawai beach). Also, visit Bangkirai Mountain Suspension Bridge and Wana Wisata Forest. More info here.

IN BRUNEI:

Book your hotel in Brunei now on Booking.com

18. VISIT THE MOSQUES

what to do in borneo

The two mosques to see are the Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah and the Mosque Omar Ali Saifuddin (see photo).

19. THE VILLAGE OF KAMPONG AYER

must see borneo

A village of 4000 houses built on the water and which is the historic heart of Brunei.

20. ULU TEMBURONG NATIONAL PARK

borneo what to do

The first national park established in Brunei. It is accessible only by boat from the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.

Photos credits:

  1. Photo © flickr.com/photos/ericlbc/3023023161
  2. Photo © flickr.com/photos/rod_waddington/7246599192/
  3. Photo © flickr.com/photos/39463459@N08/3678649793
  4. Photo © flickr.com/photos/victorulijn/14980739107
  5. Photo © flickr.com/photos/canorus/2997892210
  6. Photo © flickr.com/photos/nodust/4941954306
  7. Photo © flickr.com/photos/tensafefrogs/4651117522
  8. Photo © flickr.com/photos/thinkofacolour/988949489
  9. Photo © flickr.com/photos/grobson/2685167590
  10. Photo © flickr.com/photos/mrezafaisal/16664013584/in/dateposted
  11. Photo © wikimedia.org
  12. Photo © wikimedia.org
  13. Photo © wikimedia.org
  14. Photo © wikimedia.org
  15. Photo © wikimedia.org
  16. Photo © wikimedia.org
  17. Photo © wikimedia.org
  18. Photo © wikimedia.org
  19. Photo © wikimedia.org
  20. Photo © tanawintravelandtours.weebly.com

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