If you’re a lover of nature, then Borneo must be on your travel bucket list this year. With hundreds of different animal and plant species, and some of the world’s most beautiful national parks, Borneo is truly inspiring.
Some of you may have seen the latest TV show Wild Borneo Adventure hosted by Judi Dench (aired Tuesday 2nd July 2019). This show certainly gave us a case of wanderlust, and now we want to help you plan your very own Borneo adventure! So we’ve picked out some of the places you absolutely must visit in Borneo, along with some once-in-a-lifetime activities you won’t want to miss out on.
1. Climb Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mount Kinabalu is the 20th most prominent mountain in the world, so you can’t visit Borneo without at least getting a snap of this majestic peak. Seasoned hikers can enjoy the trek up the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea, standing tall at 4,095 metres (13,335m above sea level), as this peak is said to be one of the safest mountains to climb in the world, so even those who are relatively new to hiking can conquer Mount Kinabalu.
When visiting Mount Kinabalu you can learn all about the ancient folk lore of this mountain while taking on the 8.8km trek to the top. The trek typically takes around 3-4 hours and can be done in the early hours of the morning to reach the summit for sunrise. Once at the summit, you’ll have fantastic views of the Sabah mountain range.
2. Get up close and personal with the locals
Orangutans are the king of the Borneo jungle, but sadly their habitat is being destroyed. When in Borneo, you can get the chance to visit Orangutans at the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation centre in Kuching, Sarawak, where they home semi-wild Orangutans to save them from extinction.
Unlike many other sanctuaries in Asia that are often not as ethical as they may seem, this centre is designed to give Orangutans a safe place to thrive. Here, the apes can live in peace and harmony in their very own forest, and they are said to be extremely friendly and keen to interact with visitors. You may get the chance to feed an orangutan and you’ll learn all about what the centre are doing to help save this gorgeous species.
3. Visit Turtle Island
Turtle Island consists of three islands – selingan, Bakugan Kecil and Gulisan Island. These islands are famous for green turtles and hawksbill turtles who swim up to the beaches to lay their eggs. These endangered turtles use these beaches as a safe place to lay their eggs where they are then taken to the hatchery to be incubated until they are ready to hatch.
Now a popular tourist spot, you can visit what is now known as Turtle Island, to witness the baby turtles hatching and learn all about these fascinating species. There are strict conservation rules to ensure the turtles are not disturbed, and you can even stay overnight to witness the laying of the eggs at dusk. The turtles can then be released into the sea once hatched.
4. Try the delicious food
Borneo isn’t often recognised for it’s food, but with influences from Malaysia, Thailand, China and India, you can’t not be intrigued to try the food. Food is often seasoned with local spices, making the food nothing like you’ve ever tried before, and their cuisine is mostly made up of fresh fish, vegetables, rice and noodles.
Once you’ve filled up on some local favourites such as Laksa (a type of curry and noodles), Beef Rendang ( spicy, fragrant beef) and Curry puffs (like a Malaysian samosa), you can try some of their sweet fruits and desserts such as Snake Fruit, Dabai or Pulasan.
Why not try a cooking class and experiment with the local herbs and spices!
5. Go on a river safari
Borneo is full of exotic wildlife with over 150 species of frog alone. So if Orangutans and turtles aren’t enough for you, then heading out on a river safari is bound to satisfy your craving for nature. Spot animals such as pygmy elephants, macaques and gibbons whilst sailing down the river and into the jungle.
You can also take a boat to Bako National Park, where you can discover hundreds of different plant species and even spot a proboscis monkey! Animal lovers will be truly inspired by the Borneo jungle!
For more Borneo inspiration, keep watching Wild Borneo Adventure, Tuesdays at 9pm on ITV.
Ready to plan your very own Borneo adventure? Get in touch with your Personal Travel Expert today.