Borneo, the third-largest island in the world and the largest island of Asia has an abundance of natural wonders, from virgin jungle and intriguing rare wildlife to world-class diving and one of the biggest network of caves in the world. From our trip to beautiful Sabah (one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo) here’s our favourite beautiful natural spots in Borneo…
Just a twenty-minute boat ride from the mainland, is this is a truly idyllic island where visitors can explore their own slice of tropical paradise. Perfectly secluded and teeming with natural beauty this island forms part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Walk the jungle trails (the island has 20 km of hiking trails in total) and spot exotic birdlife, varied flora and fauna. Tropical hardwood trees, unique medicinal plants, coastal vegetation and mangrove forest can all be seen on the island. Alternatively, take a dip in the ocean and watch tropical fish swimming, laze on the uncrowded beaches, grab a kayak, opt for a traditional massage at Gaya Island resort or take a ride on the world’s longest island to island zip wire.
The little hamlet of Sepilok is most famous for the loveable auburn creatures that reside in the organutan rehabilitation centre here. It’s one of the best places in the world to see an uncaged orang-utan and the residents are captivating, entertaining and very mischievous. Around 75 orangutans roam free within the forest reserve and here watching them play, eat and interact in their natural habitat is a privilege not to be missed. If you can, stick around for the adorable sun bear sanctuary, nature walks and try and catch a glimpse of the elusive proboscis monkey.
Sabah is home to some of the oldest undisturbed rainforest on the planet. Head for Kinabatangan River – arguably one of Borneo’s premier wildlife hot spots – to immerse yourself in forest life and get a chance to meet its many intriguing inhabitants. Here visitors can take boat trips to spot wild proboscis monkeys, herds of Borneo Pygmy Elephants and the ever-popular orang-utans. Their habitats are equally as fascinating and include mangrove swamps, oxbow lakes, limestone caves and many different types of tropical forests.
At just a whisker below 4100 metres, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and Papua New Guinea. It’s also the single most popular attraction on Borneo. The climb will be strenuous and requires a little planning (and plenty of stamina) but seeing sunrise once you’ve made to the top will make it all worth it. Also expect to see beautiful flora, interesting animals and unbeatable vistas along your journey.