The Malaysian part of Borneo is full of adventure. Taking river trips to see traditional headhunter’s villages, meeting Orang-utans in pristine rainforests, trekking the highest point in SE Asia, and scuba diving in one of the best destinations in the world. To explore the best Borneo has to offer we recommend Malaysian Borneo overland holidays.
The island of Borneo is the third largest in the world. It is split into the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak which make up around a quarter of the island, the Indonesian state of Kalimantan and the the tiny country of Brunei. Much of it is covered in pristine rainforest, and is hard to access by road meaning that Malaysian Borneo overland holidays will require a few short flights if you want to see the best bits.
The city of Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah’s capital, is a great staging point for overland adventures, sitting in the heart of the Sabah province. There is good diving locally, plenty to see and a few islands to explore just off the coast. Be sure to try the local version of iced tea, it includes milk and is nothing like iced tea how we know it.
From KK, Kinabalu National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and Mount Kinabalu are a short distance away. Standing at 4,095 metres tall it is the tallest mountain in South East Asia but it’s an accessible trek if you are fit and only takes a couple of days. The surrounding rainforest park is also home to an amazing array of wildlife and plants including the worlds largest flower and 800 species of orchid.
From here travel East to Sandakan from where you can see Borneo endemic Proboscis Monkey at a sanctuary in Labuk Bay and visit the Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok where you can come face-to-face with the ‘old man of the forest’.
South of Sandakan is the town of Semporna which is the gateway to scuba diving at Sipadan, renowned as one of the best dive locations in SE Asia if not the world. It’s the only oceanic island in Malaysia formed by corals growing on top of an extinct volcano rising 600m from the seabed. Schools or barracuda, hammer head sharks, more turtles then you can shake a fin at, and an immense amount of fauna make the diving here outstanding.
Catch a flight to Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo’s other UNESCO site and home to some of the world’s largest caves. From the national park centre you can enjoy a scenic plank walk to the entrance of the colossal Deer cave and watch the bats exiting the cave in a majestic display every evening. You can hire a guide and do some caving to explore the underground world beneath Mulu.
Canoe or take a boat upstream through pristine jungle to the Pinnacles base camp. The following day you can trek/scramble to Gunung Api to discover the limestone Pinnacles, a mysterious rocky formation that rises from the forest canopy. Within Mulu you can also follow the Headhunters’ Trail to the top of mount Mulu as part of your Malaysian Borneo overland holidays.
From Mulu catch a boat down river to Rumah Penghulu Sigah Iban longhouse and stay overnight in the traditional village. From here you can depart for Nanga Medamit and Limbang airport to catch a flight and carry on your Malaysian Borneo overland holidays from Miri by road.
Travel from Miri all the way to Kuching, Sarawak’s capital, along the way there are more national parks, beaches, waterfalls and plenty of wildlife to see. Experience the historic charm of Kuching and visit Bako National Park where you can trek to beautiful beaches, watch wildlife, or take a boat trip to secluded beaches all just a short distance from Kuching.
Malaysian Borneo overland holidays offer all this and plenty more.