Holidays to natural Borneo
Nature and wildlife lovers are in paradise on a holiday or tour to Borneo. Its ancient, equatorial rainforests shelter some of the world’s richest and rare wildlife including orangutans, probiscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and the world’s largest flower which, when open, is more than three feet across.
Images of Borneo and orangutan go hand in hand, and holidays here often include a visit to one of the rehabilitation centres which do great work to rescue these noble and intelligent apes. Borneo and Sumatra are the only places in the world where they can be seen in the wild or semi-wild, and it’s an experience you’re unlikely to forget.
Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia, and its surrounding UNESCSO-protected rainforest throngs with plant and wildlife, including over one thousand species of orchid. Serious hikers might be tempted to reach the summit, but if you prefer gentler exercise, you’ll find the tropical lowlands and jungles threaded with walking trails.
Borneo’s tropical jungle – and its colourful inhabitants - are the obvious highlight, and there are lots of ways to get up close to nature on this beautiful, bountiful island.
Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, Kinabalu National Park occupies an area bigger than the island of Singapore. It’s thick with jungle but walking is made easy by numerous nature trails, with rare botanical species dotted here and there. Many of these have been gathered and replanted in the Botanical Garden, including pitcher plants, orchids and ferns.
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is one of Malaysia’s biggest and best-known sanctuaries for injured, rescued and orphaned orangutans. About 60-80 roam freely across the reserve where they are looked after and taught to learn to feed and forage for themselves before being released back into their rainforest home.
The Kinabatangan River offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Southeast Asia. Many of Borneo’s rare and endangered animals flourish on and around the riverbank, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants. Keep watch for the occasional saltwater crocodile too.
You can visit Borneo at any time of the year although there are two main weather seasons: wet and dry. There are advantages to both seasons. It’s less humid during the wet season from September to January, whereas in the dry season it’s hot and humid, but rainfall is low.
Dozens of different languages are spoken in Borneo, including an astonishing 170 indigenous languages as well as Chinese, Tamil and English. However, the official language is Bahasa Malaysia (or Malay).
Borneo is eight hours ahead of GMT during our winter, and seven hours ahead in summertime when we have daylight savings in the UK.
There are no direct flights to Borneo from the UK, so total flight times are usually around 18 hours including a change of flight, usually in Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.
British passport holders can visit and stay in Borneo for up to three months without a visa, however your passport must be valid for six months from the date you arrive. However, entry requirements can change so we recommend that you check before you travel. CIBT provide a useful tool to do this at CIBT visas or you can visit GOV UK.
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