Best places to explore in
Malaysian Borneo (Part II)
In our previous blog post, we’ve shared with you some of the best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo. Can’t get enough? Don’t worry…For this second part, we will continue to share with you other best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo.
1) Long Pasia, Sabah Borneo
Maga Waterfall in Long Pasia
Adventure in the heart of Sabah Borneo, surrounded by lush rainforest of Borneo, you will enter into a small Lundayeh (one of Sabah Borneo’s minor indigenous tribe) village. Get an insight of the authentic culture and the treasures of nature in Long Pasia jungle. Your visit to Long Pasia will never leave you bored. Long Pasia is rich with plant diversity and historical treasures. You can see there are many cultural sites which include rare burial ground, and ancient burial jars. While enjoying the Long Pasia trekking expedition, you will pass beautiful waterfalls and a hidden lake deep in the forest which holds many of the local stories, beliefs, and legends. There will be a local native guide, together with you trekking into the Borneo jungle and giving the explanation on the endemic plants, history, and information on the flora and fauna that you will encounter.
2) Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) Islands, Sabah Borneo
Swim and relax in Manukan Island
A visit to the capital city of Sabah Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, is never complete without dropping by to TARP’s group of islands. The marine park consists of Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, and Sulug Island. These islands are only a short boat ride away from the Kota Kinabalu city, and it is a popular destination for locals and tourists. There are few resorts and basic accommodations within the marine park, either you can choose to stay in the islands or pop over for a day trip.
Most day-trippers will choose to go Manukan Island and Sapi Island, as both of these islands are most developed and popular among the visitors for diving. There are many activities that you can do in TARP Islands such as island hopping, parasailing, zip coral flyers, snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. If you are looking for more exotic beach island getaway, you can read our top 5 islands in Sabah Borneo, or 6 hidden islands for your exotic beach getaway, and plan your next getaway!
3) Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Sarawak Borneo
This mature female Orangutan sits quietly while eating her banana. Photo By: Chew Eng O
Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is located about 24km from the capital city of Kuching, Sarawak Borneo, and was established in 1975. In addition, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is the largest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak Borneo, which is more than 700 hectares in size and home to Orangutan that are of varying ages. Most significantly, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre serves the same purpose with Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah Borneo, where Orangutans are rehabilitated at the center and teach them some “habitat survival skills” before releasing them to the wild. This is one of the conservation methods to preserve the dwindling numbers of Orangutans in Sarawak Borneo.
In Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, you can get the chance to see Orangutan up close especially during their feeding times (9 am and 3 pm). If you are lucky, you might encounter the Orangutans emerging from the wild during feeding time or maybe even spot the Orangutans while you are walking in the jungle.
Planning to visit Kuching, Sarawak Borneo? Click here to know places in Kuching city that you can visit by foot.
4) Kudat, Sabah Borneo
Kelampunian Beach, Kudat
Kudat is a town in Sabah Borneo, which is located about 3-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City. On a map, the state of Sabah Borneo resembles to a dog’s head, and Kudat lies on the northern tip of Sabah Borneo, which forms the left ear of the ”dog”, namely as “Tip Of Borneo” by the locals. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and surf spots, it’s no wonder “Tip Of Borneo” is one of the up and coming attractions for visitors in Kudat.
Kudat area is inhabited mainly by Rungus people (one of Sabah Borneo’s indigenous tribe), which some of them are still living in longhouses. The Rungus people are known for their excellent weaving skills, beadwork, and intricate beadwork for their traditional costume. A visit to Kudat should not be missed out in your travel itinerary because there are a lot of activities and places you can go in Kudat. You can enjoy surfing, beach camping, a visit to Honey Bee farm, experience culture in Kampung Bavanggazo (Rungus Longhouse), a tour to Gong-making village, or just laze around at Kudat beautiful beaches.
5) Batang Ai National Park, Sarawak Borneo
Experience the authentic feeling of living in the Iban Longhouse
Batang Ai National Park is located in Sri Aman, Sarawak Borneo, which officially opened for public in 1991. It covers 24 square kilometers of vast Borneo Jungle and home to some rare or protected Borneo Wildlife. It is also home for one of the Sarawak Borneo indigenous tribe, the Iban tribe. Batang Ai National Park is a great place for you to experience the authentic Borneo Jungle, a chance to witness Borneo Wildlife (eg: Orangutans, Gibbons, and Hornbills) in their natural habitat, as well as learning about the Iban cultural traditions by participating in the homestay program for your Borneo Holidays.
To reach Batang Ai National Park, you will need to hop on the longboats and cruise by the Batang Ai River to reach your accommodations. There are a few accommodations available within the Batang Ai National Park, which are Aiman Batang Ai Resort and Retreat, Nanga Sumpa Lodge, or simply spend the night in “real” Iban Longhouses.
6) Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve, Sabah Borneo
Poring Canopy Walkway
Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve is located about 13 kilometers from Ranau Town and it is part of Kinabalu National Park. Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve was first developed by the Japanese during World War II, and it has become one of the top weekend getaway destinations amongst foreigners and locals alike. A must do activity will be soaking in the hot spring that could help to relieve stress and alleviate all the sore and muscle aches after climbing Mount Kinabalu. The hot spring contains high sulphuric minerals that is widely considered to have special healing properties.
In addition, you can challenge yourself by taking a stroll up to the canopy walkway amidst the lush Borneo Jungle. The canopy walkway is over 175 meters long and 41-44 meters in height; higher than an 8-storey building! Be amazed at the exquisite view of the Borneo Jungle surrounding when you are above the canopy. Apart from the hot spring and canopy walkway, you can also visit the butterfly farm, the Poring orchid conservation center, the tropical garden and Rafflesia flower blooming sites.
If you want to know more places of interest in Ranau or Sabah Borneo, click “Don’t miss this when you’re in Ranau” to know more interesting places to go when you visit Ranau, Sabah Borneo.
7) Kiulu, Sabah Borneo
Moderate adventurous (grade 1-2) in Kiulu Water Rafting. Photo by : dannychan_sg
Kiulu is a small valley that is located in the District of Tuaran, and it is about 1-hour 30-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu city. Agriculture is the main source of living for the local communities within Kiulu. There is much agriculture such as rubber plantations, fruit orchards, paddy fields (rice), and vegetable farms. Take some time to visit Kiulu in your Borneo Holidays to experience the living culture of the locals there.
The area has other activities such as water rafting that is suitable for beginners (grade is between 1 to 2) at the Kiulu River. After that, you can also enjoy the Zip Borneo Adventure Centre which offers several thrilling activities on sites, such as Zip Line, Wall Climbing, High Rope Challenges, and Abseiling. Moreover, you can also go for the thrilling experience of Quad Biking in Kiulu, where you can witness the scenic view of Kiulu villages, river, paddy fields, and more.
8) Ba’kelalan Mount Murud, Sarawak Borneo
Misty morning view at the Ba’Kelalan village
Ba’kelalan is a small village located on a hillside with an altitude of 1,500 feet above sea level and 4 km from the border of Kalimantan, Indonesia, as well as about 150 km from the nearest town of Lawas. Ba’Kelalan is home to the Lun Bawang tribe (one of the indigenous group of Sarawak Borneo). In addition, Ba’kelalan is known for being the origin of wet paddy farming before it was extended to Bario, Long Semadoh, and other areas on Borneo Island. The unique rice is popularly known as “Bario Rice” which can be found only in Kelabit Highlands. In Ba’kelalan, you can experience the lifestyle of Lun Bawang community with Homestay program, jungle trekking to reach salt spring, and exploring the surrounding area by visiting rice fields, apple farms, as well as the organic research farm.
Most travelers will go to Ba’kelalan as a starting point to climb up the highest mountain in Sarawak Borneo, Mount Murud, which is about 2,423 meters above sea level. It is a serious expedition hence, you will need to hire a guide or porter in Ba’kelalan in order for you to safely reach the summit. Many locals regard Mount Murud as a sacred location especially for the Christians so any alcoholic drinks and smoking is prohibited.
If you are up for the challenge to climb Mount Murud, be sure to spot some of the unique Borneo plants that you can see while trekking, such as Pitcher Plant species (Nepenthes Murudensis) and wild orchids.
Looking at all the best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo, are you ready to plan for your Borneo holidays? If your answer is YES, here how you can visit Borneo and at the same time saving your travel money too!
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