Best places to explore in
Malaysian Borneo (Part I)
It’s a big world out there – so big that it can be daunting to decide which destination in Malaysian Borneo to visit for your Borneo holidays. From natural wonders to man-made masterpieces, from Borneo wildlife to cityscapes, the choices are endless. Don’t let indecision get you down, or worse, delay the planning of your next trip. Don’t worry, we’re going to save you from this misery as we provide you the best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo. You are free to pick one, or pick them all, it’s your choice!
1) Mount Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo
Standing majestically at 4,095 Meters, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, which in turn attracts trekkers from around the world to climb the summit. The climb to the summit is not technically difficult but it is long and steep, so you may need to build some post climb recovery time into your trip. Mount Kinabalu is the centerpiece of Kinabalu National Park, which was established in 1964, and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000. If you are not planning to climb Mount Kinabalu, you can go for easily navigated trails around the Kinabalu National Park, while getting the chance to experience a diverse array of flora and fauna species. Up until today, Mount Kinabalu become one of the many reasons travelers visit Malaysian Borneo.
2) Sipadan Island, Sabah Borneo
Swimming with turtle in Sipadan Island
Discover an underwater paradise off of Sipadan Island, the only oceanic island in Malaysia, becoming a legendary destination amongst divers and known for being one of the world’s best diving spots. Sipadan island is located at the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, the center of one of the richest marine habitat in the world. Hence, Sipadan island fulfills every divers’ imagination and dream, for being rich in various marine life species. Apart from that, Sipadan Island is also well known for Green and Hawksbill sea turtles gather there to mate and nest. There is a total of 12 dive sites in Sipadan, but the most recommended dive sites would be Turtle Cavern, Barracuda Point, South Point, and Hanging Gardens.
3) Mulu National Park, Sarawak Borneo
Mulu National Park is in Miri Division of Sarawak Borneo, and it is the largest national park in Sarawak Borneo. Mulu National Park was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in November 2000, for its high biodiversity, cave and karst formations. Mulu National Park dominated by Mulu Mountain (second highest mountain in Sarawak Borneo), with its height about a 2,377m-high of sandstone pinnacles. Moreover, Mulu National Park also famous for its largest natural chamber (the Sarawak Chamber) and its four main attractions of show caves (Wind, Clearwater, Deer and Langs Cave). The main attraction will be to witness the bat exodus from the viewing station, going for rainforest canopy skywalk, caving adventures, climbing up the Mulu summit, trekking into the Pinnacles trails and going through the historic Headhunter’s Trail through the Borneo Jungle.
4) Bako National Park, Sarawak Borneo
Bako National Park
Established in 1957, this coastal national park is easily accessible by boat from the capital city of Kuching. Bako National Park is the oldest and smallest in Sarawak Borneo, but home to diverse range of Borneo wildlife, which includes about 150 species of birds and the rare Proboscis Monkey (also known as Long Nose Monkey). This park has about 16 Borneo Jungle trails that offer hikers an interesting walk ranging from a short stroll to full-day hikes. Bako National Park offers a high chance to spot some of the Borneo wildlife, such as the Proboscis Monkey, Long-Tailed Macaque Monkey, Silver-Leaf Monkey, Wild Boar, Squirrel, and Monitor Lizard.
5) Kinabatangan River, Sabah Borneo
Spot Borneo Pygmy Elephants in Kinabatangan river cruise
Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah Borneo and second longest in Malaysia, stretching over 560 km from the Crocker Range, to its mangrove swamp estuary, into the Sulu Sea on the East coast of Sabah. Going through Kinabatangan River by small boat offers a unique and rich experience, as well as the high concentration of spotting Borneo wildlife, is remarkable. You may encounter a lot of Borneo wildlife there, which include Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Snakes, Crocodiles and many Borneo bird species, such as a variety of Kingfisher and Hornbill.
6) Maliau Basin Conservation Area, Sabah Borneo
Maliau Basin’s famous 7-tier waterfall
If you are more into nature and off-the-beaten destination, Maliau Basin is the one for you! Get into the “Lost world of Sabah”, which is Borneo’s last untouched wilderness. It is situated in a remote southern area of Sabah Borneo and was recorded the first human entry as recent as the early 1980s. Eventually, Maliau Basin is protected by the government and designated as a Class One Protected Forest Reserve, where there are still many unexplored places in this pristine Borneo Jungle. This is perfect for jungle trekking and birding activities into this pristine Borneo Jungle, especially trekking up to the awe-inspiring 7-tier waterfalls. Bliss!
7) Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah Borneo
Orangutan in their natural habitat
Take the opportunity to go to Sandakan, Sabah Borneo, to see the “man of the forest”, which is Orangutan in Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Set within protected Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve that covers an area of 4,294 acres of Borneo Jungle, this centre welcomes orphaned and captive orangutans, provide them medical and nutritional support, as well as teaching them survival skills with the hope to release the Orangutan to the wild. In addition, the center also aims to educate visitors and locals on the importance of rehabilitation as well as protecting the Orangutan species before it becomes extinct. You can witness Orangutan in their natural habitat through the viewing platform during the feeding times. Apart from that, you can also see the playful Orangutan toddlers from the indoor nursery viewing area which has been opened to the public in October 2014.
8) Iban Longhouse, Sarawak Borneo
Inside verandah of the Iban Longhouse
A unique experience for your Borneo holidays, where you can learn the culture of Sarawak Borneo indigenous group (Iban people), and stay with them at the longhouse. A better option is to visit the Iban longhouse farther from the city, to get more authentic experience that you will enjoy. In addition, get the chance to ride on a longboat to reach the longhouse, and you will get a glimpse of luscious landscape of Borneo Jungle. Enjoy a chance to interact with the Iban people on their culture and listen to their story about their ancestor once prided as headhunters. The best part of staying in an Iban Longhouse is you’ll get a chance to sample authentic local food, watch and learn the traditional dance, as well as shooting a blowpipe gun too!
After reading this, are you excited to plan your holiday destination to explore Malaysian Borneo? What are you waiting for? Book your next adventure and plan your visit to see these best places in Malaysian Borneo. Stay tuned for our next blog post on best places for you to explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part II).
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