Frequently Asked Questions
Top Peak Travel Borneo
Borneo Travel FAQ
Hey there! Our Frequently Asked Questions are ever evolving. We do our best to give you all the info you need to plan your trip, but we know you might have a lot of questions. If you can’t find what you need here, just drop us a line here and we will get back to you with some answers.
Where is Borneo?
The island of Borneo is considered part of Southeast Asia and straddles the equator. To the South and East lie islands belonging to Indonesia. To the west lies mainland Malaysia. To the Northeast lies the the islands of the Philippines.
Borneo is bordered by the South China Sea to the North and West, the Sulu Sea to the Northeast, the Celebes Sea to the East, and the Java Sea to the south.
What language do people speak in Borneo?
Many, many native languages are spoken in Borneo; however, the official language depends on the country.
In Malaysian Borneo and Brunei, the official language is Bahasa Melayu. In Indonesian Borneo, the official language is Bahasa Indonesia. These two languages share a common root and many common words.
Although Bahasa is the official language, English is widely spoken throughout Borneo. If you travel off the beaten path, you may not be able to find an English speaker, but in most cities, many people speak English to varying degrees.
When is the best time to come to Borneo?
Anytime is the best time to come to Borneo. It is tough to point to a time of year that is the absolute best to come because the rainy season throughout the island varies based on location.
The peak tourism season for Borneo typically extends from May to September.
The good news is that Borneo lies out of the path of the major typhoons that can ravage other areas of Southeast Asia.
We enjoy warm tropical weather in Borneo, year-round.
When is the rainy season in Borneo?
Traditionally, the wetter months in Borneo are from November to January; however the rainy season is quite dependent on the location you wish to travel, particularly along the coast.
If you aren’t sure whether it will be raining when you plan to come, contact us with your tentative dates and where you are planning to go and we can fill you in on what type of weather you can expect.
Where can I fly into in Borneo?
The two most popular airports for arrivals of travelers to Borneo are Kota Kinabalu International Airport and Kuching International Airport. It is also possible to arrive in Brunei and take a short flight to either Kota Kinabalu or Kuching.
For travelers arriving domestically from mainland Malaysia, there are other options of locations to fly to including Miri (Sarawak), Sandakan (Sabah), and Tawau (Sabah).
The airport you choose to fly into will depend on where you are planning to visit. If you want some help deciding, feel free to contact us and we can help advise you on what might be the best option.
What currency do people use in Borneo?
Malaysian Borneo: Malaysian Ringgit
Brunei: Brunei Dollar
Kalimantan (Indonesia): Indonesian Rupiah
Are there ATM’s in Borneo?
Yes. All major towns have plenty of ATM’s. You may be able to find ATMs in some smaller towns, but if you need to use an ATM, we recommend using the ATM before you leave the major town.
Can I exchange money in Borneo?
Yes. Money changers can be found in major towns in Borneo. If you have to change money, we recommend changing money in Kuching or Kota Kinabalu as there are more money changers and you will most likely find the best rates.
How do I get around in Borneo?
For travelers, there are three common forms of long distance transport for getting around Borneo. The first are domestic flights. They are cheap, reliable, and fast. We recommend checking on flights before looking at the other two options.
The second option is coach busses. Coach busses in Borneo are nothing to write home about. There are a few providers with nice busses, but for the most part, the busses are older. You can expect a long, rough ride when traveling by bus due to bad roads and the rough terrain that separates most towns.
The third option is shared taxis. Share taxis typically take people medium distances. They are a cheap way to get from one town to another; however they are cramped, hot, and don’t leave until every seat is full.
For short distance trips, the options include Grab, Taxis, and city busses (in some towns). If you are looking to go a short distance, say around town, Grab is your best bet. It is cheaper than a typical taxi, comfortable, and delivers you exactly where you want to go.
The normal taxis in Borneo are known to be expensive. In our experience, we have never found a taxi driver willing to use the meter…in fact many taxis we rode in don’t even have a meter. If you need a taxi, we recommend Grab unless you are in a pinch.
The final short distance option is the city bus. In Sarawak, the city busses are decent. In Sabah, the busses are run down, the routes are confusing, and the music can be really loud (yes, some busses blast music). Despite this, taking a city bus is an adventure and it is the cheapest option. If you are up to the adventure, try taking a city bus.
If you desire private transport to get around any part of Malaysian Borneo, Top Peak Travel has you covered. Contact us for details.
What country does Borneo belong to?
Borneo is split into three countries. The majority of the island is governed by Indonesia. This part is called Kalimantan and comprises the southern part of the island.
Malaysia governs the next largest chunk, which is most of the northern part of Borneo. Malaysian Borneo is split into two states, Sabah to the East and Sarawak to the West.
A tiny portion of Borneo belongs to the country of Brunei. Brunei’s land border is completely surrounded by Sarawak.
Which part of Borneo is better?
We might be a bit biased here at Top Peak Travel, but we are going to say Malaysian Borneo is the best. Sabah and Sarawak have the best options for travelers.
Sabah is best for wildlife and adventure. This doesn’t mean Sarawak doesn’t have both, but Sabah does it best.
Sarawak is best for culture. Sure, Sabah has a rich cultural heritage, but for experiencing the traditional culture of Borneo, Sarawak is the best place to do that.
Both Sabah and Sarawak have an established infrastructure for tourism. This makes it easy to get around, to book tours, and to have a good time.
Are there still headhunters in Borneo?
Officially, no there aren’t any headhunters left in Borneo. All we can say is be careful not to make anyone mad when you come to visit. Just Kidding!!! People in Borneo are amazingly friendly. Headhunting hasn’t been practiced for a long time.
Health and Safety
Is it safe to travel to Borneo?
Traveling to Borneo is generally safe. We are a peaceful people here. However, there have been some instances of kidnappings off of the east coast of Sabah. Although these occurrences are rare, we encourage you to check your country’s travel advisories for specific information and warnings.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Top Peak Travel recommends that you always purchase travel insurance for trips outside of your own country. Borneo is no different. This gives you peace of mind to know you’re covered if anything happens.
Is there malaria and/or Dengue in Borneo?
The short answer is yes to both. The part that is more difficult to answer is how prevalent are they? Cases of Malaria are rare, but they do occur. If you are planning on going to the jungle, we recommend you consult your travel doctor about anti-malarials. Some forms of anti-malaria medications are available over the counter at pharmacies in Borneo.
Dengue outbreaks do happen occasionally in Borneo. We recommend you take proper precautions to avoid mosquito bites when you visit. For specific information about the risks of Dengue, please consult with your physician or a travel doctor.
Are there hospitals in Borneo?
Yes. There are major hospitals in all large cities in Borneo. Most towns and villages also have clinics where you can seek medical care for non-major issues. In Malaysian Borneo specifically, hospital staff have english speaking staff so you won’t have much issue communicating.
What is the quality of medical care in Borneo?
We will focus on Malaysian Borneo for this question since it is the part of Borneo where we send our guests.
In Malaysian Borneo, the medical care is quite advanced. You will find most hospitals and clinics adhere to western standards of care. The quality of care, in some cases, might not quite be up to the level you are used to in your own country, however, in our opinion, the gap in quality of care is not significant.
If you happen to need medical care while on a tour with Top Peak Travel, you can alert us at any time and we will assist you to seek the proper care.
What vaccinations do I need for Borneo?
We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified medical professional to determine which vaccinations you may need before you visit Borneo. This is because it is dependent on your previous vaccinations and to the specific types of areas you will be visiting.
Is the food safe to eat in Borneo?
Generally speaking, yes. Although most food you consume in Borneo will be safe to eat, the risk of food borne illness in Borneo does exist. This is due to the fact that the cleanliness standards of eateries in Borneo may not be up to the same standard as the country you are from.
Top Peak Travel recommends you take the proper precautions to treat food borne illness if you happen to get sick.
What do I do if I get sick in Borneo?
Prior to coming to Borneo, you should consult with a travel doctor about preventative measures and proper treatment of illness if you happen to get sick while on your holiday in Borneo.
If you happen to get sick while you are here, you can visit a pharmacy or clinic to treat your illness. If you are on a tour with Top Peak Travel, you can contact us for assistance at any time and we can help you arrange a visit to a clinic or pharmacy.
Booking a Trip
Can I book a tour online?
Yes, you can book online through toppeaktravel.com. If you are interested in booking more than a single tour, please contact us and we will get you sorted.
Is it safe to book online from Top Peak Travel’s website?