Borneo off the Beaten Track – 5 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Borneo
Borneo off the beaten track – There are vast areas of Borneo that go unvisited by travelers. This means you have a real opportunity see some places hardly anyone goes.
We’ve put together this list of off the beaten path locations in Borneo to let you in on some epic places that not many people visit. Remember, these are just a few of the many places that people rarely visit.
If you’re looking for something different, like something that will make your trip to Borneo unique, these places will get that for you.
Perhaps you are asking yourself why so many places in Borneo aren’t often visited by travelers? There are several reasons. First and foremost is that many of these destinations are really difficult to get to. The infrastructure in Borneo is a work in progress. Consequently, there are many villages that simply don’t have roads to them.
Comparatively speaking, modern development in Borneo is in its toddler phase. Main points are well connected, however, outlying areas haven’t caught up and remain difficult to get to. With a little motivation and ingenuity, you can get to these places. It may take a bit more time and a bit more effort, but the payoff is big.
Enough fluff, lets get to it with our first location, Long Pasia.
1) Long Pasia
Maga Waterfall in Long Pasia.
Without a doubt, Long Pasia is our number 1 off the beaten track destination in Borneo. The Lundayeh people of Long Pasia are extremely welcoming and their food is amazing. The area around Long Pasia is incredible. There are waterfalls, caves, ancient rock carvings, beautiful rivers and much more. The only problem is getting there.
Just to get to the village can take up to 6-8 hours on a dirt road with a 4 wheel drive if it’s raining. Consequently, the logistics of getting to this place are complicated.
Despite being hard to get to, Long Pasia is absolutely stunning. If you go, make sure to trek to Maga Waterfall.
You can read more about Long Pasia in our Long Pasia (The Complete Guide). Additionally, watch the video below from one of our recent trips to Maga Waterfall.
If you are interested in booking a trip to Long Pasia, check out our tour page for details: Long Pasia Multi Day Tours.
2) Melangkap Campsite
Mount Kinabalu Morning view from the Mealngkap Viewsite
Second on our list is a scenic camping area known locally as Polumpung Melangkap. This lovely location sits on a crystal clear river flowing out of Kinabalu National Park. The views of Mount Kinabalu are stunning here and the water is cool and refreshing.
Unlike Long Pasia, this location is not hard to get to. It’s about an hour to an hour and a half from Kota Kinabalu, all on paved road.
Although it is frequented by locals, travelers rarely turn up here and we’re not exactly sure why. Melangkap is a great place to camp. If you don’t have camping gear, don’t worry. There are a few campgrounds here that can rent a tent, canopy, barbecue, and inner tubes for the river. The only things you will need to bring are food, a sleeping bag, and your camera.
Our only warning about Melangkap is that the campgrounds can fill up during Malaysian and local holidays. It’s best to check the calendar before you plan to go just to make sure you don’t show up and find yourself without a place to stay.
3) Batu Punggul, Sapulot
Borneo jungle view from the top of Batu Punggul
Our third Borneo off the beaten track destination is a remote area known as Sapulot. Sapulot is hidden within the Borneo Jungle and home to one of Sabah’s indigenous peoples known as the Murut.
Sapulot is home to Batu Punggul, which is a massive limestone karst formation, soaring 200 meters above Sungai Sapulot (Sapulot River) and surrounded by jungle filled with caves and wildlife.
A trekking expedition into Sapulot to reach Batu Punggul offers you a chance to look back on an ancient way of life, a rustic place which still has no phone or internet network coverage.
This place is a real adventurer’s location. It is not often visited by locals or travelers. It’s definitely worth checking out if you want to get into the heart of Borneo and see something special.
4) Berhala Island
The cliffs of Berhala Island
Number four on our list is Berhala Island, located off the coast of Sandakan. Berhala Island is a small forested island about 5 hectares in size. This place is not known to many travelers, but Berhala Island has a history to share. Berhala Island was a quarantine station for laborers from China and Philippines, afterward becoming a prison camp during World War II.
The most striking features of Berhala Island are the dramatic sandstone cliffs that drop straight into the ocean. It is possible to go rock climbing here.
Apart from that, you can do some hiking and be amazed by the magnificent view from the top of Berhala Island. Be sure to check out the water village and learn how the local villagers go on with their daily lives.
5) Deramakot Forest Reserve
Borneo jungle view in Deramakot Forest Reserve
Last on our list is another place that is not easy to get to: Deramakot Forest Reserve. Despite being difficult to reach, this location is well worth a visit as Deramakot might just be the best wildlife spotting destination in all of Borneo. Sightings of certain rare animals here happen more frequently than anything else.
Similar to Long Pasia, Deramakot Forest Reserve is only accessible by 4 wheel drive. This sustainably logged forest is utterly beautiful.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast or someone looking to tick off those rare mammal sightings, Deramakot is the place.
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