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Sabbatical & Experiential Travel to Borneo

Holidays & Sabbaticals to Borneo – In a Nutshell

Borneo is the 3rd biggest island in the world and boasts endless treasures to entice adventurous travellers. It’s home to some of the world’s oldest rainforests and an incredible diversity of wildlife, including the endemic Proboscis Monkey, Bornean pygmy elephant and, of course, orangutans. The touristic part of Borneo is split between the Indonesian state of Kalimantan and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Feeling like the land before time, Kalimantan is the wilder cousin of Sabah and Sarawak, with boat travel a necessity. For world-class dive resorts and easier travel logistics, visit Malaysian Borneo. Whichever you choose, prepare for an unforgettable wildlife experience in the depths of its ancient rainforests. Enjoy boat trips along rivers and wildlife watching on the banks, hike through untamed jungle, and visit wildlife sanctuaries for up-close encounters with weird and wonderful creatures. The beaches aren’t a bad place to finish your trip either, with turquoise waters and white sand offering welcome respite from the jungle heat.

How to Get to Borneo

There are no direct flights to Borneo from Europe or the Americas. Most flights to Malaysian Borneo are via Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Hong Kong. You’ll land in Kota Kinabalu or Kuching, the capitals of Sabah and Sarawak.

To reach Kalimantan, most flights require a stopover in Jakarta or Surabaya in Indonesia, or Kuala Lumpur.

The easiest way to tackle large distances in Borneo is by air and domestic flight routes connect all of the main cities. In Malaysian Borneo, most travel is by private vehicle but there are long-distance buses too. If travelling throughout Kalimantan, expect some longer boat journeys through the rainforest. Ferries are the best way to travel to the islands.

When & Weather – Borneo

Borneo has a tropical climate and is hot and humid for much of the year. Showers can occur at any time of year but April-September is typically drier. Temperatures stay around 27-32°C / 81-90°F year-round. In the depths of rainy season, access to certain landmarks may be limited.
Festivals are another thing to bear in mind as the calendar gets busy in July. During festival season, restaurant and service closures are common so it pays to plan ahead. If you’re coming for the diving, you’ll find whale sharks in Lankayan from April to May, and turtles in Sipadan from July to August.

Who will Borneo Appeal To?

Borneo is a wildlife lovers’ dream, both on land and in the water. Bring your adventurous spirit and your camera to make the most out of your trip. Borneo is perfect for:

  • Wildlife fans
  • Adventurous travellers
  • Dive enthusiasts
  • Nature lovers
  • Photographers
  • Families with teens


We work with a range of remote rainforest lodges, traditional long houses, luxury beach resorts, charming boutique hotels, comfortable houseboats, and simple ecolodges.

Discover the old colonial capital of Kuching.

  • Unwind on the unspoiled beaches of the Kudat Peninsula
  • Hike through the Maliau basin, Borneo’s lost world
  • Visit orangutan reserves in the Tanjung Puting National Park – the best place to see them in their natural habitat
  • Explore the coral reefs of the Tunku Abdul Marine Park


Borneo is all about the wildlife:

  • Swim with turtles in the marine reserves of Sipadan
  • Observe orangutans in action at one of the many incredible rehabilitation centres
  • Dive alongside shoals of tropical fish, sharks and dolphins
  • Take a boat along the Kinabatangan River and look for pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys amongst the trees
  • Swim with whale sharks off the coast of Sabah

Borneo Experiences you shouldn’t miss:

  • Visit the Iban community in Batang Ai National Park, former headhunters that still have a fascinating culture
  • Explore the rainforests of Danum Valley and observe orangutans and proboscis monkeys in action
  • Discover the Mulu Caves in Gunung Mulu National Park
  • Take a boat trip along the Kinabatangan River
  • Explore mosques and markets in the bustling city of Kota Kinabalu
  • Observe as hawksbill and green turtles nest in Lankayan

Giving back

Donate to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah. There are 60-80 orangutans living in the reserve and approximately 25 orphaned orangutans in the nurseries. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which have been treated at the centre include; sun bears, gibbons, and elephants. Sepilok is owned by the Sabah Wildlife Department, which is a division of the Malaysian government and cannot accept donations directly.  Therefore, all donations need to go via Orangutan Appeal UK and subsequently then go towards supporting our conservation projects in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo, including caring for the orphaned, injured and displaced orangutans at Sepilok.

Start Planning

Our experienced team will guide you through a number of ideas based on how you would like to experience Borneo.

Browse our gallery for inspiration and read the sample itinerary below to whet your appetite. This one showcases an adventure through India covering highlights and off-the-beaten-path regions.

No matter how long you wish to travel, we’ll guide you through the planning process to ensure a trip is carefully pieced together to suit your interests, pace of travel and budget.

Contact us to start planning a holiday or sabbatical to Borneo.

Signature Sabbatical Itinerary – Borneo

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