Unforgettable Travel Company

What to do in Borneo

The primary attraction of Borneo is its dense jungles and the many adventures and encounters they hold. All visitors to the island spend at least a few nights in isolated lodges deep in the forest, conducting wildlife expeditions on foot or by boat. Wildlife tours in Borneo are incredibly productive, with near-guaranteed sightings of proboscis monkeys, orang-utans, and hornbills, and encounters with Bornean elephants and crocodiles (both viewed from a safe distance by boat!) also highly likely. 

Your adventures in the jungle can range from the gentle to the truly immersive. For first-time tours we’d recommend the former: hiking an established forest trail from your lodge, or skimming along a languorous river by speedboat. For the latter, you might attempt a vigorous multi-day hike through the jungle, camping out along the way, or a challenging summit of soaring Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Malaysia.

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Best activities in Borneo

There’s more to Borneo than just wildlife. We’ve picked our favorite activities in the jungle and beyond below.

Jungle trail Borneo

Jungle hikes

Visitors to Borneo are here for one reason above all: heading into the teeming forests for wildlife encounters that are simply without parallel. No wildlife activity is guaranteed of course, but the jungles of Borneo are so biodiverse and so full of like that you can confidently expect to get up close with the orang-utan, proboscis, or langur monkey, hornbills, jungle cats, and all manner of microspecies on numerous occasions throughout your trip. Hikes are usually 3-4 hours at a time, led by expert naturalists, and take place on established trails through the forests.

Canopy Walkway Danum Valley Sabah

Canopy walks

A less involved – but no less thrilling – experience is to come out from under the jungle canopy…and stroll above it instead! There are several dramatic canopy walkways to be found across Borneo: strung between native ‘ironwood’ trees (a dramatic spectacle in themselves) you’ll walk a path some 100ft in the air, stopping at sturdy platforms to peer down into the treetops below. The canopy walk at Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre is a fine warm-up; those in Mulu, and the world-famous 300m long walkway at Danum Valley, are truly magical experiences.

Tarsier in Deramakot Reserve Sabah

Night drives

After a day of wildlife spotting – either on foot through the forest, or by boat along the muddy waters of the Kinabatangan – your adventures don’t have to come to an end! The rainforest really comes to life after dark, so heading out in an open-top vehicle with a naturalist by your side you’ll have the chance to spot an even greater variety of species: civet cats, snakes, jungle frogs, and on rare occasions, clouded leopard. The keenest-eyed may even spot the teeny tarsier, the world’s smallest primate at barely 15cm tall.

Peak of Mt Kinabalu Borneo

Climb Mt Kinabalu

Soaring Mount Kinabalu, located a couple of hours’ drive inland from Kota Kinabalu, is Southeast Asia’s tallest peak. Reaching the summit is a trek, rather than a climb (no crampons required!) but is a challenging endeavor and not for novice walkers. You’ll spend the first night in Kinabalu National Park HQ – surrounded by tropical gardens and natural hot springs – before beginning the hike proper. A second night is in basic dormitory accommodation around two-thirds up, waking at around 1am to complete the hike in darkness, arriving at its lunar-like summit in time for an unforgettable sunrise.

Sea turtle off Lankayan island Borneo

Spectacular diving

Borneo’s biodiversity is not limited to its interior forests. The underwater world around the island is equally rich in life a diver’s (and snorkeler’s) paradise home to reef sharks, barracuda, tuna, giant turtles, and a cornucopia of brightly colored tropical fish. Best of all these underwater adventures take place off some of the world’s finest tropical beaches, mostly with high-class accommodation to match. Non-divers can relax back in the spa or around the pool and enjoy the experience just as much!

Longhouse in Sarawak Borneo

Meet longhouse tribes

Adventures in Borneo are not limited to wildlife and scenery. Head deep inland and you’ll encounter remote indigenous tribal groups still living out a lifestyle that has changed little in centuries. Accommodation is in authentically Bornean ‘longhouses’: all families live dormitory-style off one central corridor, encouraging constant social interaction. We can arrange 1 or 2-night stays in such accommodation which, although simple, have been adapted to accommodate Western visitors with some modern conveniences.

Kuching cat city

Explore the historic ‘cat city’

Borneo’s two principal cities – Kota Kinabalu, the provincial capital of Sabah; and Kuching, the capital of Sarawak – are typically Malaysia: colorful, multicultural, packed with historic charm, and drowning in gastronomic pleasures. We love both but if we had to pick a favorite it would be the former, known as the ‘Cat City’ (a loose translation of Kuching) and with a walkable, atmospheric city center which wears its many influences – British, Chinese, Malay, indigenous Bornean – on its sleeve.

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Why book with Unforgettable Travel Co.

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    We are a licensed and fully bonded tour operator financially protected by both the Civil Aviation Authority (ATOL) and the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT). All clients that travel with us are fully financially protected.

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    Destination Experts

    Our travel experts live and breathe the destinations they specialise in. This shows in their passionate to create hand crafted trips for our clients. We don’t offer cookie cutter trips, just truly unforgettable journeys unlike any other.

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    The Best Guides

    What makes our trips extraordinary is the unique immersive experiences we include. We pride ourselves in our black book of sought after expert guides, game rangers and local contacts who believe in our philosophy, unforgettable.

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    We Care

    From the moment you book your trip, we are on hand 24/7 to assist you throughout your journey. With regional offices around the world, we have ground logistics teams on hand to help you every step of the way.

Ready to plan your trip?

What ever you want from your dream trip, our team of
experts are ready to help.