When to visit Borneo
When to visit Borneo
Best time to visit Borneo
Situated just north of the Equator, carpeted in ancient rainforests, Borneo has a hot and humid climate year-round.
The best time to visit the island is between March and late October. There is never a ‘dry’ season in the rainforest, but Borneo does experience a definite increase in rainfall during November, December, and January. February is drier again, but we tend to recommend avoiding this month as it is taken up with repairing any damage to jungle trails and access roads that may have occurred during the intense downpours of the previous weeks.
With good accommodation, great guides, and comfortable wildlife tours the island has become a firm family favorite in recent years. You’ll notice a definite uplift in visitor numbers and hotel rates during the summer holiday months of July and August, and to a lesser extent during the Easter season. If you’re not traveling with children it’s definitely in your favor to avoid these times, aiming instead for late spring (May), early summer (June), and late summer (September and October) which are perfect times to visit.
Wildlife purists and wildlife photographers, concerned purely with the very best season for sightings, should concentrate on the ‘fruiting’ seasons around April and May. As the heaviest rains cease the forest blooms with plump fruits and flowers, thus drawing animals to reliable locations and in large groups.
The most important thing to remember when traveling to Borneo is that fast-changing weather is a feature of the environment, and all part of your adventure. Rainforests are so-called for a reason: the island has a truly equatorial climate in which the day can shift from scorching sunshine to thick, cloud-heavy humidity, and then to spectacular electrical storms all in the space of a couple of hours. Rest assured that when rains do arrive they tend to fall in intense downpours for an hour or less, before clearing up and drying up in a matter of minutes. Your highly experienced naturalists and lodge staff live with these conditions, and will always be ready to adjust your itinerary according to weather conditions.
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Read our guide to the very best times of year to plan your tour of Borneo, making sure you get the best of its wildlife, beaches, and culture.
Ideal time to visit
March to June and September to November
These months are ideal for adventures in Borneo. Although the island is never totally dry, these months see the lowest overall rainfall and also avoid the absolute peak mid-summer period, when rates are high and availability can be difficult. Keen photographers and wildlife purists should aim for April & May to time their trip with the fruiting season, which sees Borneo’s primate life at its most active, swinging through the trees in search of both food and potential mates.
The summer peak
July & August
These months are just as good climate-wise but see a significant uplift in tourist numbers, bringing with it a similar increase in hotel and lodge rates, coinciding with summer school holidays worldwide. Families who are restricted to traveling in these months should begin planning their adventures well in advance, with the most popular lodges – such as Danum Valley’s world-famous Borneo Rainforest Lodge – often booking out as early as 10-11 months before the forthcoming summer season.
The wet season
December to February
Rainfall across Borneo ramps up during these months, with the interior jungles battered with tropical downpours through December and January. The rains often lead to burst river banks and fallen trees – a natural cyclical feature of the forest ecosystem – which then need to be recovered during late January and February. Travel during this period is not just restricted but often completely impossible, with many lodges remaining completely closed until late February to conduct any necessary repairs to trails and infrastructure.
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