Borneo isn’t always the first destination that springs to mind when tourists consider Malaysia, and that’s really rather a shame. Even the most jaded of travellers will find astounding one-of-a-kind attractions on this wonderful island. Borneo will offer you some of the world’s most magnificent flora and fauna, as well as the company of some of its most charming people. These eight destinations are mustn’t-miss obligations when your travels take you to Borneo.
1) The City Of Kota Kinabalu
This bustling city is ideally located for visiting Mount Kinabalu as well as a number of spectacular beaches. This makes Kota Kinabalu an ideal base of operations for sight-seeing. Kota Kinabalu offers vibrant street markets, notable seafood, and a thriving waterfront, and the town is easily varied enough to justify a multiple-night stay. Whilst you are there a visit to the Mari Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu Sabah provides the opportunity to learn more about the rich culture and traditions of Sabah, Borneo.
2) Mount Kinabalu
Malaysia’s highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu is spiritually as well as geographically important. Revered as a place of the dead, the mountain is the revered home of countless generations of ancestors’ spirits. Mount Kinabalu is a challenging hike, but the summit views are more than impressive enough to justify climbing it. Note there are strict government regulations controlling access to Mount Kinabalu in order to protect the peak from overcrowding. Check the details with the local government carefully to ensure that you’re cleared to climb.
3) Historical Attractions
Borneo’s history has equipped the island with a plethora of fascinating sights that encompass centuries of history. At different times it has served as a critical possession for India, China, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. While most of the island belongs to Malaysia today, it also boasts two states – Sabah and Sarawak – that have maintained a distinctive independence through Borneo’s turbulent history.
4) Palau Tiga, The Island Of Mud Volcanoes
Formed completely from volcanic activity, the island of Palau Tiga is home to countless mud volcanoes today. The mineral-rich muds have a sterling and centuries-old reputation for promoting health and beautifying the skin; a soak in one of Palau Tiga’s mud baths is an absolute must. Beyond the restorative baths, Palau Tiga boasts plenty of attractive beaches. It’s also conveniently located for trips to the nearby Snake and Sand Islands. Beware; both of these little islands are accurately named!
5) Durian Hunting In Tambatuon Village
The locals in Tambatuon village offer fun and insightful courses in traditional Sabah cuisine. This learning experience is definitely hands-on and involves retrieving fresh ingredients like the notorious durian. Sabah cuisine is a delicious blend of local traditions and ingredients with the influence of generations of Chinese visitors.
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is the ideal destination if you feel like your trip to Borneo wouldn’t be complete without an orangutan sighting. These critically-endangered apes are increasingly hard to find in Borneo, as the palm oil industry is cutting into their natural habitat. Sadly, illegal poaching is also a concern for Borneo’s orangutans. Traditionally known as the “people of the forest,” the orangutans are important if unfortunately threatened part of the island’s ecosystem.
7) Mulu National Park
The Mulu National Park boasts both above-ground and subterranean wonders of the natural world. A vibrant equatorial forest thrives above extensive caves carved through the park’s karst rock formations. Mulu’s cave systems are unbelievably vast and impressive; at present, the world’s largest cavern (by volume) is located in the park. The caves make for a memorable and challenging visit; you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for both the caves’ numerous bats and the formidable deposits of guano (i.e. droppings) they leave behind.
8) Libaran Island
Libaran Island is home to a few quiet attractions, but the major draw is the turtle preservation work going on here. It’s the perfect place to see baby turtles hatching and making their way into the seas. Libaran Island is the perfect place to learn more about these wonderful creatures and the dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to improve their odds of survival in the forbidding modern world.