Borneo is incredibly rich in biodiversity. The island is estimated to be home to over 200 species of mammal, over 400 types of bird, 100 varieties of amphibians and almost 400 fish, many of these endemic to Borneo. Holidays to Borneo offer unrivalled access to rainforest wildlife, rich history and culture and stunningly picturesque settings.
Home to many fascinating wildlife reserves and parks, Borneo is the ultimate destination for wildlife trips. Famous for the orangutan, the island is a rich and rewarding environment for exploration: according to the World Wildlife Fund, over 600 species were discovered here between 1995 and 2010 – that’s three new species every month! Combining a diverse culture with fascinating history and unforgettable wildlife, Borneo is a truly unique destination.
One of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu, or KK, is the gateway to Borneo’s phenomenal wildlife. Located within the Malaysian state of Sabah, this is an up and coming city that boasts a diverse range of eateries and beautiful beaches. Ideally located just a short journey from many of Borneo’s wildlife hotspots, Kota Kinabalu is a vibrant stop on any Borneo tour, and a great place to learn about the local culture.
Home to the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia, the park is a hotbed for wildlife in Borneo. The park boasts over 5,000 species of plant, as well as various species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles. The park is also the site of Mount Kinabalu; the mountain is over 4,000m high, offers mountain-climbing and paragliding and is home to incredible biodiversity. A day spent in the park will reveal countless wonders to any visitor; keep an eye out for the rafflesia plant, whose flowers can grow to over a metre in size, and the park’s rich menagerie of animal inhabitants, which include the Malayan weasel, the rhinoceros hornbill and orangutans.
This celebrated orangutan sanctuary is a ‘must’ for any wildlife lover visiting Borneo. About 25 kilometres away from Sandakan, the centre is a vast expanse of around 40 square kilometres within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Here visitors can learn more about the work the sanctuary does to rehabilitate orangutans, and watch the residents themselves up close. The orangutans’ welfare is of utmost importance at Sepilok, and visitors watch from designated viewing platforms as the wonderful creatures are fed and play. Don’t miss the outdoor nursery area, where you can watch the youngest orangutans play and learn everything they’ll need to know back in the wild.
The Kinabatangan River is rich in biodiversity, even for Borneo’s standards. Here, journey down the river and encounter primates up close; this is one of the only locations in the world where ten primates can be found in the same place – these include orangutans, Slow lorises, Proboscis monkeys and macaques which can all be spotted here. The river wends through lush and dense rainforest, dotted on either said with carefully placed lodges that blend into their surroundings. Whether you trek through the rainforest or cruise down the river itself, the area is a unique opportunity to experience the wonders of Bornean wildlife.
This city exemplifies Borneo’s diverse culture. Contemporary buildings and roads run alongside traditional, colonial architecture, and mosques and temples sit alongside each other. Sarawak cuisine is a blend of multiple different cultures, and Kuching is a great place to try a range of Bornean food.
Batang Ai Lake
The Batang Ai National Park provides visitors with a picture-perfect glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Iban people. Lush rainforest surrounds the lake, which was created in 1980 after the Batang Ai river was dammed. Dotted around the lake find Iban longhouses, and marvel at the beautiful vistas across the water. Discover the fascinating world of Borneo’s wildlife in the rainforest, which is home to endangered orangutans; this is one of the best places to spot them in the wild, alongside countless other animals and wildlife.
The perfect gateway into Borneo’s centres of biodiversity, Sandakan is a city bursting with history and culture. The town was the capital of British-colonised North Borneo until 1946, and as such boasts a fascinating colonial history that’s well worth exploring. Beautifully located on the seafront, there are spectacular views to be had here, as well as excellent seafood to be sampled. Sandakan is a great place to stay before a wildlife trip to Sepilok, and can also act as the first stop on a tour down the Kinabatangan River.
Situated in a prime location on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, the Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers luxury deep in the heart of the Bornean rainforest. With a focus on eco-tourism and sustainability, the lodge is a picturesque and convenient place to stay on a wildlife tour in Sabah. Offering air-conditioned rooms, free Wifi and a waterfront restaurant, this is a perfect option for any luxury wildlife holiday; the lodge is environmentally-friendly and offers guests a unique location truly in the heart of the jungle.