Getting there, getting around and Terrain

Getting There:

The flight time from UK to Kota Kinabalu via Singapore is approximately 17hrs.  We recommend Malaysian Airlines; Singapore Airlines; Etihad Airlines and Cathay Pacific. 

Getting around:

Getting around: you will be travelling by (mostly 4X4) vehicles and boats over variable conditions and roads which where unpaved, can be bumpy or rutted. 
Visitors need to be able to walk unassisted (i.e. without the use of walking aids) for a minimum of 2 miles over uneven ground at a fairly steady pace. Given the climate, you'll need to be able to handle daily activities/ excursions in very hot and humid rain forest conditions. 
Our itineraries usually involves some medium-length walks (mostly 2-3 miles each) over varied terrain. This includes boardwalks and unpaved forest trails that can be rough and in inclement weather, muddy, slippery and uneven, with roots, lianas and some steep inclines. While in themselves such walks may be regarded as easy back home, Borneo's hot and humid climate may have one regard them as more arduous. In some sites, shorter walks are available for those who opt for easier options. 


Health; What to Pack; Meals; Wi-Fi; Accommodations


Several vaccinations are advised so as a rule, consult your doctor 6 - 8 weeks before you travel and also, check with regards to any precautions on the very helpful NHS website

Malaria is present albeit low risk, so taking prophylaxis is advised for wildlife tours. Pack very light, long-sleeved clothing and remember leech socks for the lowland rainforests.

Protective wear and gear for the tropical sun and rain, is essential.

Tap water is not potable. Treated mineral water is widely available. Be mindful of keeping hydrated in the very hot, humid climate. 

Pack a basic first aid kit including medication for digestive tract issues; headaches; allergies and minor cuts and bruises. Include face masks not just for obvious current reasons, but also for forest fires which are unfortunately prevalent and an international hazard.


What to pack (Clothing items):

Borneo's weather is hot and humid, so pack lightweight, quick-drying clothes made of synthetic material, in addition to a breathable, waterproof rain jacket or poncho, a swimsuit, sturdy hiking shoes and waterproof sport sandals. Pack the following:
Lightweight, breathable and completely waterproof raincoat with a hood.
Ponchos need to be adequately sized to cover your backpack. It should also be made of sturdy material. 
(Avoid thin, plastic ponchos that tear easily).
Rain trousers can be useful but the hot, humid conditions may dissuade you using them.
Sturdy hiking boots to negotiate trails that are quite muddy and slippery. These should have a firm grip and be broken in prior to 
departure to prevent blisters.
A good supply of short-sleeved lightweight shirts - guests often use more than one in any given day due to sweating.
Two or three long-sleeved lightweight shirts to protect against tropical sun and insects during walks.
Lightweight, tightly woven long pants
1–2 pairs of shorts or lightweight zip-off pants 
Waterproof sport sandals with a sturdy grip (helpful in wet landings)
Extra pair of shoes such as trainers with firm grip.
Socks made of wool or other moisture-wicking material are best - cotton socks are not suitable for walks.
Leech- proof outer socks.
Lightweight sleepwear
Bathing costume: some of our accommodations have swimming pools and there are opportunities for swimming in certain rivers.
Keep some rain wear in your carry-on luggage in case for some reason there's a delay with checked baggage arriving when you do. 
Some lodge restaurants do require guests to remove shoes.
Lodges such as Borneo Rainforest Lodge, provide leech socks.
For the most part, buffet-style meals are served at locations we visit. Typically these will include a mix of Western and local dishes.
Bornean cuisine encapsulates elements of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and local ingredients, spices, flavours and culinary styles.
You'll find that staples include rice, noodles, meats, vegetables, tropical fruits and fresh seafood including grilled fish and barbecued shellfish.
Please be sure to advise us before travel if you have special dietary needs - these can usually be accommodated very well.
Wi-Fi is available to guests at most of the lodges (except Deramakot), but service/signal may be slow. There is mobile phone reception at some of the lodges and reserves, but in more remote places it can be limited or absent.  Please avoid using electronic equipment during group activities wherever possible.
In Kota Kinabalu, we stay at top drawer, international tourist hotels with sleek décor and luxurious rooms. In and around reserves, 
we accommodate guests in often-times remote lodges. These accommodations are comfortable, normally with air- 
conditioning and en-suite facilities. They are selected to have guests as close as possible to the best wildlife- viewing areas.

Currency, Language and Reading List


Malaysian ringgit (MYR) - this can be obtained in the UK ahead of travel.



Recommended reading:

Phillipps Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo (2nd edition)
by Quentin Phillipps and Karen Phillipps | 25 Oct 2018
Birds of Borneo (Helm Field Guides) Paperback – 10 Mar. 2016
by Susan Myers  
Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo Paperback – 20 Feb. 2014
by Quentin Phillipps 
Snakes and Other Reptiles of Borneo (Pocket Photo Guides)
by Indraneil Das  | 17 Sep 2020
Borneo: Sabah, Brunei, Sarawak (Bradt Travel Guides)
by Tamara Thiessen  | 27 Feb 2020

Best Time to Go

When to go:

Borneo is subject to a generally hot and humid, tropical climate. The best time to go is from April to October - we do not recommend travelling there from December to February as then, the north-eastern monsoon brings about heavy rains to the entire island.

Climate -    Temperatures:
Month: High - Low
Jan 30ºC - 24ºC
Feb 31ºC - 24ºC
Mar 32ºC - 24ºC
Apr  32ºC - 25ºC
May  32ºC - 25ºC
Jun 32ºC - 24ºC
Jul 32ºC -  24ºC
Aug   32ºC - 24ºC
Sep 32ºC -  24ºC
Oct 31ºC - 24ºC
Nov  31ºC-  24ºC
Dec 31ºC -  24ºC



Craig Kaufman

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Why Choose Us?

Passionate travel experts

  • We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
  • Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
  • We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences

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  • You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
  • We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
  • Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love

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  • We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
  • For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
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