Borneo Malaysia Vacation
Nature Escapes

Choose A Borneo Malaysia Vacation

"The Ultimate Wilderness Safari in Asia"


A Borneo Malaysia vacation offers endless excitement on the world's third largest island. The island is home to exotic and endangered species such as orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, tarsiers and other wild animals.

Plant diversity reigns supreme with dozens of pitcher plant species, magnificent Rafflesia flowers, splendid orchids and thousands of tropical rainforest trees. All of these biological wonders add up to flavor Borneo with a magical quality not found in other parts of Asia.

For distinctive flora and fauna, it is difficult to match the overwhelming variety of life living in the forests, swamps and highlands of Borneo. Charles Darwin recognized the bounty of Borneo as "one great wild, untidy, luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself."

So what can you do on a Borneo Malaysia vacation?

  • Climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, with a friend.
  • Cruise the Kinabatangan River for a wildlife photo safari.
  • View the pinnacles and enormous caves at Gunung Mulu National Park.
  • Search for the world's largest flower or watch for colorful hornbill species.

The states of Sarawak and Sabah make up Malaysian Borneo or East Malaysia. The two key gateway cities are Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

In reality it takes a few more travel days to get upriver or arrange a highland trek, compared to Peninsula Malaysia, but the experiences are well worth the time and effort.

Borneo Malaysia Vacation: Sabah Destinations

Mount Kinabalu Park

Mount Kinabalu, Sabah

A UNESCO World Heritage Site with outstanding plant diversity, explore the montane rainforest and climb the highest mountain (4101m/13,455 ft) in Southeast Asia. A botanical bonanza of evolutionary wonders awaits each visitor.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah

One of the best chances to see orangutans up close amidst the scenery of lowland rainforest, the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve is an ecological haven of tropical trees with easy access trails and home to the Rainforest Interpretation Centre.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

Kinabatangan River, Sabah

A floating safari, take a cruise on Sungai Kinabatangan and observe the wild animals of Borneo grazing along riverbanks, gazing from tree canopies or flapping overhead. One of the best nature experiences in Malaysia.

Sipadan Island

Sipadan, Sabah

A world class dive site, Sipadan explodes with marine life to reveal a pristine underwater world with spectacular fish and coral diversity. As Malaysia's only oceanic island, a vertical cliff descends 600 meters (2,000 feet) that showcases sea turtles, sea fans and black coral.

Maliau Basin Conservation Area

Maliau Basin, Sabah
flickr/orang asli

Hidden by clouds and remoteness, the forested interior basin was only discovered 30 years ago and remains one of the most wild places in Malaysia. Often called the 'Lost World of Sabah', the conservation area is a virgin jungle paradise full of fascinating wildlife and rugged adventure.

Danum Valley Conservation Area

Danum Valley, Sabah

Surrounded by logged forests, the lowland rainforests of Danum Valley remain intact as a conservation zone for tropical research and recognized globally for its contributions to animal and plant studies. A great place for birdwatching, wildlife observation, jungle trekking and nature photography.

Pulau Tiga Islands

Pulau Tiga, Sabah
flickr/trish leo

A small group of islands off the Klias Peninsula, the park supports unspoiled marine habitats that offer diving and snorkelling sites off the main tourism routes. On land, the jungle trails lead to mud volcanos and a chance to view monkeys, monitor lizards, birds and bats.

Turtle Islands Park

Turtle Islands Park
flickr/arron 400d

A cluster of sandy islands provides nesting sites for Green and Hawksbill sea turtles. A visit to the park offers a chance to observe turtle landings and learn about conservation techniques to protect these ancient species. With coral reefs and crystal seas, snorkelling and diving activities get you into the water.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Notable for endangered species and mud volcanos, Tabin consists of primary and secondary rainforests that provide habitat for orangutans, rhinos, elephants, jungle cats and primates. For birdwatchers, there are hundreds of species, including hornbills, owls and eagles. Take a night safari for unique sights and sounds of the jungle.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
flickr/flippy whale

With easy access from Kota Kinabalu, TAR is a quick, nature getaway to five small islands for beaches, water sports, diving and snorkelling, birdwatching and picnicking. A nice outing for anyone wanting to get outdoors on a short holiday or business trip to the capital city.

Crocker Range National Park

Crocker Range National Park

The largest protected area in Sabah, forested mountains form the rugged Crocker Range and offer great hiking trails, birdwatching, whitewater rafting and scenic vistas without the hassles of mass tourism. Make plans to get away to this alternative wilderness.

Ulu Padas-Long Pasia


For a peek into mountain village life and the ruggedness of rainforest living, visit the interior jungles where Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan come together and enjoy river trips, birdwatching and the lifestyles of indigenous people. Learn the value and appreciation of rainforest plants and the traditions of these forest people.

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Borneo Malaysia Vacation: Sarawak Destinations

Bako National Park

Bako National Park

A popular wild diversion from Kuching, take a boat to this coastal reserve and spend a day exploring sandstone cliffs, mangrove swamps and sandy beaches. As the sea merges with the forest, wildlife abounds with crabs and mudskippers, flying lemurs, otters, rare Proboscis monkeys, pit vipers and tree frogs.

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park

Rugged limestone formations provide spectacular scenery for the park, dominated by three mountains and some of the largest cave chambers in the world. Watch bats emerge by the thousands and attacked by Bat Hawks or take forest treks to mountaintops and the Pinnacles for great photography.

Niah National Park

Niah Caves National Park

Famous for gigantic caves, the exodus of bats and swiftlets by the thousands and even prehistoric wall paintings, Niah is an interior adventure into limestone architecture. Located 80 km from Miri, explore the world of caves and take lots of fascinating pictures for a unique nature experience.

Batang Ai National Park

Batang Ai National Park

For traditional Iban lifestyles, longhouse culture and a chance to observe orangutans, gibbons, hornbills and wild rainforest animals, Batang Ai is a jungle oasis for wildlife outings. Located 180 km from Kuching, the park borders Lanjak Entimau, Malaysia's largest wildlife sanctuary.

Similajau National Park

Similajau National Park

A coastal haven for lowland forest animals and nesting sea turtles, the park consists of freshwater swamps, heath forests and a long sandy coastline. These habitats cater to gibbons, hornbills, leaf monkeys and Storm's stork. Located north of Bintulu, spend a day birdwatching, picnicking and exploring the coast.

Lambir Hills National Park

Lambir Hills National Park
flickr/Lisa and Alec

A botanical gem, the park flourishes with plant diversity such as palms, orchids and gingers to offset the lack of large mammals. The rich rainforest is accessible with a dozen jungle trails linked to refreshing waterfalls and shallow pools. Just 32 km outside of Miri town and suitable to visit any time.

Kubah National Park

Kubah National Park

Tucked at the foothills of a mountain range, Kubah is very reachable from Kuching and flourishes with abundant plant life, including wild gingers, aroids, palms and pitcher plants. Wildlife, such as deer, civets and bearded pigs, appears more at night or visit the Matang Wildlife Centre nearby.

Matang Wildlife Centre

Matang Wildlife Center

Started as a rehab centre for abused orangutans, Matang is only 35 km from Kuching and provides shelter for sun bears, primates, civets and birds. Combine a rainforest trek with a visit to view animals up close and learn about efforts to protect mistreated pets for a return to the wild.

Loagan Bunut National Park

Loagan Bunut National Park

Combining a natural lake with a peat swamp forest makes for excellent bird habitat. Herons, bitterns, egrets, Oriental darters and other wetland birds thrive in grass and reed vegetation, while open vistas are good for birdwatching. It's possible to take a boat from Gunung Mulu Park to see more traditional landscape.

Gunung Gading National Park

Gunung Gading National Park

Set up as a protection zone for the rare Rafflesia flower, visitors have a good chance to observe these botanical beauties in full bloom. Only 80 km from Kuching, try to call ahead to enquire about flower blooms to plan for the best day to visit. A Rafflesia sighting is always worth the time.

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

Semenggoh Wildlife Center

A sanctuary and breeding centre for orangutans, the tropical rainforests of Semenggoh provide natural habitat to reintroduce former pets into the wild. Located just 33 km from Kuching, visitors can view daily feeding and learn more about these endangered species.

Kelabit Highlands

Kelabit Highlands
flickr/ben bieske

For a real highland getaway, travel to the headwaters for a mixture of rugged terrain and indigenous culture. As a montane basin, remote mountain communities offer local hospitality and a chance to observe living in cloud forests. Be prepared for lots of walking on forest trails.

Tanjung Datu National Park

Tanjung Datu National Park
flickr/el rabbit

Located on the far western coastal edge of Sarawak, the park is a nature haven for a variety of interesting birds and mammals. A good site for observing primates, such as gibbons and leaf monkeys, and possibly porpoise spotting next to the sea. Tarsiers and slow lorises are active at night.


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