Take the world’s oldest rainforest, stuff it with the most unique wildlife on the planet, add some more, and then you’ll have Borneo.
Borneo is an island like no other. Anthropologists, adventure-seekers and animal-lovers have been flocking to its tropical shores for years, but what can you expect for a country that looks like it’s straight out of the Jungle Book? Float down the Kinabatangan River through the most biologically diverse rainforest in the world, see the sun rise over Mt Kinabalu, meet mischievous young orangutans in Sepilok, chow down on tasty food and then sleep it off on one of the hundreds of balmy beaches. Whatever you decide, just remember to pack your sense of adventure.
What people say
Borneo really exceeded all of my expectations. The Mt Kinabalu climb was definitely the big highlight – our guide, Richard, was really great at encouraging the whole group and making sure that we could all reach the summit. The view from the top was well worth the pain!
Borneo travel highlights
Cruise through lush forests and try to spot proboscis monkeys, orangutans, dolphins and maybe even a pygmy elephant!
Climbing the highest peak in Borneo might not be easy, but the breath-taking scenery makes it worth it (not to mention the staggering variety of plants, bird and animals).
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Meet the world’s cutest redheads at this amazing centre, which rehabilitates injured and orphaned orangutans before returning them to the forest.
Poring Hot Springs
Ease aching muscles in the warm sulphur waters of the Poring Hot Springs, the perfect place to unwind after adventuring across Borneo.
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Our Borneo trips
Borneo tour reviews
Our Borneo trips score an average of 4.74 out of 5 based on 35 reviews in the last year.
Discover Sabah , August 2018
A well rounded trip which has cultural, active and tourist elements. It was nice to stay in a range of locations and explore so many different places in Sabah. I feel I experienced authentic Sabah thanks to my fantastic tour leader.
Review submitted 30 Aug 2018
Discover Sabah , August 2018
This tour includes everything your first trip to Borneo should include! From wild orangutans, to hiking to one of the highest peaks in South East Asia. Our leader could answer any question we threw his way. Accommodation was amazing as well, especially falling asleep in the jungle to animal noises.
Review submitted 28 Aug 2018
Articles on Borneo
Borneo holiday information
Local culture of Borneo
Food and Drink in Borneo
Festivals and Events in Borneo
Geography and Environment
Shopping guide to Borneo
Accommodation in Borneo
Hotel rooms start to look the same after a while, don’t you think? Half the fun of travel is experiencing a destination just like the locals – including where they sleep. Wherever possible, Geckos Adventures uses unique and traditional accommodation to create a truly authentic experience.
Accommodation in Borneo
Jungle Resort: When you’re so close to paradise, why would you want to leave? Getting shuteye at a lodge keeps you close to the action so you can maximise time spent in the jungle.
Jungle Eco Camp: Minimise your ecological footprint by spending a night in an eco camp bush hut in the heart of the Borneo jungle.
Homestay: There’s no better way to soak in the culture and experience a traditional way of life than by staying with a local family. See what Borneo hospitality is all about and be treated to a home-cooked meal and cultural performance.
Borneo travel FAQs
Australia: No – not required
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No – not required
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: No – not required
Netherlands: No – not required
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: No – not required
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: No – not required
USA: No – not required
Visa requirements vary depending on which part of Borneo you are visiting, though generally, travellers from most nations do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Check with your local Malaysian, Indonesian or Brunei embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information about visa requirements.
It’s a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your date of departure from Borneo and has a few blank pages for stamps.
Tipping isn’t customary in Borneo but leaving a small token of appreciation is always welcome if you feel the service has been particularly good.
Internet is easy to access in large cities and tourist areas, though it can be quite slow. Access is more limited in remote and rural areas.
Mobile phone coverage is good in major cities, but there is little to no coverage in the mountains and in remote areas. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
Squat toilets are the norm in Borneo, though some hotels and tourists areas have Western-style, flushable toilets. It’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as these are not always provided.
Bottle of beer = USD 3
Laksa from a food stall = USD 1 – 2
Simple meal at a local restaurant = USD 5 – 12
Tap water is not considered safe to drink in Borneo. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, pack a reusable bottle that can be filled with filtered water. Your leader can tell you where to find filtered water or pack your own purification tablets.
Most places only accept cash, especially small businesses, though you might be able to use your credit card at larger hotels, shops and restaurants in tourist areas.
You’ll find ATMs in Borneo’s large cities and urban areas, though they are less easy to find in rural and remote parts.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Geckos are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Jan 28: Chinese New Year
June 25: Eid al-Fitr
Sept 12: Eid al-Adha
Sept 22: Islamic New Year
Dec 12: Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
Dec 25: Christmas
Since Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei all have claimed to Borneo, different parts of the island celebrate different public holidays. The ones listed here are celebrated in all three nations. For a more complete and current list of public holidays go to:
Discretion is highly advised for LGBTQI-travellers in Borneo. Homosexuality is illegal in both Malaysia and Brunei, where it can be punished with long prison sentences or even death. While homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, few people are openly out. Regardless of which part of Borneo you are visiting, discretion is strongly suggested.
No vaccines are required in order to enter Borneo but some are recommended for protection against disease. Always visit your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date advice and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.
1. Hepatitis A (transmitted through contaminated water)
2. Typhoid (transmitted through contaminated water)
3. Yellow fever (transmitted by mosquitos): You are required to get this vaccine if you are coming from a country in the yellow-fever zone (parts of Africa and South America). Check to see if you require proof of vaccination if you are coming from these areas.
Most people start to experience altitude sickness when they are more than 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level. Some parts of our trips go above 2,800 metres (9,200 ft) and it is common for travellers to experience symptoms of altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, headache, nausea and loss of appetite.
In order to help avoid or reduce these symptoms in Borneo, stay away from alcohol and exercise before your body has acclimatised and drink plenty of water. Also make sure to talk to your doctor before you go about possible medication.