The third largest island in the world, Borneo is politically divided between three different countries, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. Lying at the geographic centre of Maritime South East Asia, it lies to the south of the Philippines amongst the islands of the Greater Sunda Archipelago.
Home to a staggering array of rare tropical species, the island’s rainforests provide a rich haven for endangered orang-utans, leopards, two metre monitor lizards and a number of other endemic forest species. Borneo’s other attributes include Indonesia's longest river, Asia's third highest mountain and thousands of miles of bat-filled caves.
The ideal setting for a hiking adventure, Borneo's western territory of Sarawak consists of tropical rainforests and a string of untouched beaches that fringe the clear waters of the Sulu Sea. This is one of the most biodiverse places in the world and its well-preserved trekking routes snake through an interior that is still inhabited by indigenous tribes, living in traditional stilted wooden Kampong houses much as they have done for generations. Its main city of Kuching provides the perfect base from which to enjoy sunset boat trips in search of near-extinct Irawaddy dolphins, whilst the coastal waters of the Sulu Sea are liberally scattered with tiny islands white beaches and whale sharks.
The climate is typically tropical with temperature ranging from a cool 22°C (72°F) in the evenings to a sultry 34°C (93°F) in the daytime.
Sarawak receives an abundance of rainfall (averaging 200-250 cm a year); the rainy season is normally during the 'landas', a local term for the monsoon rains that come between November and February each year. Sabah is less wet than Sarawak and because it lies just below the typhoon belt, it is often known as "the land below the wind".
The monsoon period should not deter visitors to the region as it is not cold; in fact the rains during this time may be heavy but it is intermittent and they bring respite from the tropical heat. This is also the time of the year when the local tropical fruits unique to the region are in abundance.
There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Borneo though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. Yellow Fever and Malaria can be an issue in certain areas, we recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
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Mosquito spray for the jungle trips is a must.
When you climb Mount Kinabalu the second night's accommodation is a shared dorm, so take some ear plugs.
You can see the Orang-utans in several national parks in Borneo, so you can avoid the crowds at Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary.
Enjoy an early morning boat trip on the Kinabatangan river - the sunrise is spectacular and you get some early viewings of wildlife before the other boats are out.