• a close up of an animal

Borneo Holidays

Holidays in Borneo take you to some of the world’s most unusual wildlife and rich jungle-like rainforests. Here, you’ll discover UNESCO World Heritage sites, fascinating wildlife and wonderful marine life. If you want to lie back and soak in the Malaysian sun, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Unwind among astonishingly bright blue waters and glistening white sand beaches.

Borneo is home to some of the world’s most interesting and biodiverse wildlife. In the jungle-like rainforests, you may be able to find orangutans living, playing, eating and blowing raspberries and hooting at each other throughout the day. A lesser-spotted but equally fascinating animal is the nocturnal sun bear - they’re the smallest bears in the world and you won’t find them anywhere else. Get stuck in and make a difference at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where you can help care for the bears threatened by hunting and poaching. 

Holidays in Borneo: a mix of eclectic wildlife 

Borneo holidays are ideal if you are a wildlife lover. As well as orangutans and sun bears, in the Eastern Sabah, you may catch a glimpse of what might be Borneo’s most unusual animal, the proboscis monkey. There are only 1,000 of them in the wild – you can spot these mischievous monkeys by their unmistakable reddish-brown skin, unusually wide and long nose, and big pot bellies. Although they’re known to roam around the entire province, visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary for the best close up views. Keep a keen eye out for the mouse deer, these shy little animals are as adorable as they sound, with the world’s smallest hooves, big brown eyes, and standing ears.

Visiting Borneo takes you to one of the world’s most prominent peaks. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Kinabalu soars over 4,000 metres above sea level and is a favourite among adventurers and explorers. Book an exciting two day climb up Mount Kinabalu and discover fascinating ecosystems and habitats on the way - you’ll pass the Sabah rainforest, Montane grasslands, and alpine meadows before the triumph of reaching the mountaintop. The climb might be tough but you’ll capture some of the most beautiful sights of biodiverse Borneo. The mountain is home to more than 100 mammal species, over 5,000 types of plants, and over 300 different bird species. 

The eclectic and rare wildlife in Borneo doesn’t stop there - the Danum Valley Conservation Area is home to a startling spectrum of creatures. You might spot tarsiers, orangutans, bearded pigs, flying squirrels, sambar deer, king cobra, red leaf monkeys, gibbons and pygmy elephants all in this area of central Sabah. Scientists are discovering new species of plants every week - the ecosystem here is phenomenal. Explore this jungle fortress to the sounds of the gibbon’s chorus, the cricket’s chirp and the raspberry-blowing from the cheeky orangutans swinging from tree to tree. 

A holiday in Borneo wouldn’t be complete without exploring some of the best diving sites in the world. Beneath the striking sapphire waters of the less-crowded Lankayan Island awaits an explosive variety of marine life. Snorkel and discover over 3,000 species of marine life, including the rare jawfish.

Holidays in Borneo are full of fascinating wildlife and biodiversity, perfect for adventurers, nature lovers and solo travellers alike. 

Destination Highlights
  • Watch orangutans swinging from trees and chance a glimpse at the rare small sun bears
  • Discover 3,000 species of sea life at Lankayan Island
  • Take in the majestic views of UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Kinabalu
  • Visit Danum Valley Conservation Area, where scientists are still discovering new animal species every week

Our favourite hotels

Browse our favourite places to stay in Borneo - we are here to help you find the perfect hotel.

Dining on the Beach

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa

Borneo

H&J Rating

Guide Price

 €1,559  pp

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa
Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Kota Kinabalu

H&J Rating

Guide Price

 €1,719  pp

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

H&J Rating
Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu
a small house in a garden

Gaya Island Resort

Kota Kinabalu

H&J Rating
Gaya Island Resort

Time Zone

GMT +8 hours

Flight Time

Indirect flights are available from Ireland via Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Currency

Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

Visa Information

Irish citizens will not require a visa for travel to Borneo

Language

Malay

Health Information

No special vaccines are required or recommended for travel to Borneo

Prepare to be mesmerised by Borneo, the largest island in Asia where you’ll uncover some of the most rugged and unspoilt scenery on Earth. As you’ll know, Borneo is famed for its population of orang-utans which in Indonesian literally translates to ‘person of the forest’. Plus, the 4,095 metre-tall Mount Kinabalu in the northern region of Sabah is the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia.

  • Orang-utan

    Sepilok Orangutan Centre

    If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, don’t miss out on visiting the Sepilok Orang-utan Centre to see the much-loved orang-utan. They’ve been rescuing baby orang-utans here for over 50 years and you’ll love watching these playful creatures.

Best time to visit Borneo

Select month

Average weather in January

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
29ºC
15mm

Average weather in February

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
29ºC
14mm

Average weather in March

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
30ºC
13mm

Average weather in April

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
30ºC
15mm

Average weather in May

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
31ºC
13mm

Average weather in June

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
31ºC
13mm

Average weather in July

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
30ºC
12mm

Average weather in August

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
31ºC
11mm

Average weather in September

Best travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
31ºC
11mm

Average weather in October

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
30ºC
9mm

Average weather in November

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
30ºC
9mm

Average weather in December

Average travel weather

Avg. temp
Avg. rainfall
Borneo
29ºC
12mm
  • a woman in a red shirt

    Karen

    Destination Executive

    “Get up close to the endangered species like the orangutan and sun bear. They’re notoriously shy so I recommend booking in a visit to a sanctuary or wildlife centre where you’re more likely to see them.”

     

  • Isla, Destination Executive

    Isla

    Destination Executive

    “Dive into the island’s pristine waters and experience the amazing underwater world and all the fascinating marine life here.”

     

     

Events & Festivals

Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Borneo holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.

 

  • Pesta Kaamatan

    Kaamatan (or Pesta Kaamatan) is an annually celebrated harvest festival in Sabah. For the whole of May, you can enjoy singing contests, dance performances and lots of arts and craft shows. Feel like a local and fill up on the traditional alak drink, kinomol and tapai, which are drunk from small bamboo vessels.

     

Local Cuisine

Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Borneo holiday. Discover our top recommended dish to try.

  • Hinava

    Seafood is the main dish in Borneo and it comes incredibly fresh. For a true taste of local life, try the deliciously fragrant hinava, a large bowl crammed with fresh mackerel, ginger, mango seeds and red chillies, which are then drenched in lime juice. 

     

Our Borneo destinations

Mount Kinabalu

Borneo

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Frequently Asked Questions

The beaches in Borneo are mostly found in the eastern state of Sabah and have a rustic and wild feel. Many have become popular diving destinations, such as the beaches close to the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and islands in the Celebes Sea. Others are privately owned, such as the Shangri La Rasa Ria. 

There are many tours that take you to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where you can watch orangutans being fed from a viewing platform, twice daily at 10.00am and 3.00pm. You can also take a local bus or taxi from Sandakan town, which is around 14 miles away, and then walk around a mile to the sanctuary entrance. 

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