Close-up of two orangutan Borneo

Borneo the Bountiful…so much to see and do.

If a destination award for wilderness travel were to be handed out, Borneo would be a top contender. It is home to one of the oldest rainforest’s in the world with 15,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees, 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of resident birds. It is also one of the few remaining natural habitats for the endangered orangutan.

The following paragraph is from Carla Hunt, author of Borneo the Bountiful

This mostly untamed island—the third-largest in the world—has enchanted adventurers since the days of the great Victorian explorers. And this is still the spot to find one of the globe’s greatest rainforests, bone-through-the-nose tribes, and the largest population of orangutans in the world, who keep company with other indigenous species such as pygmy elephants, clouded leopards and sun bears. All are at home in a wonderland of extraordinary biodiversity embracing half of all the known plant and animal species.

It’s not hard to understand why such attractions are pulling adventure-seeking and nature-loving travelers to exotic Borneo, whose territory is divided among three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The major tourism action takes place in Malaysian Borneo, whose entry gateways are Kuching, capital of the state of Sarawak, and Kota Kinabalu, capital of the state of Sabah.

Bajau floating villages off the coast of Sabah, Borneo
Bajau floating villages off the coast of Sabah, Borneo

We’ve packaged Borneo in another way with two 9-day programs, one taking off from Sabah and the other from Sarawak, both in Malaysia. The 9-day Essential Borneo ex Kota Kinabalu  starts in the Sabah capital, combining city sights such as the Buddhist temple, the State Museum and the State Mosque with time at one of the many fine beaches. From Kota Kinabalu, travel to Kinabalu National Park, for a guided nature walk and a visit to the exhibition hall for an interesting nature show. The park, famous for its 170 species of wild orchids, spreads around the base of Mt. Kinabalu, the highest in Southeast Asia. Next, they fly off to Mulu National Park, a natural world of canyons, rainforests, rivers and limestone peaks, hopping on a boat for a ride through the park and a day visiting the park’s dramatic caves in a 37-mile cave system. Also here, there’s a visit to the Penan Tribe Longhouse at Batu Bungan, and then it’s on to Kuching by air to tour the temples and museums. And from Kuching, travel to the Semenggok Nature Reserve and its Wildlife Center, one of the best places to see semi-wild orangutans, followed by the tour’s grand finale: an overnight at the Iban Tribe Longhouse to see how the indigenous head-hunters now live (despite their name, they’re very hospitable!). Dinner here typically ends in traditional dancing fuelled by locally made rice wine.

Pinnacles in Mulu National Park
Pinnacles in Mulu National Park

This trip, or the opposite direction (the 9-day Essential Borneo ex Kuching) start at $1,665 per person based on double occupancy. The itinerary in reverse starts with two nights in Kuching and ends with one night in Kota Kinabalu. Both programs can be custom-designed to include many other Goway packages, such as a 3-day Mount Kinabalu expedition, including a climb up Borneo’s highest peak; or a 5-day Sandakan Wildlife Safari. There’s so much to see and do in just Borneo, it’s easily a standalone destination… No wonder it’s called Borneo the Bountiful

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Christian Baines
Christian Baines

Globetrotting Contributing Editor -
Christian’s first globetrotting adventure saw him get lost exploring the streets of Saigon. Following his nose to Asia’s best coffee, two lifelong addictions were born. A freelance writer and novelist, Christian’s travels have since taken him around his native Australia, Asia, Europe, and much of North America. His favourite trips have been through Japan, Spain, and Brazil, though with a love of off-beat, artsy cities, he’ll seize any opportunity to return to Paris, New York, or Berlin.

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