To get the full measure of Malaysia, you can’t skip Borneo. This multi-nation island is the foil to every big port city and colonial hill station you’ll see on the Malay peninsula. It’s true: Kuala Lumpur and Malacca are windows into Malaysia’s all-important trading past and the beauty that came with it. But fly just three hours east to Borneo, and you’re in another world; one in which trees are the skyscrapers and glimpsing an orangutan is the richest treasure.
Most holidays to Malaysia and Borneo spend two weeks circling between the mainland and the Bornean Malaysian state of Sabah. So after a week or so spent exploring the Malay Peninsula, you’ll swap cities for silence and sink deep into the rainforests and rivers of northern Borneo. Holidays come in almost every shape and size, from small group trekking tours to tailor made trips where you can spend as many days as you like watching wildlife.
The island itself is a treasure trove of natural attractions. It is home to some of the world’s oldest rainforests, pristine beaches, roaring rivers, majestic cave systems and mighty mountains – including Mount Kinabalu and its park, a UN World Heritage Site! Such biodiverse habitats mean wildlife is excitingly abundant and varied, with many endemic species such as Bornean Orangutans, Pygmy Elephants, and Proboscis Monkeys.
Accommodation in Borneo is a highlight – a mash-up of adventure lodges and beachside hotels that do their best to be at one with the rainforest.