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Borneo

The world's third largest island is divided among the nations of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Borneo's currency is adventure: explore miles of caves or meet an orangutan face-to-face. Smiling children meet wooden canoes on a journey into the Sarawak jungle. Enjoy song, dance, and tuak rice wine from a people whose ancestors practiced headhunting. Friendly Planet makes discount travel to Borneo easy and affordable!

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Highlights

  1. Mount Kinabalu 

    Borneo may have a tropical climate, lush rainforests, and glittering beaches, but did you know it is home to the tallest mountain in Malaysia? Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinabalu Park, Mount Kinabalu attracts thousands of visitors every year. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an experienced climber to attempt ascending the summit. In fact, only 185 climbing permits are issued per day. But don’t worry – you can still admire the awe-inspiring beauty around you by hiking one of seven other trails. 
  2. Orangutan Sanctuaries

    Where else to see the endangered Bornean orangutan than the country itself? Sadly, Bornean orangutans have been targeted by poachers and lost much of their natural habitat due to deforestation. In 2016, they were declared critically endangered.  Thankfully, organizations have recognized the importance of these brilliant creatures, and taken action to protect and preserve them. Visiting an Orangutan Sanctuary, such as Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center or Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, is an exciting way to get an up-close look at the orangutans while learning about positive, proactive efforts to protect them. Be mesmerized as you watch these majestic mammals swing through the trees and frolic in the surrounding forests.
  3. Kuching

    How many other capital cities have rich biodiversity, mountains, and jungles adjacent to ancient temples and historic museums? Officially known as the City of Kuching, the capital of Sarawak is a true gem. Adventure awaits around every corner, from trekking through the jungle to touring the eclectic Cat Museum. Admire the ornate architecture of Chinese temples, and test your bartering skills at the Main Bazaar. Head to Bako National Park, and wander down trails deep in the jungle in search of the bountiful beach and cliff vegetation. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride to remote areas of the forest that are inaccessible by foot. Let the sound of musical fountains guide you down the waterfront amid local vendors and a lively nightlife. 
  4. Longhouse Visit

    Spend a few hours at a longhouse, where you will meet friendly locals and get a glimpse of authentic Iban life. The Iban people are native inhabitants of Borneo who live in longhouses, where many families live under one roof. Longhouse living is an important tradition that has carried on for centuries. Head into the jungle, where you will find the wooden houses built on stilts. Although each house is different, common features include a large, open room and smaller rooms for each family. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tradition and culture of this indigenous tribe.  
  5. Indigenous People 

    Borneo’s indigenous tribes play an important role in shaping the history and culture of the island. Commonly called the Dayak, they were the first inhabitants of Borneo. Today, seven primary tribes remain, speaking approximately 150 languages. Most of the Dayak live deep in the rainforest, but some live along the coastlines. Indigenous tribes value family and tradition, and living in longhouses is still a popular way of life. They are very in-tune with nature, and proactively contribute to sustainability efforts.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to Borneo? See everything you need to know before you go.

Entry requirements

The island of Borneo is divided among three nations: Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei. Please see entry requirements for the countries relevant to your visit.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, please see the entry requirements.

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

Money & Credit Cards

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Did you know?
  • Orangutans might be the most well-known endangered mammal in Borneo, but it is just one of many. Other endangered species include the Sumatran rhino, the Borneo bay cat, and the Sun Bear.
  • An Iban longhouse chief is known as a tuai rumah.
  • There are statues and pictures of cats all over the city of Kuching. There is even a cat museum, which has more than 4,000 cat-related items.
  • Natives call Borneo “Kalimantan.” It was formerly a Dutch colony, and became part of Indonesia in 1950.
  • The largest flower in the world is found in Borneo, the Rafflesia Arnoldii.

Articles

* Advertised prices may include an "Instant Savings" discount and/or sale discount, available for a limited time. Prices reflect these discounts. Advertised prices are per person, based on double occupancy; single occupancy rooms may be available for an additional charge. Advertised prices are the best available based on the least expensive travel dates, departure city, hotels, and other options, and do not include optional excursions or other optional items. Your total price will vary based upon the dates, flights, hotels, and other options you select during the booking process. For packages including flights, prices include Airline Taxes, Fees & Sept. 11th Security Fee, but do not include excess baggage fees or advance seat reservations. Prices and availability subject to change. More about our prices.

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