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Borneo Destination Guide

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Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts

Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Borneo , created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.


A spectacularly natural environment perfect for luxury beach holidays and wildlife enthusiasts, Borneo is unrivalled in its abundance of flora and fauna. In addition to 15,000 species of flowing plants, 3,000 tree types, rare orchids, 12 species of rafflesia (the world’s largest flower) and over 600 bird species, this eden-like sanctuary plays host to a unique assortment of endangered wildlife including the charming and gentle Orangutan or ‘man of the forest’, the noisy Proboscis monkey and the diminutive pygmy elephant.

Borneo's little-known Pulau Gaya, a forested island off the island's north-west tip, is home to Gaya Island Resort, part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park reserve where coral gardens are home to fishes of all shapes colours and sizes, practically begging to be seen by snorkellers. On land a resident naturalist will escort you through the grounds where amongst the colourful bird life, you might also spot the aptly named 'bearded pig'.

General Information
CapitalMalaysian Sabah's capital is Kota Kinabalu
LanguageBahasa Malaysia
Time Difference4 hours
CurrencyMalaysian Ringgit
Voltage240 volts


Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. We highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your Doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.


Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.


Rainforest areas have a wet climate, remaining hot and humid for most of the year. From March to October is probably the best time to visit, but as these areas can be unpredictable, it's best to expect the possibility of rain, at any time.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Borneo.

  Temp °C Rain mm


Mount Kinabalu
Utterly mesmerising, Mount Kinabalu – the highest on Borneo – is an absolute must-visit. The striking 4095-metre peak – that is amazingly growing by around 5mm per year – is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia, reached by a scenic walk past Alpine jungle and surrounded by a large network of fascinating nature trails in Kinabalu National Park. Hike up to the low peak for (on a clear day) amazing views over to the Philippines or spot the staggering six-hundred species of fern (more than in Africa) and over eight-hundred species of orchid flora.

Wildlife Encounters
A rugged island known for its ancient, bio-diverse rainforest, Borneo is home to an abundance of rare and endangered animals. Look up at a marvellous array of colourful birds, watch the protected Orangutan swing through the jungle canopy, spot playful Irrawaddy Dolphins in the South China Sea, or encounter a saltwater crocodile or the, bizarre-looking, Proboscis Monkey as you sit back on an unforgettable river cruise at Klias Wetland Mangrove Forest Reserve. The wonderful Orangutan Sanctuary at Sepilok rehabilitates orphaned Orangutans, providing access to the jungle in which you can view these captivating 'people of the forest' in their natural habitat.

National Parks
One of the most naturally striking areas in the world, Borneo houses a number of glorious national parks. Among the best destinations on the island, Gunung Mulu National Park is bursting at the seams with natural marvels – from breathtaking caves and enchanting tropical rainforest, to the unique limestone karst formations (named the Pinnacles) on Mount Api. In Kalimantan, Tanjung Puting National Park, set aside as a wildlife preserve by the Dutch in 1939, is understandably popular. Board a klotok – a traditional river boat – and take a storybook journey up the jungle river, spotting orangutans, kingfishers and much more!

Whilst lush rainforests and dramatic mountains might initially spring to mind when you think of Borneo’s landscape, the multi-dimensional island is also a spectacular beach destination. Borneo’s best beaches are mainly clustered in the eastern state of Sabah, home also to the luxurious Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, a haven of tropical paradise that overlooks the soft white sand and crystalline water of secluded Pantai Dalit Beach. Meanwhile, Gaya Island’s pristine powdery sands are surrounded by vibrant waters filled with enchanting marine life, offering some of the very best snorkelling in the area.

A melting pot of various cultures, religions and languages, Borneo will never cease to fascinate. Explore the array of captivating and artfully crafted religious buildings – including mosques, cathedrals and Hindu, Chinese and Buddhist temples – before educating yourself on beguiling Borneo in the countless museums and art galleries. Live like a local and shop for pearls at the bustling Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market, or visit the grizzly, yet undeniably fascinating, Monsopiad village – home to a former spiritual headhunting tribe – where a collection of forty-two human skulls hang from the rafters.

Getting There+

Please contact us for flight information.

Travel Gems+

Nature Interpretation Centre at Shangri La's Rasa Ria Nature Resort
As you can imagine, feeding time for the orphaned Orangutans at the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Nature Resort, is extremely popular and visits are limited to fifty people per daily feeding session (10am and 2pm), with bookings taken three days in advance (charges apply). We strongly recommend you do this prior to your arrival to guarantee your place, and our Travel Consultants will happily arrange these for you.


Observed for one month each year, Ramadan is a period of fasting when the pace of life is slower, public areas are busier and there are certain restrictions, for example, consuming food in public, drinking alcohol and use of restaurants.

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Our dedicated Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Borneo. Furthermore, we have 1 Travel Consultant who has personally visited Borneo and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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As the foremost British pioneer of luxury travel – and boasting an ever-increasing collection of prestigious accolades that celebrates this – Elegant Resorts is a tour operator with the expertise, knowledge and reputation to deliver only the very finest tailor-made luxury holidays to our clients, honed by almost thirty years of experience in this niche travel business.

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