There’s no denying the many awesome benefits that come with travel and if you are going to be visiting the magical destination of Borneo then make sure the following seven experiences are absolutely on your list!
#1: Go Swim with the Turtles
If you have never been close to the truly giant sea turtles, like the large hawksbill turtle, then you’ve really missed out on a unique and humbling experience! Sipadan Island is a tiny island of 40 acres, home to undisturbed forests and these incredible giant turtles.
In addition to this you’ll see large groups of curious snappers or batfish, coral, groupers, and a diverse and active underwater ecosystem that is home to thousands of fish species. In other words, there’s no shortage of things to see.
#2: Mount Kinabalu – UNESCO Approved!
Malaysia is just a stone’s throw away, and if you’re going to visit there then you should definitely check out Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and feature a remarkable array of accessible and well-maintained paths. There’s even a Mount Kinabulu tour.
This high altitude jungle is home to a wide array of unique orchid flowers, mammals, and birds that can’t be found elsewhere; the sheer difference in the variety of life there is amazing. From frogs as small as a fingernail to large orangutans, the paths that let you explore this area make it easy to get a lot out of the experience.
#3: Make Sure to Head Upriver
The Kinabatangan River heads right through the deepest interior of Borneo and offers an excellent way to experience one of the most unique areas left in the world. Pygmy elephants, the smallest elephants in all of Asia, live here, as do giant lizards, crocodiles, large families of monkeys and even tribesmen who still live in a traditional style in the jungle. Add in healthy populations of local birds and you’re not going to have any shortage of sights to look at while exploring the river.
#4: Visit the Nearby Caves
The Gomantong Caves are a common and popular side stop with this river trip. These are caves located under some spectacular limestone hills famous throughout the area, these caves are actually a cave system of at least 19 known caves although there is only one that is currently open to the public. However, this is a natural cave experience, which for some will be a bit overwhelming. It’s not the clean, curated experiences of a local tourist destination, but an actual look into an unexplored and altered cave system.
#5: Plenty of Spicy Dishes
While you might not think of food at first glance while looking at Borneo, there’s plenty of opportunity to try out an amazing array of spicy and interesting dishes. Borneo is an area with three major cuisine influences: Chinese, Indian, and Malay, which leads to a variety of different tastes, flavours, and spices. Add in the fact that locals take advantage of the natural ingredients and spices from the local rain forest and if you’re a fan of spicy foods, this gives you a unique opportunity.
The basic staples of food are fresh local veggies, noodles, rice, and of course, fish. Mix these together in various combinations with spices, soup broth, and more, and you have plenty of outstanding options for when it comes to getting a delicious, spicy, and tasty dish that is an experience in and of itself. Some basic recommendations: look at Sabah and Hinava for a nice blend of flavours and spices.
#6: Rainforest Music Festival
The Sarawak Cultural Village is not only an amazing place to visit during normal trips as it really shows the culture and everyday life of local tribes, but it is also the home of the world famous 3-day Rainforest Music Festival. Drawing international crowds of up to 24,000 people, this is a special event that you’ve got to check out if you’re a fan.
This festival is over 20 years old and still brings in quality performers from around the world who perform on stage with local indigenous musicians. There’s a lot that happens here with workshops, shows, classes, dancing, and more. This is a festival worth participating in.
#7: Get a Local Tour
Ask around for advice on what the locals recommend seeing or doing. No one is going to know the area like the locals and getting a local tour of favourite spots is a great way to see Borneo the way that locals most appreciate it.