Few places in the world are as wild, remote and resource-rich as its third largest island, Borneo. Surrounded by the Java, Celebes, Sulu and South China seas, this eden-like environment combines some of the world's oldest rainforests and cloud-shrouded granite peaks with a biodiversity matched by very few places on earth.
Orangutans, proboscis monkeys and Sumatran rhinos are just some of the hundreds of different animal species that live on an island that also teems with countless birds, bats and insects.
Borneo is also a botanist's dream, with an incredible 15,000 species of flowering plants and 3,000 types of tree - so it's little wonder that it was here that the celebrated British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace undertook much of his research into evolutionary theory in the 19th century.
Logging and palm oil plantations have threatened large areas of the forest since then, but much remains untouched and other parts are now being given over to re-growth projects.
Borneo is divided between three countries, with two-thirds lying within the Indonesian state of Kalimantan and the tiny sultanate of Brunei nestling between the two Malaysian provinces of Sabah and Sarawak. The latter are easily reached on a two- to three-hour flight from the Malaysian Peninsula and, as such, are the most visited parts of Borneo.
Sarawak has associations with head hunters and tribal longhouses, and was ruled over for 100 years by a dynasty known as the White Rajahs. Sabah, meanwhile, is known for its world-class dive sites and the imposing Mount Kinabalu. Fabulous wildlife encounters can be enjoyed in both and these remain the focal point of a trip to Malaysian Borneo.
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Departing from one of the most progressive cities in the world, set sail for 18 days of adventure and discovery. This voyage is a tapestry of blue; from sea to sky imbibe in a palette of colour as never seen before.
Top itineraries in Borneo
Watch turtles hatch on a beach, spot orangutans on rainforest treks and cruise past pygmy elephants on a longboat, all on this comprehensive Borneo itinerary. Throughout, you’ll enjoy everything from luxury beach stays to guided touring from local experts.
Compare the Malaysian capital’s skyscraping icons and bustling markets with a private-villa getaway to the white sands of Borneo. Here, you’ll spot turtles among colourful reefs and endangered monkeys hidden in dense rainforest on a range of complimentary excursions.
Borneo’s delights are twofold – pristine island paradises and some of the world’s best wildlife viewing. And, this comprehensive route showcases all of its highlights, with the river cruises and jungle treks of a private safari paired with a luxury beach resort.
Top places to stay in Borneo
Gaya Island Resort is located off the coast of Borneo on Pulau Gaya, near Kota Kinabalu. It's a stunning setting of coral reefs and fringing golden-sand beaches, protected mangroves, dense rainforest and rocky outcrops.
Where to go in Borneo
Viewing wildlife - both on land and in the clear seas along its coast - is the major attraction of Sabah, a state of a similar size to Ireland.
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