The Island of Borneo
Where Is It? What Is It?

The Island of Borneo...

Just the name sounds exotic, intriguing.

Maybe even dangerous.

The Island of Borneo is actually divided between three Southeast Asian countries. 

It is exotic, but we don’t think it’s dangerous.


Where is it?

What is it?

Should you travel there?

We have.

We went because just the name beckoned.

We went to the Island of Borneo because we wanted to see the Orangutans.


More Than Orangutans

What we read hinted at elephants.... rhinos.... gibbons... proboscis monkeys.

And beyond wildlife.... giant rafflesia flowers....

Headhunters!... and... leeches? Yea, that too.

When we got there we discovered so much more....

          Turtle Islands of Borneo,
          caves,
          the Kinabatangan River,
          snorkeling and diving
          wonderful people and interesting little cities.

Orangutan Kinabatangan River Borneo
Rafflesia Kota Kinabalu Borneo
Green Turtle Borneo


Where is the Island of Borneo?

Let's start with the geography.

The island of Borneo is located along the equator in South East Asia. It's south of the Philippines, north of Australia.

Borneo is not a country; the island is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and the independent country of Brunei.


View Larger Map


The Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak

We went to the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, so we'll tell you about those.

We flew "straight" from San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu to Sandikan..... three flights in a row...

That's a long time flying and in transit... you might want to break it up.

What Can You See on the Island of Borneo?

We had no pre-arranged plans... We've had lots of practice, but it's not always the best way to see some of these more remote locations in the world.

We would suggest having plans in place when you arrive.

We Started In Sandikan, Sabah

But... we did not have plans in place... we made arrangements on arrival, and that worked out just fine.

Green Sea Turtles

In Sandikan we were lucky and hooked up with an eco travel company that whisked us out to the turtle Islands of Borneo or Pelau Seligan.

We spent one night on Palau Seligan, the boated back to Sandikan where we finally paid for our expedition.

Sandikan is a convenient little town to use as a base for the visit to Pelau Seligan and the Sepilok Orangutan Reserve, a wildlife adventure to the Kinabatangan River, or the Danum Valley (we didn't get there, but we wish we had.... next trip!).

Caves and Markets

On the drive to catch the boat to our lodge on the Kinabatangan River, we visited caves to see where they harvest swallow's nests for birds nest soup and shopped in roadside markets for the druians and star fruit.

Monkeys and Orangutans

We boated to the Sakau River Lodge where we DID see one orangutan in the wild and Proboscis Monkeys, Langurs or Leaf Monkeys, and Long Tailed Macaques.

Proboscis Monkeys on the Kinabatangan River Borneo
Orangutans at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center

On the way back to Sandikan, we visited Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and all of it's Orangutans.

Rafflesia and Head Hunters?

And those head hunters? We flew back to Kota Kinabalu.

Outside of Kota Kinabalu, we hiked with a guide to find one of the world's biggest flowers. He told us his tribe used to be headhunters, but all we hunted for with him was a Rafflesia in bloom.

The species of Rafflesia we saw wasn't the biggest variety, but it felt like an adventure none the less.

Ceremonial House Kuching Museum Island of Borneo
Kuching Waterfront Sarawak Borneo
Sarawak River Kuching Island of Borneo


Kuching, Sarawak

In Kuching in the state of Sarawak, we only had time to enjoy the city and do a little shopping. Kuching is a lively city with interesting history and good museums, native masks and art. It's also a great place to start out for a visit to an Iban long house. That's something else we'll have to save for another trip, along with the caves and orangutans here.

Borneo is a big island... and we didn't even begin to explore the Indonesian part or the Sultanate of Brunei.

Just what we saw kept us busy for a couple of weeks. The Island of Borneo really is exotic and intriguing. Give it some thought when you're planning your next adventure.

If you'd like to spend some time in Peninsular Malaysia, see what our friends at About Malaysia have to say. They have an informative website with lots of up-to-date facts. Nothing like hearing it from a local.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

Like primates? Read about Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
return to MouseToursTravels Home Page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.

Timely Tips

Spring is here in the Northern Hemisphere...
or soon will be.
The almonds and mustard are blooming
The grapes will soon bud out

California Spring - Grapes, Almonds and mustard

It's Fall in the Southern Hemisphere
Great time for an
Australian Wine Tasting Drive.

It's a great time to travel almost anywhere in the world!

Are you planning your travels?
The weather can be changeable, so be sure to pack layers and some rain gear...

See all of our Packing Lists and Tips.

We're busy planning our travels
We're just back from Ethiopia. We're planning on Vietnam and Cambodia later.  Still throwing darts at a map for something in between. How about YOU?

Where Do You Want To Go?
Things to See in Europe
Travel In America
Does Africa Call?

Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!

Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!

Check Your Passport
Do you have yours? Is it up to date?
Get Your Passports and Visas

Search

Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster..
.

Translate

We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. Brian McEwan born 1947 Birmingham England UK .

    Brian where is your brother Derek last I heard he was in Thailand

    Read More

  2. Pincher Creek, Alberta, Peter James Mac/McEwan married Mary Gladstone

    We are related to MacEwans from Bollingbrook, Ontario, Canada. Looking to find out how Peter James McEwan is related to Abraham McEwen, both born in Lanark

    Read More

  3. Ethiopia: Oldest Independent Country In Africa

    Go to Ethiopia to see the rock hewn churches, or the endemic wildlife, or the tribal areas. Whatever calls you just go, it’s worth the effort.

    Read More

Two Ways To Like Us!

Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Thank You!

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…
With A Website
SBI Teaches You Everything

First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life