Birds in Borneo

Our favourite Borneo tours and excursions

From multi-day rainforest treks to tribal longhouse stays, Borneo offers some of the most unforgettable travel experiences on the planet.

You don’t come to Borneo to do things by halves. You want the very best guides, in the very best locations, with the very best range of activities, or nothing. In the world’s greatest wildlife destination, why settle for anything less?

By its very wild and untamed nature, much of Borneo impossible to explore without a guideand we’re only interested in working with the very best. You can always spot them: they’re the ones who’ve never stopped being enthused about the sheer magnitude of the forest, and the ones who are as excited by a big cat’s pawprint as by the tiniest rare spider, even after years of guiding. Those are the people we want to show you Borneo.

Borneo isn’t just an untouched rainforest paradise. It’s a living, breathing island full of culture and contradictions, with street-food markets to explore, mountains to climb, coral reefs to marvel at, conservation challenges to face, and scores of different indigenous groups with whom to share an evening and a little tuak rice wine. These are the experiences that’ll get you beneath the surface.

Our top picks

You won't want to miss out on these must-dos hand-picked by our expert team

Trekking in Tabin Wildlife Reserve

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Wildlife
Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Malaysia’s largest wildlife reserve covers well over 1,000 sq km in the far east of Borneo yet is home to just one wildlife resort.

To really appreciate the range of wildlife that calls Tabin home, you need to experience it at every time of day – so the best way to uncover its secrets is with a series of short hikes with an expert nature guide. Hike to a continuously erupting mud volcano to look for animal tracks and spot pygmy elephants making the most of the salt lick. After dark, go in search of sambar deer, bearded pigs, and tembadau (wild cattle). At dawn, ascend a birdwatching tower to spot spidercatchers, bristleheads and flowerpeckers.This is what Borneo is all about.

Trekking the Headhunter's Trail & Mulu Pinnacles

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Scenery
Mulu National Park

Challenge yourself with this guided five-day expedition into Mulu National Park, combining cave exploration with two of our favourite treks.

Start by following a trail once used by fearsome Kayan headhunting parties, who paddled up the Melinau River to the gorge and dragged their longboats for three kilometres to launch raids against the Limbang. Then comes the real challenge (should you choose to accept it): the 45-metre-high, razor-sharp limestone Pinnacles. Though only 2.5 km in length, the path to the Pinnacles ascends some 1,200 metres in altitude, emerging onto a rocky outcrop with magnificent views. It’s a tricky climb with an even trickier descent – but don’t worry, it’s optional.

Rural Sabah by bike

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Culture
Scenery
Kota Kinabalu

Leave the urban sprawl of Kota Kinabalu behind and journey through fruit orchards and paddy fields on a guided cycle trip into rural Sabah.

Whether a half-day ride or a multi-day exploration, you’ll pedal through fields of pineapple and ginger, learn to “tap” latex at a rubber plantation, cross wood-plank suspension bridges over rushing rivers, and stop at minority villages to chat to the locals and try some traditional snacks. It may not be as dramatic as the rainforest, but exploring the subtler charms of the Sabahan countryside is wonderful in its own way – and it’s the best way to connect with the people who call this island home.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

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Sepilok

Established in 1964, this sanctuary (the first of its kind in Borneo) rescues baby orangutans orphaned by logging or the illegal pet trade and rehabilitates them so that they can be released back into the wild.

It’s a process that can take up to seven years, and at the SORC you can see them at every stage of development – from youngsters being cared for in indoor nurseries through to adolescence and release. After release, the orangutans might still come back to the centre for bananas and sugarcane (although the meal is kept monotonous to encourage them to find their own food), so keep your eyes peeled to see them playing in the branches and swinging down from the trees.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Insider visit with Dr Wong

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Wildlife
Sepilok

Named after the crescent-shaped patch of fur on its chest, the sun bear is the world‘s smallest bear.

Sadly, it's threatened not just by habitat loss and the pet trade but by poaching for its bile – which is prized in Chinese traditional medicine. Dr Wong started the centre in 2008 with seven rescued bears and the ultimate aim of returning as many as possible to the wild. Now, the centre has over 40, and you can observe them in rehabilitation, watching from boardwalks and platforms as they go about their bear business – all while Dr Wong explains what makes them so special.

Exploring Mulu's caves

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Mulu National Park

Mulu National Park is home to some of the most impressive subterranean landscapes you’ll ever see.

In Lang Cave, swallows and swiftlets flit between stalactites and stalagmites, while at gargantuan Deer Cave, a towering side-profile of Abraham Lincoln watches the nightly exodus of over two million bats. In Wind Cave, dripping flowstones appear like frozen waterfalls and spiky helictites give the impression of having formed in zero gravity. With two days in the park, you can trek from cave to cave, taking dips in cold springs and spotting wildlife from canopy walks in between.