Filled with both stunning natural landscapes and unique wildlife in the heart of Southeast Asia lies the magical island of BORNEO. As the third-largest island in the world, Borneo is home to a number of national parks teeming with adventure, endangered animals and some of the oldest rainforests on Earth. Intrepid travellers explore the island where orangutans and proboscis monkeys roam the treetop canopies, discovering exotic species of plants and animals throughout the parks while Sabah and Sarawak have become top destinations due not only to their outstanding physical beauty but the kindness of their communities. Here the native people follow ancestral traditions and share them with visitors inviting you to further experience the region’s customs, food, and celebrations.
Meet the Dayak tribes while passing through bewitching forests. Surround yourself with sun bears and hornbills. Breathe in the fresh air of the tropical rainforests and listen to the waves on Borneo’s idyllic beaches. While the country may be known for its wildlife and rainforests, its islands offer enchanting experiences both above and below the sea. Take time to unwind on pristine beaches, explore uninhabited lands, and dive into the ocean to discover an underwater world rich in sea life and full of colour.
Bako National Park
One of the smallest parks of Sarawak, yet one of the most interesting, Bako National Park features seven out of the nine types of forests found in the area. Covering nearly 3,000 hectares, the park is home to lush rainforest, abundant wildlife, white sandy beaches, panoramic rocky shorelines and an extensive network of hiking trails. As its intriguing treasures are only a short trip from Kuching, Sarawak’s capital, this park is also one of the most accessible parks to discover and close to a number of luxury accommodation options.
Gunang Mulu National Park
Feel like one of the early explorers while adventuring through the gigantic karst caves of Gunung Mulu National Park. Named after Gunang Mulu, the second highest mountain in Sarawak, the park is home to astonishing landscapes and the largest known cave chamber in the world. The UNESCO-listed park, which is only accessible by plane, upholds a high standard of maintenance for its trails and accommodation options, while the numerous activities the park has to offer to reinforce its popularity even more.
Batang Ai National Park
Batang Ai National Park is located in the ‘Heart of Borneo’, near the border of Indonesia. Covered with dense tropical forest and rivers, this park’s remote location can only be discovered by boat allowing travellers looking for adventure a unique reward – being fully immersed in untouched nature. The park provides shelter for a variety of protected species, including orangutans and hornbills, and is mostly inhabited by the local Iban who still lives in traditional longhouses and is strongly involved in the park’s management.
Kubah National Park
Kubah National Park is one of the most visible and accessible parks of Sarawak due to its three mountain peaks and close proximity to Kuching. Besides being the richest palm habitat for its size anywhere in the world, Kubah National Park is home to an amazing array of plant life and bird species making it a must-see spot for nature lovers and bird watchers alike. The park also houses the Matang Wildlife Centre’s remarkable orangutan rehabilitation programme and is a popular filming destination being featured in “Farewell to the King” with Nick Nolte and “The Sleeping Dictionary” with Jessica Alba.
At 130 million years old, the impressive Kinabalu Park boasts the oldest rainforest on earth just a two hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital. The park offers a vast area of lush primary rainforest, considered to be one of the most important biological sites in the world, and was named Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site for its “outstanding universal values”. Here visitors also come face-to-face with Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea.
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
Known for its near-perfect year-round temperatures, along with excellent snorkeling and diving, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is for water lovers and actually consists of five separate islands. While Manukan, Sapi and Mamutik Islands offer sandy coral beaches and shady trees, Gaya Island features unique hiking experiences, where travellers can trek through different types of vegetation zones, along with three luxurious resorts catering to those who fancy accommodation away from the city. The park is just a 10–15 minutes boat ride off the coast of Kota Kinabalu.
Turtle Island Park
If you ever wanted to get up close and personal with gentle sea turtles, Turtle Islands Park is your dream destination. Comprised of three islands, Selingan, Gulisan and Bakungan Kecil, the park is a world-renowned spot for witnessing turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs, particularly on Selingan Island and the nearby Libaran Island. With its Dive Resort, Lankayan Island is also a popular diving destination as the region’s clear turquoise-coloured sea and thriving coral reefs are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.