Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Price of Travel: Borneo on a budget - Where to go and what to see

Borneo is an amazing adventure destination and one not to miss if you love the outdoors and activities such as hiking and snorkeling. That’s not to say there aren’t things to do for the traveler who likes to take it easy – there’s beautiful beaches to laze about on and luxury hotels that aren’t too expensive to enjoy.

Borneo is one of the more expensive places to visit in South East Asia. But that’s not to say a holiday there still can’t be done on a budget. You can certainly do most things even by spending just US$40 a day, especially if you map out your adventures before you get there.

When to visit Borneo

Borneo is in the tropics so you can expect it to be hot and humid year round. In fact, the average humidity is a steady 80%, so be prepared to get your sweat on. In some areas though, Borneo is quite mountainous and the higher altitudes provide some cool relief.

Down at sea level, you can expect the temperatures to range between 80F – 90F (27 and 32°C) all year long. Rainfall varies throughout the different months and can be sporadic. It generally rains the most between November and March, but even during these months it can be unpredictable – you can visit Borneo during this time and still have a string of bright and sunny days.

Many people come to Borneo to experience the unique wildlife and some of the best times for this are between June and August. This is when it’s the fruiting season, meaning many of the primates, namely orangutans, come down for the tops of the trees to feast on the fruit.

Places to visit in Borneo

Borneo is located in the rugged north of Malaysia and you could really spend a good month travelling around Borneo. However, if you are a bit short on time then I’ve outlined the best parts and must see places to go to.


Kuching is one of the main cities in Borneo and a good starting point for your trip. It is a modern city and there’s a lively nightlife with a beautiful riverside walk that is spectacular at sunset.

The museums in the town and activities nearby, such as the Sarawak Cultural Village and the orangutan center, should keep you occupied for a few days at least. Bako National Park is also a brilliant place to spot wildlife and is only about an hour from Kuching.


Located in the north-east of Borneo, in the state of Sabah, Sandakan is a historical place that holds a lot of significance for World War II.

Learn about the region’s brutal history by visiting the site of Japanese prisoner of war camps, housed in a beautiful forest. The Sandakan Memorial Park is the site of ‘death marches’ in which more than 2,000 prisoners died walking from Sandakan to Ranau. Just six Australians survived their horrific imprisonment in the area: and only because they escaped.

Another historical place to visit is the Japanese cemetery where many prostitutes from the war are buried. A prominent madam founded by the cemetery, which also hosts a monument dedicated to fallen Japanese soldiers.

Sandakan is a good jumping off point for exploring the rest of the Sabah region. From here, you can travel about four hours to reach the Kinabatangan River. This is a great place to see amazing amounts of wildlife in Borneo.