Anthropologists, adventure-seekers and animal lovers alike are drawn to Borneo’s steamy jungles, blissful mountains, balmy beaches and peaceful villages.

These tropical shores have a glorious diversity. Float down the Kinabatangan River, the most biologically diverse rainforest in the world; see the sun rise over Mt Kinabalu; meet mischievous orangutans in Sepilok; chow down on a tasty laksa or take in the incredible underwater scenery snorkelling in Tunku Abdul National Marine Park. Borneo’s wild bounty awaits.  

Top Borneo travel deals

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10 Dec 2022
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Accommodation in Borneo

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Borneo you may find yourself staying in a:

Dusun village homestay farmhouse in Borneo

Homestay

See what Borneo hospitality is all about by sharing a home-cooked meal with a local family.

Best of Borneo

Sabah Adventure

Longhouse in Sarawak Borneo

Longhouse

Staying in a longhouse, the traditional dwellings of many ethnic groups in Borneo, is an immersive and fascinating experience.

Best of Borneo

Wild Sarawak

Jungle camp accomodation in Kinabatangan Borneo Malaysia

Jungle Eco Camp

 Spend a night in a community-run traditional-style eco lodge in the heart of the jungle.

Best of Borneo

Sabah Adventure

Essential Borneo

Borneo Family Holiday

Borneo holiday information

At a glance
Best time to visit Borneo
Culture and customs
Food and drink
Geography and environment
History and government
Top 10 Nature Spots of Borneo
Shopping
Festival and events in Borneo
Health and safety
Further reading

Borneo travel FAQs

Trips on or before 31 December 2022

If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information. 

Tipping isn’t customary in Borneo but leaving a small token of appreciation is always welcome if you feel the service has been particularly good.

Internet is easy to access in large cities and tourist areas, though it can be quite slow. Access is more limited in remote and rural areas.

Mobile phone coverage is good in major cities, but there is little to no coverage in the mountains and in remote areas. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.

Squat toilets are the norm in Borneo, though some hotels and tourists areas have Western-style, flushable toilets. It’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as these are not always provided.

The currencies of Borneo are the Indonesian rupiah, the Malaysian ringgit and the Brunei dollar in each of their respective countries.

Bottle of beer = USD 3
Laksa from a food stall = USD 1–2 
Simple meal at a local restaurant = USD 5–12 

Tap water is not considered safe to drink in Borneo. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, pack a reusable bottle that can be filled with filtered water. Your leader can tell you where to find filtered water or pack your own purification tablets.

Most places only accept cash, especially small businesses, though you might be able to use your credit card at larger hotels, shops and restaurants in tourist areas.

You’ll find ATMs in Borneo’s large cities and urban areas, though they are less easy to find in rural and remote parts.

  • 1 Jan: New Year’s Day
  • 5 Feb: Chinese New Year
  • 5 Jun: Eid al-Fitr
  • 11 Aug: Eid al-Adha
  • 31 Aug: Islamic New Year
  • 9 Nov: Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
  • 25 Dec: Christmas

Since Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei all have claim to Borneo, different parts of the island celebrate different public holidays. The ones listed here are celebrated in all three nations. For a more complete and current list of public holidays go to:

Indonesia – https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/asia/indonesia/public-holidays/

Malaysia – https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/asia/malaysia/public-holidays/

Brunei – https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/asia/brunei/public-holidays/

No vaccines are required in order to enter Borneo but some are recommended for protection against disease. Always visit your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date advice and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.

Discretion is highly advised for LGBTQI-travellers in Borneo. Homosexuality is illegal in both Malaysia and Brunei, where it can be punished with long prison sentences or even death. While homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, few people are openly out. Regardless of which part of Borneo you are visiting, discretion is strongly suggested.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex or ILGA before you travel.

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Traveller with local women in Borneo Malaysia

How we're giving back

In Borneo, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.