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.
Traveling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travelers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When traveling with us in Borneo you may find yourself staying in a:
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 travelers 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 travelers 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.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. 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.
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:
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-travelers 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.
Intrepid is committed to traveling 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 traveling.
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 travelers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.