The third largest island in the world, Borneo is split up into three countries: Indonesia, Brunei and East Malaysia. The Malaysian part of the island is separated by about 40km of the South China Sea, and makes up just over a quarter of Borneo’s land mass.
East Malaysia is much less populated than its Western counterpart and is therefore popular with tourists and holidaymakers who are looking for a peaceful holiday in Malaysia, far from the bright lights of the better-known Malay cities.
Borneo features luscious tropical rainforests, which boast a variety of fascinating and intriguing wildlife as well as stunning white beaches, which are perfect for soaking up the glorious East Asian sunshine.
Eastern Malaysia is perfect for those looking to have an adventure! With its varied scenery, incredible jungles and traditional towns just waiting to be explored – you will come back from your Malaysian holiday with unforgettable memories and stories.
One of the most sensational highlights that Borneo has to offer is its vast and untouched rainforest territory and the unique wildlife that lives within the trees. If you would like to see some of the wildlife that Borneo has on offer then the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is must be on your to do list! As it is located within the huge Semenggoh nature Reserve, the wildlife centre gives visitors the opportunity to see orang-utans happily swinging from vines and climbing trees in their natural habitat.
A hot spot for visitors to Eastern Malaysia is the city of Kota Kinabalu, which is situated in the North West part of Borneo. This city offers a vast array of restaurants, which serve delicious menus of cuisines that are both local and international. If you want to have a truly unforgettable and mesmerising dining experience then head across to the Sunset Bar at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa. The unique attribute of this bar and restaurant is that it is perfectly located to watch the sun set over the Malaysian horizon – a perfect way to end a day of exploring!
Active travellers should hike up Mount Kinabalu – the tallest mountain in South East Asia. You can pay for a guide to take you and other tourist groups through impressive jungles and up to the summit of the mountain at a whopping 4095 metres! From here you can take in the spectacular views across Borneo’s skyline and you can even book a hike where you arrive at the top as the sun rises over the mountains!
Borneo is a superb destination for a luxury beach holiday offering some of the most beautiful stretches of sand around and crystal-clear waters teeming with spectacular marine life.
Each beach has its own unique features, with options for both relaxation and fun. Visitors will also find family-friendly options and scenic sanctuaries perfect for romance.
There is also a great selection of beachfront hotels and resort to choose, with private areas perfect for lazy days of sun-drenched bliss.
Those seeking a more active beach experience will also find options for water sports, with Borneo being a superb spot for snorkelling and scuba diving especially.
Eastern Malaysia experiences slightly different weather patterns than the Malaysian Peninsula, with its dry season running from April through to October. However it is worth noting that Eastern Malaysia does experience some warm rainfall even during the drier season. As Eastern Malaysia is so close to the equator, it enjoys a warm to hot climate all year round, with average temperatures being well into the thirties – perfect beach weather!
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is the time when Muslims believe God (Allah) revealed the Koran (the Islamic holy book) to the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting during daylight hours, breaking the fast after sundown with a celebratory meal. Due to Islam following a lunar calendar, Ramadan takes place on different dates each year.
Hari Raya Puasa is a three-day Muslim holiday held to mark the end of Ramadan. As well as celebrations, colourful parades and family parties, The Sultan of Brunei also opens his palace up to visitors.
Taking place in July, the Borneo Cultural Festival is a week-long celebration of the area’s varied heritage. Held in Sibu, in the Sarawak region, the event serves up a feast of music, dance, arts and cuisine.
A spectacle of wonderful colours, the Borneo International Kite Festival is a four to five-day event which is held in September or October each year, on the runway of the old airport in Bintulu, in the Sarawak region.
Celebrated across Borneo, Diwali is the five-day Hindu festival of lights. Usually taking place between October and November, traditions include fireworks, feasts, the giving of gifts and family gatherings.