1. Climb the First UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia
Mount Kinabalu, stands at an impressive 4095m above sea-level. This is the highest of the mountains between New Guinea and the Himalayas. It is also the easiest to access and offers well-maintained paths, along the highest via Ferrata in the world at 3776m above sea level. Regardless of the route that you choose, look for a Mount Kinabalu climb package to ensure that you take in all the scenic views along your climb. This is one of those jungle-clad botanist’s Mecca. There are more than 5000 plant species, and around 1200 orchid varieties, along with a lush carpet of biggest mosses across the globe. In addition to all the plant life, there are also 100 mammals along with more than 300 bird species. Look out for orangutan and, gibbon, along with tiny frogs that are no bigger than your fingernail.
2. Take a Dive with the Turtles in Sipadan
Think about kneeling on a seabed of sand and seeing big hawksbill turtles less than a metre in front of you. This is the type of encounter you can expect under the clearest waters off Borneo’s Sipadan Island.
This tiny island is extremely beautiful and only covers an area of 40 acres. It is covered in a stunning forest, and the marine life on offer is awe-inspiring. Apart from the turtles there is an opportunity to drift along the reef plateau situated on the eastern-tip of Sipadan, where you will encounter a cloud of bright-yellow snappers and curious batfish. At West Ridge, you can glide over groupers and black corals and get up close with the turtles. With more than 3000 fish species, you are guaranteed an excellent viewing opportunity regardless of the time of year.
3. Take in the Culinary Delights
Borneo is well-known among the culinary capitals of the world. With it’s Chinese, Malay, and Indian influences the food is never boring. The locals love seasoning their dishes with rich spices that are sourced from the rainforest, which means there is a chance you will taste flavours you might have never tasted in your life before. Look out for a Nasi Lemak hawker and allow him to show you some of his unique jungle spices.
The common staples in Borneo are noodles, rice, fish, and locally-grown vegetables. This explains their traditional dishes prepared in clay pots. Whether it is squid, prawn or fish that they throw into the pot, or vegetables and tofu, these noodle-based broths will keep you satisfied and happy. If you are looking for something spicier, go for Hinava. This is the highlight dish in Sabah, that is prepared with filleted Mackeral that is smothered in lime, bambangan seed, ginger, and chilli.
4. Take a Cruise Along the River
The majestic Kinabatangan River is an intricate pathway into the heart of Borneo. This is an area where proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and the traditional tribesmen reside. This is the best opportunity to view the smallest of the Asian elephants, along with other stunning wildlife when you book one of the river tours on offer. The cruise along Kinabatangan allows you to take in the crocodiles, monitor lizards and even a few orangutans on the banks of the river. If you look up you should be able to spot Kingfishers and Hornbills.
The Gomanton Caves are also worthwhile checking out. Hidden under the biggest limestone hills in this area, there is a complex system of at least 19 caves, with only one that the public is allowed to access. This large collection is not called the Black Cave for nothing. The journey into the cave is dark, and there is a foul stench present along with cockroaches running over your feet and bats that swarm and swoosh just above your head. If you are into terrifying yet exhilarating experiences pay a visit at dusk.
5. Take Part in a World Music Festival in The Rainforest
In the centre of the Borneo rainforest, you will find Sarawak Cultural Village, which preserves and showcases the culture and life of the local tribes in Borneo. It is also the host to the Rainforest World Music Festival that is held annually. This is a 3-day event that attracts close to 24000 people every year.
This festival started in 1998 and has been running ever since, which attracts performers from across the globe, where they perform on stages with the indigenous and local musicians. This opportunity will educate you on the different music, customs, and dances of the tribes, where you will be surrounded by the traditional long-houses situated at the bottom of Mount Santubong. During the day you can participate in educational workshops, and during the evenings you get to dance and let go with a host of different entertainers. There are different drink and food stands to choose from along with the opportunity to shop at the arts and crafts spots where you will find fantastic souvenirs and gifts.