Borneo is of the world's last and greatest sanctuaries of primary forest and wildlife. Experience the best of Sarawak and Sabah, rich in magnificent sandy beaches, but also in ancient rainforests and riverways sheltering an incredibly rich biodiversity. Witness the last orangutans and the proboscis monkeys living in the wild on forest treks accompanied by naturalists from remote jungle lodges.
Before heading for the jungles and beaches, the capital city is more than just a convenient stopover. Watch how the city unfurls like a giant concrete map from the observation floors of the once tallest building in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, splashed with the color of elegant mosques and Hindu temples. Despite its global status as one of Asia's high-rise commercial heavyweights, there's a lot more going on under the smooth, executive surface. Gourmets and gluttons thrill at the vibrant cuisine scene – from mouth-watering street-eats to upmarket fine-dining – and hardcore boutique-browsers will revel in the sheer diversity of the shopping. Luxury abounds in the hotels, many of them tailored to the contemporary business market. And when you inspect the maze of central streets and lanes there's an unforgettable juxtaposition of cultures; Malay, Indian and Chinese rubbing shoulders besides peaceful parks and shimmering towers. With so much diversity and multiculturalism, we think Malaysia luxury travel should focus on customized tours of the capital. This is a city where there are truly a thousand different ways to turn.
As sunrise paints the sky you're wakened by the loud calls of gibbons and hornbills. Take a quick breakfast and coffee then cruise down the river to this pristine lake, the early morning hours best for viewing birds and wildlife. Pygmy elephants live nearby and you spot their giant footprints in the mud. Various hornbills call from the trees, bashful wild orangutans are sometimes seen in the distance, while troops of monkeys jump past your boat. The rainforest of Borneo is home to dozens of unique waterways and trails; Kelenanap Oxbow Lake is just one of the exotic destinations for watching and listening to the life.
One glance and you're captivated. The orangutan looks back at you, communicating through his eyes, mouthing something silently. Continue your journey along the boardwalk and there's an even more curious primate, smiling effusively from just a couple of meters away. Fingers curl around sticks, feet cling effortlessly to trees as they hang upside down, and it seems like you can tell what the orangutans are thinking. This is one of our closest cousins, an animal both endangered and enchanting, one that marks the highlight of almost any private Borneo tour. Along with two well-known chimpanzee rehabilitation centers, we also know of excellent places for finding these special animals deep in the wild.
Hike through Borneo's amazing rainforest and river jungles, viewing the wildlife as you trek through the ancient jungle and climb to a treetop canopy walk, Rfresh with a swim in the rainforest streams, and at night, board an open-top vehicle for a nocturnal wildlife viewing safaris.
In Danum Valley, enjoy ideal vantage point within the jungle canopy on walkways. Here you will spot on wild orangutans and primates up close swinging between trees, and a dozens of varities of colorful birdlife. Along the river, spot Pygmy Elephants, wandering along the waterfront. Watch sun bears dangle sluggishly in the canopies and variety of rare birds flying around in one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Borneo's marine world is unparalleled. As the great Jacques Cousteau declared about the dive sites around Palau Sipadan, “we have found an untouched piece of art.” A flurry of sharks swim past (safely), huge schools of barracuda fill the water, turtles elegantly paddle past your fins, and many of the rays defy the imagination.
It's not just the rainbow of colors and pristine nature of the reefs, but the exotic and unusual fish that live here. We can build a private Borneo tour that incorporates scuba diving and snorkeling excursions, regardless of your level and experience, from excellent shallow snorkeling sites such as Lankayan Island (above) for beginners to deep dives that features dozens of reef sharks and turtles.
A highlight of your Borneo trip is a stay within the stunning jungle and river scenery at a lodge. There are several award-winning properties, including the Sukau Rainforest Lodge Recognised as a ‘National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World.’ The lodges are any nature lover’s heaven, with prime location to explore and witness the wildlife-rich rich by boat, and jungles by foot, spotting some of the endemic species of Borneo in their natural habitat including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and hundreds of birdlife species. The lodges are not without comfort and you may indulge in a candle-lit dinner on the terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding jungles, seeing monkeys swing by or take a refreshing dip in the lodge's pool rainforest. During the night, join a naturalist for an educational walk while spotting Borneo’s nocturnal wildlife come alive. After a busy day of hiking and boating through the rainforest, enjoy drinks on the terraces listening to the sounds of the surrounding wildlife.