Borneo Overview

Borneo Overview

If there was a destination award for wilderness travel, Borneo would be a top contender. Borneo has almost 10% of the world’s tropical forest and an extraordinary biodiversity that constantly multiplies with three new species being discovered there on average every month. It is the only home of some of the world’s most endangered mammals: the pygmy elephant, the clouded leopard, the sun bear and the orangutan. 

Straddling the equator, Borneo is the third largest island in the world, its territory apportioned unevenly between the countries of MalaysiaIndonesia and Brunei Darussalam. Indonesian Kalimantan is the largest chunk. Brunei and Malaysia occupy the top third. The island largely consists of dense jungle and mountains, reaching its highest point at Mt Kinabalu (4095 m) in Sabah. Much of the terrain is virtually impenetrable, and large areas are unexplored.


Borneo has a typical tropical climate – generally hot and humid throughout the year.

Temperatures are fairly uniform, averaging 25-33 degrees Celsiusduring the day and rarely dropping below 20 degrees Celsius at night, except in the mountains where they can drop to below 20 degrees Celsius.

As in most tropical areas the rain falls in short heavy bursts with sunshine following.In theory, the wet season runs from November through to February, but in reality we find little difference in the seasons

Things to pack

Travellers to Borneo are likely to encounter many different types of weather conditions during their trip. Borneo has wide variations in terrain – from tropical beaches to mountains exceeding elevation of 3000m. There are many tropical rain forests with constant temperature and high rainfall. Understanding which area of Borneo you will be visiting, will determine what clothes you should pack.

For the beach, you won’t need to pack much except your swimsuit, t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops.  If you plan to explore Borneo’s rain forests and mountains, you will need all kinds of clothing. The rain forest is hot and humid, and it rains a few hours every day. Pack light clothes that dry quickly, along with a raincoat o poncho.

The mountains on the other hand only hit the high 20ºC during the day and get down to the low 15ºC at night, Do not except any heater in your mountain lodge – pack a sweater and jacket.No matter where you go in Borneo, the UV factor is very high because the island is so close to the equator. Even if you are in the mountain where it’s cooler, you can still get sunburned. It is important to come prepared with plenty of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.

A good pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes from the UV rays while also reducing glare, enabling you to enjoy the view. If you are plan a jungle safari, you should pack insect repellent, binoculars and your camera. Binoculars enable you to view the exotic birds and the proboscis monkeys – without getting too close and scaring them away. Make sure to pack plenty of batteries and memory cards for your camera, along with a ziploc bag to protect them from the rain.

Make copies of your passport, travel document and insurance card in case anything should happen to the originals. Be sure to pack your glasses and contacts, along with spares if you have any. You will also need to pack all the personal medication.