Language: The official language spoken is the Malay language. However English is becoming widely used in many of the major cities, with Chinese being spoken in many areas too.
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
Time Zone: Borneo Time = GMT+8
Tipping: Service charges are usually included in restaurant bills. Apart from his tipping is not usual practise in Borneo, although always welcomed.
Borneo - an introduction
Part Malaysian, part Indonesian, Borneo is the world's third largest island, home to half of all known plant and animal species in the world. With two UNESCO World Heritage-listed National Parks (Kinabalu and Gunung Mulu) and a plethora of others incorporating beautiful rainforests, remote jungle and flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world, it goes without saying that wildlife is a huge part of escorted tours to Borneo.
While the island is a less-trodden tourist destination, a handful of tours are available allowing visitors to discover the real Borneo with national parks featuring high on the agenda. Many here are drawn by the chance to have a close encounter with the intriguing, endangered Orangutan in its natural habitat.
Escorted tours offer the chance to travel by longboat, embark on a canopy skywalk or take a jungle trail to appreciate the best of this paradise. Away from the rainforests it's also possible to visit the world-renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and pay a trip to Mamutik Island, where you can relax on the sandy beaches, swim or snorkel.
Things to do
A haven for relaxing, wildlife and adventure, Borneo is a truly incredible holiday destination. Here are just some of the places you can visit.
From the fascinating Sabah State Museum to the wonderful State Mosque and the stunning Tanjung Aru beach, Kota Kinabalu has so much on offer. The Kinabalu National Park is a paradise for those wildlife lovers, plus the British built steam locomotive shows you the beautiful sights of villages and jungle.
Situated in Sarawak, Mulu is home to Gununa Mulu National Park, where you can delve into the Deer and Lang caves and investigate the settlement of the Penan tribe. After a packed day exploring the park, relaxing in the pool is the ideal way to spend the evening.
You can't visit Borneo without a trip to the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. Since 1964, they have been caring for and releasing both wild and domesticated organ-utans. After making friends with these beautiful creatures, visitors are able to wander through the jungle and take in wildlife. The central market and Sim Sim village in Sandakan are the perfect way to immerse yourself in local culture.
This area has a vast array of wildlife for you to discover. A boat trip down the river is the perfect way to explore this fascinating habitat, hunting down the proboscis monkeys.
Tips & Advice
An escorted or means that you'll be in the best hands during your holiday, and the safest in the event of anything going wrong. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Borneo, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
It is always wise to check with your GP before you travel to Borneo to see whether you will need any additional vaccinations or medical treatment when on holiday.
Before you travel you should arrange appropriate travel insurance which will cover the cost of medical treatment or repatriation should it become necessary throughout your holiday.
Try not to keep valuables on you and be careful with your passport whilst walking, in aircraft, cafes, airports and railway terminals and hotel rooms. For women travelling alone and particularly at night, do not open your hotel room door to strangers. Credit card and ATM fraud is a common occurrence so be careful when using your card.
Bag thieving commonly occurs, including by thieves on motorbikes. Carry bags on the pavement side and tucked under the arm. Do not wrap the strap around your arm or attempt to hold on to your bag if you become a victim as this can cause injury by being pulled to the ground.
Taxi drivers have been known to drop passengers off and drive off with their luggage whilst the passenger is finding a trolley, so collect all belongings immediately as you get out. Use taxi coupon systems available in airports and larger shopping centres or use a meter.
If offered a drink by a stranger, even in a trustworthy restaurant or bar, be very aware. Spiking of drinks has occurred and resulted in robberies and assaults. Gambling scams are also a concern.
Contact the local police if a victim of any crime.
Local Laws and Customs
As with any destination local traditions, customs, laws and religions should be respected. Take caution not to offend, particularly during Ramadan and in religious areas. Borneo is predominantly an Islamic country.
If you're visiting temples, rural areas or places of worship, dressing modestly by covering shoulders and legs is important.
If Muslim, you may be subject to local Shari’s law.
Drug offences can result in severe penalties. Drug trafficking results in the death penalty and possession of drugs results in a custodial sentence and potentially whipping. This includes Amphetamine-type stimulants. When arriving in Borneo, you could be required to take a urine test if suspected to using drugs prior to your visit. Referral for rehabilitation treatment or deportation could occur as a result of testing positive.
You are not allowed to import unlicensed firearms and ammunition, this can result in the death penalty.
To visit Borneo British Nationals do not require a visa and are usually allowed to stay for 3 months. If intending to stay longer or for non-tourist purposes, visas must be obtained from the closest Malaysian diplomatic missions prior to travel.
There is currently a vigorous campaign against illegal immigration. Overstaying your visa or violating the terms of entry may result in a fine, detainment or deportation.
Travelling between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia will require a passport, which should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from when you arrive in Malaysia.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Malaysia.
You may be refused entry if you have two passports of different nationalities.
10,00 Malaysian Ringgit can be exported/imported without approval before. No limits are in place for the amount of foreign currency you can import/export, however if more than US$10,000 it must be declared. If not declared, you can receive a fine of up to RM1 million and 3 years in prison.
Any other nationality looking to visit the Borneo must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information about visiting Borneo you can go to the official tourism website at tourism.gov.my