An impossibly beautiful island of luxuriantly green, rainforests, dazzlingly blue seas, and rugged mountains almost seemingly melding into one gloriously stunning vista. As the home of orang-utans and clouded leopards, Borneo attracts nature lovers, while the vigorous treks up Mount Kinabalu is ideal for adventurers (but there are also treks available for ‘softer’ adventurers not up to Olympic standards!). Offshore, Sipadan Island is famous for its world-class diving; and there’s even some diving appropriate for beginners, too. To top it all, Borneo boasts a friendly and cosmopolitan atmosphere, with the good humoured and welcoming citizens perfectly accompanying the breathtakingly spectacular beauty of the island’s scenery.
Key Facts Before You Go
- Capital: Borneo is separated into three parts, owned respectively by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Malaysian Borneo is the most commonly visited.
- Currency: Depending on which part of Borneo you're in, the currencies are Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah, and Brunei dollar.
- Time Difference: Borneo observes different times, depending on where you are. Brunei and Malaysian Borneo follow Brunei Darussalam and Malaysian Standard Time respectively, both of which are 7 hours AHEAD of BST, and 8 hours AHEAD of GMT. Parts of Indonesian Borneo (West and Central Kalimantan) follow the corresponding Indonesian Western Standard Time, but the rest of Indonesian Borneo (South, East and North Kalimantan) follow Indonesian Central Standard Time, which is 6 hours AHEAD of BST, and 7 hours AHEAD of GMT.
- Flight Time: Flights to Malaysian Borneo are indirect, and are from 16 hours (Kota Kinabalu) or 16 and a half (Kuching) to 18 and three quarters (Sandakan).
- Official Language: Bahasa Malaysia is the official language spoken in Sabah and Sarawak, the two most popular regions of Malaysia to visit. Chinese, Tamil, and English are widely spoken, and each indigenous tribe has its own language
- Entry Requirements: Entry requirements vary depending on where you are in Borneo, in accordance with each country's immigration controls. However, broadly speaking, visas are not required for short duration stays (30 days inclusive for Indonesian Borneo, 6 months for Malaysian Borneo, and 90 days for Brunei). Your passport must have a minimum validity of 6 months' from date of entry (Malaysian Borneo and Brunei) or exit (Indonesian Borneo). For further information on Indonesian Borneo entry requirements (including bringing medication in), please read here.
- Vaccinations and Health: You should always ensure that you travel with adequate travel health insurance. For up-to-date information, please check this website (as recommended by the Foreign Office): https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/138/malaysia-borneo#Vaccine_recommendations. If vaccinations are required, it is generally advisable to arrange an appointment with a health professional four to six weeks before departure.
General information on travel vaccinations can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/
To find out more, and for the most up-to-date advice (and depending on which part of Borneo you are visiting): https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia, and https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brunei
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