Malaysian Borneo, comprising the states of Sabah and Sarawak, is a captivating destination that beckons travelers with its unparalleled natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and vibrant indigenous cultures. This enchanting paradise offers a wide range of experiences for tourists, from thrilling adventures in pristine rainforests to immersing in the colourful traditions of local communities.
One of the highlights of Borneo's tourism is its exceptional natural landscapes. The region is blessed with lush rainforests, towering mountains, and stunning coastlines. The iconic Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Southeast Asia's highest peak, attracts hikers and climbers from around the globe. For those seeking wildlife encounters, the Kinabatangan River in Sabah is a must-visit destination. This biodiverse river ecosystem is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and a vast variety of bird species.
Borneo's marine treasures are equally mesmerizing. The state of Sabah boasts some of the world's most beautiful diving and snorkeling spots. Sipadan Island, often ranked among the top dive sites globally, offers breathtaking underwater landscapes, teeming with vibrant coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. The islands of Mabul and Kapalai are also popular for their stunning dive sites, where divers can marvel at colorful coral gardens and encounter fascinating sea creatures like turtles and barracudas.
Besides its natural wonders, Borneo embraces a rich cultural heritage. The indigenous communities in Sabah and Sarawak showcase their traditions, arts, and crafts, providing visitors with an authentic cultural experience.
For a deeper cultural immersion, tourists can visit traditional longhouses, communal dwellings of indigenous communities, such as the Iban and Bidayuh people. These longhouses offer a glimpse into the unique way of life, customs, and rituals of the local tribes. Travelers can participate in traditional activities, taste local delicacies, and learn traditional crafts, making it an enriching and interactive experience.
Borneo's commitment to conservation and ecotourism is commendable. Numerous protected areas and wildlife sanctuaries have been established to preserve the region's rich biodiversity. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah and the Matang Wildlife Centre in Sarawak play vital roles in the conservation of endangered species, providing opportunities for visitors to observe and learn about orangutans and other rescued wildlife.
Adventure enthusiasts will find an array of thrilling activities in Borneo. From white-water rafting down the rapids of the Padas River to exploring vast cave systems in Gunung Mulu National Park, there is no shortage of adrenaline-pumping experiences. Jungle trekking, night safaris, and canopy walks offer unique opportunities to delve into the heart of Borneo's wilderness, providing glimpses of elusive wildlife and rare plant species.
Borneo also caters to those seeking relaxation and tranquility. The idyllic beaches of Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and the nearby islands offer a serene escape with their powdery white sand and azure waters. Visitors can indulge in beach activities, unwind in luxury resorts, or simply bask in the sun while appreciating the breathtaking coastal vistas.
Borneo promises an unforgettable journey through untouched rainforests, pristine islands, and captivating cultural encounters. With its abundant natural wonders, vibrant indigenous cultures, and commitment to conservation, Borneo is a dream destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and cultural explorers alike. Immerse yourself in the enchanting paradise of Borneo and create lifelong memories that will undoubtedly leave you yearning to return.
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Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo was founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans. The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife specie
Sabah’s Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) is regarded as one of the best environmental education centres in the state. Located within the most accessible natural rainforest in Sabah, the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which is about 23 km away from Sandakan town, the RDC aims to provide visitors with the opportunity to experience nature up-close while educating them on the importance of rainforest conservation.
The centre also provides a system of properly marked jungle trails, with plenty of signboards along the way, which enables visitors to navigate through the dense forest to observe nature via different paths. Among the wildlife that can be seen there include civets, slow lorises, flying squirrels, tarsiers, mouse-deer, and orangutans, as well as several bird species that reside in the lower part of the tropical forest.
A 347-m long and 25-m high steel canopy walkway system that leads visitors to the observation towers, provides an excellent spot for bird watchers to view over 300 bird species here, including both migratory and endemic bird species like rhinoceros hornbill, black-and-crimson pitta, crested jay, scarlet minivet, blue-headed pitta, and malkohas, just to name a few.
Opened to the public in 2000, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers a safe haven for the indigenous wildlife isolated by the Sulu Sea to the north and encroaching palm oil plantations to the south.
As trees withered and fresh water sources dried up during the 97-98 El Nino drought and palm oil development closed in, the desperate monkeys found an unlikely source of comfort - pancakes and coffee from the pantry of the nearby Lee Brothers’ plantation. Moved by the monkey’s plight, the Lee Brothers began to enact a simple feeding programme to supplement the monkey’s diet and eventually converted part of their land holdings into Sabah’s first Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.
Over the years, the sanctuary has been expanded to 500 acres of coastal mangrove forests via land acquisition, and the restoration of degraded forests. Labuk Bay currently houses one of the largest isolated population of proboscis monkeys on the Borneo islands (ca. 300), along with other wildlife such as Silvered-Leaf Langurs and Oriental-Pied Hornbills.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is a sun bear rescue and rehabilitation facility being developed in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Malayan sun bears are the smallest bears in the world and are only found in Southeast Asia. These bears continue to be threatened by forest degradation, illegal hunting for bear parts and poaching to obtain young cubs for pet trade. The results of these threats has caused young sun bears found to be living in unnatural captive conditions in Sabah, with no access to outdoor areas. There are currently 42 rescued ex-captive sun bears residing at the BSBCC. The facility includes large forest enclosures to provide a natural environment suited to the needs and welfare of the sun bears and facilitate their rehabilitation back into the wild. In 2014, the Centre opened to the public. Visitors can learn about sun bears and observe them in their natural habitat.
Just 20 kilometers south of Kuching, there is a natural habitat which acts as a home to Orangutans. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre of Semenggoh Nature Reserve is by far the biggest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak. Back in 1975, it was established as a sanctuary for Orangutans who are injured, orphaned or being kept captive as illegal pets. Currently, the centre serves as a habitat for the Orangutans and also a place for visitors to learn about the endangered rare species. This wildlife centre has a thriving population of healthy adolescent and young adult semi-wild Orangutans. They spend most of their time roaming the forest but are trained to get back to the centre during feeding times where they will be able to get a free meal from the caretakers. Though they have been trained to get back to the centre during feeding time, they may not appear to get a free meal during the forest fruiting season.
Discover the captivating traditions and customs of North East Borneo's 5 main tribes, and uncover the rich heritage of Sabah's cultural tapestry at Mari Mari Cultural Village. Experience the essence of "As It Was... As It Is..." as you delve into the vibrant mosaic of Sabah's culture. From the skilled farmers and traders of Dusun and Rungus to the resourceful hunters and fishermen of Lundayeh, the adventurous cowboys and sea gypsies of Bajau, and the legendary warrior tribe of Murut, each group contributes to the vibrant cultural tapestry of Sabah. Immerse yourself in the timeless essence of these traditions, connecting with the past and present, and witness the remarkable blending of history and contemporary life.