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Malaysian Borneo

Travel Guide Asia Malaysia Malaysian Borneo

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Introduction

Cliché Mt Kinabalu

Cliché Mt Kinabalu

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Borneo's Malaysian half is less-populated than Peninsular Malaysia, but larger in size and in natural resources. Travellers visit the island for its rugged natural attractions, in particular the Mulu caves and Mount Kinabalu.

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Geography

As the name suggest, Malaysian Borneo is located on the island of Borneo. Borneo is administratively divided between Malaysia, Indonesia and the state of Brunei (north). The Malaysian territory is on the north side of the island, bounded on the north by the South China Sea.

Malaysian Borneo is also known as East Malaysia.

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Sights and Activities

Sabah

  • Mount Kinabalu - Climb this 4095-metre tall mountain for some stunning views.
  • Sipadan Island
  • Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - This is a world famous orangutan centre where people can watch orangutans in their natural habitat up close and personal.
  • Tabin Wildlife Reserve - a 120,500 hectare nature preserve on the east coast of Sabah.
  • Danum Valley Conservation Area - A large section of virgin rainforest located near the middle of Sabah.
  • Kinabatangan River - great wildlife, like proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants
  • Maliau Basin - an extremely biodiverse site in the central parts of Sabah
  • Turtle Islands Park - reached by boat from Sandakan, best turtle viewing from June until October
  • Pulau Tiga National Park - off the westcoast of Sabah
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman Park - just off the coast near Kota Kinbalu

Sarawak

  • Mulu Caves - Among these limestone caves in the Gunung Mulu National Park is Sarawak chamber, the world's largest known underground chamber.
  • Sarawak Cultural Village - Located 35 km from Kuching on the foothill of Mount Santubong, it is a showcase of Sarawak's fascinating culture.
  • Niah National Park
  • Bako National Park - Proboscis monkeys and great coastal walks
  • Batang Ai National Park
  • Kelabit Highlands
  • Bukit Lambir National Park
  • Loagan Bunut National Park - including the largest freshwater lake in East Malaysia.
  • Gunung Gading National Park - good place to spot the Rafflesia, the world's largest flower
  • Kubah National Park
  • Tanjung Datu National Park
  • Talang-Satang National Park - including Sarawak’s marine turtle population
  • Similajau National Park

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Weather

Malaysian Borneo has a tropical climate, meaning hot and humid conditions throughout the year. Temperatures are normally between 27 °C and 32 °C during the day and rarely dropping below 20 °C at night, though mountainous areas can be (a lot) colder and frost at the top of Mount Kinabalu is common, especially at night. There is no real dry season, just a drier season from May to September. November to January is the wettest time of year, though regional variations apply. Check the Sabah and Sarawak articles for detailed information.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are many daily flights to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bahru in the peninsula; Kuching and Miri in Sarawak; Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah. The flight duration is approximately 2.5 hours from the peninsula. Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia service these routes but book at least a month ahead to get good rates. AirAsia and other budget airlines operate from the Terminal 2 of the airport.

  • Kuching International Airport (KCH) is Sarawak's main international airport and is located 11 km south of the city of Kuching. Airlines serving Kuching International Airport include AirAsia, Batavia Air, Malaysia Airlines and Silk Air.

Further airports located in other town and cities including Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Labuan and Lahad Datu which serve domestic routes.

By Boat

  • From Brunei: Daily services from Muara Ferry Terminal in Brunei to Labuan island and Lawas (Sarawak). There are also speedboat services between Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) and Lawas (Sarawak).
  • From Indonesia: Ferry services available from Nunukan and Tarakan to Tawau (Sabah).
  • From Philippines: Ferry services between Zamboanga Peninsula and Sandakan (Sabah).

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Getting Around

By Plane

The preferred way to travel around Malaysian Borneo is by air, thanks to the island's geographical nature, distance, and the lack of road highways.

MASwings, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, is the airline that flies to all domestic destinations in Sabah and Sarawak. They operate Fokker 50 and DHC-6 Twin Otter airplanes as airports in smaller towns in this region are unable to accommodate the larger Airbus and Boeing aircrafts.

For travels between major cities and towns in this region, fly with Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia.

By Train

In Sabah, the Sabah State Railway operates the 134 km long railway track from Tanjung Aru (near Kota Kinabalu) to Tenom. There are three trains servicing the route daily from both ways, except for Sunday when there are only two trains available. The Beufort-Tenom stretch is regarded to be incredibly scenic.

By Boat

The North Borneo Railway runs a scenic line along the coast of Sabah from Kota Kinabalu to Papar. It runs further from there to the towns of Beaufort and goes further inland from here to Tenom. The Beaufort to Tenom track is extremely beautiful and much less travelled than the coastal parts.

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Sleep

Contributors

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This is version 29. Last edited at 1:49 on Dec 8, 10 by Peter. 10 articles link to this page.

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