If you are thinking about a holiday to Borneo but have many unanswered questions, this article by Borneo Dreams will help give you the information you need.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Borneo?
It is possible to visit Borneo at any time of the year, but the country does have 2 very distinct seasons that you need to know about.
The first is the dry season, which is March to August, and the wet season, which is September to February. The rain during the wet season is actually sporadic with some weeks being completely dry while others are completely drenched.
This will provide you with the chance of planning a trip to the country when there are fewer tourists along with smaller crowds and the chance of great weather during the wet season. The altitude will affect the temperatures with the higher elevation areas being much cooler than the coastal areas. The entire region actually has very consistent temperatures throughout the year with the lowland at 80F to 90F and the mountains at 65F to 75F.
What Is The Accommodation Like?
There are many choices when it comes to accommodation in Borneo. You can get a unique and family-run B&B to the boutique and luxurious island hotels. Most of the hotels will have private baths, clean and comfortable rooms, as well as plenty of hot water. The only exceptions will be the Laban Rata climbing hut found on Mount Kinabalu and some of the rural family-run guesthouses.
The hotels will also be in very good locations. This could be within walking distance to the prime attractions or deep in the jungle where you will be able to see all the wildlife that Borneo has to offer. The larger hotels are in the metropolitan areas and will generally be the only option available.
What Food Is Typical In Borneo?
It is almost impossible to fit traditional Bornean cuisine into a neat category. After all, there are 28 recognised indigenous groups in the north eastern Malaysian state of Sabah and more than half a million ethnic Chinese who have their own distinct style in the kitchen. When you are dining out in Sandakan or Kota Kinabalu, you will generally find the staple ingredient to be freshwater fish and seafood.
However, you will also find that pork and fish will be barbecued, grilled, combined with noodles to make a spicy soup, and fried with rice. They are also sautéed with local vegetables including ginger and garlic then topped off with some rich sauce. Dishes can also be easily made into vegetarian ones and most of the restaurant staff will speak English so you do not have to be shy about customising your order.
How Safe Is Borneo?
Malaysia is a relatively safe country in both the rural areas and the larger cities, and this is where many tours to Borneo will originate. Of course, any traveller will need to be aware of their surroundings and ensure that they use common sense when they are out at night. However, the crime rate is actually very low, particularly crimes against tourists.
The most common issue you will encounter is pickpockets when you visit any crowded marketplaces or a shopping area. This is why you should use common sense and keep your possessions under your top layer of clothing.
Should You Be Concerned About The Altitude?
If you are planning to visit the Kinabalu National Park to climb Mount Kinabalu or if you want to trek across the Crocker Range, you need to be aware of the altitude difference. The Kinabalu National Park headquarters are 5000 feet above sea level while the summit of the mountain is 13,435 feet. When walking the Crocker Range, you will be reaching 5,000 feet altitudes.
If you are going to be climbing Mount Kinabalu, it is important to note that altitude sickness is rare, particularly severe cases. If you do feel sick, you should go down in elevation as soon as you can. The severe cases of altitude sickness have been the result of pre-existing conditions, which are aggravated by the climb.
It is recommended that you talk to your doctor about travelling to high altitudes before you go. This is particularly important if you have a lung or heart conditions. You should also consider asking your doctor to prescribe medication that can help you adjust to different altitudes better.
Is The Water Safe To Drink?
You generally cannot drink the tap water anywhere in Borneo. Bottled water is easily available at hotels, tourist sites, and restaurants. Hot water, which has been boiled, can be used for tea. You should also look at using bottled water when brushing your teeth to be safe.