Borneo Diving Holidays: An Overview

The two Malaysian states of Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak are comprised of dense rain forest, unique fauna and flora, white sandy beaches and remote islands. The island is also home to the wonderful and rare Orangutans. So for a land and sea combination trip, Borneo is right up there.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • Some of the world's best diving around Sipadan. You will find big fish galore here and then excellent macro and muck diving close by at Mabul.
  • Wonderful opportunities for exploring on land. Rivers, mountains, jungles and orangutans. Pretty special.
  • Remote diving and escape at Lankayan.

Our Guide to Borneo Diving Holidays

When it comes to diving in Borneo there is one standout destination that all divers want to visit: Sipadan. Having visited ourselves, it isn't hard to see why as the diving here is world-class. An oceanic island rising hundreds of metres from the seabed, this is a haven for marine life. You can see manta and eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead, threshere and all manner of other sharks including the elusive and whale shark. Add in more turtles than you can imagine and a wide variety of other species and you can see the appeal.

It isn't all about Sipadan though. The islands of Kapalai and Mabul close by offer some wonderful diving too. You would most likely stay at the former as it isn't a possible any longer to stay on Sipadan itself. And then there is the island of Lankayan which has some of the best dive sites in the region, and Selingan Island is a favourite nesting place for giant turtles that travel hundreds of miles to lay their eggs on the same beach they were hatched on years before.

Away from the diving there is much on offer in Malaysian Borneo. It is home to many different ethnic groups, and Sarawak was also the setting for a curious episode of colonial history - once been ruled by the Brooke family, known as the 'White Rajahs' - for over a century prior to Malaysia's independence.

Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah, is the usual point of entry for any visit to this fascinating island. From here, one instant focal point of the region is the brooding presence of Mt Kinabalu, at 13,500 ft the highest peak in Southeast Asia. Despite its height, the mountain makes for a challenging but eminently achievable climb.

Further afield, the creatures the island is most famous for are the so called 'men of the jungle', or orangutans. These apes can be seen at the Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary, located in an area of virgin equatorial rainforest. Sadly, this is one of only a few places remaining on Earth where this endangered species can be viewed. Borneo's rainforests also contain a stunning biodiversity of other plant and animal life, and the forest itself is some of the most ancient on the planet, far older than the equatorial forests of the Amazon or the Congo.

All in all, you can see the appeal of Borneo both on land and sea.

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