Hang Vu

East Malaysia, part of the island of Borneo, is a largely unspoiled and untouched natural gem.

Three countries – Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia – claim Borneo, the third largest island in the world. The Malaysian portion is also known as East Malaysia, a region rich in natural resources and well-preserved cultural identities.

Mount Kinabalu

Luxury transport in East Malaysia is limited but you can easily book tours and hire a car or even a motorbike to traverse lush green tree-lined lanes. Your journey to explore Borneo will lead you to perennial jungles, the mighty Kinabatangan River, local hamlets, quiet and breathtaking beaches and in particular the spectacular challenge of Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia.

A unique traditional performance of a tribe in Borneo

Perennial jungles that have stood hundreds of millions of years
Sometimes called the Amazon of Asia, perennial jungles in Borneo can be traced back 140 million years and are among the oldest jungles on the planet. Borneo jungles are characterized by their extreme biodiversity. The jungles are the habitat of almost countless species, and scientists are still discovering hundreds of new ones. The region is also home to a big cluster of national parks and natural reserves such as Kubah, Simulajau Park, Kinabalu Park, Matang Natural Reserve, Rehabilitation Center for Orangutans and the Bornean Sun Bear Conversation Centre. Deep inside these jungles are tribal minorities who gather and maintain a distance from the outside world; however, some tours offer unique night-time performances of these tribes in the midst of the dark jungle.

Proboscis monkeys in the jungle

Sailing across the Kinabatangan
This river stretches 560 kilometers and its fountainhead starts at the center of Borneo Island. The river proves to be an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts because both banks of the river are lush with primordial jungles – a habitat of various endemic species such as Proboscis monkeys, Orangutans, Pygmy elephants and Monitor water lizards. It usually takes one day for a boat tour at a reasonable price to explore Kinabatangan River. Boats slowly float past residential clusters full of peaceful cottages across the river.

The rhinoceros hornbill

Once reaching the jungles, a lively realm of fauna will attract intrepid adventurers. If you venture into the habitat of monkeys, prepare to catch scenes of the lively creatures hopping and prancing from branch to branch. Stealing a glance at branches up high, we can observe mother and their offspring warmly cuddle each other while others groom one another. Across sand dunes, one can see crocodiles or lizards resting idly under the sun or birds hover around searching for food.

Perennial jungles in Borneo

Top over the Kinabalu

  A favorite pursuit of zealous trekkers during their vacation in Borneo is the conquest of Kinabalu, which towers 4,095 meters over Kinabalu National Park. It’s necessary to register in advance with Management Board of the park via the National Park’s website or via travel agencies to visit and climb the summit. The best time for the trekking is between April and September and a tour typically lasts two days and one night or three days and two nights. All across the journey, there are some marvelous stops to admire the scenery and take in the abundance of nature here with birds, insects and blooming wild orchids. As many trekkers will attest, conquering the Kinabalu is not overwhelmingly difficult; those with good health and a strong will to reach the peak will embrace the first rays of the sun with a sense of pride and joy.