September is by far the most favorite month for all Malaysians. Why you may ask? Starting from the end of August, there will be long weekends and public holidays coming up week after week. And what would a typical Malaysian do on a long weekend? They go on a short getaway or a staycation!
How about a trip to Borneo? For West Malaysians, if you have not visited East Malaysia yet, it’s the perfect time to plan for one now. It is like a little “overseas but local” vacation because you basically travel across the ocean in a 2.5-hour plane ride to Borneo.
Some of you may not know where is Borneo or may be too shy to ask but if you think Borneo is a country on its own, you need to continue reading this. Borneo is like a really big island that connects Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysia), Kalimantan (Indonesia) and Brunei.
What’s so interesting over the other side of the country? Borneo is overflowing with history, diverse culture, wildlife, and marine life, beaches, islands forests, and mountains. If you are a nature lover or an adventurous and outdoorsy person, you would love it there.
Here’s what you can do over in Borneo:
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
The capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is also known as KK city is a lovely coastal city that is surrounded by islands and rainforests. Many tourists from around the world have started paying attention to this city as it is indeed a city in a resort all at once. There are up to 394 islands in Sabah itself! It is a paradise for divers and snorkellers who enjoy the underwater views and swimming freely with the marine life. A few of the most popular islands are Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, and Pulau Tiga, just to name a few.
If you love to hike, then take on the challenge and conquer the majestic Mount Kinabalu. Enjoy the breathtaking view after you have conquered the summit and peak. But even before you take on the conquest of hiking the mountain, make a pit stop at Kundasang to enjoy the cool breeze and nature. It is named the “New Zealand of Malaysia” and you will find out why when you take a visit there.
Other than the many things you can do in KK, you must visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village. You will get glimpses of the distinct culture of Sabah’s natives and ethnic groups of Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau, and Murut. You will learn so much about the history, culture, and tradition of these tribes. You will leave the village feeling enlightened and cultivated about the culture.
The second capital city of Sabah that is rich with wildlife and good food. Sandakan is also blessed with rich palm oil resources, tobacco, coffee, and sago.
When you think of Sandakan, you think of one thing mainly – Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. If you have not seen an orangutan before, you need to come here to see them in person. Did you know that the orangutans are only found in Borneo? At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, you’ll be able to watch these orangutans roaming free swinging from one branch to another. Also, just right next to it is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center where you’ll see these cute little bears roaming around.
When in Sandakan, you have got to eat the seafood. Nothing is as fresh as the seafood in Sandakan, and they are so much cheaper and affordable!
There are a few theories as to why the capital city of Sarawak is named Kuching. One is that it acquired from Cochin, Indian trading port on the Malabar Coast and a generic term in China and British India for trading harbor, another is just simply from the Malay word for cat, Kucing. However, cats have been adopted as the symbol of the city.
Kuching is plastered with colonial buildings as well as modern architecture as well. And guess what, you can travel around with a “sampan”, which is the main water transportation in Kuching.
If you’re lucky enough to visit Kuching at the right time, you’d be able to attend the Rainforest World Musical Festival too! It is a three-day music event that brings all the renowned musicians from around the world. It emphasizes traditional music using traditional instruments of different indigenous culture.
Don’t forget to try the Sarawak Laksa and Sarawak Kolo Mee when you’re in Kuching. It is to die for and it will leave you coming back for more! Kuching, like any other Bornean cities, is rich in diversities, culture and good food.
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Brunei, also known as the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a small country that is entirely covered by Sarawak itself. Its capital city is Bandar Seri Begawan is rich with beaches and rainforests, just like a typical Bornean city.
One of its unique landmarks is the Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque that has 29 golden domes and four minarets with the height of 58 meters. It can accommodate up to 5000 worshippers at one time. No doubt that this mosque is also the biggest mosque in the country. The mosques are a real beauty and be sure to be respectful when you are at such a sacred and religious place.
While you’re in Brunei, you can visit the parks such as Jerudong Park, Ulu Temburong National Park, and Ulu Ulu National Park Resort. You’ll get to enjoy the nature and discovering wildlife you never knew existed before. There are also tons of other activities to do in these parks such as water tubing, bird watching, stone painting, learn traditional games and many more.
These are a list of a few popular destinations for you to visit in Borneo which might spark an interest in you.
If you’re looking for a vacation specifically in the Borneo cities, Beelik will be the best choice for you to book your accommodation. Looking for a place to stay in Borneo has been made easy and simplified. Look no further to plan your trip as you can find more details about the destination in the website itself.
Beelik – is a play on the word “bilik” which means “room” in Bahasa Melayu – the national language of Malaysia. Beelik allows guest to make a room reservation at their partner hotels. Hotels on their site are all from Borneo. They aim to provide another option for travelers to book their room and at the same time, get something a bit extra like vouchers and discounts!