When is the best time to visit Borneo?
If you're planning a trip to Borneo, you're in for a treat! The island has so much to offer, from its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters to its dense jungles and breathtaking mountain ranges. Whether you're an adventure-seeker or just looking for a relaxing vacation, Borneo has something for everyone.
So, when is the best time to visit Borneo? Well, that depends on what you're looking for...
Borneo has a tropical climate with high humidity and temperatures ranging from 23°C (73°F) to 32°C (90°F) throughout the year. However, there are some distinct seasons that can affect your trip:
The high season in Borneo is generally between June and August. This is the peak tourist season, so you can expect to pay higher prices for flights, accommodations, and activities. During this time, the weather is generally dry, and the forests are less dense, making it easier to spot animals like orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and pygmy elephants which makes it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking and wildlife spotting. If you plan to visit during the high season,in particular the months of July and August make sure to book your accommodations and activities well in advance, as they can fill up quickly.
If you're interested in visiting Borneo's beaches and islands then the best time to go is in the shoulder season when the sea is calmer and the weather is dry. During this time, you can enjoy activities like snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. The shoulder season in Borneo is from March to May and September to November. During this time, the weather is usually still quite good, with less rainfall than during the low season. Prices for accommodations and activities are also lower than during the high season, making it a good time to visit if you're on a budget. You'll also encounter fewer crowds, which means you'll have more space to explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the island.
If you're looking to avoid crowds and have a more peaceful experience then it's best to plan your trip during the off-season which is during the monsoon season running from November to February, during this time there are fewer tourists and you'll be able to enjoy the island's attractions without having to compete with large crowds and though the monsoon season can be a bit wet, the rain usually comes in short bursts, so you'll still have plenty of opportunities to explore. Plus, the rainforest comes alive during this time, with lush greenery and an abundance of wildlife.
Things to do in Borneo by month
Things to do in Borneo in January
- Climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Borneo and one of the most popular attractions in Sabah
- Visit the Kinabatangan River for wildlife watching, including proboscis monkeys, orangutans, and pygmy elephants
Things to do in Borneo in February
- Attend the Borneo Cultural Festival in Sibu, Sarawak, which celebrates the cultural diversity of the island with dance performances, food stalls, and traditional crafts
- Explore the Mulu Caves in Sarawak, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the largest cave systems in the world
Things to do in Borneo in March
- Visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Sarawak, where you can see orangutans up close and learn about their conservation efforts
- Attend the Sabah Fest in Kota Kinabalu, which celebrates the culture and heritage of Sabah through traditional dance, music, and food
Things to do in Borneo in April
- Dive or snorkel in Sipadan, one of the top dive sites in the world with clear waters and diverse marine life
- Attend the Tadau Kaamatan Festival in Sabah, which is a harvest festival celebrated by the Kadazan-Dusun community with traditional food, dance, and music
Things to do in Borneo in May
- Explore the rainforests of Danum Valley in Sabah, which is home to a variety of wildlife including orangutans, clouded leopards, and pygmy elephants
- Visit the Bako National Park in Sarawak, which is known for its stunning coastline, jungle trails, and wildlife like proboscis monkeys and hornbills
Things to do in Borneo in June
- Attend the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, which is a three-day music festival that showcases traditional and contemporary music from around the world
- Visit the Batang Ai National Park in Sarawak, which is home to the Iban tribe and offers opportunities for cultural immersion and jungle trekking
Things to do in Borneo in July
- Visit the Maliau Basin in Sabah, which is a pristine rainforest known as the "Lost World of Sabah" with stunning waterfalls, caves, and wildlife
- Attend the Kota Kinabalu Food Fest, which features food from various cultures and regions in Sabah
Things to do in Borneo in August
- August is the perfect time to visit Borneo if you are interested in wildlife. It is the peak season for turtle nesting, and many of the island’s beaches become nesting grounds for green and hawksbill turtles.
- Visitors can take part in turtle conservation projects and even witness the hatchlings making their way to the sea.
Things to do in Borneo in September
- September is an excellent time to explore the island’s rainforests, as the weather is sunny and dry.
- Visitors can trek through the jungle, visit the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, and take a river cruise to spot wildlife.
Things to do in Borneo in October
- October is an ideal time to visit Borneo for diving and snorkelling.
- The waters are crystal clear, and visibility is excellent, making it easier to spot the colourful marine life.
- The coral reefs around Sipadan Island and Mabul Island are particularly famous for their beauty and diversity.
Things to do in Borneo in November
- November marks the start of the monsoon season in Borneo.
- The rain is typically limited to short and intense bursts, so visitors can still explore the island’s attractions.
- November is a great time to visit the Kinabatangan River, which is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and crocodiles.
Things to do in Borneo in December
- December is one of the wettest months of the year
- Visitors can still explore the island’s cultural attractions, such as the Mari Mari Cultural Village
- You can also take part in the many festivals and celebrations that take place during the holiday season.
How many days do you need in Borneo?
Borneo is a vast island with an abundance of natural wonders so if you want to experience the best of what this island has to offer, it would be recommended to spend at least 10-14 days in Borneo. This will give you enough time to explore some of the more popular destinations, like Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan and Kuching and to get involved in some of the island's best activities, hiking, wildlife watching and diving.
Does Borneo have a rainy season?
Yes, Borneo does have a rainy season, which typically runs from November to March. During this time, the island experiences heavy rainfall, making it less suitable for outdoor activities. However, if you don't mind a bit of rain and are looking to avoid crowds, visiting during this time can be a great option, as prices are generally lower, and there are fewer tourists around.
What is the best month to see orangutans in Borneo?
One of the highlights of a trip to Borneo is undoubtedly the opportunity to see orangutans in their natural habitat. If you're keen to see these majestic creatures then the best time to visit Borneo is between June and September when the weather is dry and the forests are less dense, making it easier to spot orangutans swinging through the trees
Whichever season you visit Borneo and whatever the month you are sure to have an amazing experience .....have a goodtrip!