Some of the world’s best diving can be found in Borneo, namely around Sipadan where reefs teem with fish, sharks and turtles. The two Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak are filled with dense rainforest, white sandy beaches and it is also home to the increasingly rare Orangutans. So for a land and sea combination trip, Borneo is right up there.
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, thresher and all manner of other sharks including the elusive 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. Arrive via Kota Kinabalu, where Mt Kinabalu, at 13500 ft, towers over the region – you can actually climb the mountain (challenging but achievable!) Or head into the rainforest to see endangered Orangutans at Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary – sadly one of the last remaining places on earth to see these amazing creatures. 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.