Travel in Borneo Malaysia Information
Malaysian Island Travel Visa Language Money Map Safety
Travel In Borneo Questions: Where is Borneo located, what language do they speak, what money do they use, do you need a visa, where to stay, get a map or find a tour. What to pack for a Borneo Malaysia trip and what to see in Borneo.
And Answers: See Googlemap for Borneo: A Malayasian island south of Hong Kong, north of Australia, west of the Philippines, east of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia states Sabah and Sarawak occupy the north part of Borneo Island, Indonesia is on the south. The Sultanate of Brunei, on the west coas, is tucked in between the first two countries.
Borneo Travel Tips and Info
How do I get to Borneo Sabah Sarawak Malaysia? I took a Dragon Air all inclusive tour from Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu, the international airport on Borneo Malaysia. Domestic flights -- included in the tour package -- to and from Royal Mulu Sarawak, and from KK to Sandakan were on Malayasian Airlines. Tours and scheduled flights operate from Kuala Lumpur.
Do I need a visa? Most visitors to Malaysia (including Sabah, Sarawak on Borneo Island) do not need a visa. See Malaysia Foreign Affairs for specific information or use the fast visa search box to from any country on my Do I need a Visa page.
What language do they speak in Borneo? Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the national language in Borneo, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourism areas. Ethnic groups speak various languages and dialects. If you like, order a Malay phhrasebook to take along with you -- try (Amazon listings) Lonely Planet Malay phrasebook or Everyday Malay phrasebook and dictionary.
What Money do they use in Borneo? The currency used in Malaysian Borneo is the Malaysian ringett - MYR. Rates may vary, but generally 1 MYR = 30 cents US OR $1 USD = 3 MYR
Borneo Malaysia Travel guides Order a current travel guide online and take it along: See Amazon.com books> Lonely Planet Borneo and Footprint guide - Borneo . (That way, when you are on Libaran Island, or Turtle Island, you'll have something good to read !)
Birds of Borneo Guide Book Birds of Borneo: Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, and Kalimantan (Princeton Field Guides)
How long should I stay? I travelled alone, but with the security of a tour group. On a one week tour, I only 'scratched the surface' of this amazing island, and look forward to returning to see more of both Sabah and Sarawak. A two-week trip is better, but likely three-four weeks would suit me perfectly to see all that Malaysia Borneo has to offer.
Can I get a map of Borneo? Guide books have basic maps included, but you can get a map for Sabah -- see Sabah and Kota Kinabalu travel map.
Travel money for Borneo Malaysia I took travelers checks / travellers cheques, as well as US dollars in cash, one credit card and one bank debit card. I changed cash and checks at the hotels where I stayed. Bank hours are limited to roughly Monday to Friday from 9-4. Banks and ATMs / ATMs may not be located where you are touring. For local markets, use ringetts. See travel currency tips page for more travel money tips.
Make Calls to Borneo (and calls home from Borneo) Use pre-paid, pinless phone cards to make phone calls TO Borneo, or call home FROM Borneo from your hotel, public phones with card facilities, or a Telekom office. If you are traveling with your own cell phone, check with your provider before you travel to make sure it can be used in Borneo, and what the roaming charges are.
Internet in Borneo / Sabah / Sarawak The larger hotels have business centers with internet access. In KK (Kota Kinabalu), the cost was about $4 for 30 minutes; In Sarawak, internet was via satellite, and about $14 for half an hour; in Kinabalu park, it was not available to the guests.
What to Pack for a Borneo trip? Borneo is tropical (hot and humid) year round, though rain gear is always a good idea, as is a light jacket for the cooler temperatures at Mt Kinabalu. Dress conservatively (not a lot of bare skin, or short shorts) if you want to fit in and not stand out. See Travel clothing tips pages for general travel packing information and holidays in Dominican for my hot weather travel clothing suggestions. Resort gift shops, shopping malls in KK, and village markets sell T-shirts, sarongs and skirts, so you can always buy lightweight clothing when you are in Borneo.
Is the water safe to drink in Borneo? Use bottled water -- don't drink tap water. Even at the Royal Mulu where they purify water, the resort recommends drinking only bottled water; at both the Nexus in Kota KInabalu and the Mulu in Sarawak, I boiled water for tea in my room(s). But, when you travel, even if the water is potable (safe to drink), it is still different water than you'd drink at home. This different minerals, etc. content may upset your stomach.
Travel Health Make sure all your usual vaccinations are current (polio, DPT, etc). Consider Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B shots - ask your doctor. I brought lots of sunscreen and a bottle of insect repellant containing DEET, as well as my usual regimen of travel meds and OTC (over-the counter) medications. If you will be touring caves and are concerned about breathing in bat droppings, etc. then pack some disposable face masks.
What shots (vaccinations) do I need for Borneo? Check with your local travel health clinic; Borneo has made a concerted and successful effort over the past decade to curtail the incidence of malaria; I did not take anti malarials, but some travelers prefer to be safe rather than sorry. Discuss this with a travel health doctor and make your own decision.
Is it safe to travel to Borneo? Before travel, I always check for current status and travel advisories from a government (official) source. I posted links for Canada, UK, US, Australia government travel info here.
Who goes to Borneo, and why? Everyone who appreciates natural wonders -- from divers, birders and gardeners to mountain climbers, hikers and casual holidayers -- Borneo travel appeals to a great many travelers. Most of them were fairly well-traveled; Borneo didn't seem to appeal to a great many first time travelers, except for one young man who had won a trip to Malaysia Borneo and Indonesia. Talking to others at Sepilok, as we waited for the orangutans to come out, was a lively exchange of details of prior trips to South America, Vietnam, Thailand, and Australia.
Index to Sabah pictures and information pages
- Borneo Island Poring Hot Springs
Mt Kinabalu park photos
Kinabalu Mountain Lodge and market
Kota Kinabalu the Nexus hotel, KK streets, Riverbank homes
Borneo Rainforest Plants orchids, hibiscus, ginger, rattan