Preparing for Your Trip to Borneo

Travelling to Borneo, an island known for its stunning rainforests and diverse wildlife, can be the adventure of a lifetime. However, before you take off on this epic journey, there are some preparations you need to consider. Here’s a guide to help you get ready for your trip to Borneo:

Research Your Destination

Borneo is the world’s third-largest island and home to parts of Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. Understand the area you are visiting, its local laws, customs, and any travel advisories.

Vaccinations and Health Precautions

Visit a travel clinic for advice on necessary vaccinations, which may include Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. Consider malaria prophylaxis and bring insect repellent due to the mosquito-borne diseases present in the region.

Visa and Travel Documents

Check the visa requirements for your specific destination within Borneo, as they can vary based on the country that governs the area you’re visiting. Ensure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your planned return date.

Packing Essentials

Pack light, breathable clothing for the hot and humid climate, with layers for cooler highland areas. Include:

  • Waterproof clothing
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, hat, sunglasses)
  • Eco-friendly toiletries
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Daypack for treks and tours

Remember to pack any prescription medications with the original prescription letter from your doctor, and bring a basic first aid kit.

Travel Insurance

Before start travelling Turtle Island in Borneo, secure comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical evacuation and activities you plan to partake in, like scuba diving or jungle trekking.

Transactions and Currency

Inform your bank of your travel plans. The local currency in Malaysian Borneo is the Ringgit, whereas in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) it is the Rupiah. ATMs can be scarce in remote areas, so bring enough cash.

Accommodations and Itinerary

Book your accommodations ahead of time, especially if you’re planning to visit during peak tourist season. Have a rough itinerary that includes key highlights like Mount Kinabalu, the rainforests of Sabah and Sarawak, and the Orangutan sanctuaries.

Environmental Consciousness

Borneo’s ecosystems are fragile. Choose sustainable tourism options that support conservation efforts. Avoid single-use plastic and be mindful of your environmental impact.

Language and Communication

Learning basic phrases in Malay or Indonesian can be helpful. English is widely spoken in urban areas but less so in rural ones.

Local Cuisine

Be ready to experience a wide variety of food. Take precautions if you have a sensitive stomach and only consume bottled or purified water.

Emergencies and Safety

Save local emergency numbers on your phone. Keep digital copies of important documents accessible online.


Consider purchasing a local SIM card for better rates on calls and mobile data if you plan to stay connected. Remember, thorough preparation is the key to an enjoyable and safe trip. Borneo is a place of wonder and excitement; with the right planning, you can immerse yourself fully in this incredible adventure. Safe travels!