Borneo Family Holidays
Our Borneo Family Holidays cater for a range of different families; from the intrepid and active family, to the adventurous parents looking for something more accessible for younger children. We have a successful record of creating inventive and exciting Borneo family holidays with our team who have years of living and working in Malaysia Borneo.
As an island with so much to see and do, it can be a case of too many options sometimes! But we work hard to create family holidays that incorporate a variety of the fantastic options Borneo has to offer with minimal travel and hassle.
Borneo Family Holidays - Wildlife
Families young and old enjoy exploring the pristine rainforests of Borneo, in search for some of the island’s famous wildlife and especially, the elusive wild Orangutan. We take travellers to a number of excellent forest reserves for the best chances for seeing wildlife in their natural environments. Deramakot Forest Reserve is well placed in Sabah’s centre for trips that travel cross-country and offers great wildlife viewing opportunities; exploring this little visited reserve will include several private 4x4 safaris and will be an intimate wildlife experience far from any tourist crowds. Danum Valley will see family exploring the rainforest on foot through some of Borneo’s well-preserved conservation areas. While no Borneo adventure is complete without a river safari down the longest river in Sabah, the Sungai Kinabatangan. Wildlife abounds on the banks of the Kinabatangan, with regular sighting of pygmy elephants, hornbills, macaque monkeys and crocodiles.
Borneo Family Holidays - Culture
As a cultural melting pot, Borneo is a great destination for staying in an authentic homestay to truly immerse yourself in a host community. A favourite for families, all our homestays provide a unique look into life in another culture for both children and parents, experiencing a new cuisine, language and way of life. Abai village on the Kinabatangan River combines a wildlife adventure with a wonderful homestay experience. While trips to Orou Sapulot take families inland to visit the Murut communities to explore a series of untouched waterways by traditional canoe and to trek to the peak of the impressive Batu Pungul. For the truly adventurous, our homestays with the Penan communities in Sarawak require a plane ride, boat travel and 4x4 to reach these remote villages. Set amongst some of Malaysia’s most valuable forests, the Penan are the last nomadic tribe of Borneo and run a small-scale tourism initiative, leading multi village treks through jungle and waterfalls. Due to the challenging nature of these treks, visits the Penan are recommended for 15years and older.
Borneo Family Holidays - National Parks
With a wealth of National Parks in both Sabah and Sarawak, there are endless activities to do on your Borneo family holiday. In Sarawak, Bako National Park combines secluded beaches and wildlife spotting in the tropical mangroves with families of the indigenous proboscis monkey being a common sight, while further north, World Heritage Site Mulu National Park can provide days of cave exploration and trekking itineraries. In Sabah, the lush Kinabalu National Park in home to Borneo's tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu. An accessible climb for most travellers, we have taken children as young as 11years up to the summit of 4,095m. But if this seems a bit challenging, Lupa Masa Jungle Camp provides a great introduction to the Borneo rainforests and situated on the lower slopes on the park boundary.
Borneo Family Holidays - Coast
Most Borneo family holidays will finish by the coast to relax after a jungle adventure and discover some of the magical underwater world of tropical coral reefs and fish. With several stunning beach areas in Sabah, and a range of accommodation options to choose from, we tailor every trip to suit each family. Find secluded white sandy bays on the Northern Tip of Borneo near Kudat, visit the world class diving destination of the Semporna Archipelago or relax at one of the luxury resort around the capital city of Kota Kinabalu.
Why us for your Borneo Family Holidays?
Our staff have years of experience living and working in Borneo so know first hand the best places to visit on your holiday plus we have families and we understand the needs of parents taking either young children or teenagers on a holiday like this. Here's what one father said after their 3 week holiday in Borneo with 4 children aged 8 to 18:
"We’re on top form having returned from an excellent holiday in Sabah!
Everything went smoothly and even a faulty van (between Poring & Deramokot) only required a wait of 10 minutes for the replacement to arrive. Other than that, the biggest issue was having a double room rather than a twin room in some of the hotels (First World problem)!
We thought it would be helpful to provide some feedback on the trip:
Orou Sapulot – definitely worth doing, despite a bit of travelling. Staying in a long-house (with rice wine and dancing), climbing the pinnacle, floating downstream in our underwear(!) and pot holing, with such cheerful guides were all great.
Rafting - I’m not sure the experience was worth the amount of travelling involved (further extended due to a broken down train on the track) for us. However, it was very interesting travelling on the local trains and the guides were great.
Cultural village – we really enjoyed this excursion and it was far better than expected. It turns out that Amanda is a bit of hot-shot with the blowpipe! With hindsight, I would have preferred that to rafting.
Rasa Ria resort – the rest of the group really enjoyed this bit of luxury, the firefly experience was a real highlight and Amanda & Mae really enjoyed the Indian restaurant.
Mount Kinabalu - we made it to the top without suffering much with the altitude, although we missed the sunrise due to clouds rolling in. I did find it physically demanding , despite being in good shape. I think coping with altitude gets harder as you get older: I hadn’t been at altitude for 20 years and struggled a bit, whereas Eva managed fine.
I was carrying the bulk of our stuff in a large rucksack and perhaps I should have considered hiring a porter, although I didn’t know that was an option and didn’t have the money on me anyway. Hiring walking poles for the descent is definitely recommended. On your checklist – consider adding passports as an item, as these are required for registration.
We did the Via Ferrata after making it to the summit: it reminded me of Go Ape (at altitude) but I think Eva & I were so exhausted from the climb that we didn’t enjoy it as much as we would otherwise.
Juru, our guide, was a lovely chap: he really helped us towards the summit and it was good to get to know him on the way down again. I was so tired and emotional by the time we got down though that I didn’t thank him as effusively as I wanted to!
Poring Hot Springs - The hot springs were a bit of a weird place but the kids thoroughly enjoyed the pool and the open-air bath tubs. The accommodation exceeded expectations.
Lupa Masa was worth a day trip but I’m really glad we weren’t staying overnight. We saw a Rafflesia, although we were somewhat fleeced by the lady arranging the viewing (nothing to do with you guys). I was wondering whether they had made a plastic one but there were other flowers starting to grow in a different part of the place, so seemed legit (or an elaborate hoax)
Deramokot - We were fortunate to see quite a lot of wildlife, including orangutans, civets, flying squirrels and even a clouded leopard. The younger kids tended to fall asleep during the safaris, but you can’t expect nature to perform for our benefit! The night drives yielded the most sightings, but we all enjoyed the trip down the river too.
The common area (where we ate) was interesting with all sorts of insects about. Unfortunately, most of them had been injured by the dozen or so ceiling fans but these were just left lying around; similarly there were dead insects lying around in the toilets, which could have been cleaned up.
Our guide, Siti, was really good and did an amazing job spotting the animals. I suspect Mike was exasperated at our fairly laid back manner – I think he was used to dealing with enthusiasts! However, the girls & I had a good laugh with him on the 2nd night drive when we got completely soaked by a torrential downpour and so took it in turns sitting on the spare tyre on the roof of the vehicle.
The cook (Gidi?) did an excellent job preparing vegan dishes. We knew the accommodation would be basic but the bedrooms could have been cleaned better.
Lankayan Island - What a beautiful spot and what with the abundance of turtles, this was an amazing place to spend a few days. Eva got to release some baby turtles (in daylight) and we saw another release as well as a mother laying eggs. Mae’s diving instructor (Mitch) was really friendly and Mae now has her Advanced Diver certification.
Sepilok – a good place to spend our last night. We saw orangutans close-up in the morning (and Sun Bears). Amanda & Eva went back in the afternoon and saw plenty of activity in the orangutan nursery.
So, all in all, a fantastic time was had by all and we would highly recommend Borneo (obviously organised through Adventure Alternative) as a great destination for an interesting & adventurous holiday.
It’s quite a challenge to ensure that the needs of adults, teenagers & kids are met but our itinerary managed this successfully. Many thanks to you, Tom and his team for planning and executing such a superb trip."
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