Travellers and tourists are able to visit Borneo throughout the year, yet this country has 2 extremely distinct seasons.
A dry season that runs from March through to August, and then a wet season that runs from September through to February. Rainfall is usually sporadic during the wet seasons, with some of the weeks not experiencing any rain, while others are completely drenched.
This represents the opportunity to plan your trip to Borneo with fewer tourists, much smaller crowds, and even the potential for good weather even though it is a wetter season. The temperature is also affected by altitude, while higher elevation regions are much cooler compared to the coastline. However, the entire region experiences consistent temperatures throughout the year, which ranges between 80F to 90F in lowlands and 65F to 75F in mountain areas.
When it comes to Borneo, you will be spoilt for choice. Accommodation ranges from family-run, unique bed and breakfasts onto boutique and luxurious island hotels with Kota Kinabalu snorkeling packages included!
Many of the hotels feature hot water, private baths along comfortable, and clean rooms excepting for accommodation at the Laban Rata climbing hut found on Mount Kinabalu or the family-run, rural guesthouses. It is easy to find great hotels in popular locations, whether they are in walking distance from the main attractions, or in the jungles where you will find that wildlife viewing is outstanding. In the metropolitan areas, you will find large hotels, which are usually the only options available.
Trying to fit the cuisine in Borneo into one category is just about impossible. For example, in Sabah the northeastern Malaysian state there are 28 different recognised indigenous-groups with more than 500,000 ethnic Chinese, with each that has their own distinctive style when it comes to cooking.
When you dine out in Sandakan, Kinabalu or Kota you will notice that freshwater fish and seafood are the staple ingredients. Pork or fish is usually fried, barbecued or grilled with rice, and then mixed with noodles into a spicy soup.
They are also sautéed with a few local ingredients such as ginger and garlic and topped with a rich sauce. Most dishes can easily be made into a vegetarian alternative, and many of the staff in the restaurants speak English, so feel free to customise your meals.
Malaysia is a country that is relatively safe in both the larger cities and rural countryside’s. However, as usual, travellers should be aware of when it comes to their surroundings.
They should also be vigilant when they go out at night. The crime rate in Borneo is generally low, especially when it comes to tourists. The more common issues that are reported include pickpockets when you visit a busy and crowded shopping area or marketplace.
Keep any possessions hidden under your clothing to stop the risk of getting your things stolen from you.
Travellers that plan to visit Kinabalu National Park, trek the Crocker Range or climb Mt. Kinabalu need to know about altitude differences between sea level and these locations. For example, Kinabalu National Park sits at 5,000 feet, while the summit of Mt. Kinabalu is at 13,435 feet.
The Crocker Range Trek reaches an altitude of 5,000 feet. For the travellers that plan to climb Mt. Kinabalu, altitude sickness that severe is rare. If you do experience any symptoms, it is advisable to head back down an elevation.
Most of the severe cases for altitude sickness result from pre-existing conditions, which are aggravated at these altitudes. You should consult with a doctor before your trip, particularly when you have pre-existing conditions like angina, asthma, or high blood pressure.
You can also ask your doctor to provide you with a prescription for Diamox, which is a diuretic that most travellers recommend to assist them in adjusting to different altitudes.
Tap water is typically not safe for consumption in any areas in Borneo. You will find readily available bottled water at restaurants, hotels and tourist sites. Hot water which is boiled or hot teas is usually offered with meals at the restaurants. You should use bottled water when you brush your teeth to be safe.