What do I take to wear in the jungle?
We recommend loose fitting waterproof clothing, something that will cover your arms and legs to protect you from the branches and mosquitoes. A sturdy pair of trainers should be fine for any trekking – you can also buy rubber shoes in most areas for only a couple of quid just ask your guide. These are great if the path is muddy, as you can just rinse them afterwards as it doesn’t matter if they get wet. High socks are perfect for preventing leeches, leech socks are expensive and high socks tucked into trousers do just the trick. Just remember the jungle is not for fashion statements and you’ll be fine.
Can I buy alcohol in Borneo?
As Borneo Malaysia is a muslim country, alcohol can be more expensive than other countries in South East Asia. In Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu it is slightly harder to find and buy than it is in Sarawak. If you like to enjoy a drink on your travels, we suggest grabbing a nice bottle of wine at duty free when you arrive, and a bottle of spirit and this will save you loads of cash. A beer from a corner shop can set you back around 10RM (£2!). We recommend heading to the Drunken Monkey bar on Carpenter Street in Kuching where they have some lovely wines, a well stocked whiskey shelf, and a lovely beer garden with fairy lights too.
What's the food like?
Borneo has an excellent range of exciting food, and different cities have their own specialties. In Sarawak, we recommend trying the Sarawak Laksa – a spicy coconut sweet and sour soup packed with glass noodles, prawns, chicken and beansprouts. It’s delicious! In Sabah, we love the roti canai you can get for breakfast – a fried roti bread with a curry and lentil dipping sauce. Kuching has a large Chinese and Indian community so you will get a variety of different Chinese and Indian restaurants serving authentic food with a Malaysian twist.
Do I have to dress conservatively?
Yes. Malaysia Borneo is primarily a muslim country, so it is respectful to cover your shoulders and wear trousers or a skirt below the knee. On the beaches you can wear swimwear, but do be mindful if there are others around you as well. In certain areas, such as Batang Ai where there is a large Iban community, you will find that you can get away with shorter sleeves and shorts. It is also considered rude in most places in Borneo to show the soles of your feet so make sure you keep your feet on the ground, or tucked underneath if sitting on the floor.
What sort of luggage do I bring?
As Borneo is a more adventurous destination, most people prefer to take a backpack, however a suitcase is also fine. If you are visiting the Kinabatangan River you will have guides who will help you take your luggage to and from the boat, and there will be a waterproof protector over top in case you get rain on your journey. If you are travelling to Selingan island, there is a luggage storage facility at the jetty where you can leave your main bag and just take a small day pack with you for the evening. This is because there is no path to get to the accommodation, and if you have a suitcase you will just have to drag it across the sand.
Headed to Borneo? Our Rickshaw Rambler Norma shares her top tips for travelling in Borneo and how to make the most of your time and luggage allowance.
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