Borneo is stuffed to the brim with amazingly exotic flora and fauna – a visit here is definitely a once in a lifetime experience but not just because of the monkeys, parrots and turtles. Here at Rickshaw we are committed to meaningful travel, we want you to have unique experiences that bring you closer to the people in the country you’re visiting. Getting close to nature and living with the local community gives you an emotional connection with country you’re visiting. You’ll immerse yourself in the local way of life and get a real understanding of what makes them tick.
So without further ado let us tell you about four of our favourite things to do in Borneo for a truly authentic holiday experience.
Stay in a longhouse
Staying in a longhouse isn’t just about having a place to sleep, it is about being welcomed into a way of life, a community, a family. The host families are so friendly and genuine that you may want them to adopt you and stay forever! One of our customers (aka Rickshaw Ramblers) visited an Iban Tribe in Sarawak and told us that the village chief and his wife were the most welcoming of all. In the longhouse your meals are prepared by the host family who then sit down to have a drink and a chat while you eat – you’ll be sure to hear some colourful stories of life in the jungle.
You may even be asked if you’d like to learn how to prepare local specialties – be sure to jump at the chance if you do. Our Rickshaw Ramblers are often invited out trekking, an absolute must as following the locals around is like no walk anywhere else in the world. You’ll find the welcome is just as friendly for children as the local children really embrace their new playmates and let them join in. You may even have the privilege to witness a wedding or religious ceremony while you’re there – an incredibly meaningful thing to see.
Come face-to-face with an Orangutan
A trip to Borneo isn’t complete without spending some time with “the people of the forest” or Orangutans as they are better known. At the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre you can get really close and watch these majestic animals feed and play. The island is teeming with monkeys; you’ll also see Proboscis, Gibbons and Macaques during your trip.
Many Rickshaw Rickshaw Ramblers choose to join us on the Tabin Expedition, a trip through an untamed jungle protected as a National Park. One described meeting wild an Orangutan in Tabin as the highlight of his whole holiday thanks to the knowledge and skill of his guide Mohamed who helped them find it. Keep your eyes peeled as you can also spot bats, lizards and birds with rainbow coloured feathers as you trek through the jungle.
Splash around in a longboat
In Borneo amazing moments come thick and fast, they don’t come much more intense than crashing through the waves on the way back from Bako in traditional boats. Just as amazing is a meandering ride through the jungle waterways, just a little more peaceful. The concentration and skill the boats men have on the water is something to behold.
Their knowledge is fantastic and they absolutely love sharing it with their passengers – you’ll learn a lot about the wildlife that surrounds you whilst you enjoy the ride. Make sure you take a splash-proof or waterproof camera to Borneo as you’ll want to take photos everywhere you go.
Get up close and personal with sea turtles
Away from the steamy jungles Borneo is also blessed with beautiful beaches and islands. Many of our Rickshaw Ramblers head to Lankayan Island to snorkel and swim with sea turtles. The ocean is teeming with colourful fish so you’ll be needing that waterproof camera again! If you are there at the right time of year and have a good dollop of luck you may even see the sea turtles lay their eggs.
Some of our favourite Rickshaw Rambler memories of Borneo involve turtles; one saw a lone female turtle laying her eggs in the middle of the afternoon with nobody else in sight. Another described her trip to Reef Guardian (our local project marine conservation project) and the unforgettable feeling of watching adopted turtles hatch and then letting them free into the sea.
You can donate £5 to Reef Guardian when you book your holiday, the money is then used to help manage 46,317 hectares of conserved marine habitat. Our local guides will help you see these majestic creatures without disturbing them or their habitat, giving you amazing memories with a responsible twist.