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Best Borneo Beaches

Borneo island boats

To round off your Borneo adventure, what could be better than kicking back under a palm tree and watching the lapping waves kiss the shore? Deciding which of Borneo’s beaches is the best for you can depend on a few different factors, with the location being the key to making the right choice.

Whether it’s a slice of tropical paradise that you’re after or a beachside base to use as a hub for exploring the nearby highlights, there’s a beach in Borneo for you.

Swim with turtles on Lankayan Island

Lankayan Island is a secluded paradise, hidden away in the tropical Sulu Sea, just north of Sandakan. Here, you can spend your days relaxing on the white sandy beaches and swimming in the crystal clear sea, alongside turtles and loads of colourful fish. If you’re particularly lucky and time your trip right, you may even see a turtle lay its eggs on the sand or watch baby turtles scurrying to the sea.

Borneo swimmer with turtle
gaya island beach pier

Gaya Island paradise

Just a hop, skip and a jump over from the mainland, you’ll find  Gaya Island.  With tropical forests, creamy white sandy beaches and snorkelling to die for, it’s an ideal spot for a beach break, sandwiched between rainforest and the sea. Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Gaya Island is a brilliant place to end your Borneo adventure.

Shangri-La Rasa Ria

For those taking the family to Borneo, this resort is a good option if you’re looking for a pool by the beach in Kota Kinabalu . It’s a popular one for both parents and kids, as you can arrange activities to keep everyone happy, while enjoying some well-deserved relaxing beach time.

Borneo children playing beach volleyball
Borneo sarawak damai beach rocks green mountain

Damai Beach

There are fewer beach options in the Sarawak region of Borneo, but Damai Beach is one of those that shines. This spot on the Damai Peninsula, near Kuching, is a stunningly rugged spot surrounded by views of lush green rainforest and limestone rock formations. It’s a prime location to simply relax or take your kayak to the seas after some jungle adventures.

Rustic rainforest beach

If you’re looking for a jungle experience that’s also by the sea then this is the perfect place. Located on the Damai Peninsula, the Permai Rainforest Resort boasts some enviable treehouse accommodation – ideal for being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the jungle. To top it off, you’ll also have your own slither of private beach.

Though this region isn’t particularly known for its beaches, it’s a fantastic place to combine a taste of jungle with a cooling sea breeze.

Borneo Sarawak treehouse
Borneo resort chair with view

Laze away on Manukan Island

Just a short ride from the shores of Kota Kinabalu, Manukan Island is a dreamy setting to begin or end your Borneo holiday. As this island is popular with day-trippers it can be busy during the day. However, from around mid-afternoon, it will just be yourself and the resort guests watching the sunset over the sparkly white sands and lapping shores. Explore the island’s lush green jungle interior or snorkel in the protected lagoon.


For even more Borneo travel tips, head to our inspiration page below.