BEAUTIFUL BORNEO

Written by root. Posted in BEST OF BRUNEI

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Published on November 03, 2019 with No Comments

From ancient rainforests to rich culture and heritage, Borneo ticks all the boxes for a memorable holiday and more. Now, you can easily make your way to these popular spots with our new RB Link initiative that provides seamless air travel options from Borneo’s hub in Brunei Darussalam.

Words Michele Di

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BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Nature, culture and urban lifestyle – it’s all in the beautiful Brunei Darussalam. Here, you’ll have an abundant of choices on things to do, whether you want to explore the country’s customs and traditions, find hidden gems downtown, or make your way to the pristine rainforests and sandy beaches to get closer to nature.

Over three quarters of the land here are covered by mostly pristine rainforests so if you are a jungle trekker or just looking to be at peace with nature, you’ll have plenty of options in Brunei. More inclined towards sandy beaches? You’ve come to the right place where smooth sand and clear waters await at top beaches located mainly at the Brunei-Muara district. Brunei is also a diver’s paradise with its vast coral reefs, gorgeous marine life and treasures beneath. In fact, the country is famous amongst divers for wreck diving experiences where you’ll find a glorious collection of wrecks with their own history to tell.

Of course, no trip to Brunei is complete without visiting its capital Bandar Seri Begawan. Make your way through popular landmarks such as the many must-see museums (Royal Regalia Museum and Brunei History Centre) and mosques (Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque). Finally, experience a slice of vintage Malay life at the unique Kampong Ayer, home to stilt villages built along the banks of the Sungai Brunei with green, blue, pink and yellow timber houses – earning it the moniker “Venice of the East”.

 

KOTA KINABALU
Kota Kinabalu (KK) is the ideal base for your Sabah adventure as most travellers come here for attractions outside of the city – whether it is diving at KK’s Marine Park, orangutan spotting at Sepilok or trekking up the mighty Gunung Kinabalu, Malaysia’s tallest peak at over 4,000 metres.

But don’t dismiss this gateway for your Borneo adventures; there’s plenty to do around KK to fill up your days before your big Borneo adventure. Your first stop? The KK Waterfront with its rows of restaurants and a shopping mall set against the city’s most beautiful panaromic view of the sea. Located at the city centre, the waterfront is just a 10-minute walk from most hotels, making it the perfect place to unwind. Grab yourself a drink or fresh seafood and find a spot on the boardwalk to watch the sunset on the horizon. Nearby is Gaya Street, where if you’re visiting KK over the weekend, you’ll want to check out its street market. A good place to go souvenir shopping, find everything you need from crafts, clothes and antiques.

Culture lovers will love KK for all it has to offer. Don’t miss out the chance to check out the City Mosque, a majestic floating white mosque that is truly a sight to behold. To learn more about KK’s heritage as well as Sabah’s history, make your way to the Muzium Sabah where it is packed with information on the diverse aspects of Sabahan culture.

KK is also a great spot for day trips, like to Poring Hot Spring where you can also visit the butterfly park or trek through the canopy walk; Kudat – also known as the Tip of Borneo where the drive there is one of the most scenic with views of the mountains, paddy fields and villages with herds of cows; and Gaya Island with its clean beaches, clear waters and activities for the whole family.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Kota Kinabalu 15x weekly.

 

KUCHING
Malaysia’s “cat city”, Kuching is the largest city in Borneo. It still serves as the gateway to Borneo’s beautiful jungle and sea, and the city’s close proximity to national parks makes it the ideal base for day trips and more. If this is what you’re after, then don’t miss out on Bako National Park, Sarawak’s oldest nature reserve and home to the unique flora and fauna of Sarawak. To get here, you will need to get on a 25-minute boat ride from Kampung Bako. Make sure you have your best hiking shoes on as the park offers various trails of different lengths and difficulties. Keep your eyes open during your trek for the famous proboscis monkey.

You should never leave Sarawak without seeing the orangutans, which you can do by taking a 40-minute trip from Kuching to Semenggoh Wildlife Reserve Centre. Here, young orangutans who have been orphaned or rescued from capitivity are trained
with jungle survival skills to roam the forest.
They frequently come back to the centre for food, which is where you can see them in action.

If all you want is a slow and easy holiday, spend your time in Kuching just checking out the sites and soaking in the casual vibe. Must-visit attractions include The Astana on the banks of the River Sarawak, Kuching’s oldest temple the Tua Pek Kong Temple, Fort Magherita which houses the Brooke Gallery with relics, artefacts and historical documents detailing Sarawak’s early Statehood under the White Rajahs, Carpenter Street for the best and freshest seafood in town, and of course, the Kuching Waterfront for a slow and easy time.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Kuching 4x weekly.

 

SIBU
If you have a few days to spare during your Borneo adventure and want something free and easy, head out to Sibu in Sarawak where the food is amazing and the people hospitable. It’s a quiet town but unassuming nonetheless. A place to check out is the Sibu Central Market, which is the largest indoor market in Malaysia. Get your hands on local goods to bring home as souvenir or head to the food section of the market for the very best in Sarawak speciality. For more market escapades, don’t miss out on the Sibu Night Market which is on every day in the evening till midnight where you can continue with your shopping and feasting. Other must-visit spots? The Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum, which is said to be one of its kind in this region; Sibu Town Square for a splice of life in Sibu, and Sibu Heritage Centre for some history and culture.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Sibu 6x weekly from 14 November, 2019.

 

SANDAKAN
Anyone who loves wildlife should not give Sandakan a miss. From the amazing rainforests of Borneo and its tropical rivers, this second largest town in Sabah is the base to visit these unspoiled parts of the island. Some of its highlights not to miss? Visiting the turtles at Selingan Turtle Island, a conservation area off the coast of Sandakan dedicated to taking care of turtles and releasing them back into the wild; spelunking at Gomantong Cave, one of the largest caves in all of Sabah; and a trip to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre if you didn’t make it to KK.

Also not to be missed is the Rainforest Discovery Centre for your very own adventure into the rainforest. The centre is part of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve where around 250 different species of birds can be found on top of the many different fauna and flora.

Of course, it’s not just wildlife and nature at Sandakan; the town itself is worthy of a visit thanks to the many spots you mustn’t miss as well. For starters, its wide range of historial attractions like the home of American writer Agnes Keith, the 19th century St Michael’s Cathedral and All Angels Church tell of a rich heritage in Sandakan while the unique Buli Sim Sim Water Village is a clear testament of keeping life simple in Sandakan to instead focus on your relationship with nature. While at the water village, don’t forget to order yourself a meal of the freshest seafood around – worth the trip! Speaking of food, why don’t you head to the Sandakan Central Market where on the upper floor, you’ll find a range of Chinese, Malay and Filipino cuisine to eat your heart out.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Sandakan 6x weekly.

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