Borneo, the third largest island in the world, is popularly known for its rich marine and wildlife diversity, especially in the vast rainforests. Thousands of tourists flock to the country every year looking to experience the vast culture, beautiful sceneries, city life, and wildlife, among other attractions. Although Borneo enjoys a warm tropical climate (between 27C and 32C) all year round, proper planning is recommended, especially if visiting the country for the first time.
July is the driest yet busiest month in the country, with thousands of tourists coming to experience a myriad of turtle-spotting activities to seeing orangutans up close on the trees. With the country experiencing relatively good weather all year round, picking the best time to visit can be tricky. Here is everything you need to know about the best times to visit the country.
When is the Dry Season?
Borneo experiences eight months of dry weather between March and October. Humidity levels are at their lowest during this time of the year within the island and southeast Asia. This is also the best time to visit when the wider variety of wildlife is out to feed. Diving spots are clear during this time of the year with calmer waters. Anyone looking to hike in the jungle-fringed beaches should consider visiting during this time.
When is the Rain Season?
The rainy season runs from November to March, with the area experiencing torrential rains. This is thus not the best time to visit as there are virtually no diving spots (very rough waters) and wildlife sheltering deep in the dense furrows. Make an effort to avoid December and January if you have to visit during the wet season – this is when rainfall is the highest. Showers happen almost all the time unannounced, making it tricky to venture outdoors.
What is the Best Time to See the Orangutans?
Orangutans remain active from March to October, though they tend to be most active in May. Most trees here fruit In June, enabling the orangutans to feast closer to major trekking paths. Anyone looking to see them in full action should consider visiting Danum Valley – you might see rust-tinted monkeys too. Take a cruise on the Kinabatangan River to travel to the beautiful corners of Sabah and explore breathtaking sights!
The Best Time to See Turtles
Turtles come out from the beginning of June until the end of September. Turtle Island (Lankayan Island) is the place to be if looking for the best sightings.
Best Time to Go Diving
Diving spots open up in April all through December when visibility is clear. July and August are, however, the best time for diving. You might also see whale sharks during this time of the year. September is the driest month, with fewer tourists around. This makes it the optimal time for anyone looking for privacy around the beaches and diving spots.
The Best Months for Trekking
April is the most recommended and preferred month for trekking. With temperatures ranging between 26C and 29C, hikers trek from Kota Kinabalu to Mt Kinabalu. Only experienced hikers hike to the mountain’s summit.
The Best Months to Visit the Beaches
Nothing makes the beaches more appealing than plenty of un-scorching sunshine. For the best experience, consider visiting the beaches in May when there’s plenty of sun and the beach dry. Some prefer March when the beaches are less crowded and the start of whale shark season.
Borneo Festivals: The Best Time to Visit
Borneo celebrates the Harvest festival (locally known as Gawai Dayak) on May 31st and June 1st. Locals celebrate the festival by donning traditional dresses, jazzing up longhouses, and sharing colossal food platters. The Miri Jazz Festival (another two-day event) or music festival is aimed at inspiring future musicians and is celebrated in May as well. The Borneo International Kite Festival, held in Bintulu, colours the skies with kites and is celebrated in September.
Whether looking to experience the vast jungle and fauna, wildlife, festivities, and culture, Borneo should be your next destination. Start planning today.