Best time to visit Borneo

Heat & humidity wrap around you like a heavy blanket – so slow down and enjoy living on “island time”.
A true tropical island, Borneo hovers between 27-32°C year-round, with frequent rains replenishing its green jungles. Those here to hike, bike or volunteer should be aware that they’ll be doing so in a near-sauna – although Mount Kinabalu’s chilly summit provides some respite. April to September are the driest months, and generally considered the best time to visit Borneo but showers can occur at any time. The island is sheltered from the worst of South East Asia’s weather, so although monsoons occur, cyclones don’t.

Sepilok Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
23
29
443
FEB
23
30
278
MAR
24
31
188
APR
24
32
120
MAY
24
32
154
JUN
23
32
190
JUL
23
32
184
AUG
23
32
241
SEP
23
32
231
OCT
23
32
230
NOV
23
31
300
DEC
23
30
435

Borneo, month by month

If you're traveling around Borneo during January, February or March then be aware that this is pretty much mid-rainy season with areas around Kuching tending to get the worst of the afternoon downpours. Things are starting to dry out across the island during April, May and June with resplendent flowers and jungle foliage providing a totally tropical backdrop to any hiking or wildlife watching trip. July is Borneo's festival month with loads of local vacations across the island meaning shops and banks maybe closed so bear this in mind if hoping to secure accommodation on the hoof. August and September are still relatively dry, especially in the south of the island, but being prepared for a shower or two is definitely the best way forward. Forest fires will also become more prevalent during the dry summer season so please take all due precautions if you suffer from respiratory problems or want to avoid the, often stifling, smog. October, November and December will see rainfall charts start to creep up again the further north you are but don't let this put you off as there are plenty of rooms available for what is generally considered to be Borneo's low season. Mount Kinabalu's summit can be off limits at any time of the year due to poor weather conditions so keep your eye on relevant reports or opt for alternatives, such as Laban Rata, where climbing may still be permitted.

Responsible Travel recommends

Kate Tyler, from our volunteering experts Odyssey World, shares her best time to visit Borneo:
“If you are looking to go to the Kinabatangan River area in Sabah I would avoid going between December and April because the weather is atrocious. The rain is so heavy. Borneo is a year-round destination but when the rain is at its heaviest it can really hinder your experience. It can be really humid. The best time is probably from end of April through to October, so it’s perfect for a summer vacation destination.”

Our wildlife pick: Diving with whale sharks

Borneo’s clear waters are idyllic for diving year-round, but scuba divers in search of some of the more impressive species should head to Lankayan in April or May to glimpse enormous whale sharks, or to Sipadan in July or August for the best chance of swimming with turtles heading to the shore to nest.

Our top Borneo Vacation

Borneo orangutan vacation

Borneo orangutan vacation

Trekking, wildlife and beach adventure vacation to Borneo

From US $2950 13 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Borneo or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Festivals & events

Borneo International Kite Festival

Gigantic, flying works of art are created each September at the Borneo International Kite Festival. Held at a disused airport in Bintulu, Sarawak, the festival has grown enormously since its inception in 2005, and there are kite making competitions and kite flying championships – fliers come from across the globe to compete.

Erau

Every other September, the town of Tenggarong in East Kalimantan hosts one of Indonesia’s oldest festivals: Erau. Held since the 16th century, Erau’s modern incarnation sees traditional performances from the region’s Dayak people, as well as folk festivities from several invited countries around the world. There are also food and craft markets and sporting events.

Did you know...?

... that the Rainforest World Music Festival is held in the Sarawak Cultural Village? During the second week of July each year, indigenous musicians in wonderful costumes along with performers from across the world come together in this three-day celebration of the diversity of world music, attended by up to 30,000 people.
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: Fish Ho Hong Yun] [Intro: Natasha de Vere & Col Ford] [Kate Tyler advice: Christopher Michel] [Borneo International Kite Festival: Katrina Br*?#*!@nd] [Erau: Ezagren] [Rainforest World Music Festival : Eugene Yong]
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