Many people do not consider Borneo when they are considering visiting Malaysia; however, they should consider a visit to Borneo. This island is filled with wonders that should be getting more attention than its peninsular cousin. When you visit Borneo, you will be greeted with delightful flora and fauna as well as some of the most welcoming people in the world. Here are the top eight things you should see when you take your first trip to this region.

1. Visit Kota Kinabalu City

This small metropolis is located near Mt. Kinabalu and gorgeous beaches, making it an ideal beginning location for travelers. While in the city, make sure you stroll along its vibrant waterfront, visit the street markets and enjoy some of the world’s best seafood.

2. Hike Mt. Kinabalu

Mt. Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Malaysia. It is a revered place of the dead, and according to legend, protected by the spirits of the people’s ancestors. Hiking the mountain is not easy; however, the views from the top are worth the hike. The government prevents paths from overuse by regulating how many can hike each day and who can hike the mountain each day.

3. Learn About Borneo’s History

Borneo’s history is rich and includes an interesting history of human exploration and trade. Borneo was an important trading post for the Chinese and Indians for centuries before coming under the control of the British and Dutch. Today, Borneo belongs to Malaysia. The states of Sabah and Sarawak, located in Borneo; however, remain independent.

4. See a Mud Volcano

The Island is home to a plethora of mud volcanoes and Palau Tiga was formed from a volcanic eruption. A visit to this area is an absolute must. Here, you can enjoy one of the skin beautifying mineral-rich mud baths. In addition to visiting the gorgeous beaches on the island, visit nearby Sand Island and Sanke Island. If you are a television buff, take time to visit the location of the first season of the television show Survivor.

5. Hunt for Durian and Visit the People of Sabah at the Tambatuon Village

If you would like to learn how to make the simple, yet flavorful cuisine of Sabah, you need to take a hands-on cooking class with the locals. The dishes come from the indigenous roots of Sabah and are also influenced by the Chinese cuisine, due to its long-standing tradition relationship with Sabah.

6. See an Orangutan

Although there is no guarantee that you will actually sight an orangutan, you can increase your odds by taking a day to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Many do not realize that orangutans are on the critically endangered species list. As their natural habitat continues to be encroached by the current palm oil industry, their survival continues to be threatened in Borneo. In addition to this, many orangutans are illegally poached for the pet trade. The indigenous people of Borneo, which are known as the “people of the forest,” understand that orangutans play a vital role in the natural ecosystem of the country.

7. Visit Mulu National Park

Mulu National Park is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. This site is protected due to its karst rock formations, extensive cave systems along with its rich equatorial forest. The Mulu cave systems are impressive and have the by volume largest cave worldwide. If you love adventure, explore these caves; however, keep in mind you will need to avoid the numerous bats flying overhead.

8. Take a Visit to Libaran Island

If you love the creatures of, make sure to visit Libaran Island. Here, you may see baby turtles hatching on the beach and making their way towards the ocean. The Libaran Island preservationists work hard to ensure the safety of baby turtles as they make their way to the sea and grow into mature adult turtles. These preservationists dedicate their lives to sea turtles and get to witness the awe-inspiring birth of the sea turtles.

9.  Go Diving in Sipadan

If you are a diving fan and would like to take part in PADI diving in Malaysia, there are many amazing sites such as Sipadan.   In Sipadan, you can go diving along drop-offs and see an amazing variety of marine life. As a Turtle nesting island, you are guaranteed to see Turtles as well as pelagic (White Tip and Black Tip Reef Sharks). Another popular site is Barracuda Point and you’ll often dive by schooling Barracuda, a large shoal of Jacks and may even get passed by the resident large shoal of Bumphead Parrotfish.