The Borneo Island consists of three nations – Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei with a major chunk of the island occupied by Indonesia (Kalimantan). Since, Borneo is the third largest island in the world; it is obvious travelling such a large span involves detailed planning. Traversing across the islands involves large distances, so, it is in the best interest of the tourist to fly by air on long journeys. Otherwise, the transportation system in Borneo is comfortable enough allowing you to move swiftly by renting cars, hire taxis, or ride in buses, charters, boats, and ferries.
Since Borneo is controlled by three countries as well as is an extremely large island, it sometimes becomes essential that one choose the comforts of a plane. Besides, the small islands surrounding Borneo are accessible only by helicopter or charter flights.
There are two major airports at Kuching (Sarawak) and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) accessible by Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and Air Asia. Miri, Sibu, Bintulu, Labuan and Lahad Datu also have airports. A few rural areas inaccessible by road have airstrips for communication.
Countries like Brunei and Indonesia are accessible by air, sea and land transport. The Brunei International Airport and Jakarta's Soekarno–Hatta International Airport serve as the countries main airports.
Buses & Taxis are the common means of transport in all the major cities throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Though not exactly comfortable, travelling by local transport gives a chance to set up a rapport with the locals. In addition, the beautiful scenery that one gets to capture on the camera is worth a thousand memories. Most of the overland journeys are long distance travels but it is worth the tiring expedition if the taxi driver shows his willingness.
Car rental is another excellent option available in big cities like Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Depending on the number of people travelling, tourists can choose the size of the car. In fact, in countries like Brunei where the road network is well developed, driving a car can turn out to be a pleasurable experience.
Borneo is surrounded by a number of small islands such as Sipadan, Pulau Tiga and Labuan that are accessible only by ferries and boats. While some are official, a few will not pass beyond the safety checks. So, make sure the boat is licensed to avoid any ruckus. In addition, ensure that the operators have taken care of all the safety precautions such as life vest, etc. In Sarawak, the boats are used to ferry passengers along the river Rajang to reach the longhouse communities, located inland. While in Brunei, the ferry terminal at Muara has regular speedboat trips to the island of Labuan off the coast of Sabah.
Travellers are charged depending on the fuel and the number of days the boat is used.Photo Credit:Creative Commons/Lofor
Rail travel in Borneo is used more for tourism & recreational purposes to explore the sights of Sabah from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom. It is a guided tour especially for tourists who want to soak in the rich natural heritage of Borneo.
Tourists are assured of their safety on the island of Borneo except for freak accidents during jungle trekking, which could result in potential injury or illness. As with tourist places the fear of pick pocketing, bag snatching & petty crime is always felt. However, these situations can be stayed clear of, if tourists know well how to secure their bag & baggage in the hotel premises and the belongings during sightseeing.
Terrorist groups and criminal gangs have been responsible for kidnapping of foreign tourists in eastern Sabah in the past. As the threat from kidnapping remains, tourists should stay extra careful while travelling in boats and at dive sites.
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