The island of Borneo sits on the equator in Southeast Asia. The country therefore boasts extremely high levels of humidity and rainfall is year-round. However, those tourists wishing to visit would be best served by planning their trip in the months between March and October when the weather can be more bearable. Months to avoid are between December and February when the Northeast Monsoon sweeps the island bringing extremely high rainfall.
Some Facts to Keep in Mind When Planning Your Borneo Trip
As mentioned the best time to visit is between March and October. Rainfall is lighter, although showers can be expected – this is, after all, the tropics. The lighter rainfall also means more a pleasant experience when it comes to viewing the native orangutans. For SCUBA divers the period between March and May is ideal – however, visibility is fantastic during July and August (up to 40 metres on some days). Try Borneo Dream for diving information. March, April and may also provide a better than average chance of encountering Whale Sharks. For those who want to experience the wonders of turtles of the beaches of Lankayan Island the period, June to September are ideal.
For both divers and eco-tourists, the months to stay away are December and January. Rainfall is particularly heavy and the waters offshore are rough, making getting to dive sites a challenge. During these months much of the native fauna will take refuge in the heavy jungles of the island – making spotting the unique creatures of the fascinating ecosystems of the island problematic.
Choose Your season Wisely
The Dry Season
Between March and October it is the ‘dry’ season – although in the tropics that may not be the best description of the climatic conditions. The island can still be uncomfortably humid and hot. However, the natural beauty of the island is on display during this period. Trees are fruiting and this means a greater chance to see orangutans as they approach ground level – and take some truly spectacular photographs. Take into account that the dry season sees increased numbers of tourists and increased prices. Once again it is always a good idea to pack some wet weather gear – the natural environment of Borneo is dominated by rainforest, and it is called by that name for a reason.
Peak season, which sees the highest number of visits, is in the period between May and September. It will remain hot and humid – but far more bearable than Monsoon season. Book in advance to secure the best deals on accommodation and tour options. Booking in advance for accommodation in the Rainforest areas is essential. The lodges can fill up extremely quickly. For the best chance of an Orangutan experience plan your trip in the months of June and August. It is when the ‘men of the forest’ descend to enjoy the ripening fruit which is found in abundance during these months. Peruse our holiday pages to find out about packages that will allow you to experience these magnificent animals.
The Wet Season
If you don’t mind getting wet the ‘wet’ season still offers exceptional value and the opportunity to experience the unique culture of the island – as well as its magnificent flora and fauna. Travelling to the world’s third-largest island is possible at any time of the year. No matter which month you choose you will still be exposed to magnificent diving opportunities, incredible accommodation options and wonderful national parks – as well as the iconic rainforests. Even the wet season has its attractions – lower tourist numbers and great value for money in terms of travel and accommodation.