Welcome to Borneo
Borneo, the world’s third largest island, conjures up images of lush tropical rainforests, exotic and rare wildlife and the infamous headhunters of days gone by. While there is no possibility of losing one’s head anymore, a journey to Borneo is an exquisite glimpse into a land of rich diversity. Visitors can combine the delights of crystal clear waters, tropical islands and mainland coastal bays, with extraordinarily diverse mainland beauty – the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mt. Kinabalu, virgin rainforest conservation areas, waters, canyons, exotic wildlife, flora and fauna, and a myriad of adventure, cultural and eco-tourism activities to truly experience this tropical paradise.
Three countries are represented on the island of Borneo, Indonesia to the south, Brunei in the middle and the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah to the north. While each country has its own charms, it is recommended that the most hassle-free itinerary for a journey to Borneo focus on Sabah.
Sabah, know as the Land Below the Wind, for its positioning outside of the typhoon belt, is located on the northern tip of the island of Borneo. During the colonial era, Sabah was controlled by the British North Borneo Company, drawn to these shores in search of timber, spices, coffee and rubber. It is under the auspices of the Company, that the 36 ethnic tribes found within its borders gave up their head-hunting ways and became “civilised”. While head-hunting is now a thing of the past, it is still possible to experience the rich cultural heritage of the peoples of Sabah, that now blend into a harmonious community of ethnic tribes, predominantly Kadazan, Dusun, Rungus and Murut, living peacefully alongside Chinese, Malays and Indians.
Sabah’s rich cruising waters from Labuan to Kudat offer some of the most spectacular and beautiful waters, islands and mainland attractions in South East Asia and can possibly be seen as the most diverse cruising playground in the world. A journey around the Tip of Borneo is also worthwhile, and the East Coast is renowned for diving, particularly the world-famous Sipadan, ranked amongst the world’s top-five dive sites annually.
Know Before You Go:
Our team can organise any spare part, fuel, food provisioning, customs and immigration and just about anything else you require during your stay. The agent can provide full itineraries and support for land based activities. With access to a fleet of 4 helicopters including a 3-seater Robinson 44, 2 Bell Jet Rangers and a 7-seater twin engine helicopter as well as a fleet of 5 motoryachts and luxury vehicle options, the company can support any required itinerary and can assist in itinerary building to ensure your Borneo experience is outstanding.
There is little transaction in USD, and the local currency is preferred. Banking facilities can be set up by the agent to help bring money in if required.
MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. American Express and Diners Club are only accepted in 5 Star Resorts.
There are multiple GSM networks available with full international roaming agreements with most countries. Pre-paid phone cards are readily available. Wireless Internet is available in many outlets and hotels.
There are no specific vaccination/medical requirements for visiting Borneo. If extensive time is spent in the jungles, Malaria pills may be considered. Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei have excellent medical facilities/hospitals and medevac facilities.
Please contact us for information on past visiting yachts.
Recent News about Borneo
- September 1, 2018
- APS Sets Sail for Monaco Yacht Show
- August 16, 2018
- Asia Pacific Superyachts a Perfect Match for Asia-Pacific Superyacht Association
- August 10, 2018
- Asia Pacific Superyachts Returns to Monaco Yacht Show
- October 7, 2017
- 2nd Annual APS Times premiere at Monaco Yacht Show
- September 28, 2017
- The APS Times, Edition 2017, is out!
- September 16, 2017
- Asia Pacific Superyachts Bringing Best to Monaco
- August 20, 2017
- Asia Pacific Superyachts to showcase at Monaco Yacht Show
- January 18, 2017
- Conferences in Sarawak boost conservation efforts
- November 1, 2016
- The APS Times is out!
- September 9, 2016
- APS ready for Monaco Yacht Show
- August 9, 2016
- Asia Pacific Superyachts Team Returns to Monaco
- July 23, 2016
- ‘Sail Malaysia’ Rally – Borneo
- July 17, 2016
- New Agents in Sri Lanka & Borneo
- March 10, 2016
- Borneo coasts now safe for yachts!
- March 2, 2016
- Borneo decreed safe for yachts!
- October 11, 2015
- Successful APS Brand Debut at Monaco
- September 4, 2015
- Asia Pacific Superyachts Agents Onboard at MYS
- August 13, 2015
- New Exciting Superyacht Destinations
- August 8, 2015
- APS Superyacht e-Brochure Launched!
- March 4, 2015
- Asia Pacific Superyachts Launches Indonesian Cruising Guide
- APS included: 50‐year GOLD REPORT ‐ “Best of the Best in Yachting”, The Crew Report, July 2011
- East Coast Explorations, Helm Superyacht Asia Pacific, Q4 2011
- 51m Feadship Super Yacht Double Haven´s CAT Tender Visits Sipadan Island, charterworld.com, Jan 13 2012
- Borneo, Journeying through Eden, Yachting-Matters, 2012
- Asia Pacific Superyachts Annual AGM moved to Phuket, charterworld.com, November 21 2011
- Superyacht’s historical tender visit to Sipadan Island, Superyacht Times, Jan 13 2012
Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) can easily accommodate private jets, and local agent can arrange VIP customs and immigration clearance.
You can send ship parts to Malaysia via the agent. All packages must be marked ‘Yacht in Transit’ or ‘Ship’s spares in transit’ to avoid customs fees.
Sabah has excellent wet and dry markets, and good quality import items are readily available, or can be specially ordered within days. Good quality wine is available. Note that Labuan, to the south of Kota Kinabalu, is a duty-free port, so a stop is worthwhile if the vessel requires alcohol/beer/cigarette stocks.
Harbour fees and Immigration:
Leave your clearance to the agent! Visas are not required for most visitors, and members of the Commonwealth, USA and many other countries are given 3 month visiting visas upon arrival. Check in advance for visa requirements for visits over 1 month.
Admiralty charts of the area are quite thorough, but attention should be paid for passages through heavily reefed areas. Charts are not readily available for purchase, but the agent can assist with the necessary orders.
Our Services To The Captains
- Cruise planning in our region
- Clearance in our region
- Visa and bond arrangements
- Dockage and pilot arrangements
- Helicopter authorization
- Charter license
- GSM cards and SAT TV decoder rentals
- Parcel or express mail clearance and export
- Shipyard coordination
- Accounting and banking facilities
- Charter APA and tax management
Our Services To The Engineers
- Duty free fuel
- Jet fuel and gasoline
- Lube oil supply and used oil / Sludge removal
- Engine parts and supplies
- Repairs and maintenance jobs
- Metal fabrication
Our Services To The Deck Officers
- Deck parts and supplies with discounts
- Day workers
- Repairs and maintenance jobs
- Security and ISPS arrangements
Our Services To The Galley
- Fresh provisions
- Beverages and wine supplies
- Galley parts and supplies
- Wine tasting
Our Services To The Interior Department
- Carpet cleaning
- Flower arrangements
- Interior cleaning supplies
- Appliance repairs and maintenance
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Beauty & grooming products
Our Services To The Owners And Charter Guests
- Car rental at preferred rates
- Airport meet& greet and transport
- Charter planes and helicopters
- Concierge services
- Cruise planning and itineraries
- Dive guides
- Guided tours and excursions
- Hotel bookings at preferred rates
- Massage, spa and beauty care
- Traditional dance shows in various islands
- Yacht and fishing boat charter
Our Services To The Crew
- Banking assistance
- Medical care
- Preferred rates on many hotels
- Car hire and tours
- Travel arrangements
Please contact us for owner and captain comments and testimonials.
Note: This seven day itinerary covers the West Coast of Sabah only. It would be possible to discover all of Sabah in a seven day itinerary, and could potentially include Pulau Lankayan, an idyllic micro dive spot, Pulau Selingan, a sanctuary for sea turtles, an adventurous journey up the Kinabatangan River to visit the proboscis monkeys, pigmy elephants and other rare fauna that feed on the mangrove lining Sabah’s arterial river, and the famous dive spots of Sipadan and Mabul, as well as the numerous other islands that lie off the coast of Semporna.
Day 1 – Pulau Tiga
A passage from Singapore or Thailand will bring your yacht to Pulau Tiga, about 30 nm south of Sabah’s capital, Kota Kinabalu. The original site for the filming of the first “Survivor” reality television programme, Pulau Tiga has two small resorts and a small jetty. The island formed just recently in the late 1800’s and has an interesting mud volcano at its centre, reflective of the thermo activity of the region.
The beaches are a lovely place to set up a BBQ or simply relax. Adjacent to Tiga is a smaller island, Pulau Borong, known as “Snake Island”, a purported breeding ground for sea snakes (caution should be taken walking on this island, as there are indeed many snakes, but guides are available on the main island for those who are feeling adventurous). There is also a lovely sand spit off the northern tip, once a thriving island that was destroyed in a storm, that is surrounded by coral reef.
Day 2 – Kota Kinabalu
WPulau Bangi – Borneo, MalaysiaKota Kinabalu, fondly known simply as KK, is the capital city of Sabah. There are some good restaurants, bars and ample shopping to be had, as well as several beautiful 5 star Resorts located in and around the capital. There are also 7 world-class golf courses in the vicinity, one sporting night golf for those who want to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun. There are many anchorages around the city, and the main marina has good facilities if you choose to berth here overnight.
KK is an ideal hub to explore the interior of Sabah, with options to visit and/or climb Mt. Kinabalu, the highest peak in South East Asia, the Maliau Basin conservation area, known as Sabah’s Lost World, Sandakan, a 35 minute flight, to visit Sepilok, the orang-utan rehabilitation centre, where it may be possible to arrange “privileged” visits to see the orphaned orangutan babies up-close, and also Sukau, along the Kinabatangan, rich in wildlife, including proboscis monkey and jungle elephants. It is possible to make any of these trips in a day via helicopter, so passengers can visit some of the natural land wonders while the yacht is in passage.
Day 3 – Tenku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Maliau Basin – Borneo, MalaysiaThe islands of the Tenku Abdul Rahman Marine Park are a great cruising ground just off the coast of the capital city. Made up of 5 islands, Mamutik, Manukan, Sulug, Sapi and Gaya, the park provides many private coves, secluded snorkeling and diving spots, and wonderful bays. Police Bay on the north-side of Gaya Island, is an excellent secluded spot out of view of the city lights. The steep jungle slopes are home to many indigenous species, and often you will see families of monkeys, wild boar and giant monitor lizards roaming the beach in the early morning or late afternoon.
Day 4 – Pulau Mangalum
Pulau Mangalum lies 30 nm northwest of Kota Kinabalu and offers beautiful beaches and snorkeling. Local lore believes that the great explorer Magellan and his fleet stopped by this island (hence the island’s name) on his way to pay homage to the Sultan of Brunei and a giant galleon anchor, excavated off its shores, rests at the Sabah Museum in Kota Kinabalu to prove the case. The locals favor this area for fishing and to the south west is the Saracen Bank, whose deep waters on Its western-side are a stop over for many pelagic species.
Day 5 – Pulau Mantanani island group
Organgutan sanctuary in Sandakan – Borneo, MalaysiaAbout 65 nm north of Kota Kinabalu, the Islands of Mantanani are tropical havens with extensive white sandy beaches and scattered reefs. There is a small island community on Mantanani Besar (Big Mantanani), where the villagers are extremely friendly and love a spontaneous pick-up football match any time. They will assist to point out the best diving and snorkelling spots, as well as let you know if there have been any recent sightings of dugongs (sea cows) around the shores. In the evenings, thousands of frigate birds circle in the air, a beautiful sight to be seen. Mantanani Kecil (Small Mantanani) is a national bird sanctuary set-up to protect these glorious sea birds. Early risers can catch a beautiful sunrise over Mt. Kinabalu, which can be seen towering over the mainland and the hills of the Crocker Range to the east.
Day 6 – Pulau Kulambu
Mabul Beach, Sipadan Borneo, MalaysiaJust south of the northern tip of Borneo, lies the idyllic island of Pulau Kulambu, attached to the mainland by a sandspit, forming two small bays on either side. This area is blessed with miles of white sandy beaches and coves, as well as beautiful coconut plantations and hills for exploring. The land around Pulau Kulambu is being developed into a high-end luxury villa community, known as the Kudat Riviera, that will feature spectacular tropical homes.
Sempang Megayau, the “Tip of Borneo”, four miles north, has been converted into a public park, and features a dramatic cliff lined area marking this geographical point. Kudat is home to the Rungus people of Sabah, famous for their weaving, beadwork and gong making. There is a Rungus longhouse, the traditional communal home of the tribe, on the beach at Kulambu, as well as several nearby villages that can be visited, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Sabah. The town of Kudat, has a small marina and an 18-hole golf course. Fishing is the mainstay of the economy here, so it is a great place to try the local seafood.
Day 7 – Pulau Bangi and Pulau Bambangunan
Off the coast of Kudat, these islands offer excellent cruising and diving. Dotted with white sandy beaches and coves fringed with native coconut and banana trees, hours can be spent wandering the coastline. There are several stilt-house communities that can be visited and the people are generally friendly and welcoming. There are excellent wreck diving spots in the area, but a guide should be hired to explore some of these rarely visited sites. Fishing is also plentiful in this area.