From breathtaking natural landscapes to incredible wildlife encounters, East Malaysia is a captivating corner of Asia. Also known as Malaysian Borneo, the region is separated from the mainland by the South China Sea. Friendly villages, towns and cities showcase the rich history, culture and cuisine of East Malaysia.
Things to do in East Malaysia
Get off the beaten track in the Kelabit Highlands. Scenic trails wind through the highlands and connect small villages surrounded by lush rice paddies. Set off on a day hike or hire a guide and embark on a multi-day trek.
See (and smell) the amazing Rafflesia flower in Gunung Gading National Park. It can grow up to one meter in diameter and is one of the largest flowers in the world. Guided jungle treks are the best way to explore the park and see Rafflesia flowers, which emit a pungent aroma when in bloom.
Relax in the laid-back city of Kuching. It’s set on the Sarawak River and is a great base for day trips around East Malaysia. Get up early to visit the nearby Semenggoh Nature Reserve, where you can see wild orangutans in their natural habitat.
Spend a night in Bako National Park, a sanctuary for proboscis monkeys. The endangered primates are endemic to Borneo and famous for their bulbous noses. Well-marked trails wind through the park and showcase the lush rainforests and coastal ecosystems.
Discover an underwater wonderland on Sipadan Island. It’s one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world and features colourful coral reefs teeming with life. Swim with sharks, turtles, rays and enormous schools of barracuda. You can find affordable accommodation on neighbouring islands Mabul and Kapalai or splurge on luxurious overwater bungalows.
Hike to the summit of Mount Kinabalu and enjoy panoramic views over East Malaysia. At 4,095 meters, it’s one of the tallest mountains in Southeast Asia. The full summit trek takes several days to complete, or you can opt for shorter jungle hikes.
Getting around East Malaysia
East Malaysia is located on the island of Borneo. Direct flights operate between Kuala Lumpur and major cities like Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Both are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Taxis are a fast and affordable way to cover longer distances, or you can ride local buses.