This article aims to give honest and up-to-date on if it is safe to travel to Malaysian Borneo, taking in recommendations from The Foreign Office (FCO) Malaysia as well as general safety standards in the two states of Sabah and Sarawak for tourists.
Is Borneo safe to visit?
It is first worth noting that each year more than 400,000 British nationals visit Malaysia, and Borneo, and most trips are without incident. At the time of writing, the Foreign Office travel advice for Borneo is to avoid all but essential travel to the islands off the coast of eastern Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Borneo has seen some sporadic incidents in the last couple of years, but these were limited to the southern border with the Philippines. Off the island of Semporna, in the east coast of Sabah, lie remote islands where piracy has been documented.
However, this is a tiny fraction of Sabah and for the most part ETG believe it is perfectly safe to travel to Malaysian Borneo. In order to visit the main sites travellers don’t have to pass through any of the troubled regions. As a matter of fact, visiting the far flung islands off the coast of Semporna is quite out of the way. We would argue that northern islands such as Lankayan are entirely safe to visit. Nevertheless, Experience Travel Group will always follow the lead set by the FCO and take necessary precautions.
How to travel safely in Borneo
A professional travel company will provide more than enough information for travellers to make informed decisions. A responsible tour operator such as Experience Travel Group will always relocate their customers to a safe area if FCO Borneo travel advice changes or if any alerts are noted. In addition, we provide on the ground support, while from the UK we help assist in guaranteeing the logistics for your trip are just right.
Our guides are not only there to offer you enthralling experiences of local culture, but also to ensure your safety. We primarily organise holidays to the Malaysian Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak, and keep up to date with all Malaysia travel warnings (as well as the fun stuff, like new hotels and experiences)! We also love to arrange trips to Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).
It doesn’t matter at all if you don’t know anything about Borneo before you contact us. In fact, it’s very common for people to call us with questions like: ‘Where is Borneo in the world?’ and ‘Is Borneo a country?’ It is nothing to worry about – our travel experts are here to help you get to know what a holiday to Borneo is like. And, just in case you didn’t know, Borneo is an island found west of Malaysia and south of the Philippines, and its ownership is split between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is the third largest island in the world and the largest island in Asia.
If you are looking to travel to Borneo from the UK there are no direct flights; you have to travel via Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. If you would like personalised advice on how to get to Borneo, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Originally published 24th April 2017. Updated 3rd March 2019.