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Autum break in Borneo with Borneo Dream | Elephants on the banks of the Kinabatangan River

Why take an Autumn Break in Borneo

When you’re not encumbered by school vacation periods, autumn can be a wonderful time to book a holiday. Some may look to the southern hemisphere where seasonal weather patterns are picking up to become dryer and warmer. However, more tropical climes are also ideal destinations for an autumn break. Whether you are looking for an active adventure, or a more relaxed time soaking up your surroundings, Borneo is ideal. We take a look at what the Sabah region is typically like during autumn months, and what you can plan for a break here. 

Weather Patterns

Borneo has two seasons, the ‘Dry Season’ and the ‘Wet Season’. These terms are a little misleading for the region of Sabah, however, as there is a fairly constant temperature and humidity level across the whole year. Sabah has a tropically hot and very humid climate, and temperatures range from 27C to 32C no matter what the season. Autumn months see the transition between dry and wet. Although the wet season is normally considered to run from October to January, this actually has little bearing on Borneo as an Autumn destination. In terms of seasonal daylight hours, as Borneo sits directly across the equator, there is very little variation. The longest days are in June, with an average of 12.4 hours of daylight. January has the shortest days with an average of 11.9 hours of daylight.

Where to go in Autumn

All of Sabah’s holiday destinations are accessible year-round, so you don’t have to choose a location based on the season. With such a range of places to visit, it can be hard to narrow things down. So we’ve included a few ideas that we think can be particularly fun during the Autumn period. 

Danum Valley

As it experiences comparatively less rainfall than the rest of the region, Danum Valley is a good destination for excursions and wildlife experiences. The rainforest conservation area is ideal for adventurers or visitors seeking a more relaxed pace. You might decide to go on a jungle trek, bird spotting tour or river excursion. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge offers luxury chalet accommodation so you can do all this from a base of comfort.

Kundasang

For something a bit different, why not spend a couple of days in Kundasang? This area sits at 1,900 metres above sea level, so is a great place to escape humidity and enjoy a lush, rolling landscape. There are cultural and historical attractions, market shopping and relaxing outdoor thermal pools. This makes it an ideal place for a more relaxed, indulgent tour.  

Kota Kinabalu

This is the capital city of the Sabah region, and you can treat it as a base or a city break destination. We think that a combination of these is ideal! The city itself boasts a museum, markets and a bird sanctuary. Plus all the plentiful places to sample local cuisine. As a base, Kota Kinabalu gives you access to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and its opportunities for diving and snorkelling. Similarly, you can be collected from your accommodation for excursions up and around Mount Kinabalu. 

Best Autumn activities

If you’re thinking of an autumn break in Borneo, you may wonder what specific activities would be on the cards within Sabah. The great thing is that activities are not seasonal. If weather conditions are too poor, an excursion may need to be postponed. However, there is no off-season for excursions and activities.

Scuba Diving 

The great thing about diving is that you’re already going to be wet, so a bit of autumn rainfall doesn’t really matter! You might be an experienced diver looking for stunning dive locations, or looking to learn this skill in some of the most beautiful waters of the world. At Borneo Dream, we offer a range of PADI diving courses and tours that suit everyone from beginners to experts. 

Snorkelling

If full dives aren’t your thing, or you prefer a bit of flexibility between beach time and dive time, snorkelling might work best. Sabah is unique on Borneo in that snorkelling tours are offered all year round. This is because it experiences more weather patterns than the rest of the island. 

Climb Mount Kinabalu

Anyone with an adventurous spirit will surely be tempted by a climbing excursion on Mount Kinabalu. There are multi-day options and routes that are both standard and also “Via Ferrata”. This is a course across the mountain face which you climb using rungs, rails and cables. 

Kinabatangan River Cruise

While animals can be harder to spot in some locations during autumn months, taking to the river is one of the most reliable routes for nature lovers to see wildlife. From a short half-day river cruise to a longer trip that takes in jungle treks on the banks of the river, this is an ideal autumn tour.

Biking Tours

Autumn is the ideal time to explore Sabah on a bike. As the temperatures are slightly cooler, riding can be more pleasant. The gravel and cross-country routes get you up close to the local area that is ideal for active visitors.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Heart set on seeing orangutans but worried that an autumn visit will mean they’re hard to spot? Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, located west of Sandakan. This forest reserve gives visitors the perfect opportunity to see these wonderful animals at close quarters, whatever the season.

The Sabah region is so fortunate to be able to offer a full range of activities and excursions all year round. This means that whatever break you’re after, you’ll find it among the selection of tours that we offer at Borneo Dream.

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