Tips and Advice for Planning a Borneo Family Holiday

By: Phalinn Ooi

Sun, seaside, wildlife and a pool can be the everything you need for a perfect family holiday. However, how can you choose between all these things? Let’s me tell you about my family holiday to Borneo, as it might give you some cool ideas for your own trips.

Where Is Borneo and How to Get There?

The best way to get to Borneo is by flying into Kota Kinabalu, as that’s where the
best part of the action is. If you want to have a great family holiday, you need to plan your flights very carefully. We try to stay away from long connections, and we always use only reputable airlines. When travelling with children, it’s best to arrive late afternoon so that they can go to sleep almost right away.

Choose Kota Kinabalu as Your Entry Point

We found the A380 as being very comfortable and family-friendly. Our children slept for several hours on the night flight. We had top-notch in-flight entertainment, thanks to the touchscreen TVs and classic video games. The space is very generous, so we could stretch our legs without problems. The economy upper deck of the A380 features a side-storage bucket for your personal items. If you have a pillow, you can use it as a headrest by the window, allowing a better rest. Our seats were on the upper deck. We arrived in the evening, and we were picked up at the airport and driven to Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort.

The Shangri-la Rasa Ria Resort Is a Family-friendly Accommodation

As Borneo was the first destination of our holiday, we wanted to get some rest and relax. We’ve found the Shangri-La to be perfect for this purpose. The beautiful rooms and the amazing swimming pools, the awesome beach and the stunning sunsets were only a few of the things we appreciated during our stay. This resort is located in the middle of nowhere, but as long as it has everything you may need, it makes an excellent family holiday choice. The service is very good and the staff is always ready to go the extra mile to make you feel comfortable.

By setting your base camp at Shangri-La, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the action. The nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park is home to some impressive beaches and stunning marine life. Getting to the diving resort of  Kota Kinabalu is very easy.  There’s also a shuttle to Tanjung Aru, which is the other Shangri-La resort.

Visit the Baby Orangutans

Rasa Ria hosts an orphanage for baby orangutans. As they grow up, they get transferred to the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, where you can see them living free in the natural reserve.

Orangutans are a disappearing species, with only 20,000 of them living in the wild. This is what makes these centres so amazing. Sepilok is worth a visit, as it is also very close to Kinabatangan River and to the Turtle Islands Park where you can view two species of turtles.

Go See Turtle Island

If you like turtles, you can’t get to Borneo and not visit the Turtle Island. Turtles here hatch all year round, so you’ll surely view some turtle landings. Nonetheless, the best time to visit is July-October, as the seas are less rough.

Selingan Island offers basic but neat accommodation. The number of visitors is restricted, in order to prevent overcrowding. This means you have to do your booking in advance. While you can take a day trip, overnight stays are better, because they enable you to see more, especially taking into consideration that the most interesting part of the day comes after the sun goes down. Snorkeling and seeing the turtles will make you forget about the lack of amenities.

Why Go to Borneo With Your Family?

When it comes to wildlife, it’s hard to find a better destination than Borneo. Our children loved it, and that made us happy. Most kids enjoy the local food, as it is a milder version of the Asian cuisine.

The Shangri-La Rasa Ria has everything it takes to be a family-friendly destination. Its gorgeous pools and activities, as well as the kids’ menus, recommend it for families with kids. You may not even want to see anything else than this.