Borneo, a giant rugged island in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago, is shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan and the tiny nation of Brunei. It’s known for its beaches and ancient, biodiverse rainforest, home to wildlife including orang-utans and clouded leopards.
Sabah boats a 4,095m-tall mountain called Mount Kinabalu, the island’s highest peak, and, offshore, the famed dive site Sipadan Island.
There is no especially good or bad season to visit, as rain is a real possibility every day, all year. Lowland areas always hot and humid. Traditionally, 'Wet' Season is from Oct–Feb and indistinct wet season is from October to February which can affect boat links to offshore islands and visibility for divers. There is an array of things to do and places to visit in Borneo, ranging from natural reserves, diving and trekking. The top 5 to definitely experience are:
Kota Kinabalu is the entry and exit point for flights to Sabah. It has a few historic buildings and museums but is enjoyed best for its wonderful tropical islands.
Gaya Island is the largest island of the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. It's home to some interesting wildlife as well as the Marine Ecology Research Centre.
Sepilok is most famous for its Orang-Utan sanctuary, which has gained a worldwide reputation for its conservation work. Around 25km north of Sandakan, and covering some 40 sq km of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, this inspiring world-famous centre welcomes orphaned and injured Orang-utans for rehabilitation before returning them to forest life. There are currently between 60 and 80 living here.
4. SIPIDAN ISLAND & KAPALAI ISLANDS 5. MULU NATIONAL PARK
Approximately an hour’s boat ride from the Eastern town of Semporna, the islands of Kapalai, Sipadan and Mabul, offer some of the finest coral reefs and dive sites in the world.
From some of the world's most incredible (and accessible) caves, to brilliant old-growth tropical rainforest and some natural oddities such as the Pinnacles formation on Mt Api Mulu National Park is truly one of the world's great wonders.
MONTI & the Orang-utan PROJECT:
Our Monti sandal was born out of love and created with passion from magical moments and experiences by the sea and nature. Close to my heart, this sandal was also an inspiration into giving back to the beautiful creatures that exists amongst us and to help sustain their existence in the wild. Back in 2012, I was fortunate and had the amazing opportunity of spending a entire hour with an Orang-utan named Zoe. Her and I "hung out" and interacted playfully. I gave her a back massage, she playfully pushed me off the bench (at 3 she is as strong as 7 men)...and then we shared a moment that is still magical to this day... through the gap between the bench slats..she was on one side and I on the other...we looked at each other eye to eye... she reached over the bench and stroked my hair....me a human...her an ape and only the language beings between us.
A tick off my bucket list will be to offer my time as a volunteer in the helping these beautiful gentle giants, but as I am currently unable to do so, this experience has urged me to help in other ways....the MONTI project.
MONTI is one of the younger members of the centre Orang-utan family. She arrived at the end of November 2009, and had taken the rescue team several days to track her down after forestry officers had alerted them of her existence. Monti was so young that she needed round-the-clock care like a human baby: she drank lots of milk and slept a great deal. She soon grew strong and old enough to leave her guardians care, and after weeks of watching her friends indulge in some real rough and tumble, Monti finally decided she was ready to join in all the fun and games with the others. She developed into quite a fearless climber with a great sense of adventure, is very sweet and inquisitive. She is also always eager to make friends with new volunteers when they are finding their feet at the centre. Monti is known for having the thickest and shiniest coat of the whole bunch.
There are many organisations out there that are actively helping rainforest preservation and Orang-Utan protection, but one which stands out is The Orang-utan Project.
A dynamic, fast-growing and successful not-for-profit organisation the Orang-utan project supports a wide range of critical projects that address the holistic problem facing remaining fragmented Orang-utan populations - including fighting deforestation and habitat loss at the highest level.
Leif Cocks, founder and world-renowned Orang-utan expert (as a result of his 25+ year career working with Orang-utans, and establishing the most successful breeding colony of Orang-utans in the world) formed the organisation in 1998, with the key mission of ensuring that endangered wild Orang-utan species would be protected against extinction, and would continue to live in secure populations for generations to come. Leif recently took Studio 10's Robbo and some of the crew to one of their rescue projects in the forests of Sumatra to explain just what they do, and why they are so compelled to do it.
The organisation is involved in a variety of projects and offers a range of ways to get involved from adoption, donations, adventure tours and volunteering, with all funds going directly into Orang-utan conservation, such as Orang-utan rescue, rehabilitation and release programs, but also forest habitat protection and regeneration, education, research and local community partnerships. Tying funding into direct outcomes for the species has enabled The Orang-utan Project to partner with the majority of Orang-utan conservation projects operating on the ground today in Borneo and Sumatra.
So we have decided to help out MONTI and her expanding family by donating $5.00 from every pair of our Monti sandals to the organisation in hope that we can eventually fully adopt her!
Available in 3 colour combinations, this nautical inspired leather sandal is handcrafted from natural products (Leather and Cotton) and adorned with carefully chosen ornaments which represent our love of the ocean and the beautiful wildlife it offers for our enjoyment, all of which encompass Borneo, its islands and rainforests. Light and very comfortable to wear, this item will compliment any outfit and make the perfect travel accessory.
We are very excited and proud of this sandal and hope that with your help, we can achieve our goal of helping and ensuring Monti and her family health and sustainability for years to come!
Further information about the Orang-utan project can be found here: