There are all kinds of cycling terrain in the two states of Malaysian Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak, but by far the most fun can be had on mountain bikes. Road bikes, even on the roads, are not really appropriate!
The beauty of biking in Borneo lies not only in the diversity of length and grade of the rides, but in the surroundings and the ability to truly experience rural Borneo, it's carefree peoples, awe-inspiring nature and breathtaking scenery.
Whether you are looking for an easy ride through the local village, a single track, a high altitude climb, extreme downhill or beautiful views from the top of the hills, all types of mountain biking terrain can be found here in Borneo.
In Sabah, Discover Borneo can organise:
The countryside around Papar offers a glimpse of the day-to-day lives of the many Malays living in Borneo. After a 45 minute road transfer and setting up your bike the EASY ride starts along the paddy fields and continues through banana and rubber plantations before crossing a suspension bridge which strides the Tagupun river. Enter the township of Papar in time for lunch. This is an easy ride that is recommended for all ages and abilities.
The Kiulu river, a famous white water rafting destination, has a great countryside track. The transfer from Kota Kinabalu to Telipok, where you will gear up your bike and start the ride, is about one and a half hours. Going through Kampong Lawamandau, a beautiful village with fantastic views from the hill tops, the ride gradually descends to arrive at Kiulu campsite, on the river, for a BBQ lunch before being transferred back to the city. The ride is a bit hilly and is suitable for an INTERMEDIATE level of fitness
The Tambunan Rafflesia to Mahua Waterfall trail is a longer course for those with a GOOD level of fitness. An early land transfer brings you to the hill tops of the Tambunan Rafflesia Center, where the largest concentration of the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, exists. After bike fitting the challenge starts on a closed road and descends through the odd village and passed paddy field for 2 - 3 hours, beautiful views of the jungle and landscape can be seen beneath. After lunch at a local restaurant we start our journey on gravel and then onto a more challenging dirt track which, after about an hour of riding, leads to the Mahua Waterfall. The clear, cool water offers an extremely refreshing end to a good day on the bike.
This excursion is for those with a sense of adventure as well as a GOOD level of fitness. Starting early in the morning our transport takes you into the Crocker Mountain range to approximately 1000 ft above sea level from here beginning the long ride down a single dirt track through jungle, there will be places for the less experienced where riders will need to carry or push their bikes. Once out of the jungle rainforest riders will follow a road down a long steep descent to Kiulu Village where, with their guide, they will set up fire and camp by the riverside over night.
After breakfast the following morning a ride takes a single track with some short hills and slightly technical sections. The route is very scenic and gives you a chance to see traditional villages and farming areas of the Kadazandusun, the largest tribe in Sabah. From here the day becomes very relaxing and cycling is replaced for rafting, a welcome refreshment after a morning sweating. The Kiulu river, depending on recent rain, is graded between a 1 and 2 class river. This is a very gentle rapid and is suitable for all ages, swimming, paddling, rafting and body rafting offer a great way to cool down after the biking. Finish the rafting in time for a BBQ lunch and a transfer back to Kota Kinabalu.
After a short land transfer day 1 starts at Gunung (mountain) Emas at about 6000 ft. After bike fitting there is a 19km downhill, about a third of which if off-road, through Tambunan Village and to Mahua Waterfall. After a rest and relaxation at the waterfall we start th cycle back to Gunung Emas via a different route to end the day at the Tambunan Rafflesia Centre, where you will able to see the largest flower in the world.
The next day is 80% downhill with about 10% off-road. Travelling from Tambunan to Keningau will take you passed jungle and through villages and paddy fields.
The next day starts will a transfer high into the Cocker range, Borneo's famous mountain range of which Mount Kinabalu is a member, and starts with a 35km downhill into Papar town, where we stop for lunch before a 17km flat followed by a 20km countryside road back into Kota Kinabalu.
Should you want to explore and take unknown tracks, whether it be for a day trip or a 2 week expedition, Discover Borneo can help you organise routes, guides, provisioning and any other needs.
- What is included in the programs?
- All trips offer transportation and transfers, experienced guides, vehicle support, meals, helmets and bike hire and set up. Where appropriate they also offer camping and rafting equipment.
- What should I bring?
- Sun cream, gloves, comfortable shoes and sunglasses and for longer rides, a backpack with water, change of clothes and incest repellent.
Sarawak is for the enthusiasts and with few bike shops it is recommended that you bring your own bike, helmet, spares and tools. Unless you are a large group it is recommended that you get into contact with one of the serious mountain biking clubs in either Miri or Kuching. These clubs have local knowledge of the trails and guides who know the extreme routes and how to survive in the jungle if need be.
- Mountain Biking Trails
- These are numerous and varied in difficulty, length, a type. For example the Sikoh Trail near Kuching. This technical single involves a number of water crossings and leads to a small waterfall. Or the Kampung Opar trail with fast fire roads and screaming downhill.
- Mountain Biking competitions
- The Rainforest Cup, held in Kuching at the nearby beach resort of Damai, and the Battle of Borneo at Mulu are annual competitions. Please contact Discover Borneo for more information on these events.
- Serious adventures
- Just 100 km from Kuching in the Penrissen Highlands, near the Indonesian border, lie a network of longhouses and villages, all linked by tracks that are largely unridden. Alternatively head for Kelabit Highlands, aptly known as Sarawak's "heaven". Bario the main town is 1000 m above sea level, and flanked by Mount Murud (2,454 m) and Batu Lawi (2,043 m) which is more challenging. Treks vary in length; some last up to seven days and cross into Kalimantan (Indonesia). However, the cool air and friendly Kelabit folks make it an irresistible climb.