We always take our annual family vacation over Easter – the kids have two weeks off, the limited vacation days Nick has are topped off with public holidays and over summer we are in Germany for so long that we get some quality family time in before that. Weatherwise this is not ideal, almost everywhere outside Asia is still cold or not warm yet. After last years trip to California we wanted to stay in Asia this and when looking for flights Borneo kept popping up.

Borneo has this exotic far away island ring to it, and I never realised how close to Hong Kong it is! Less than 6 hours door to door and you are there. Perfect for a family trip! Also not having to adjust to a different time zone is always a plus.

We broke the two weeks we had up into 3 parts – island, mountains and caves. For the first part I found a super cute, off the grid beach cottage. It had no reviews on airbnb which could be hit or miss but my gut feeling can be trusted and it ended up being the best five days we all had in a long time. A tiny beach with rocks to climb and mangroves to explore, hammocks, no wifi, limited electricity, an intact reef to snorkel over. Plus home cooked meals, a bonfire at night and the best sunsets. So so good.

We extended our stay and didn’t want to leave but we had booked a few nights near Mount Kinabalu so we left reluctantly.
The area around Mt Kinabalu (more than 4000m high and a World Heritage Site!) is just beautiful.. Lush, green, dense, it really felt untouched and wild there.

I had booked a place in Kundasang I thought looked really nice – which turned out to be photogenic but a disappointment. We have stayed everywhere from five stars hotel to 10 bed bug bunks in India but for the money we paid there this was pretty gross. Plus the heat and humidity made hiking (which was what we had planned to do) not fun for the kids, so we left a day early before we flew out to Mulu National Park. ( part two coming up soon!)

beach vacation with kids in borneo

beach swing in borneo

beach vacation in borneo

family vacation photography in borneo

borneo island

snorkelling in borneo

snorkelling in borneo


boys reading

kids watching tv

snorkeling in borneo

boy in borneo

kids in borneo

bonfire in borneo

kid writing diary on beach

sunset with friends

sunset with friends

sunset with friends

sunset with friends

mangrove in borneo

saying good bye to new friends

boy in borneo

borneo sky

night food market in borneo