At nearly 300,000 square miles, Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world. Experience huge diversity, from jungles and towering rainforests to splendid beaches ringed by colourful reefs. Governance of the sprawling island is split between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei and each area has a unique cultural spirit. “South Borneo is the place to visit for inland tours, like jungle treks and river boat excursions,” says Punthasuree Kay Monney, charter manager and broker at Northrop & Johnson, “but the most interesting cruising grounds are at the island’s northern end, just below Sipadan, Malaysia. Here you’ll find the remote island chains of Maratua, Derawan and Kakaban, where a freshwater jelly fish lagoon lies in secret.”
Charter lowdown: Some Indonesian charter yachts will make the voyage to Borneo, though a relocation fee might apply. “It’s possible to charter in Borneo with clearance required via Malaysia,” says Gayle Patterson, Camper & Nicholsons’ senior charter marketing manager. Indonesia-based yachts are required to be Indonesian flagged, which means the majority of crew – including the captain and all deckhands – must be locals.
Choose your yacht: The 46 metre Mutiara Laut merges classic Indonesian phinisi styling with an 18th century schooner. Available from $58,750 per week, her seven cabins are spacious, with a priority placed on en suites, including the full-width VIP bathroom.
The largest traditionally built phinisi in Indonesia, Lamima, has a modern interior and is available from $126,000 per week. “Lamima is the only phinisi with 100 per cent Indonesian crew, as this is part of the travel experience, to be immersed in the friendly Indonesian culture,” says Patterson.
The 56 metre expedition yacht Salila stands out in Indonesia. Her tough exterior belies a comfortable interior featuring local artworks and historical photographs. There’s a divemaster on board and a huge watersports arsenal. Available from $89,100 per week.