These 7 major cities are perfect for a stopover

Borneo has an insanely diverse and exciting natural environment to offer. A stopover in an exciting metropolis on the way there or back provides the perfect addition. Furthermore, a stopover helps to shorten the travel time.

This article presents seven major cities you can perfectly combine with a vacation in Borneo. The requirement for us is not only that the city is worth seeing but also that there are good flight connections to Borneo and that it is geographically well-located for a stopover.

Depending on where you want to travel to Borneo from, not all cities are well located for you. But we have suggestions for travellers from Australia and New Zealand as well as from North America or Europe. So there should be something for you as well.

Stopover in Singapore
Skyline in Singapore with Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer


The city-state of Singapore is, in our opinion, one of the most exciting metropolises in the world. If you haven’t been there yet, you really should visit the multi-cultural city as soon as possible. This is mainly because it is very different from other Southeast Asian metropolises. In addition, there are plenty of exciting sights to see in Singapore. Among our favourites are Gardens by the Bay, a ride on the Singapore Flyer, Supertree Grove (especially in the evening), the Botanical Gardens or the Zoo. You should also see Marina Bay, Raffles Hotel, Orchard Road and Chinatown.

There are daily flight connections from Singapore to Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Miri. The flight time is only 1.5 to 2.5 hours. You can easily get to Singapore from Europe, Australia and New Zealand. There are nonstop flights from almost all major cities. And from the smaller towns, there are many connections with only one stop. However, Singapore is not quite as suitable for travellers from North America due to its location.

Stopover in Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is also one of the worth-seeing metropolises of Southeast Asia and the capital of Malaysia. At the same time, traditional and modern, the lively city is definitely worth a stopover. The highlight is the Petronas Towers, which used to be the tallest building in the world and are still the tallest twin towers. Other attractions are KLCC Park, Chinatown, Bird Park, and Batu Caves, located somewhat outside.

From Kuala Lumpur, there are the most flights to Borneo, and all major destinations are connected. From this point of view, Malaysia’s capital is particularly suitable as a destination before or after a trip to Borneo. Like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur is best suited for travellers from Europe, Australia, or New Zealand and not for people from North America. However, there are far fewer direct flights to Kuala Lumpur than to Singapore. Europeans, in particular, almost always have to change planes once.

Stopover in Seoul
Bongeunsa Temple in Seoul


Seoul is a vibrant, modern city where you can still find the old traditions. You can discover various sights, such as the Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung palaces, Bukhansan National Park, or the Myeong-dong shopping district markets. In addition, the city is lined with modern buildings.

The capital of South Korea is suitable for a stopover on the way to Borneo, especially for North Americans. For them, it is on the route and is a welcome break from the long journey. There are also plenty of nonstop flights between North America and Seoul International Airport. From there, there are usually two daily flights to Kota Kinabalu. Kuching or the other airports are not connected to Seoul.

Stopover in Bangkok
Wat Ratchanatdaram Temple in Bangkok


Thailand is one of the most popular long-distance destinations for many people from Europe. And that has something to do with the capital Bangkok. The multi-million metropolis has an extraordinary charm for many: pure chaos dominates the city. It feels like the city is bursting at the seams, there is street food on many corners, it is a true shopper’s paradise, and there are also religious and historical sights to be discovered in Bangkok. The most famous is Wat Pho, the temple with the giant, lying golden Buddha. However, there are countless other temples and temple complexes worth seeing in the city of temples.

From Bangkok, there are only a few connections to Borneo. AirAsia flies to Kota Kinabalu from the smaller Don Mueang Airport (DMK), but only three times a week. The flight time is 3 hours. From Europe, however, you can get to Bangkok easily. Direct flights are possible from many airports. Countless and mostly extremely cheap one-stop flights are available from many other international airports.

Stopover in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong

Delicious food, the hustle and bustle on the streets, and diverse cultural influences paired with the modern appearance of countless skyscrapers: Hong Kong is one of those metropolises you must see once. The city also has numerous sights worth seeing. The most famous landmark is the majestic Big Buddha. Even the ride there in the gondola is amazing. Another highlight is Victoria Peak, where you have a great view of wonderful Hong Kong. Also, you should not miss a trip with the Star Ferry.

From Hong Kong, there are two daily direct flights to Kota Kinabalu. However, there are no flights to other cities. Hong Kong is suitable for North Americans and Europeans due to its location. However, flights to Hong Kong from Europe and America have been reduced due to the protests in 2019. But nonstop flights are now available again from all major international airports.

Stopover in Tokyo
Tokyo at night


Gigantic and high, yet quiet and clean. Packed with people but never crowded. Tokyo is unique and gives you a feeling that is hard to describe. The inhabitants are very friendly, the streets extremely crowded, and yet no one bumps into you. It’s hard to imagine how quiet and calm it is here, considering how big the city is and how many people live there. This unique atmosphere and the Japanese flair make this city something exceptional. Additionally, the modernity of a cosmopolitan city mixes with historical religious sites. You notice, Tokyo is definitely worth a visit!

As a stopover, we recommend Japan’s capital only for travellers from North America. There are plenty of direct connections for them, especially from the West Coast. After your stay in Tokyo, you can choose Malaysian Airlines to continue from Narita Airport to Kota Kinabalu two to three times a week. Unfortunately, there are no flights to other destinations in Borneo.

Stopover in Dubai
Burj Khalifa in Dubai


Dubai is, without a doubt, a city of superlatives. It has, for example, the world’s tallest building, one of the world’s largest shopping centres, one of the world’s largest airports and the gigantic artificial islands called „The Palm“. But Dubai has much more to experience.

In the desert emirate, you can expect dreamlike beaches, fantastic desert landscapes, countless shopping opportunities in modern malls or traditional souks, varied leisure activities for young and old, as well as a variety of international restaurants. In Dubai, everyone is sure to find something they like.

Dubai is the farthest from Borneo of the seven recommended cities. Moreover, there are no direct flights to the island. The desert metropolis is ideal for Europeans, as there are nonstop flights from many international airports. But it is also a suitable transfer point for travellers from the east coast of North America. This is because there are also many nonstop flights to Dubai from the East Coast, and the travel time via Dubai is not much longer than via Tokyo, Seoul or Hong Kong.

From Dubai, many cities in Borneo are reached after about 11 to 12 hours of travel time with a single change in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

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