Important considerations and some tips for common misunderstandings. The suggestions below are intended for extensive jungle trekking tours. However, they are also helpful for jungle hikes in national parks or short jungle walks near to tourist resorts.
Functional Clothing and Rain Poncho
In the tropical climate, high temperatures and oppressive humidity leave the impression that it would be best to walk around in swimming suits. However, reedy grasses and thistle plants may cause injuries. Therefore, it is advisable to wear long pants. It is also advantageous to wear socks so that no skin surfaces between shoes and pants.
Functional clothing is breathable and can transfer sweat to the outside. This helps significantly to bear the humidity in the tropical climate. Functional clothing is also available with integrated rain protection. However, for the massive amounts of rain in tropical rainforests this is not sufficient. A rain poncho is advantageous as it protects the person and the backpack simultaneously.
Trail Shoes or Mountaineering Boots
Trail shoes are sufficient for hikes on even terrain and for steep terrain, boots with ankle protection are necessary. The massive amounts of rainfall in the tropical climate add another criterion. Even on marked trails in national parks, knee-deep streams or ponds may need to be crossed. Thorns or razor-sharp grass may cause injuries if one takes off his shoes. Advisable are water sports shoes that dry quickly and have an integrated water evacuation system. To avoid slipping on rocks they are also available with a rough profile and some models can be worn without socks.
Sun Protection during jungle trekking
In the latitudes of tropical climates, the sun is much stronger then in the moderate climate. Even when trekking through dense jungle with little exposure to direct sunlight there is a risk for sunburn. Sunscreen creams and a hat are necessary. Additionally a cloth should cover the neck.
Risk of Insect Bites
Insect bites are not only annoying but they are also a risk for tropical diseases. Insect repellents are therefore an essential item for a pleasant jungle trekking experience.
Contact with Wild Animals
In the jungle are poisonous creatures, which hikers should not come close. The respective headquarters of national parks provide information about unpleasant beings in the area. For headquarters of national parks in East Malaysia on Borneo the websites, www.sarawakforestry.com www.forest.sabah.gov.my provide contact details.
Wherever macaques live, visitors must store water bottles and leftover food in their backpack. Macaques are not particularly shy and they will try to steal the food.
Even in the tropical climate, there is a risk of forest fire in exposed places. In national parks, jungle camps can only be setup in designated areas. Additionally, camping in designated areas prevents from unpleasant surprises such as waking up in the middle of a pond or a stream after a monsoon rain.
Other Useful Tips
In the tropical climate, heavy rains are likely throughout the whole year. A poncho protects hiker and backpack from rain. Additionally, important documents and items (wallet, passport, mobile phone, etc.) should be kept in a transparent and waterproof bag.
Never leave marked trails.
Check shoes properly before putting them on. Scorpions and other insects might crawl into shoes when they are put aside during a rest.
On each tour, it is important to know the distance of the trail and to be able to assess your own condition.
Drinking water and food is required in sufficient quantities to overcome an unexpected delay.
In order to discover the biodiversity of flora and fauna of the tropical rain forest a local guide will draw attention to much that the untrained eye would miss. Furthermore, in order to eat wild fruits in the jungle, you can rely on a local guide.
Getting to Borneo: Please see our Travel Planning Tips.
For the best time to travel to Borneo see our guide about Tourist Season, Climate & Weather
Want to combine jungle hiking with a summit victory? Then consider Mount Santubong.