Best Places to Travel in 2016

Malaysia, Borneo, Sarawak, Bako National Park, woman walking on Telok Assam beach near a cliff and rocks
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Julien Garcia

The 50 biggest, buzziest destinations to visit this year include France’s new culture hub, a revived Hawaiian hideaway, and Mexico’s next great arts city.

40. Borneo

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This lush island (part Indonesian, part Malaysian) has long been known as the home of the endangered Bornean orangutan—and as one of Asia’s last surviving great rain-forest habitats. For years, only the truly adventurous made the difficult journey into its wild, undeveloped heart, but high-end offerings are slowly opening the island to the world. The National Geographic Orion (now operated by Lindblad Expeditions) was among the first to venture into the waters off Borneo’s coast. Other lines are following suit; Silversea has introduced a new port of call in 2015 in Bintulu, a coastal town on the Malaysian side of Borneo and a gateway for exploring the nearby Similajau National Park (home to hornbills, gibbons, and long-tailed macaques). New itineraries in otherwise remote and under-the-radar areas have also spurred hotel development. Gaya, an island off Borneo’s Malaysian coast that once consisted mainly of fishermen’s villages, has recently welcomed another hotel: Gaya Island Resort has 120 hillside villas with spectacular views of the sea and comes with its own yacht and resident naturalist. Last April marked the opening of the 101-room Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa, the second in Borneo for the Marriott brand, whose design mimics its forested surroundings. And with the reopening of the North Borneo Railway system, visitors are gaining unprecedented access to the island’s rural corners, and a chance to see a world not yet overrun by civilization. —Lindsey Olander

Malaysia, Borneo, Sarawak, Bako National Park, woman walking on Telok Assam beach near a cliff and rocks

Best Places to Travel in 2016

40. Borneo

This lush island (part Indonesian, part Malaysian) has long been known as the home of the endangered Bornean orangutan—and as one of Asia’s last surviving great rain-forest habitats. For years, only the truly adventurous made the difficult journey into its wild, undeveloped heart, but high-end offerings are slowly opening the island to the world. The National Geographic Orion (now operated by Lindblad Expeditions) was among the first to venture into the waters off Borneo’s coast. Other lines are following suit; Silversea has introduced a new port of call in 2015 in Bintulu, a coastal town on the Malaysian side of Borneo and a gateway for exploring the nearby Similajau National Park (home to hornbills, gibbons, and long-tailed macaques). New itineraries in otherwise remote and under-the-radar areas have also spurred hotel development. Gaya, an island off Borneo’s Malaysian coast that once consisted mainly of fishermen’s villages, has recently welcomed another hotel: Gaya Island Resort has 120 hillside villas with spectacular views of the sea and comes with its own yacht and resident naturalist. Last April marked the opening of the 101-room Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa, the second in Borneo for the Marriott brand, whose design mimics its forested surroundings. And with the reopening of the North Borneo Railway system, visitors are gaining unprecedented access to the island’s rural corners, and a chance to see a world not yet overrun by civilization. —Lindsey Olander

Julien Garcia
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