Depending where you stand on Australia’s continental status, Borneo is either the third or fourth largest island in the world. Despite the depredations of mining and deforestation, it remains an outstanding adventure travel destination.
There are some stunning islands off Borneo, both Indonesian and Malaysian: Sipadan and Mabul are two of Malaysia’s most famous. While currently hard to reach, the Derawan Islands boast some of Indonesia’s best diving. Whether you’re heading to the jellyfish lake at Kakaban, snorkelling with mantas off Sangalaki, enjoying village life on Derawan, or exploring the archipelago’s largest island, Maratua, the Derawans do not disappoint.
The Kalukuang islands and the Paternoster islands, AKA Tupabirring, sit in between Borneo and Sulawesi. Kapoposang, which most consider part of the Spermonde islands, is roughly equidistant between Balikpapan and Makassar, but the national park permit required to visit must be acquired in Makassar.