Episode 2 – The Borneo Expedition: Trans Borneo 2017 – Into the Heart of Borneo

We are pleased to announce that the Borneo Expedition will be covering and filming Episode 2 of our overland adventure series this year by joining the Trans Borneo event organised jointly by North Borneo Explorer (NBE) of Sabah, Malaysia  and P.T. Java Adventura of Java, Indonesia.

This episode was aired in ASTRO Channel 109 and RTM in 2019.


Trans Borneo started in 1988 when a group of former ex-Camel Trophy participants led by Yamin Vong, Dr. Zaini, Taib Khamis and the ACKL (Adventure Club Kuala Lumpur) members, decided to do a similar type of event in East Malaysia.

The first event started in Kuching and took participants on the roads less travelled towards Kota Kinabalu. The rugged clothes, bandana on their heads, participants with mud-boots, and mud-filled vehicles captured the public’s imagination and sparked off massive interest in off-roading in Sabah and Sarawak. In 1989, the event started in Kota Kinabalu heading towards Kuching.

Nostalgic Borneo Bulletin newspaper feature of Trans Borneo in 1989

In 1996, North Borneo Explorer (NBE) organized the first ever circumnavigation of the island of Borneo island including Kalimantan with Silverstone as the main sponsor. In 1997, they again circumnavigated the anti-clockwise starting and ending in Brunei Darussalam. This series of Trans Borneo lasted through until 2001.

After a hiatus and in collaboration with P.T. Java Adventura, Indonesia, it was revived in 2014 and continues in this upcoming Trans Borneo 2017.

The Trans Borneo led directly to the formation of the KFWDC (Kinabalu Four Wheel Drive Club). KFWDC, Borneo’s first 4X4 Club or organization that organized the Borneo Safari which is the longest running 4X4 event (26 years) in Asia. It is still run annually by the KFWDC’s successor, the SFWDA (Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association).


From left: Anuar Ghani of North Borneo Explorer, Harry Sanusi of PT Java Adventura, 4×4 Veterans Richard (aka Volvo Voon) and Mr Chai from Sarawak.

North Borneo Explorer and P.T. Java Adventura are not new to the 4×4 world. Both these companies are run by 4×4 veterans from Malaysia and Indonesia who have shaped the 4×4 fraternity in this region.

The key person behind Trans Borneo 2017 and NBE is Anuar Ghani, a founder of the first Borneo 4X4 Club, the KFWDC and a founder of the Borneo Safari in 1991, made its name by organizing the first circumnavigation of the island of Borneo in 1996 & 1997. Altogether, NBE has organized more than 30 events over the years including Land Rover adventures, British Blind, Hong Kong 4X4 Adventures and events for Continental Tyres, Ford, Perodua, Mitsubishi, and others.

P.T. Java Adventura is headed by Harry Sanusi and his son, Reza Hariputra.  P.T. Java Adventura’s biggest undertaking was as ground handler for the PETRONAS ADVENTURE TEAM (PAT) Trans Nusantara event in 2005, a 58 days road adventure covering the Indonesian Archipelago starting in Bintulu, Sarawak and ending in Bandar Aceh, traversing over Komodo Island and Bali along the way.


The Trans Borneo 2017 event starts in Kota Kinabalu on the 13th August 2017 and finishes at Brunei Darussalam on the 27th August 2017.

This event is a collaboration between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam supported by the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines – East Asia Growth Area) business council, the Malaysian Government, the province of Kalimantan Utara and Kalimantan Timur and Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam.

Regarded as the mother of all 4×4 events in Borneo, the Trans Borneo is back this year with another different challenge.  With the theme of “Into The Heart Of Borneo – The Last Frontier”, it starts from Sabah, Malaysia, crossing into North Kalimantan Utara and East Kalimantan before moving westwards across one of the last frontiers in Borneo, from Malinau to Ba’kelalan in Sarawak.

As there are no gazetted CIQ points between Sabah and North Kalimantan border, to cross the Simangarris border post, the event organiser had to obtain a special permission from the Sabah state cabinet.  To enter North Kalimantan and Brunei, the event organiser had contacted the Malaysian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs to assist the convoy to clear immigration and customs. They have also issued a diplomatic note to the Indonesian embassy and Brunei to assist with passage of the convoy. The event has also received the clearance from the State Security Councils of Sabah and Sarawak.

The border crossing at Simangarris between North Kalimantan and Sabah during the last edition of Trans Borneo in 2014

The 15 days expedition will cover more than 2,100 Kms through 3 countries Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. With a convoy of 20 vehicles and 60 participants, Trans Borneo 2017 expedition’s main mission is to create history by making the first 4×4 overland expedition to cross through the heart of Borneo from Malinau, North Kalimantan, Indonesia westwards across to Ba’kelalan in Sarawak.

THE LAST FRONTIER, a 260Kms hard-core route that will take at least 4 days to cross from Malinau, North Kalimantan to Ba’kelalan, Sarawak.

This historical crossing is named as “THE LAST FRONTIER” by Event Director Anuar Ghani as this is a 260 Kms long hard-core route that will take at least 4 days, crossing through 3 rivers, some severely steep hill climbs, broken bridges, muddy crossings, remote Dayak villages before coming out at Ba’kelalan in northern Sarawak.  Upon reaching Ba’kelalan, the Trans Borneo team will also be conducting CSR projects such as laying the foundations of a school and planting of trees in an eco-resort, the tropical jungle hideout.

Mt Kinababalu measuring 4,095M tall is the summit of the island of Borneo, and Malaysia’s 1st world heritage site.

Besides the thrills and adrenaline of off-roading, the expedition is also filled with a journey of discoveries where the expedition will visit interesting travel destinations in Borneo. Trans Borneo will visit Sabah Tea, the only tea plantation in Sabah backed by a majestic view of Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Borneo island.

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary at Sukau is a world famous destination for wildlife watching in Borneo

Meet the Orangutans at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, in touch with more wildlife such as pigmy elephants, hornbills, prosboscis monkeys at the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sukau, taste the great Empurau fish in Balung Resort and Plantation in Tawau and explore islands and marine life from Tanjung Selor to Derawan Island or swim with Manta rays at the famous Sangalaki Island off the coast of Kalimantan!

Enjoy the best marine and island at Derawan, Kalimantan with island resorts and swim with giant manta rays at Sangalaki


Interested to join? Please visit: www.transborneo.net or contact Event Director Anuar Ghani at: +6016-881-1725.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *