History of Trans Borneo

The Trans Borneo is the mother of all 4X4 events in Borneo. It 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.

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).

The Trans Borneo 2017 is a road adventure covering all 3 countries in Borneo Island which are Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak), Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia (Kalimantan).

With the theme of “Into the Heart of Borneo”, it starts from Sabah, Malaysia, crossing into Kalimantan Utara and Kalimantan Timur before moving westwards across one of the last frontiers in Borneo, from Malinau to Ba’kelalan in Sarawak. The route cuts through the very heart of Borneo. It is one of the last great 4X4 adventures in Borneo!!!

The Trans Borneo 2017 event starts in Kota Kinabalu on the 13th August 2017 and finishes at Brunei Darussalam on the 27th August 2017. The event includes 8 days of hotel and resort accommodation and 7 days camping by the road side or in the jungle.

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. 

Trans Borneo 2019 – The Last Frontier was a road adventure covering the Malaysian states of Sabah & Sarawak through North Kalimantan in Borneo Island. It started from Sabah, Malaysia, moving South and eastwards across one of the last frontier in Borneo, from Ba’kelalan in Sarawak into Long Bawan, Kalimantan Utara and Kalimantan Timur before recrossing the border back northwards into Sabah.

The upcoming event is Trans Borneo 2021 “The Land below the Wind” where the tour will include all 10 concepts of travel in 1 event (CHAN) in road travel around Sabah, Malaysia’s Borneo.

In 2022, NBE also plans an event called Trans Borneo – The Twilight Trails which is a road adventure covering the Malaysian states of Sabah & Sarawak, Kalimantan (Indonesia), and Brunei Darussalam on Borneo Island. It starts from Sabah (Malaysia), moving South into Kalimantan Utara (Kaltara) and Samarinda, Balikpapan and into the new Indonesian capital at Sepaku, Penajam Kalimantan Timur (Kaltim) (Indonesia), and westwards across the “Last Frontier” in Borneo through Sarawak before crossing in to Brunei Darussalam and finishing in Lawas, Sarawak.

The reason for the name “The Twilight Trail” is because currently the Krayan and Kayan Mentarang area in North Kalimantan is a mysterious and forbidding region. However, development is fast coming and changing the face of this remote area. For the time being, weather conditions being right, it is a world class 4X4 playground / location. This may not remain for long as changes are happening quickly.

From dawn to dusk…

This is the dawn of a new era in reachability and access to the Krayan and the dusk is settling down on it as being a remote and rarely reachable part of Borneo. Hence, The Twilight Trail! Also, in tackling some areas particularly Gunung Slukut, the participants had to work hard, driving, and winching, and inching their way from dawn to dusk and beyond. That is the other reason why it called The Twilight Trail!

This  event is also a soft core touring adventure travel to visit the attractions in Kalimantan Utara and visit the town of Samarinda, Balikpapan and the new capital of Indonesia at Sepaku. The convoy will start from Semporna – Tanjung Selor – Balikpapan – Sepaku and backtrack  until Malinau where the touring adventure class will return to Sabah through Simanggaris while the hardcore group  turn left at Malinau to tackle the  Gunung Slukut road, enter Sarawak, pass Brunei and finish in Lawas, Sabah 

This event, the (TBTTT) invites adventurers and off-roaders to experience one of the last great adventures in the world: THE TWILIGHT TRAIL! This event is also suitable for touring adventure groups using standard, unmodified 4×4 vehicles.