Goliathus orientalis is one of the largest species of the genus Goliathus, with a body length of about 50–100 millimetres (2.0–3.9 in) in males, of about 50–65 millimetres (2.0–2.6 in) in females.
The body is broad and flat. Elytra are whitish with a complex pattern of black markings usually in the form of black rings. Pronotum (thoracic shield) usually shows large black longitudinal stripes or a large black area. This usual pattern may differ greatly in the subspecies. The head bears a black Y-shaped horn in males, used in battles with other males. Legs are long, powerful, black. Despite its large body, these beetles fly well. They have a large and membranous secondary pair of wings. When not in use, these wings are kept completely folded beneath the elytra. These beetles feed primarily on tree sap and fruits.