Borneo is made up of three separate nations in Malaysia. These are the states of Sarawak and Sabah as well as Indian Kalimantan and Brunei – and together they provide visitors with an island archipelago of unmatched natural treasures. Here is a long list that covers only some of the reasons that Borneo continues to attract legions of travellers.
Bornoe’s Largest Island
Borneo is a big place, in fact, it is the third largest island in the world. That space is filled to the brim with biological diversity consisting of plants and animals that call some of the most varied ecosystems on the planet home.
Home to some of the World’s most Impressive Primates
Borneo is home to some of the most impressive primates on the planet – and amongst these is the Proboscis monkey. This monkey, native to Borneo with its amazing, almost prehensile nose will grab the attention of even the most jaded of travellers or nature lovers. That large nose is a definite asset for this primate, as it’s a case of the longer the nose the more female attention, one of the reasons that the nose of the male proboscis Monkey can be as long as 18cm.
Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is literally the crowning glory of Borneo. Reaching 4,095 m (13,435 feet above sea level) it is a mountain that provides the setting for much of local folklore – including being the home of a dragon. Taking in the sunrise from the peak of Mount Kinabalu provides one of the most breathtaking views that any traveller will experience anywhere in the world.
Home to the world’s Largest Flower and Tallest Tropical Tree
The Rafflesia flower is known for two things – the first is its enormous size and the second is its scent, which is said to resemble that of rotting meat. The Rafflesia is a flowering parasite and the Rafflesia arnoldii species are true giants, weighing in at around 22 pounds and reaching 39 inches in diameter.
Borneo does not disappoint when it comes to the height of its jungle trees. The tallest tropical tree was only discovered in 2019, in Borneo’s Danum Valley. It’s a ‘Yellow Meranti’ and towers 330.7 feet above the forest floor. Locals have christened the tree ‘Menara’ in the Malay language – that translates as ‘Tower’ in English.
The Kinabatangan River takes pride in place as the longest in Sabah, Borneo – and is also the second longest of any of the many rivers found in Malaysia. It meanders for around 560 km and is the source of both life-giving water and sustenance for riverine communities in the Kinabatangan region. villagers rely on the river for transport and the fish that they rely on for both food and their livelihoods – the river is their home.
Navigating the river will bring one to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge – a member of the ‘National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World’. This is the ideal base to explore the rainforest – and is also home to the Sukau Ecotourism Research Centre (SERC). This centre focuses on education, and research, and is host to a number of local and international volunteers. It is a tremendously popular destination for academics, scientists, students and nature lovers.
The Ancient Rainforest
The Rainforest of Borneo is an astounding 140 million years old. When compared to these extensive forests the Amazon rainforest is still in its infancy, being only around 55 million years old. The sheer age of the Bornean Rainforest may provide a clue as to just why it is so astoundingly biologically diverse. Scientists have only scraped the surface of this diversity, with new species being discovered on an almost daily basis.
Home to an Underwater Paradise
The tropical wonders of Borneo extend to marvels found below its sparkling offshore waters. Kinabatangan River tour operators focus on destinations such as Barracuda Point off Sipadan Island – recognised as one of the most desirable dive spots in the world. The name of the location is courtesy of the thousands of barracuda that swarm off its reefs, a sight that will enthral visiting divers.
Heartstoppingly Beautiful Sunsets
The sight of the sun dipping below the horizon viewed from a tropical beach or mountaintop in Borneo provides a memory that will last a lifetime. The evening’s canvas of pinks, oranges and yellows is simply unforgettable. And feel free to explore and choose your own special sunset lookout location – in Borneo, there is an almost unlimited choice of idyllic sunset viewing spots.