10 Little-Known Facts about Borneo

With thick forests and ancient ethnic groups masked in mystery, we thought it would be great to share some little-known facts about this charming island.

1. It Isn’t a Country

Borneo is made up of three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, with the Malaysian part consisting of two states: Sabah, home of Borneo’s Turtle Island, to the east and Sarawak to the west. The Indonesian part is called Kalimantan, and the Brunei portion is located between Sarawak’s coast and Sabah.

2. It Is the World’s Third Largest Island

Borneo’s size is more than three times bigger than that of the UK. Only Greenland and New Guinea are bigger.

3. It Is Home to the Oldest Rainforest in the World

Estimated to be 130 million years old now, the rainforest of Borneo is twice as old as South America’s Amazon rainforest.

4. It Is One of Two Places in the World Where You Can Spot Orangutans in a Natural Habitat

Orangutans are indigenous to Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia. It is only from these two places that you spot them in their natural habitat.

5. Over 100 Animal Species Are Indigenous to Borneo

Indigenous means that a species can only be found in that particular place or environment, and it therefore remarkable for Borneo to boast over 100 animal species. Some examples of such animals include Bornean clouded leopards, Proboscis monkeys, and Bornean rhinos. More animal species are being found from time to time by biologists conducting their research in the country. As such, it is a great time to see a variety of wildlife on this island.

6. It Boasts Some of the Biggest Caves in the World

Sarawak Chamber, located in Gunung Mulu National Park, is the largest cave chamber in the world and can accommodate forty Boeing 757 planes in it. The renowned Deer Cave, with the Abraham Lincoln outline, is also the biggest cave passage in the world. Caves such as Gomantong also have always had a sense of massive splendour.

7. It Is Home to Southeast Asia’s Highest Peak

Mt. Kinabalu is Southeast Asia’s highest mountain and stands at 13, 438 ft. (4, 096 metres) above sea level.

8. There’s an Estimated 170 Ethnic Languages in Borneo

There are hundreds of ethnic groups in Borneo, and each has unique traditions and cultures. The Dayak people account for the largest population in the island and comprise river-based and hill-based communities. By living with them in a traditional longhouse, you can get valuable insights into their way of life.

9. It Has Impressively Accessible Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and Kuching (Sarawak) are entry cities with direct roads to Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and more. This implies that you move from cities to canopies, metropolis to mangroves within a short time.

10. It Hosts the World’s Biggest Flower

The Rafflesia, which is a parasitic plant whose flower produces a terrible smell, is found in Borneo’s rainforests. It is often called the “corpse flower” for its smell! The flower produces this smell to attract insects but is not carnivorous (it won’t eat the insects or you!) These insects help pollinate the plant for its reproduction.