Accounts from the first intrepid explorers to venture down the rivers and into the unchartered depths of the jungles of Borneo told tales of exotic animals and plant life, head hunting tribes and witch doctors.
It is the same romance of exploration and adventure that still draws people to this exotic island.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia. Borneo is shared by 3 countries; Brunei and Malaysia to the north and Indonesia to the south. Malaysia occupies approximately 26% of the country which includes the state of Sabah to the north and Sarawak to its south. Having three countries in one makes it an interesting island to visit.
It is also home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world, at over 140 million years old and one of the planet’s most biologically diverse eco systems, Borneo is a nature lovers paradise. Dense jungles, beautiful beaches, awe inspiring mountain ranges, pristine diving and an abundance of wildlife are just the tip of what Borneo has to offer. This is a snapshot of Malaysia’s slice of Borneo.
The South- Sarawak
Bako National Park
Bako is Sarawak’s oldest national park and also the smallest. At just under 3,000 hectares it is also one of the most interesting. A pristine landscape of coastline and rainforests, it boasts almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo. A diverse number of treks cover secluded beaches, jungle streams, dense rainforest, waterfalls and loads of wildlife. The treks range from short easy day walks to full overnight jungle treks making this a popular park to visit. Only 37 km from Kuching the national park is accessible by boat from Kampung Bako (Bako Village). You must register with the Park HQ on arrival. There is a small amount of basic accommodation for overnight stays within the park, but daily numbers are limited so plan ahead.The Proboscis Monkey is a species unique to the island of Borneo.
The Nepenthes also known as ‘Pitcher Plants’ or ‘Monkey’s Cups’ is a carnivorous flower found in Asian tropical regions. The greatest diversity of species is found in Borneo. The cup fills with rain water and a sweet fluid secreted by the plant to attract insects to drink. The insect will get stuck in the fluid and eventually drown enabling the flower to absorb the nutrients of the animal. The flower can grow to hold as much as a gallon of water and have been known to also attract small rodents and monkeys to drink.
Bornean bearded pig.
Semengoh Wildlife Reserve
A relatively easy 25 km drive from Kuching the Semengoh Wildlife Reserve will have you in one of the best places to see orangutans in the wild. The reserve was established in 1975 to care for injured or orphaned wild animals and animals illegally kept as pets. Due to the centres success, so many orangutans have been released into the surrounding forest, the area has reached capacity. They have since moved their rehabilitation program to another facility to prevent over population. A visit to Semengoh is an incredible experience – to see orangutan, the people of the forest, ranging from tiny infants to large mature adults, enjoying life in their natural habitat.
Gunung Mulu National Park
Gunung Mulu national park is a UNESCO world heritage site near Miri in Sarawak encompassing vast cave networks, including the largest cave passage in the world, a mountainous rainforest landscape, including magnificent cliffs and gorges and limestone formations and rock pinnacles unique to the area. Mount Mulu from which the area is named, is a sandstone mountain rising to nearly 8,000 ft. Gunung Mulu is very remote and only accessible by small aircraft into Mulu or by river boat and then long boat, a 12 hour trip from Miri. There are a number of easy visits to local caves and rainforest walks from Mulu and overnight treks and climbs for the more adventurous. All treks into the National Park must be accompanied by a local guide.
The Head Hunters Trail
Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and the largest city in Borneo. Situated on the banks of the Sarawak River, Kuching is referred to by locals as ‘Cat City’ from the Malay word kucing. Kuching is known as a food destination and gateway for tourists. It is a lovely cosmopolitan city to catch a breath between explorations into the wilds of Borneo.
The North- Sabah
The Majestic Mount Kinabalu.The northern most point of Borneo, Simpang Mengayau. Where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea.
Views of Mount Kinabalu. The highest peak in Borneo and the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Mount Kinabalu is high on the list for most visitors to Borneo.
The Rafflesia also known as ‘The Corpse Flower’. The world’s largest single flower lays claim to its name due to the smell of rotting flesh it emits to attract pollinating insects. Spanning 3-4 feet wide they will bloom every few years for only 3-4 days before rotting into the ground. It is by sheer luck you will come across these solitary flowers. Luckily we did.