Borneo is one of the most fascinating places on earth, and it has a lot to offer! From its wildlife to its culture, Borneo has something for everyone. However, some people don’t know much about Borneo and are wondering what they could find out if they did their research. We have compiled this list of Interesting Facts about Borneo that you may not know – but will soon be glad you do!
We explored Sarawak, Mulu, Sabah and Sarawak and we loved the wilderness of this place.
Borneo location and size and countries
Borneo is located in Southeast Asia, with an area of 748,168 sq km is the third largest island in the world after Greenland and New Guinea.
The Island of Borneo has a total area of 378,000 square miles which equals about 189 million acres- or more than twice the size of Texas or France and three times bigger than the UK.
Borneo consists of three countries: Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei takes only the 1% of Borneo. Indonesian part – located southernmost tip of Borneo island, and Indonesia takes the northernmost part.
The name “Borneo” comes from the Sanskrit word váruṇa meaning rain and its rains a lot in Borneo. The average rainfall in Borneo is around 160 inches a year which is more than twice as much rain in the Amazon.
Nature in Borneo
Borneo is one of only two places on earth where natural rainforests still exist, alongside New Guinea. The other forests are largely confined to just a few islands in Asia: Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Bali and mainland Malaysia. The Borneo rainforest is estimated to be around 130 million years old, making it one of the world’s oldest forests.
The highest point of the island, Mountain Mount Kinabalu which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands at 13,435 ft (4021 meters) high from sea level. Mount Kinabalu is considered a holy mountain in the indigenous animistic religion of Sabah.
The island has the world’s biggest flower, Rafflesia Arnoldii which can grow up to three feet wide and weigh 40 pounds. we have seen one during our visit in Kuching.
Animals in Borneo
Orangutans are the only great apes found in Asia. They live only in the rainforest of Borneo and Sumatra.
There are about 240 species living in the Kinabalu Park, including rare animals like pygmy elephants, clouded leopards, orangutans and tapirs. There is an estimated 800 bird species that can be seen within just a few hours walk from the park entrance at lowland forest.
The Borneo pygmy elephant is the smallest of all elephants living today, measuring just about three meters tall and weighing up to 2500 kilograms on average.
There are some 270 species of freshwater fish in Borneo including 130 endemics that live nowhere else but here. There also 25 endemic types of frogs and toads, 42 fish species and seven turtle species.
The Kinabalu Park is home to strange creatures like the tarsier (a nocturnal monkey that’s about 30 centimeters tall) or the proboscis monkeys with their huge nose. We saw these strange creatures in National Park
Indigenous people in Borneo
Indigenous people in Borneo include the Dusun, Murut and Iban. The Malays arrived in Borneo from Southeast Asia around 12th century AD.
Ethnic group of Borneo mainly live by farming and foraging in forest (hunting-gathering). They have been isolated for thousands of years hence they are among some of the most ancient people in the world.
Islands’s indigenous population is small and its cultural diversity has decreased significantly, with many tribes having just a few hundred members who still speak their traditional language or dialects.
Iban (largest tribe) can be found on northwest coast of Borneo while Muruts are mainly located in northeast coastal areas near the Indonesian border. The Dusun live in mountainous regions inland from the coast, mainly on northeast Borneo
The indigenous tribes of Borneo are small-scale agriculturalists and foragers (hunters-gatherers). They have been isolated from other populations since prehistoric times so they are among some of the most ancient people in the world.
Bidayuh, a major tribal group on northwest coast of Borneo has traditionally been dependent upon agriculture such as rice farming but many have also turned to logging and mining.
Malays came to Borneo in the early 16th century for trade, spreading Islam as they went. Conversion was not at first successful with animist Dayak tribes of central highlands. They gradually converted through 19th century
Interesting Borneo Facts – Pin it for later
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