Experiences - Asia

Borneo Island

The island of Borneo is the largest in Southeast Asia and the third largest in the world. Geographically, the island is divided among three different countries, with most of it belonging to Indonesian territory, a chunk of the northern side of the island belonging to Malaysia and a small part of the northern coast lying in the nation of Brunei.

Borneo Island

Natural Beauty of Borneo

Borneo’s natural beauty features some stunning peaks and rich rain forests. The island is also the home of exotic wildlife like the elusive whale shark, the cheeky Orang Utan, the splendid horn bill and the quaint Proboscis Monkey which has a rather peculiar large nose. There are many forest and marine parks which you can visit.

proboscis monkey - Borneo Island

Brief History of the Island

Located further from the Indian trade routes, Borneo remained isolated from the rest of the world for the last millennium, as it was rarely the destination of traders and immigrants. But with the advent of the 16th century, the emissaries of Spain and Portuguese arrived on the Borneo shore. Shortly afterwards, the Dutch and the British arrived, and ruled the island from the 17th century up to the modern era.

Indonesia became a foreign state in 1949, and in 1957, Malaysia gained its independence. The population of Borneo today consists of Europeans, Chinese, non-Muslim Dayaks, and Islamic Malays. Inland, Borneo is composed of many different native tribes, each distinguishable from others by their different cultures and languages. The tribes have a lot in common, including culture, diet and dwellings. Ibans today are the largest tribal group of people in East Malaysia.

iban dance - island of borneo

An Engaging Experience

Travellers have an unforgettable experience as the island is not like any other tourist destination with pre-booked sightseeing tours, buses, guides and hotels. Instead, in Borneo Island, the locals themselves are the guides. They take the visitors around their village showing them their unique dwellings called long houses, daily activities and livelihood. The beautiful part of the whole journey is the fact that the travellers don’t just witness but also engage themselves in the life of the village and usually even spend the night in a simple lodge or the locals’ homes, thereby soaking up new cultures. Profits made by the community go back to support local projects. The livelihood, culture, tradition and traditional food of the island is a must experience for all.

 

Image Courtesy: stratman² (2 many pix!) , Sergey Pisarevskiy and Thomas Wanhoff used under the Creative Commons Licence

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