It’s known as Borneo to Malaysia, but two other nations that each have a piece of the island call it Pulau Borneo and Kalimantan. It measures 287,000 square miles and is split in half horizontally by the Java Sea and the Celebes Sea. As you fly over and take your first quick look at this the largest island in all of Asia, you can instantly compare to a cliche paradise. Deep green lagoons, muggy forests and sunny jungles and surrounded by gem blue waters. Tall trees with lime green leaves have conquered the landscape. If you want the chance to walk among them, you can touch their thin trunks that are dotted with pale patches. The wildlife is spectacular and often surprises people as there are orangutans, flying squirrels, proboscis monkeys, Loris’, bay cats and even rhinoceroses. Yet with a land of forests and jungles, there are also mountains that live among the mist and for those spiteful enough to climb them, give some of the best views out toward the open waters.
Photo by X posid
King Louie needs help
On the island, there is a concerted effort being made to rehabilitate orangutans. At the Sandakan Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center, they take care of orangutans that have been abandoned and perhaps orphaned. For those of us who watched the animated Disney movie Jungle Book growing up, we have an affection for the character King Louie who was a mischievous and hip orangutan himself. To get here, it’s just a day trip from Kota Kinabalu; that’s if you are staying in a hotel in the coastal city. Other arrangements can be made, but this is one of the pickups. From here you’ll get on a flight and travel to the center. You can interact with the orangutans and play with them. They’re immune to human contact and are incredibly playful and clever.
Image by kennethr
Upward and onward
Ever climbed a mountain surrounded by jungle? Well, that’s exactly what Mount Kinabalu is. Booking with a dedicated Borneo travel agency you can opt for different routes to climb this 4,095-meter natural marvel. For those who are avid climbers, you may want to look at the Mount Kinabalu via Ferrata packages as it will be steeper and involve ropes, pegs and other proper climbing equipment. For those looking for more of a trek up the mountainside and using safer trails, take a look at the normal packages. These will be more budget based on a choice of four trails and none of them going any higher than 1,500 Malaysian Ringgit. Once you get to the summit, as you’re in the northern part of Borneo, if you look out in this direction you can see the small and sporadically spread the Spratly Islands. A little to the east and closer you’ll see the Pulau Banggi island. Turn around and look south, the pattern of mountains and jungle hills will be the signature piece of your trip.
Borneo is one of those islands that gets tucked away in the thousands of other islands across the Asian continent. So why would you go here rather than the others? Well, it’s a jungle that is 40,000 miles squared larger than the United Kingdom. So much adventure and untapped wildlife live on its surface leaving you plenty to discover.