15 interesting and historical facts about the island of Borneo


15 interesting and historical facts about the island of Borneo

  1. The island of Borneo (Kalimantan) is the third largest island in the world (behind Greenland and New Guinea). It is divided between 3 countries: the Sultanate of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. In the north of Borneo is Sabah, that is, the country of sacred mountains, ecological wealth and friendly people. It is the second largest state in Malaysia. Sabah is called “the country under the winds” because it “lies under the belt” of typhoons and monsoons (which used to be very important to sailors). Sabah is surrounded by 3 seas: South China, Sulu and Celebes. The island was Islamized in the 15th century. This is probably where the Arabic name “Sabahu” (morning) comes from.
  2. Today, Sabah is a tropical paradise. Travelers from all over the world visit the island to visit unexplored areas in the interior of the island, get to know the traditions and population, or simply enjoy the landscape. This is one of the world’s richest areas with regard to the incredible number of various specimens of flora and fauna. Some areas (Maliau Valley) have not yet been sufficiently explored.
  3. The island’s topography is the reason for its unique biological diversity. There is Mount Kinabalu – the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. The climate is suitable. The island is relatively isolated. The last ice age did not affect Sabah much. But that’s why there is merciless cutting of the oldest jungle in the world. However, some areas were saved because they were turned into national parks.
  4. 32 ethnic groups that speak their own languages ​​live here. However, here all people live in harmony. Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah. The capital city was completely destroyed in the Second World War. Today, this city is a modern shopping center. The name comes from the words “kina” (earth) and “balu” (widow). Kota Kinabalu (or K.K.) has an imposing mosque with a gilded dome, a Chinese temple with a huge statue of Guang Jin (goddess of mercy), a great achievement of modern architecture the Menara Tun Mustafa building and a museum (which shows the traditional way of life).
  5. Kinabalu National Park and the mountain of the same name are the pride of Sabah. The park is a world heritage of Malaysia due to its unique landscape and vegetation. The park is under the protection of UNESCO. Mount Kinabalu is a dark gray granite massif intersected by numerous bubbling waterfalls. Waterfalls tumble roaring down the slopes, surging at the same time as the wind blowing through the crowns of centuries-old trees. Kinabalu National Park is home to hundreds of species of birds, animals and plants. You pass through a rhododendron forest. There are over 1,000 species of orchids in the rainforests of Sabah. There you can also see “nepentes” (carnivorous plants). These plants have an unusual beauty, resembling colorful teapots, hanging on thin stalks and waiting for prey. Beetles, butterflies and flies land on these plants, attracted by their beauty. But there they are grabbed by the eyelashes that push the prey deep so that it soon ends up in the sticky juice for digestion.
  6. The humid tropical forest also has a botanical rarity – the exotic rafflesia (the largest flower in nature). This flower can have a weight of up to 2 kg and a diameter of 1 meter. Here, in the largest jungle on Earth, you can walk at a height of 40 meters over platforms and suspension bridges. After such an adventure, seek rest in the hot sulfur springs of Poringa.
  7. A visit to the market (tami) is a mandatory event here. The market in the daily life of various ethnic groups is more than selling fruits, vegetables and souvenirs. Fish, livestock, various local products are sold. The market is an opportunity for important conversations, exchange of opinions and gossip, meeting friends, gathering news, meeting new people. The market is located on the coast. You can try delicious national food at the market. Fresh seafood, fish, crabs, shellfish, molluscs and seaweed are on display. Choose according to your personal taste (for example gambore, mullet, grilled mussels, seaweed salad) and enjoy a delicious meal. Choose a local drink made from crushed ice, condensed milk, jelly, fruit and toasted almonds.
  8. The port city of Sandakan is on the east coast of the island of Sabah. Sandakan was famous for hundreds of years for the exchange of spices, swallows’ nests and pearls. Sepilok is half an hour away from Sandakan. Sepilok is a rehabilitation center and the largest orangutan sanctuary in the world. Abandoned babies, injured and sick animals are brought here.
  9. Orangutans are red-haired vegetarians. The name comes from 2 words: orang (man) and utan (forest). From 1,500 to 3,000 individuals live freely in Sabah and Sarawak. For years, orangutans have been on the list of animals threatened with extinction (because tropical forests have been systematically cleared for decades and turned into rubber and oil palm plantations). This indicates that the orangutan’s greatest enemy is man, even though it has enemies among animals. It is preferable to place yourself on the platform across from the place where the animals come during feeding. Then you can see the orangutan of Sepilok Park. They come hanging from thick ropes stretched to the surrounding trees. They sway like skilled acrobats. They intertwine their arms and legs performing true gymnastic skills. Orangutans don’t actually jump on trees, but with and they move like circus skills. The redheads live in the treetops at a height of 8 to 15 meters because there is always wind there. They can’t swim. They eat bananas, fruits, vegetables and seeds. They store food in their lower jaw (like a hamster) to eat in peace in solitude. They know how to use as many as 54 types of tools. Macaque monkeys also live here, and they also love bananas.
  10. In Borneo, 13 species of primates live, among which the most striking is the proboscis monkey or monkey with a big nose. Males are recognizable by their large and fleshy snout-like noses, beer bellies and the impression that they wear an orange jacket over white trousers.
  11. Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, which they say is more than paradise. It is located in the southwest of Borneo. It is characterized by natural beauty, unique flora and fauna, and great ethnic diversity. Throughout history, Sarawak belonged to the sultans of Brunei. Dissatisfied natives often raised rebellions until 1839 when the adventurer James Brookey blocked their way. The Sultan awarded him the title “Raja of Sarawak” as a sign of gratitude. It was the beginning of the rule of the white “rajas” and the Brookey dynasty (which over time appropriated many more parts of Sarawak). Sarawak becomes a British colony after the Second World War and the Japanese occupation. Sarawak became part of independent Malaysia in 1963.
  12. The capital Kuching got its name because of a misunderstanding. Namely, James Brookey asked about the name after arriving in the settlement on the Sarawak River. James B. He pointed to where the cat was. The locals shouted “Kuching” (cat). That’s how the settlement got the name “The Cat”. Cats have become a symbol of the city.
  13. From Kuching you can go to the village of Bako and from there to the national park of the same name. Ride speedboats on a muddy river and then on the muddy South China Sea. Tourists can walk through glib (grain mud) to their destination if it is low tide. Macaque monkeys are on home turf here. Monkeys crawl into bags, backpacks and steal food from tables (in restaurants), so be careful. They react by showing pointed teeth and a wide smile if a human threatens them.
  14. Bako is the oldest national park in Sarawak and the habitat of many plant and animal species. It is also called “the lobby of the rain forests”. The mangroves seem eerie, the cliffs are wet and slippery, the roots are serpentine, the rocks are volcanic and the forests are rainy. There is a cliff with a magnificent view of the sandy bay and the yellow-green sea.
  15. You can tour the ethno-village by boat. You will see long houses 150 meters long built on stilts (for safety). Hundreds of people live under one roof in these houses. Each family has its own rooms, but they all have a common veranda (where they hang out and spend their free time).








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