It really is a jungle out there! Some of the most species-rich rainforests in the world are in Borneo, including prime areas that can be accessed from multi-ethnic, modern cities quite easily.
Have you always dreamed of experiencing the rich abundance of animal and plant life of a genuine equatorial rainforest? If so, your wildest dreams will be fulfilled by a visit to Borneo. The jungles of this island bring to mind adventure and remoteness, as you imagine the impenetrable foliage along with exciting river journeys. However, if you take a closer look you will also see the emergence of nuances: the orchids, lianas, and pitcher plants in the lowland forest giving way to the rhododendrons and conifers as you make your ascent up Mt Kinabalu. Although there are many depressing headlines in the news these days about deforestation, large areas of rainforest in Borneo are still intact, with protection coming from conservation projects that partly depend on tourist income in order to remain viable.
The Danum Valley Conservation Area
Recognised as the home of one of Borneo’s best rainforests. The Conservation Area covers 170 square miles (438 square kilometres) and is the largest remaining area in Malaysia of undisturbed virgin lowland rainforest. David Attenborough has visited the Danum Valley Conservation Area, along with numerous scientists to reach the wide range of fauna and flora species that are found there. Therefore, if you are a bird watcher, wildlife enthusiast, naturalist, or simply would like to experience the magic and natural beauty of the place, then it is definitely a great place to visit. Borneo Dream highly recommends taking an experienced guide along who will be able to point out all the exotic flora and fauna of the rainforest.
For numerous people who visit Borneo, the most memorable moment that they have is seeing a saltwater crocodile gazing right back at them, catching a glimpse of an Irrawaddy dolphin swimming in the South China Sea, or watching a wold orangutan as he swings through the canopy of the jungle. By nature, jungle animals have a tendency to be shy, but having a good guide will help inform you on how to tell the difference between a hornbill’s cry and call of the gibbon, a stick insect and a twig, or a vine snake and a vine.
A majority of people visit the Danum Valley in order to catch glimpses of the wildlife residents of the rainforest. The best method for doing that is to go on a guided trek on one of the numerous trails with a knowledgeable and experienced licensed Nature Guide. The best time for viewing wildlife is usually in the early morning.
If you dream of seeing the rainforests that you have heard David Attenborough speak passionately about or seen on National Geographic programmes, then you will definitely want to visit the Danum Valley Conservation Area. You will get to see species of wildlife that you didn’t even know existed and see some critically endangered and beautiful species like the Orangutan that visitors of Borneo associate with the island.
Borneo contains an incredible range of languages, religions, cultures, and tradition of hospitality where visitors are truly welcome. There are significant Chinese communities in most cities, while Malays mainly populate the coast picturesque villages of Sarawak and Sabah. The dominant culture inland is indigenous.
The Dayak groups of Borneo stopped their headhunting practices a long time ago. However, many other ancient ceremonies and customs are still alive today in the longhouse communities. The best way to witness the indigenous way of living is to visit – you can contact a local guide to make arrangements.
Culinary Melting Pot
The extremely varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the people of Borneo mean that the cuisines of the island are not only delicious but very wide-ranging as well. South China Sea seafood that serves at Chinese restaurants fresh, chicken satay stalls are plentiful in the Malay night markets and spicy sambal that is offered by Indonesian eateries.
Even the tiny nation of Brunei has its very own culinary traditions, along with the many indigenous groups of Borneo. From the Kelabit people’s amazing cooking – including pineapple curry and Bario rice – to dishes like Midin jungle fern and bamboos chicken, the Dayak cuisine is truly unique and delicious.