Location and Topography
Borneo is the world's third largest island, situated in South East Asia close to Malaysia. For a relatively small area, the island features a radically diverse variety of terrains including mountains, coral reefs, mangrove swamps and most famously, rainforest, making it a wonderful destination for adventure holidays.
A large part of the island is covered by the 130 million year old rainforest, which is home to thousands of different species of flora and fauna including the endangered Bornean orang-utan, man's closest primate relative. There are 13 other species of primate and 422 identified mammals indigenous to Borneo.
Today, Borneo has a population of approximately 18 million, which has almost doubled since 1980. The island is still populated by a variety of native tribes, known collectively as 'Dayaks', with each tribe being distinguishable by having its own language and exhibiting variations in its culture.
Adventures in Borneo
The most popular adventure holidays feature 'jungle trekking', which is the most popular visitor activity on the island. There are numerous nature trails all over the island that vary in length and can take anything from a few hours to a few days to complete.
Water lovers can indulge in rafting on the Papar River near Sabah or the Kiulu River a short drive from Kota Kinabalu. The Papar is a must for white water rafting experiences whereas the Kiulu can be negotiated at a gentle enough pace to enjoy the passing scenery.
The Sabah jungle is the most exotic place on Borneo to explore and is most popular with naturalists. Kinabalu Park features much more challenging terrain as it is home to the all-dominating Mount Kinabalu. Both are filled with unique species of flora, not to be missed.
The Kianabatangan Wetland is animal heaven for the nature watchers, featuring the highest concentration of primates on the island as well as elephant, leopards and the rare civet cat.
For those who prefer a more leisurely form of adventure, there are two train journeys that travel through the heart of the island offering the chance to observe many of its sights from a luxury carriage. The North Borneo Railway features a steam train journey that runs from the town of Beaufort all the way across the island to Tenom via the coastal areas of Jessleton and Weston.
The Papar 'Rice Bowl' Run begins at Tanjung Aru and traverses the island, taking in numerous sights, such as the Kinarut Buddhist Temple and the Kawang mangrove swamps, on its way. The highlight of the journey is crossing the Papar River high up on a steel trestle bridge offering glorious views of the destination town as the train crosses.
A Final Word
Visiting Borneo is a truly unforgettable experience, no matter which style of visit you choose and whether you want peace and serenity, activity or extreme experiences. It is a place that everyone should try to visit at least once in their lifetime.
Jim Broomfield has spent a large part of his adult life observing island life all over the world. He also enjoys a bit of adventure in his life and writes regularly on adventure holidays for a variety of websites and blogs.
For more travel information check out: Holiday Blog,Worldwide Vacation Blog, World Travel for all.