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Borneo

Borneo holds place as one of the largest islands on Earth, while claiming the actual largest body of land surrounded by water in Asia. Technically speaking, Borneo is the third-largest island on the planet, and surrounded by Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi. There are three countries that reside within the island itself, while 73 percent of the territory belongs to Indonesia. The other two countries contained on the island are Malaysia and Brunei, which make up the other 27 percent, and reside north of Malaysia. Brunei, which is the smallest of the three countries on the island, only makes up 1 percent of the land area. Borneo holds some of its popularity to the fact that it houses one of the most dated rainforests known to man.

Borneo's Geographic Attributes

The bodies of water that surround the island of Borneo are the South China Sea, which lies at the north and northwest of the land, while the Sulu Sea lies at the northeast. In addition, the Celebes Sea and Makassar Strait lie to the east of the land, with the Malay Peninsula at the south and the east. Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula reside at the southern most portion of Borneo, while the indonesian islands of Java and Sulawesi, while the Philippines resides in the northeast. With Borneo covering 287,000 square miles of land, its highest point is at 13,435 feet, where Mount Kinabalu peaks. This highest point in Borneo lies within Sabah, which is located in Malaysia.

Borneo's Unique Attractions

One of the most appealing attractions Borneo has to offer is the complex systems of caves, which intertwine beneath the land's surface for miles on end. Some of these caves feature underground rivers that extend the length of the cave systems, such as Clearwater Cave. Another popular cave that is visited year round is Deer Cave, which houses over three million bats within itself. Deer Cave is said to reach over 300 feet below the Earth's surface. The West Kalimantan river extends over 700 miles in length, allowing visitors to travel great distances across the island, while witnessing wildlife and island culture along the way. One of the most appealing attractions the island has to offer is the rainforest experience that one would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. Dating back to over 130 million years ago, much of the rainforest has not been affected by the modernization of other parts of the island. Botanists have determined that there are over 150,000 types of flower bearing plants living within this ecosystem, and over 3000 variations of trees within it as well.

What the Rainforests of Borneo Have to Offer

The amount of animal species native to the island of Borneo is unlike most other areas of the world, due to the sheer grandeur of numbers of variations. With 221 different species of mammals living on the island, and 420 species of birds, there are no shortages of instances where one would see an animal up close that would be impossible anywhere else in the world. For those that wish to gather a fishing experience like no other, there are over 400 variations of fish species within the freshwater areas alone. Nature and wildlife specialists declared Borneo to be the mecca of evolutionary development for animal life since the beginning of life on this planet. In 2010, over 120 different species of animals, including the Bornean Orangutan, Asian Elephant, to Sumatran Rhinoceros.

Borneo's Rich History

Many ancient manuscripts tell the historical tale of Borneo as being a common trading place for many raw goods within the first century. According to the Chinese historical documents, gold and many other animal bi-products were accumulated and exchanged throughout the world for considerable worth, due to the fact that many were exclusive to the area only. Rare spices and extracts were spread across the globe, giving notoriety to the area as having some of the most hard to come by items on the globe. In fact, the Indians that visited the island gave the land the name “Suvarnabhumi,” which in English means “The Land Of Gold.” The Javanese also gave Borneo the name “Puradvipa,” which in translation means “Diamond Island.” There is no wonder why these names were given, considering the amount of rich finds that were accumulated and traded across the globe. In turn, Borneo was held high as one the most sought after locations for those looking to find something of value that would otherwise be impossible to find. The same rings true today, for there are no shortages of items that are distinctively exclusive to the area.

A History of Borneo's Development

Borneo's early history includes a considerable amount of Hindu influence. From monuments that exhibited a deep connection to the spiritual aspects of the people that lived within the territory, to the Pallava script, which can be found along the Mahakam River in Kutai. Around 1400 A.D., the inhabitants of Borneo that were native to the area were converted to the Muslim faith. Over the course of the next few hundred years, control of Borneo changed hands numerous times, eventually leading to Dutch and British control.

The Bornean People Themselves

The land of Borneo is now home to almost 20 million inhabitants, which equates to about 26 people per square kilometer. Although most island inhabitants reside within the modernized cities that have are a result of development, there are still a considerable number of people that hold true to the culture that has been perpetuated over thousands of years throughout the land as well. To take part in learning and experiencing even the most developed areas of Borneo would be an enlightening experience for visitors, given the unique take on life and awareness of connection to the land that surrounds. One would be challenged to find another land that could offer as much history and beauty as what is offered around every corner of the island of Borneo.

Islands | Travel | Brunei | Malaysia | Indonesia


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