The Indonesian archipelago is home to exotic Borneo, the world’s third largest island. The equator runs through the island, which is famous for its intense tropical heat, heavy monsoon rains and adventurous nature. Borneo is divided between three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The Malaysian part of the island consists of two states: Sabah and Sarawak.
Population: 20 million
Capital: Kuching (Sarawak) – Kota Kinabalu (Sabah)
Language: Malaysian, English and several tribal languages
… The word orangutan or rather Orang Utang means “man of the forest” in Malaysian? It was thought that they could talk, but refrained from doing so.
… The iban people were once notorious headhunters who felt they were enriching their own community by beheading their enemies?
Most of Borneo is covered by tropical rainforest and mangrove swamp and the island has a large number of rare animal and plant species. Many different species of monkeys live here, including the rare nasal monkey – which only lives in Borneo – as well as orangutans, Malay bears, leopards, sumatranos and small elephants. Exotic orchids and carnivorous plants grow in the jungle and the tropical bird life is rich and varied. There are not many roads in the jungle, so you get there by boat on the rivers. Along the rivers, tribal people – dayakers – live in longhouses built on stilts. In such longhouses, tribal peoples have lived together for centuries, and their lives are still marked by special customs and usages. But as with other indigenous peoples, dayaks are gradually gaining an increasingly modern lifestyle. Blowpipes are replaced with rifles, canoes of motorboats and longhouses of single-family houses. When we walk through the jungle, it may be wise to wear good shoes and bring rainwear and mosquito repellent.
It is believed that the indigenous people began to settle at the Borneo estuaries around 2,000 BC. The European conquest began in the early 16th century when Portugal gained a trade monopoly. This was broken about a hundred years later by British and Dutch trading companies. The two countries then divided Borneo: the northern part – Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei – became a British protectorate, while the rest of the island came under Dutch rule. During World War II, Borneo was invaded by Japan . The Dutch part of Borneo became part of Indonesia in 1949 under the name Kalimantan. Sarawak and Sabah have belonged to Malaysia since 1963, which became a federal state consisting of a number of former British colonies and protectorates. In 1984, the small oil-rich sultanate of Brunei became independent.
Kuching is the capital of the state of Sarawak. It is a charming town beautifully situated on the delta of the Sarawak River. Along the river promenade there are cafes and food stalls that give life and a pleasant atmosphere. From here you can see incredibly beautiful sunsets in the evenings. The atmosphere in the city is relaxed, the architecture is characterized by well-kept houses from the English colonial era and there are many good shopping opportunities. Kuching means “cat” in Malaysian and cat statues are set up in different parts of the city.