How about a jungle! Borneo is home to some of the world’s top species-rich and unique equatorial rainforest. Importantly, there are plenty of prime patches of rainforest that are accessible from modern cities. If you’ve dreamt of having a once in a lifetime expedition adventure into a real equatorial rainforest, Borneo will fulfil even your wildest dreams.
The rainforest jungle that covers the island yield an aura of adventure, remoteness, and untouched natural beauty bringing you close to impenetrable foliage while streaming river guide you to the ‘heart of darkness’. But take a little closer look at the landscape and nuances spring to mind. The lianas, the orchids, and the pitcher plants that cover the lowland section of the forest give way to the decorative rhododendrons and conifers that cover the picturesque Mt Kinabalu. While there are sights and evidence of deforestation, a significant part of the Bornean forest still remain untouched thanks to the conservation projects which are in part funded by the tourist economy.
Dunum Valley Conservation Area has to be on every wildlife enthusiast, nature lover, naturalist, bird spotter bucket list. A Danum Valley tour is a must as it is recognised as one of the best rainforests in Borneo. The 438 square kilometers (or 170 square miles) is Malaysia’s largest lowland rainforest that remains virgin and untouched. It is a popular destination for researcher including David Attenborough, who go to the Conservation Area to study the unique species of flora and fauna found there. If you appreciate the beauty that is mother nature, Dunum Valley Conservation is must visit destination.
After a visit to Borneo, you are assured of going back home with memories of interacting with wild animals; memories that will last your lifetime. Whether you come across an orang-utan swinging and playfully jumping through the rainforest’s canopy, coming into contact with a cold gaze of a saltwater crocodile, or spotting the Irrawaddy dolphin in the water of the South China Sea, you are assured of sighting animals you will find nowhere else. However, you do need to be in the company of a good guide to spot the full plethora of wildlife. Since jungle animals are shy, they make it hard for you to spot them.
Having a good guide will help understand the natural surrounding far better; they make easy for you to tell difference between the vine snake and a vine, a stick and twig, and even the differences between various birds’ sounds. As such, if you intend to enjoy the rainforest and learn at the same time, you should take a guided tour along one of the many treks, preferably early in the morning. Ensure your guide is a licensed Nature Guide.
In all, the Danum Valley Conservation area is your best bet if you dream of visiting a rainforest that you see in National Geographic documentaries. You will spot unique animals some of them endangered species that you never knew even existed.
Borneo has a unique mixture and variety of religions, cultures, and languages. That and the island age-old tradition of being hospitable to visitors means you will enjoy your visit to the island. While in the cities, you will enjoy a blend of Chinese culture and local culture. On the coastal regions of Sarawak and Sabah, you get to interact with the Malays in their kampong (villages). When you venture inland, you get a chance to interact with the indigenous communities such as the Dayak. Importantly, you also get to experience their culture and customs. For instance, while the Dayak gave up on headhunting many years ago, they still retain their traditions and customs, such as living in longhouse communities. Arrange a tour with a local guide to experience the culture of the indigenous people.
Culinary Melting Pot
As mentioned above, Borneo is inhabited by people with markedly different cultural backgrounds. This is reflected in the cuisines available for you to sample. There are wide-ranging cuisines that are not only delicious but also unique to Borneo. At the Chinese eateries, you can sample their seafood cuisines. Head to a Malay restaurant or the night markets and you get to enjoy their famed smoky chicken. If you are after spicy sambal, the numerous Indonesian restaurants will serve you well. There is also an option of the sample Brunei culinary offerings. Not to be forgotten is the delicacies that ingenious people cook. For instance, the Kelabit people’s pineapple curry with Bario rice, and the Dayak’s bamboo chicken with jungle fern are a must try.