Have you ever come to Borneo, the third largest island in the world with a tropical paradise housing the oldest and most bio-diverse rainforest on earth, endless pristine white beaches and an abundance of national wonders? Divided between Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia, Borneo is the largest territory being appropriated to Malaysia. Separated from mainland Malaysia on the west by the South China Sea, the two states of Sarawak and Sabah make up Malaysia’s part of Borneo.
As large as it is, Borneo is still a microcosm of spectacular flora and fauna, housing the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flowering plant, and the scary, insect-digesting Pitcher plant. As well, Borneo is home to unique animals, among them the shy Orangutans, the rare and unusual Proboscis Monkey and the ludicrous Bearded Pig.
Travel to Borneo is a step into adventure. An abundance of national parks, virgin jungles and rainforests, meandering rivers and cascades, extensive cave systems and sandy white beaches offer adventures of every kind for every level. A morning stroll in Mulu National Park or a week’s trek in pristine jungle; a river safari or white water rafting on the Rejang, Malaysia’s longest river; caving and exploring the world’s most extensive cave systems or snorkeling and scuba diving off the unspoiled reefs of the South China Sea – all are here for the taking.
In concert, Borneo’s cultural diversity, including 27 distinct ethnic groups speaking 45 languages and dialects provides a unique local experience. Indigenous culture remains ingrained in the lifestyle of its inhabitants, who adhere to a variety of native traditions, practices and religions. Beyond the towns and cities, life here still revolves around the longhouses, kampungs and the rivers. Malays and Chinese established themselves alongside native groups with such evocative names as Iban, Melanau, Penan, Kelabit ad Bidayuh, grouped together under the general term Dayak, to form a richly varied population, each with their own culture and traditions. To this day, the largest group, the Iban, reputed to be Borneo’s most formidable headhunters of past, dwell in communal fashion in longhouses, stilted structures with many rooms that house an entire community of families. Beside them, the Melanau, traditionally fishermen and seafaring people, live in Kampungs (Malaysian villages) – a cluster of wooden homes on high stilts near Borneo’s rivers.
Be it eco adventure outdoors, a cultural experience or both, Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia’s Borneo Island states boast the most diverse, exciting and the very best of family adventure travel on earth.
Sylvia is a trip consultant, planner and manager who creates unique intercultural adventures for families and loves to impart information,tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel.
Sylvia Arad http://www.familyadventuretravelworks.com