Known as Kalimantan by the Indonesians, the island of Borneo is the third largest in the world. Lying astride the equator, it has one of the richest biodiversities of any place on earth, with 15,000 flowering plants and more than 220 terrestrial mammals, for example. The most well-known of the latter is the orang-utan. The cultural diversity is also impressive, with more than 30 sub-ethnic groups of Dayak people - some of whom have a fairly bloodthirsty past, with regular intertribal wars and ritual headhunting. The island's highest point is Mount Kinabalu (4095m / 13,435ft), situated in the region of Sabah, one of 2 northern regions (the other is Sarawak), which are governed by Malaysia. For any adventure traveller visiting this part of the world, the 2-day trek to the top of this iconic peak is a must.


Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is situated between the Phillipines to the Northwest and Java to the south. The Island is divided in to three regions, between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. The Indonesian region of Borneo is to the South and East and is called ‘ Kalimantan’. Malaysian Borneo can be found in the North and West of the island and this area is split into Sabah in the North and Sarawak in the south. Brunei is a small independent nation in the also in the northwest. The highest mountain in Borneo is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, at the Northern tip of the island. Here the mountains reach over 4000m above sea level making this also the third highest island. Much of the island was covered with dense rainforest, however significant deforestation in 1980’s has endangered some of the most diverse areas of Flora and Fauna. Most significant is the plight of the Bornean Orang-u-tan, and the Bornean Cloud Leopard, for whom the bornean rain forest is there only natural habitat as they are both endemic to the region.

Time Zone

The time in Borneo is GMT +8 hours.

Vaccinations (country)

You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Hepatitis ‘A’. Malarial prophylactics are recommended. A very good online resource is the Scottish National Health Travellers website at

Additional Sources/Information

Insight Pocket Guide – Sabah. Wendy Hutton.
Insight Pocket Guide – Sarawak. Wendy Hutton.
Footprint – Malaysia Handbook.
Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Lonely Planet
Malaysia . Nelles Guides and Maps.

Malaysia (and Brunei). Nelles Maps. 1:1,500,000.

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