How big is Sabah Malaysia

Borneo: touching natural wonder

Borneo is just different. The largest island in Asia surprises with an exciting history and incredible natural splendor. The island's rainforest on the equator is one of the oldest in the world

Borneo at a glance

General information:
Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world. It has an area of ​​around 751,000 square kilometers. The island is historically divided between three states: Indonesia in the south and Malaysia and Brunei in the north. There are two different currencies depending on where you are staying: Malay ringgit or Indonesian rupiah. The population is predominantly Muslim. The approximately 18.6 million inhabitants are mainly distributed over the coastal regions.

Vaccinations for Borneo:
Various vaccinations are recommended for Borneo. These include hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis. Common vaccinations such as diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B and tetanus should be available or refreshed. There is a low risk of malaria in Borneo.

Arrival: How do I get to Borneo?
Borneo has two international airports in Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. Both cities are in the Malay northern part of the island. Almost all international flights go via the Malay capital Kuala Lumpur. From Germany you have to expect a travel time of at least 15 hours. Entry into Borneo is possible for three months without a visa in the Malay state of Sabah. In the state of Sarawak, you can automatically get a visa for 30 days. In the Indonesian part of the island, German vacationers with a valid passport can also travel for 30 days without a visa.

Borneo: Third largest island in the world

Crazy - an island twice as big as Germany. How should that go with the selection of travel routes and destinations? Very simple: first land, arrive, take a deep breath and take a look around. The best place on Borneo for this is the city of Kota Kinabalu in the Malay state of Sabah. The international airport is only eight kilometers from the city center. On a discovery tour in Kota Kinabalu

The clothing sticks to the body like a wet towel at the first step. The high humidity is a constant companion on Borneo. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure for all the senses to go on a discovery tour in Kota Kinabalu. It starts with a climb to the Signal Hill Observatory. The popular viewing platform can be reached on foot from the city center in ten leisurely minutes uphill. Don't forget: take plenty of water with you. The unfamiliar climate brings the cycle to peak performance.

The view of the city skyline on the water, the old fishing boats in the nearby harbor and the lush green islands off the coast are definitely worth the climb - especially since the view costs nothing. From here, the other excursion destinations can be found.

Metropolis in the state of Sabah

Kota Kinabalu - often also called "KK" for short - is known for the Basjid Mandaraya Mosque, which is well worth seeing, the Catholic St. Michael Church and above all for its market halls directly on the beach promenade with meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. Together with the babble of voices, the beguiling smell of spices and fruits and the tireless fans rotating under the ceiling of the hall make it clear: Welcome to the tropics.

Off to the island for snorkeling

If you want to treat yourself to some beach life before heading inland - after all, Borneo is an island - you should definitely make a detour to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. The so-called "Marine Park" consists of five small dream islands and is located directly off the coast of Kota Kinabalu.

Long palm beaches, beautiful coral reefs, snorkeling, a cool cocktail at the beach bar - a full day can be spent here very well. The ferry ride from the port in Kota Kinabalu takes only 15 minutes, made possible by the wind a nice sea breeze and costs the equivalent of around 10 euros including entry to the national park. This gives you access to all five islands. If you want to see more than one island by ferry, you of course have to pay more for the ferry. By the way, the currency in the Malaysian state of Sabah is the ringgit. Attention: Don't miss the last return trip at 3 p.m.

National park with the highest mountain in Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu is not only the capital of Sabah State, but also the gateway to Kinabalu National Park. The city is practically surrounded by the rainforest and so the national park with the mountain of the same name in the middle is only around 70 kilometers away. For an island the size of Borneo, that's just a stone's throw away. The best way to get there is by bus. In this way you also learn the local life and the friendly people on the bench across the street. Smiling and nodding is always possible.

The diverse population of Borneo and the state tripartite division of the island is a result of the eventful history. While the Malay Sultanate of Brunei ruled parts of the island from the 15th to the 17th century, large parts of this area came under the rule of the British Brooke dynasty in the mid-18th century. The British in turn exchanged ports with the Dutch and China expanded trade with Borneo.

Sarawak and Sabah as new states

Japanese troops finally conquered the island during World War II. There were various claims of ownership by the Philippines and Indonesia thereafter. The Malaya Federation was founded, resulting in the state of Malaysia with its connection to the two states of Sabah and Sarawak, the southern part of the island was added to Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei remained as an enclave in the Malay state of Sarawak with its own access to the sea.

Borneo: climate and travel time

The climate Borneo is tropical because the island is on the equator. The average daily temperature is 27 degrees Celsius. Borneo has a high humidity of around 80 percent and heavy rainfall. There are two rainy seasons in December and March in the south of the island and one rainy season in the northern part of Borneo from December to January.

The best travel period is from March to September. The best months to travel are April and July because of the more moderate climate. On average, the sun shines five hours a day on Borneo.

Rainforest for 140 million years

In the breathtaking jungle of Kinabalu National Park, nothing of the back and forth of the island's history can be seen. He has been part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Here in the dense rainforest, which has been on Borneo for 140 million years, is one of the retreats for wild orangutans. Tropical rainforests are home to the critically endangered great apes. In Borneo they are respectfully called "forest people" by the locals. Orangutans are only found here and on the neighboring island of Sumatra.

Orangutans need tropical rainforests

The number of wild orangutans on Borneo is currently estimated between 20,000 and 50,000. Around 100,000 of the great apes are said to have disappeared in the past 20 years. By clearing the rainforests - among other things for the creation of coconut plantations for oil production - they lose more and more habitat. Other orangutans live in Gunung Mulu National Park and Bako National Park.

Jungle with orangutans and pygmy elephants

Even in the 75,000 hectare Kinabalu National Park you can with a lot of luck wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys, dwarf elephants or sun bears see. The incredibly diverse flora alone is worth at least a day trip. Most of the world's orchid species grow on Borneo. Around Mount Kinabalu alone, 750 different species of these beautiful flowers bloom.

There are numerous designated hiking trails in the park and on the edge for longer stays there are also overnight accommodations from the hostel to the hotel. You can get an orientation map at the entrance to the park. You shouldn't talk loudly during the hike if you want to meet the "forest people" or other animals. A guided hike starts at the Kinabalu Multipurpose Hall every day at 11 a.m. Entry to the park costs three euros.

In the truest sense of the word "lifted" is a very special experience in the Kinabalu National Park. In the village of Poring there are not only hot sulfur springs for an extraordinary bath. Lead here too several suspension bridges at record-breaking tree height through the tops of the rainforest. 40 meters high above the forest floor and more than 150 meters long, the swinging suspension bridges lead through the world of the ancient rainforest. An impressive experience that really changes your perspective. Admission costs the equivalent of one euro. If you want to use your camera, you pay the same amount again.

Climbing tours on the highest mountain in Malaysia

If you want to go very high, you will find Mount Kinabalu in the immediate vicinity - the highest mountain in Malaysia with a peak height of 4095 meters. There are two-day guided hiking tours here, but you should be experienced and well trained for this tour given the tropical temperatures and high humidity. Otherwise the air you breathe becomes thin from an altitude of 2500 meters and you can do it near the peaks Temperatures approaching zero degrees at night walk. The right clothing is therefore important.

That applies to the entire stay in Borneo anyway. Light clothing is appropriate, but given the Muslim majority of the population, it should not show too much skin. At the same time, clothing should offer long-sleeved protection from the intense equatorial sun - even when the sky is overcast - and in the jungle with long trousers from blood-sucking insects. A good and permanent mosquito repellent by spray is essential. Malaria and dengue fever can be transmitted to Borneo by mosquitoes.

Borneo is the nursery of the orangutans

Many of the exciting experiences in Borneo take place in nature. This also applies to the area around the city of Sandakan on the east coast of the state of Sabah. With the bus from Kotan Kinabalu, the 300-kilometer journey costs a good ten euros. The city itself is more likely to be seen as a base for excursions in the surrounding area - but it's doubly worth it. In the nearby village of Sepilok there is a reserve of the same name very interesting rearing center for orangutans. As a visitor, you can watch the young animals and growing orangutans very well from the paths and platforms. Most of them come from captivity and are being prepared here to live independently in the jungle again.

Borneo: Island with astonishing natural diversity

The astonishingly small sun bears are also cared for in a different center next door. With a size of 1.40 meters and a weight of around 65 kilograms, they are the smallest representatives of their kind in the world. How well the bears are adapted to the way of life in the dense jungle becomes clear when you visit the center. Many of the bears sit in the treetops or climb up and down the trunks with enthusiasm. They are classified as endangered species and their uniqueness represents the incredible diversity of animals and plants on Borneo.

This includes proboscis monkeys that live in the Labuk Bay Proboscis sanctuary near Sandakan and can be seen here. These monkeys with the amazingly big noses are only found in Borneo. There are also long-armed gibbon monkeys, macaques or langurs with their light fur and distinctive dark face.

Kuching is the city of cats

Those who concentrate on the Malay part of Borneo cannot avoid a visit to the city of Kuching. The capital of the state of Sarawak is almost 1,600 kilometers from Sandakan - but can be easily reached from there by domestic flight. The metropolis of Sarawak with around 630,000 inhabitants is also known as the “cat city”.

It is not known where the name comes from - but in the cityscape one becomes of Cat figurines and pictures in all possible sizes, shapes and colors downright pursued. Cat motifs can even be seen on manhole covers. One reason for the name is said to be in 1841, when a colonial ruler was looking for a name for today's city of Kuching and someone pointed to a cat. "Kucing" means cat in Malay. Another reason could be that there are a surprising number of species of wild cats in Borneo: the clouded leopard, the flat-headed cat, the Borneo golden cat or the bengal cat.

Are worth seeing in Kuching

  • The "Astana" - the former palace of the white Rajas - a dynasty that was founded by the British James Brooke in the 1840s and ruled until 1946 in the third generation.
  • Fort Margherita, built in the 19th century to protect against pirates
  • The cat museum in the City Hall with more than 4000 exhibits about cats
  • The Chinese Museum on the waterfront
  • The waterfront area with its Art Deco buildings, shops and restaurants

You should definitely not miss a river tour with a longboat followed by an overnight stay in a traditional longhouse on land. In fact, on the two-day tour, at best, you will sleep with the tribe of the Iban - former headhunters who, luckily, today are more interested in overnight income in hard cash.

Borneo: island with a return factor

When you have the traditional Sarawak Laksa - a thick soup with noodles, prawns and egg - on the table and stir it pensively, it suddenly becomes clear to you: You have not even been to the Sultanate of Brunei and the Indonesian part of Borneo. Well, an island twice the size of Germany. Only one thing helps: Come back.

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