Highlights in Borneo

Geography of Borneo

Borneo covers a surface of around 751.940 km² and is the third largest island in the world, more than twice the size of Germany. The island is situated at the equator in the midst of the Malaysian Archipelago. The island is divided between the states of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. Borneo is subdivided into the Sultanate Brunei, the North-, East-, West-, South and Central Kalimantan as well as the federal states Labuan, Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia). The largest and most famous cities of Borneo are the Cat City Kuching (Malaysia) such as the River City Banjarmasin (Indonesia). Other well-known cities are Kota Kinbalu (Malaysia), Pontianak (Indonesia), Sandakan (Malaysia), Balikpapan and Samarinda (both Indonesia).


Like the other islands of the Malay Archipelago, Borneo is of volcanic origin. The largest mountain of Borneo is the Kinabalu, located in the north of the island. From this direction, a mountain range stretches far inland. This range mainly consists of granite or magmatic rocks which developed during the formation of Borneo. The highlands of the island give way to gentle plateaus which offer space for the species-rich rainforest of Borneo. Because of the volcanic origin of the island, the soil contains an extremely large amount of minerals which is why the Bornean rainforest is particularly fertile.
Mineral resources such as copper and gold were also found and processed on Borneo, which led to a special interest in the island.

Travel Tips and Trivia for Borneo

Climate on Borneo

Since Borneo is situated at the equator, the climate in Borneo is extremely tropical with a high humidity. Seasons such as we know them in Europe or North America do not exist. There is a dry season and a rain season. The dry season usually starts in October and ends in April, the rain season lasts from May until September. Usually the dry season is a lot warmer than the rain season, but both can last longer then expected. Sudden rainfalls and tropical storms can happen any time.

Flora and Fauna on Borneo

Due to its isolated location many fascinating species can be found in Borneo. They have developed over the centuries and do not exist in any other place on the planet. There are many animal and plant species which are typical for the Asian region, but due to the isolation of the island many species which are native to other Asian countries cannot be found in Borneo and the other way around. This is also why in Borneo the oldest and most species-rich rainforests on earth can be visited. Over 15.000 plants can be found in these forests from which most are endemic, which means they can only be found on this island. Borneo is also home to the most orchid species in the world, from which over 750 species are located in the mountain range of the Kinabalu. Between 2005 and 2006 more than 20 new plant species have been discovered in Borneo.
In the past there have been several cases of unknown animal species which have been discovered in Borneo. Among these is, as an example, the Borneo Pygmy Elephant which was discovered in 2003. Moreover, 30 new fish and two new tree frogs species have been discovered between 2005 and 2006. Other endemic species are the proboscis monkey, the orangutan (except for the north of Sumatra), the Bornean ground cuckoo and the Borneo bay cat.

Artenschutz auf Borneo: Ein Schmetterling sitzt auf einer Pflanze im Sebangau-Wald.
Ein junger Orang-Utan bei einer kleinen Mahlzeit im Sebangau-Wald auf Borneo.

Social Geography of Borneo

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