Borneo for the past 2 centuries has been the epitome of adventure travel. While bustling ports like Penang, Melaka, and Singapore attracted early travelers with dollars in their eyes, Borneo attracted those with adventure in their hearts. Today the island still draws visitors who seek new and unusual experiences, and few leave disappointed. Rivers meander through dense tropical rainforests, beaches stretch for miles, and caves tunnel farther than any in the world. All sorts of creatures you'd never imagine live in the rainforest: deer the size of house cats, owls only 15cm (6 in.) tall, the odd proboscis monkey, and the endangered orangutan, whose only other natural home is Sumatra. It's also home to the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, spanning up to a meter (3.3 ft.) wide. Small wonder this place has special interest for scientists and researchers around the world.
The people of Borneo can be credited for most of the alluring tales of early travels. The exotically adorned tribes of warring headhunters and pirates of yesteryear, some of whom still live lifestyles little changed (though both headhunting and piracy are now illegal), today share their mysterious cultures and colorful traditions openly with outsiders.
Add to all of this the romantic adventure of the White Raja of Sarawak, Sir James Brooke, whose family ruled the state for just over 100 years, and you have a land filled with mystery and allure unlike any other.
Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Indonesia have divided the island of Borneo. Indonesia claims Kalimantan to the south and east, and the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah lie to the north and northwest. The small sultanate of Brunei is situated between the two Malaysian states on the western coast.