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Factsheet - Borneo

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Capitals: Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Kuching (Sarawak)

Population: 4.6 million

Currency: Ringgit

Language: Bahasa Malay, Chinese and many different tribal languages and dialects.

Ethnic makeup: 19% Kadazan Dusun, 18% Bajau, 16% Malays, 47% other
Sarawak: 30% Ibans, 27% Chinese, 23% Malays, 20% other

Religion, customs and conduct
Islam is the national religion; however a distinct, varied ethnic population has resulted in many different religions and languages throughout Borneo. Respectable dress is required, in most areas a sleeved shirt and long pants being the most appropriate.

Best time to go / climate
Borneo has a typical tropical climate - generally hot and humid throughout the year. Temperatures stay in the high 20's most of the year dropping back to the low 20's at night. As in most tropical areas, the rain falls in short heavy bursts with sunshine following.

In theory, the wet season runs from November through to February, but in reality you can expect some rain at any time of the year. Our itineraries are rarely affected. Sabah is famed for being below the monsoon belt and is known as the "Land below the wind".

Although Borneo is mainly rural and small villages, there is a very modern and well-maintained infrastructure in the towns linking the different areas.

Travel in Borneo often depends on the weather. Storms are quite common in certain areas and with them sometimes come floods, landslides and strong winds. When travelling by longboat up small streams, you need to be prepared to jump out and walk in the stream and even help push the boat through the rapids. When travelling by road into more
remote areas the roads can be rough.

Recommended reading:

" Wild People. Travels with Borneo's Headhunters. Andro Linklater
" Culture Shock. Borneo Heidi Munan (Times Books)
" Into the heart of Borneo Redmond O'Hanlon (Random House)
" Borneo Stories Somerset Maugham (Oxford)
" A stroll through Borneo James Barclay (Hodder & Staughton)

Lonely Planet guide to Malaysia