Borneo is where Christina was born and raised. The vast majority of Borneo’s inhabitants are Dayak. Christina is part of a large Dayak tribe named Bidayuh. Her ancestors lived along the Kapuas and Sekayam river system. The smaller northern part of Borneo is Sarwalk, part of Malaysia and the tiny oil-rich country of Brunei. The largest portion belongs to Indonesia.
Borneo is a huge island—about the same size as New Guinea—making them the 2nd and 3rd largest in the world after Greenland. The largest portion of Borneo belongs to Indonesia and consists of 5 Regencies (states); West Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan. The smaller northern part of Borneo is Sarwalk, part of Malaysia and the tiny oil-rich country of Brunei. A natural divide forms the border between the two.
The area of Borneo we visited is just across the Malaysian border. It’s hilly, jungle and lush. The people are kind and layed back. The cost of living is very low and it is poor by most standards.
Kuching Malaysia on the other hand is a modern port city. Dayaks living in Malaysian are more prosperous and gravitate to large cities. Dayaks across the border in Indonesia live in smaller groups and spread out along the vast river system.
I love this part of Indonesia. We will someday move here and make Balai Karangan or Kuala Dua our home. This part of Borneo is a gateway to more remote parts yet only 2.5 hours from the South China sea and an international airport.
Christina’s family owns land near Kuala Dua on the Sekayam so we’ll probably build a house on a hill overlooking the River. At first, Bali was going to be home, then it was Salatiga. but now we’ve decided on Borneo. This is our final answer. I am really excited about exploring the area. Some villages are still more easily reached by boat and we intend to canoe our way to them. (Edited: This is still the plan, but later. It’s still Jakarta for at least a couple more years.)
The trip from Jakarta was quite reasonable. $35.00 each way to Pontianak and a $35.00 cab ride to Balai Karangan. We stayed with Christina’s brother Christo and wife, Bintang. They were truly wonderful hosts. Make sure you look at the pictures of their amazing house below. It is typical Indonesian construction but the decorating style is that of Java.