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Top 10 Largest Islands in Asia By Area

There are several large islands in Asia and some of them occupy hundreds of millions of people. These islands are vast in area and have their unique qualities. They display the beauty of nature and the history of the people who live there. If you want to know about the largest islands in Asia, this article will help you out. 

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List of 10 Largest Islands in Asia

  1. Borneo
  2. Sumatra
  3. Honshu
  4. Celebes / Sulawesi
  5. Java 
  6. Luzon
  7. Mindanao
  8. Hokkaido
  9. Sakhalin
  10. Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

1) Borneo

Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world, covering an area of 743,330 square kilometers. Politically, the island is split between Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia. About 73% of the island is occupied by the Indonesian region known as Kalimantan, while roughly 26% comprises the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. The smallest of the three, Brunei, makes up about 1% of Borneo’s total land area.

Borneo is known for its extensive rainforests and abundant biodiversity. Its rainforests are thought to be 140 million years old. There are unique wildlife species on the island, such as the Bornean clouded leopard, pygmy elephant, and the critically endangered Bornean orangutan. Furthermore, Borneo is home to Rafflesia arnoldii, the largest flower in the world, which can reach one meter in diameter.

At 4,095 meters, Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is the highest peak on the island and among the tallest in Southeast Asia. The rivers of Borneo, including the largest river in Indonesia, the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan, are vital to the local ecosystems and communities.

Borneo has abundant natural resources, but it also faces serious environmental problems. The forests and fauna of the region are seriously threatened by deforestation brought on by mining, logging, and palm oil plantations. To protect the island’s distinctive ecosystem and wildlife, conservation initiatives are still underway.

2) Sumatra

With a land area of 475,807 square kilometers, Sumatra is the second-largest island in Asia and the sixth-largest island in the world. The many ecosystems on this enormous island, which span from volcanic mountain ranges to thick tropical rainforests, are what make it unique. Its western border is occupied by the Bukit Barisan mountain range, whose highest peak, Mount Kerinci, is 3,805 meters high. Significant tectonic activity, such as the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, is another feature of Sumatra’s reputation.

Sumatra is home to many rare species and has a high biodiversity. The Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, and Sumatran orangutan are among the severely endangered species of wildlife that call the island home. Furthermore, the Leuser Ecosystem and other tropical rainforests on the island are some of the planet’s most biodiverse regions.

The main rivers on the island, the Musi, Batang Hari, and Indragiri, are essential for irrigation and transportation. Agriculture plays a major role in Sumatra’s economy, producing a substantial amount of palm oil, rubber, and coffee. Rich natural resources found on the island include coal, natural gas, and oil.

But Sumatra has serious environmental problems. Carbon emissions have increased and habitat loss has resulted from illicit logging, land conversion for agriculture, and deforestation for palm oil plantations. The preservation of Sumatra’s distinctive fauna and natural assets depends heavily on conservation initiatives. The future of the island depends on initiatives that support environmental preservation and sustainable development.

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3) Honshu

The largest and most populated island in Japan, Honshu, is about 227,960 square kilometers in size. With over 104 million residents, it is both the second most populated and seventh largest island in the world. Several of Japan’s largest cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima, are located in Honshu.

Geographically varied, Honshu is home to several mountain ranges, such as the Japanese Alps, which are home to Mount Fuji, the highest peak in the nation at 3,776 meters. Numerous rivers, like the Tone, which is essential to the Tokyo metropolitan region, and the Shinano, which is Japan’s longest river, are other features of the island.

The climate of Honshu varies, with pleasant, temperate weather found in the south and snowy winters in the north. A variety of habitats and agricultural practices are supported by this variance. The cultivation of rice, a mainstay of the Japanese diet, and other agricultural goods like fruits and vegetables depends on the rich plains of Honshu.

The island makes a substantial GDP contribution to Japan, making it a major economic force. Tokyo, the capital and one of the major financial hubs of the world, is situated in Honshu. Major sectors include electronics, technology, and automobile production, with global heavyweights like Sony, Panasonic, and Toyota having their headquarters here.

Honshu has a plethora of historical and cultural landmarks. Kyoto, the former capital, is well known for its gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, and traditional wooden residences besides its classical Buddhist temples. Despite its devastating World War II past, Hiroshima is now a symbol of peace and resilience.

4) Celebes / Sulawesi

One of the largest islands in Indonesia, Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes) is roughly 186,216 square kilometers in size. It is recognized for its unique shape, which is made up of four peninsulas and a convoluted shoreline. It is the 11th largest island in the world. Sulawesi is an essential component of the Indonesian archipelago since it is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands.

Sulawesi’s topography is primarily made up of mountains and untamed areas. At 3,478 meters, Mount Rantemario is the highest point on the island. Sulawesi’s complicated topography is also influenced by tectonic activity and several active volcanoes. Numerous bays and inlets line the island’s shoreline, offering a wealth of marine life as well as breathtaking coral reefs.

South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo, West Sulawesi, and North Sulawesi are the six provinces that make up the island. The main city on the island and a key center of the South Sulawesi economy and culture is Makassar, the province’s capital. Makassar is well-known for its lively food scene, historical attractions, and busy harbor.

Because Sulawesi is an isolated island, it is home to a diverse range of indigenous fauna. Among the notable species are the maleo bird, the Sulawesi crested macaque, and the anoa, a kind of dwarf buffalo. Divers and marine scientists from all over the world are drawn to the island by its abundant marine life, which includes the coral reefs of the Wakatobi Islands and the Togean.

Sulawesi’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, producing essential goods including coffee, cocoa, and cloves. The climate and rich soils of the island make large crops possible. Sulawesi is also well-known for its various traditional cultures and native tribes, such as the Toraja, who are well-known for their ornate burial customs and unusual architectural styles.

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5) Java

Java is one of the world’s most densely populated regions and the most populous island in Indonesia, with 138,800 square kilometers. Java is the most populated island in the world, with over 151 million people living on it, despite being the 13th largest island in the world. 

A plethora of dormant and active volcanoes dominate Java’s topography, with Mount Semeru, at 3,676 meters, being the highest peak. One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Mount Merapi, is another noteworthy volcano. The island’s rich volcanic soil is perfect for agriculture, especially rice growing, which is a staple food for the locals.

Jakarta, the capital and largest city of Indonesia, is situated on the northwest coast of Java, underscoring the island’s importance both politically and economically. One important economic center that makes a substantial contribution to Indonesia’s GDP is Jakarta. Other significant cities that are important for trade, education, and culture are Surabaya, Bandung, and Yogyakarta.

Java is well known for its rich cultural and historical legacy. The temples of Borobudur and Prambanan are two of the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The greatest Buddhist temple in the world is called Borobudur, while the most beautiful Hindu temple complex is called Prambanan. These locations showcase Java’s diverse cultural heritage, combining elements of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

6) Luzon

With 109,964 square kilometers under its belt, Luzon is the biggest and most significant island in the Philippines. With a population of nearly 64 million, it is the sixth-biggest island in Asia and among the world’s most densely populated. With Manila, the nation’s capital, and Quezon City, a significant business hub, located there, Luzon serves as the political and economic hub of the nation. The island’s topography is varied, with the Cordillera Central in the north, the Sierra Madre mountain range along its eastern coast, and the vast Central Luzon plain, dubbed the “Rice Granary of the Philippines.”

With a height of 2,928 meters, Mount Pulag is the tallest peak. The economy of Luzon is complex, with major contributions from industry, services, and agriculture. Rice, corn, and sugarcane are produced in this important agricultural area. Industrial operations are also quite important, especially in the electronics and automobile industries. Luzon possesses a wealth of historical and cultural treasures, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site Banaue Rice Terraces and Manila’s Intramuros. Luzon has many advantages, but it also has drawbacks, including fast urbanization, pollution, and susceptibility to typhoons and volcanic eruptions. Ongoing initiatives are being made to advance sustainable development and strengthen the island’s resilience to disasters.

7) Mindanao

With an area of 94,630 square kilometers, Mindanao is the second-largest island in the Philippines and is renowned for its varied landscapes, abundance of natural resources, and rich cultural variety. Though less densely populated than Luzon, Mindanao is home to over 26 million people and is vital to the nation’s agriculture and economy. With a height of 2,954 meters, Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines. The island is home to multiple mountain ranges. The topography of Mindanao also features vast river systems, including the Mindanao River, and rich plains that are essential for farming.

Because of its substantial agricultural output, Mindanao is sometimes referred to as the nation’s “food basket” economically. Together with other crops including corn, rice, and rubber, the island generates a significant amount of the bananas, pineapples, and coconuts consumed in the Philippines. The fisheries and aquaculture sectors of Mindanao play a significant role in both domestic consumption and export markets. 

The island also possesses abundant mineral resources, which are essential to its mining industry and include gold, nickel, and copper.

Mindanao is renowned for its multicultural population, which includes several indigenous tribes and Muslim communities. The traditional crafts, historic sites, and festivals all showcase the island’s rich cultural legacy. Within Mindanao, there is also the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which has its own distinct political and cultural identity.

Also Read: List of Countries In Asia

8) Hokkaido

At 83,423 square kilometers, Hokkaido is Japan’s second-largest and northernmost island. Hokkaido is geographically and climatically different from the rest of Japan, and it is well-known for its magnificent scenery and distinctive culture. The island’s immense wilderness, which includes mountain ranges like the Daisetsuzan and the volcanic summits of Mount Kurodake and Mount Asahidake, is what makes it so unique. Compared to the rest of Japan, Hokkaido has colder winters and milder summers, drawing tourists with its snow festivals and winter activities.

Hokkaido is economically vital to agriculture, especially the production of seafood and dairy products. The island, known for its premium dairy cattle breeds including the Hokkaido brown and Holstein cows, is the top producer of dairy products in Japan. With an abundance of seafood resources from the nearby seas, such as salmon, crab, and scallops, the fisheries are also important.

Cities in Hokkaido, including the capital Sapporo and Asahikawa, are important hubs for trade, tourism, and education. Every year, Sapporo organizes the Sapporo Snow Festival, a significant winter occasion that features elaborate ice sculptures. With museums and cultural centers devoted to conserving Ainu customs and legacy, the island’s native Ainu culture contributes to its rich cultural diversity.

9) Sakhalin

Situated in the Russian Far East, just to the north of Japan, Sakhalin is a vast and geographically varied island spanning 72,492 square kilometers. Situated between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west, it is the largest island in Russia. Sakhalin was once home to native populations like the Ainu and Nivkh and later became a source of conflict between Russia and Japan.

Geographically, the Northern and Central Sakhalin Mountains, as well as other mountain ranges, define Sakhalin’s northern and central regions. The highest peak, Mount Lopatin, is 1,609 meters high. The core of the island is home to several rivers and thick forests, while the southern portion is made up of sandy beaches and level coastal plains.

Sakhalin’s natural resources, especially its oil and natural gas reserves, make it important economically. Russia’s energy sector benefits greatly from the island’s offshore oil and gas reserves, notably the Sakhalin-I and Sakhalin-II projects. With an abundance of seafood resources, such as salmon, crab, and scallops, in the nearby waters, fishing is also significant.

Sakhalin has a lengthy, cold winter and a short, temperate summer. The climate is damp and frigid. The island receives a lot of snowfall in the winter, which makes it a good place for winter activities and sports.

Sakhalin’s population is culturally diverse, shaped by both its historical Russian occupation and its proximity to Japan. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the capital of the island, is a hub of culture and government that offers theaters, museums, and cultural events that highlight the island’s distinctive history.

Sakhalin confronts environmental difficulties, such as the effects of resource extraction on regional ecosystems and biodiversity, despite its economic potential. Sakhalin’s natural beauty and ecological balance must be preserved, and sustainable development for its people must be ensured, both through conservation initiatives.

Also Read: Largest Islands In the Indian Ocean

10) Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Spread across 65,610 square kilometers, Sri Lanka (previously known as Ceylon) is located off the southern coast of India. This island with a teardrop form is well known for its diverse range of wildlife, rich cultural history, and advantageous location in the Indian Ocean. The island’s topography varies from coastal plains to the middle highlands, topped by the 2,524-meter-high Pidurutalagala. The various monsoon seasons and tropical climate of Sri Lanka have an impact on the country’s ecosystems and agriculture.

Sri Lanka has a diversified economy, with industry, tourism, and agriculture being its three main economic areas. The island is well-known for producing tea, especially Ceylon tea, which is highly prized across the world. Sri Lanka exports spices like pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. The main and capital city, Colombo, is a major commercial center with a busy port that handles a sizable amount of maritime traffic.

Sri Lanka is a cultural melting pot with a history spanning more than 2,500 years, combining various religions and ethnicities. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the rock castle of Sigiriya, and the holy city of Kandy are just a few of the island’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The festivals, artwork, food, and customs all showcase the diversity of its cultures, which are influenced by Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism.

No.Name of IslandArea (Square kilometers)
1Borneo743,330 
2Sumatra475,807
3Honshu227,960
4Celebes / Sulawesi186,216 
5Java 138,800
6Luzon109,964
7Mindanao94,630
8Hokkaido83,423
9Sakhalin72,492
10Sri Lanka (Ceylon)65,610 

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Conclusion

Numerous islands in Asia display their historical significance and rich cultural legacy. They are home to some of the most unique plants and endangered species. This article listed the top 10 largest islands in Asia by area. Borneo tops the list with a massive area of 743,330 square kilometers. 

FAQs

Which Is the Largest Island In Asia By Population?

Java is not only the largest island in Asia, but the largest island in the world with over 151 million residents.

Which Is the Largest Island In the World By Area?

Greenland is the largest island in the world in terms of area with a massive area of 2,130,800 square kilometers. 

Which Country Has the Most Islands in Asia?

Indonesia is home to more than 17,500 islands, making it the country with the most islands in Asia.

Which Is the Smallest Country Island in Asia?

Maldives is the smallest country and island in Asia. It covers an area of only 300 square kilometers.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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