Sarawak – No 10 Attractions

Map of Sarawak

Map of Sarawak

Sarawak is known as the Land of the Hornbill and a good destination for ecotourism and adventure holiday in Malaysia. It is situated in the Borneo islands south of Sabah. The major communities in Sarawak are Iban, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu which include the Penan, Kayan and others. In all, there are more than 40 sub-ethnic groups in Sarawak. The cities are populated predominantly by Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, Indians and smaller percentage of Ibans and Bidayuhs. Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia that is Christian majority. The other major religious groups are the Islamic, Buddhist and Taoist groups. Majority of the population lives along the coast and riverbanks.

Its beaches are not the best in the country with the best beaches located at the Bako and Santubong National Parks. However, Sarawak epitomize what Borneo is all about which is mix of tribal culture and jungle highlands. It packs a host of national parks which showcase everything from coastal swamp forest to vast cave systems. This helps to preserve some of the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystems. There are various opportunities for long and short term jungle hiking both inside and outside the protected national parks with the possibility of visiting some of the remote longhouse communities.

Bidayuh House

Bidayuh House

Sarawak is a big state and mostly forested or cultivated with oil palm plantations. One can see pepper plots in the rural areas. For the visitors, most of the travelling to different towns will be by air as the roads are sparse, rugged and poor. Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia are the premium airlines to these towns. The rural interiors are served by Malaysia Airlines subsidiary, MAS Wings. International flights land at both Kuching and Miri.

The main attractions to Sarawak involve mainly visits to its national parks and some major towns. Visitors to the parks will be fascinated by the flora and fauna found within. Foremost among national parks visits would be:

  • Bako National Park
  • Gunung Mulu National Park
  • Niah National Park

A tour in Sarawak could include rides on the river speed boat ferries on the Sungai Rejang from Sibu  to Kapit or on the Sungai Baram from Miri to Marudu, Long Terawan and Mulu.

Bako National Park

Bako National Park

The Bako National Park is the oldest national park in Sarawak which was established in 1957. Its landscape consists of coastal cliffs and rolling hills, fine sandy beaches surrounded by jungle. Coastal erosion has produced interesting sea stacks and rock formations. Bako has vast diversity of flora and fauna which include the endangered proboscis monkey, macaques, bearded boar, many types of lizards, etc. Vegetation includes pitcher plants.

Mulu Karst Rocks

Mulu Karst Rocks

Gunung Mulu National Park is famous for its limestone karst formations both ground and underground. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. One of its caves, Sarawak Chamber, is the largest in the world whilst the other, Clearwater Cave, is the 10th longest and longest in South East Asia. It is accessible air and boat from Miri. For the forest enthusiast, a canopy skywalk called “The Mulu’s Canopy Skywalk” has installed within the park. International Class and Basic accommodation are located near the park.

Niah National Park is an hour’s drive from Miri and is the centre for bird nest and bat guano collection. Niah Caves is important for archeological remains such as the 40,000 year old human skull and cave painting.

Sarawak

Cats in Kuching

Sarawak Legislative Hall

Sarawak Legislative Hall

Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak. Its name is derived from the Malay word for “cat”. Thus, Kuching can be referred as “The Cat City”. Places of attractions in Kuching include visits to the Cat Museum, Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Islamic museum, Chinese History Museum, Kuching Waterfront, Fort Margherita, Kuching Civic Centre, Tua Pek Kong Temple, Jalan India and so on. Outside attractions would include visit to Bako National Park; Sarawak Cultural Village; Gunung Gading National Park for the Rafflesia, the world largest flower, and Annah Rais for the Bidayuh long houses.

Miri is an oil town and gateway to Gunung National Park and Niah National Park. It is located at the north eastern end of Sarawak and next to Brunei. There is not much attraction within Miri except for the Petroleum Museum and “Grand Old Lady” which is Miri’s No 1 oil well.

Sibu is river town in Central Sarawak and the main access to the interiors by boat up the Sungai Rejang to Kapit and Belaga.

Popular souvenirs from Sarawak include various tribal handicrafts, potteries, wood carvings and bead handicrafts. Black pepper is also a worthwhile buy.

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