firefox-gray Malaysia ’s largest state, Sarawak stretches over the rainforests and flowing rivers of Borneo, inhabited by one of Malaysia’s most ethnically diverse populations.

Located on seven hectares about 40 minutes by car from Kuching, the Sarawak Cultural Village gives you the opportunity to ‘see’ all of Sarawak at one site. You’ll find replicas of traditional longhouses, huts, and roundhouses around a lake, each with staff from the corresponding ethic group dressed in traditional costume. There are story tellers, the chance to participate in the various cultural activities, as well as daily performances of music and dance.

Sarawak’s main beach resort area, Damai is a 40-minute drive from Kuching (near the Sarawak Cultural Village). The three international-class resort hotels each has a secluded beach, jet skiing, windsurfing, and much more. Nearby is the

Damai Golf & Country Club, while the fishing villages of Buntal and Santubong have some excellent seafood on offer.

With over 52,000 hectares of rainforest and criss-crossed by rivers and jungle streams, the Gunung Mulu National park offers an amazing diversity of natural caves, dominating mountains, and some great opportunities for adventure trekking. Added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000, the park is famous for the Sarawak Chamber and the 2,377m sandstone pinnacle after which the park is named.

Located 100km south of Miri, the Niah National park is best known for its caves – the Great Cave, Painted Cave, and Trader’s Cave, known to shelter humans over forty thousand years ago. Aside from exploring the caves, there are also forest trails through the surrounding rainforests and an Iban longhouse to visit near the park boundary.

Established in 1975, the Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is located 20km south of Kuching, and is dedicated to the rehabilitation of surrendered and confiscated wild animals such as Orang Utan and Hornbills.

firefox-gray A land of seemingly infinite natural wonders, the National Parks and Nature Reserves of Sarawak has many opportunities for the eco-tourist. For caving, you can explore the world’s largest cave passage ( Deer Cave), the world’s largest natural chamber (Sarawak Chamber), and the longest cave in Southeast Asia ( Clearwater Cave), as well the Wind Cave and Fairy Cave at Bau.

A walking tour of Kuching is more than enough to fulfill the expectations of any history buff. Along the way are the Chinese History Museum, the Sarawak State Museum, the Timber Museum, and the Islamic Museum, while across the river you’ll find the Astana (built in 1870 by the second White Rajah Charles Brooke; you can’t go in, but visitors are allowed to stroll in the landscaped gardens) and the impressive Fort Margherita (presently closed for renovations).

Indeed, all of Sarawak is rich with tasty foods, and Kuching is especially known for its wide selection. There’s Western, Chinese, Malay, and Indian, available from air conditioned malls to roadside stalls.

Sarawak ’s capital, Kuching is a mix of modern facilities, colonial buildings, and Chinese and Malay shop houses. Set upon the Sarawak River, the Waterfront is a great place to start touring the city. Across the road is the Main Bazaar, where vendors sell antiques and curios. Across the river is the Astana, once the home of the White Rajah. It is a city well worth exploring.

Within a few hours of national parks and adventure travel, the oil and timber boomtown of Miri is becoming known for its lively nightlife. You’ll find a wide range of shopping and accommodation to suit all budgets. You’ll also find a number of travel agents here, specialising in local adventure excursions. Brighton Beach is a good place to mingle, while the ‘Old Lady’ landmark stands grandly atop Canada Hill (site of the area’s first oil well in 1910).

Founded by Foochow immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, Sibu is Sarawak’s third largest town, and offers a unique glimpse into its underlying Chinese origins. The Tua Pek Kong Temple, a seven storey pagoda, and a bustling centre of small shops selling anything from name brands to handicrafts to jungle produce welcome you at Sibu, while its Pasar Malam will hone your bargaining skills. Sibu is also the staging point of Rejang River adventure trips into the Iban interior.

 

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