Area: 124,450 km² (48,050 miles²)
Population: 2.31 million*
Climate: Equatorial / Tropical, occasional rainshowers
Average Temperature: 23°C to 32°C
Also known as "Land of the Hornbills", Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia and is situated in the northwestern coast of Borneo.
Sarawak is a popular destination for nature lovers. It is home to ancient rainforest canopies, the largest flower in the world, squirrels and snakes that can glide through the air, mouse deer the size of kittens, pitcher plants that eat insects and even relish the occasional small mammal. It's no wonder that people come to Sarawak for trekking, caving, and mountain climbing.
There are 27 distinct indigenous ethnic groups and 45 different languages and dialects spoken in Sarawak.
Kuching is the capital city of the state of Sarawak. The word Kuching actually means "cat", but there are a variety of theories on the true origin of the city's name. It is a modern city and the most populous in Sarawak.
From the Kuching Waterfront, there are unique water taxis waiting to take you across the Sarawak River to Petrajaya, the other side of the city.
Just a drive away, at the foot of Mount Santubong, is the beautiful Damai Beach and Sarawak Cultural Village, a "living museum" of culture and heritage, and venue for the annual Rainforest World Music Festival.
There are a number of national parks to visit from Kuching, such as Batang Ai National Park, Bako National Park, and Gunung Gading National Park.
Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak, next to Kuching. It is the birthplace of Sarawak's petroleum industry.
One major attraction is the Niah Caves where the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia were found dating back 40,000 years. Here you can visit the Painted Cave, named after the prehistoric paintings on the cave wall. One of the interesting features here are the grave sites with ancient coffins shaped as boats.
Miri is a popular shopping destination for Malaysians and Bruneians for its modern shopping malls and traditional handicraft centre, and the annual Miri International Jazz Festival is a huge attraction for music lovers.
Sibu town, not to be confused with Sibu Island in West Malaysia, is mainly populated by the Foochow settlers originally from the Fujian Province in China. Sibu's seven storey pagoda is one of the historical Chinese buildings that symbolize the Foochow influence in its unique design.
In Sibu, the hand painted Sarawak fine pottery make very popular souvenirs. At the Lembangan Market, don't miss the unique opportunity to shop for flying fox, squirrel, snake, turtle, snail, bats, edible jungle ferns and fruits.
Mulu is a must-see destination, famed for its fascinating cave system in the world renowned Gunung Mulu National Park.
The Clearwater Cave, which has a river running through it, has the longest cave system in Southeast Asia. At the Deer Cave, the largest cave corridor in the world, you can witness the daily flight of bats from the cave. The Sarawak Chamber, located in the Nasib Bagus cave, is the largest natural cave chamber in the world and is able to house the equivalent of 16 football fields or 40 jumbo jets.
Other attractions that should not be missed are the Pinnacles of Mulu and Batu Lawi, just some of Mulu's spectacular and unique rock formations.
Bario is located very close to the international border between Kalimantan and Sarawak. It is the unofficial capital of the Kelabit Highlands, home of the Kelabit tribe who are known for their friendliness and hospitality, although they were traditionally headhunters. The community is known for its agriculture, mainly growing Bario rice.
Other agricultural products from Bario include high-potash salt and the juicy Bario pineapple.
Bintulu, which was originally a humble fishing village, is now a center for industrial development, particularly in oil and natural gas. Timber is also a major industry as over a quarter of Sarawak's luxuriant tropical rainforest is conserved and preserved in Bintulu
There are a number of nature parks to visit here such as Similajau National Park, the botanical Tumbina Park, and Batang Kemena Safari amongst others.
Lawas town is a busy transit point between Sarawak, Sabah, and Brunei. One popular attraction here is Tamu Lawas (Lawas Produce Market), held every Saturday.
Other interesting places to visit in Lawas are Punang Beach, Sungai Bangat Beach, Pa' Lelau in Merarap, Mount Murud, Kampung Air Terjun and Tanjung Resort in Kuala Lawas.
Limbang is a town located on the banks of the Limbang River. Bandar Sri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei, is just a 30 minutes away from Limbang by water. One event to note is the annual Babulang Festival, a buffalo race celebrated by Sarawak's ethnic Bisaya community once a year in the nearby village of Batu Danau.
Long Banga is a settlement of the Sabans, one of the smallest ethnic groups in Sarawak, but bearing many similarities to the Kelabit tribe. There are number of jungle and mountain trekking excursions available in Long Banga which allow you to observe the lifestyle of the Saban, Kenyah and Kelabit tribes.
Long Seridan is a small village in northern Sarawak, amongst steep forested mountains and fast flowing rivers.
Long Lellang is a small village in the south of the Kelabit Highlands. Many people enjoy this village for its trekking routes. A breathtaking waterfall awaits you at the Meridong Gorge, which is only accessible by boat.
Marudi is a town on the Baram River that borders Brunei and state of Sabah.
Mukah is the main sago producing area in Sarawak. The majority of the population is from the Melanau tribe, who were traditionally fishermen as well as padi and sago farmers. Just outside the town of Mukah is Lamin Dana, a water village where you can find the Melanau Cultural Center.
One major event in Mukah is the Pesta Kaul festival, celebrated by local fishermen to appease the spirits of the sea at the beginning of fishing season.
Recommended Tour Packages:
- Day Trip Naturally Bako National Park
- Day Trip Gunung Gading-Rafflesia
- 3D2N Mulu Show Caves
- 3D2N Longhouse Batang Ai