Established as the Malaysia’s largest state, Sarawak is a haven of natural landscapes with various national parks, nature reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and dozens of attractions that never cease to amaze travellers. Blessed with vibrant cultures from 27 different ethnic groups, this state that is located on the island of Borneo promises exciting escape from the mundane day-to-day life.
Be it the sky, land or sea, Sarawak offers endless excitement, adventure and charm that accommodate both slow-paced leisure and extreme-adventure travellers through its plethora of culture, adventure, nature, food, and festivals. The following are seven places that travellers can visit in 2019 and 2020.
Fondly dubbed as ‘the land of a hundred handshakes’, this friendly town is the home of the smallest ethnic group in Sarawak called Kelabit. Known for its traditional crafts and arts, the destination is also home to other tribes like Penan and Lun Bawang. Lying on an altitude of roughly 1,000 metres or 3,500 feet above sea level, this quaint location nestles in the north eastern corner of Sarawak, surrounded by lush, pristine and unpolluted environment, perfect for trekking and sightseeing.
For those who seek more thrilling adventure can opt for kayaking and an arduous five-day and four-night trek through the Bario-Ba’kelalan trail. Those who prefer a more leisurely experience can visit the town during events like Bario Food Festival called Nukenen at the end of July every year and savour exotic delicacies like local pineapples and Bario Rice.
ust an hour and a half drive from Kuching, this village is situated near Mongkos River and offers homestay accommodations. For those wanting to experience living in the longhouse (a communal wooden house, perched on stilts with separate rooms designated for different families), there are 12 families who open up their homes for travellers to stay with them. The tribe called Bidayuh inhabit these longhouses. Staying at these longhouses directly exposes travellers to the Bidayuh culture, rituals, traditions, and activities.
You can participate in Bidayuh traditional dance called Langgi Aruh, which involves crossing over handheld bamboos that imitate traps as they are enclosed and opened together according to the beat – the idea is not to get trapped as the bamboos enclose and pick up speed. Travellers can also witness other traditional dances like Langgi Sidandut, Langgi Perang and Langi Empujon, each inspired by age-old folklore. Ritualistic ceremonies and exotic food are arranged for travellers to give them educational experience and understanding of the Bidayuh culture.
Koperasi Kampung Mongkos Serian Berhad
Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia, Daerah Serian
94700 Serian, Sarawak
Tel: +6 013 576 4003
GPS: 1°11’23.5″N 110°33’53.6″E
Semenggoh Nature Reserve
Located barely fifteen minutes from Kuching, this nature reserve is a sanctuary to one of the most intelligent primates in the world: the orangutans, which are known for their ability to adopt sign language and utilise rudimentary tools in their daily lives. Predominantly indigenous to Sarawak, orangutans are now critically endangered due to deforestation.
You can meet these wonderful creatures up close at Semenggoh Nature Reserve, where travellers can learn about the orangutans’ habitat and the importance of conservation in protecting this species from extinction. Aimed at reintroducing these apes to the natural environment, Semenggoh Nature Reserve is one of the only sanctuaries in the world for these intelligent creatures to roam free without restriction. This nature reserve also trains these apes in basic survival skills as most of them are rescued at a young age from dangerous conditions. This effort has led to an increase in the species’ population in the wild.
Adult & Senior Citizen: MYR10
Below 18 Years Old: MYR5
Children Below 6 Years old: MYR5
GPS: 1°24’06.1″N 110°18’52.0″E
Mulu National Park
This UNESCO World Heritage site is Sarawak’s largest national park and has been listed since the year 2000. It was the first of its kind to be listed as a World Heritage site in Malaysia. Famed for its limestone, this whopping park covers 544 kilometres squared of lush primary rainforest with varied landscapes criss-crossed by fast flowing rivers and limpid streams.
Dominated by three mountains, this park boasts a number of breathtaking caves like the world’s largest cave passage known as Deer Cave; the formation of the oldest cave in Mulu National Park is said to date back almost five million years ago! Another highlight of this park is the Pinnacles, situated mid-way up the slopes of Gunung Api. This is one of the trekkers’ favourite spots because the view overlooks a series of 45-meter-high limestone towers soaring above surrounding verdure.
Travellers should also head to the world’s longest canopy walk to truly delve into the bustling ecosystem that is more active high up in the trees than the ground. The entrance fee for the Canopy Walk is MYR42, including guide. Find out more about the canopy walk on http://mulupark.com/tours-activities/uncategorized/canopy/.
Shipwreck Diving at Kuching
For those who love underwater explorations, Kuching is indeed the destination where divers can explore multiple carcasses of wrecked ships that lie at the bottom of the ocean’s floor. After the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the Japanese exerted their forces towards South East Asia with Borneo as one of the targets.
This effort, however, was cut short by the Americans and its ally, the Dutch, who attacked the Japanese warships using their submarines in 1941. Despite the brutality of its past, the area now is regarded as one of the most beautiful scuba diving spots, thriving with marine life and corals. There are approximately 19 wrecks located off Kuching’s coast. The nearest wreck is the Katori Maru Wreck that sits at a depth of 22 metres, taking about 50 to 75 minutes by speedboat from Santubong. The best time to dive is between April to September. The most recent wrecks could also be found there, such as the TK Wreck, Thai Seven and Barge Wreck.
Find out more about the diving packages on http://www.wetwolfdive.com/dive%20kuching%20wreck.html
Imagine gazing at the star-studded night sky accompanied by turtles as they lay eggs in the soft white sands of Tanjung Datu’s coastline. Although this is the smallest national park in Sarawak, it is renowned for its purity, untouched beauty, exclusivity and remoteness; from crystal clear water and thriving corals to verdant vegetation that is filled with exotic flora and fauna.
The park is situated on the Datu Peninsula at the south-western tip of Sarawak and is only about 14 square kilometres in size. It takes about half an hour to reach the park from Sematan Town by boat. Since the site bans commercialisation and large scale accommodation, it is safe to say that Tanjung Datu is free from human-induced pollution, making it nature’s wonderland. However, there are four shelters capable of accommodating up to 12 people at one time available at this national park.
For campers, they can set up tents on a site that can hold up to 100 people at a time. A sanctuary for the turtles and many other exotic animals like primates, migratory birds, and wild animals, be sure to properly follow instructions because reckless behaviour might result in considerable risks.
Reservations & Enquiries:
National Parks Booking Office
Tel: +6 082 248 088
Online booking: http://ebooking.com.my
GPS: 2°03’19.5″N 109°38’31.9″E
Base Jumping in Sibu
One of the most anticipated events in Sarawak is the Sibu International BASE Jump, where jumpers from all corners of the world rally and jump off the tallest building in Sarawak, Wisman Sanyan. This activity gets spectators’ hearts thumping as they see these jumpers launch themselves off from the top of Wisma Sanyan that is 126 metres high from the ground. Located in Sibu, dozens of thrill seekers travel to this city to perform BASE (Building, Antennae, Span, and Earth) jumping while enthusiastic spectators gather to watch these daredevils jump off. Compared to skydiving, base-jumping is much cheaper due to the absence of planes and aircraft that would usually cost thousands of ringgits per ride. Organised for the first time in 2009 by Sibu Tourism Task Force Group and BASE jumpers from Australia and Malaysia, this event has now become a highly anticipated annual event.
Tel: +6 084 321 963 / +6 084 330 500
Visit Sibu BASE Jump Facebook page for latest updates and information