Sarawak

Mulu National Park

Sarawak, located in Malaysian Borneo, is diverse and culturally unlike any other region of Malaysia. From the intriguing colonial base of Kuching, visitors can leap into Sarawak’s main attractions: nature and adventure. The list of adventure possibilities is as long as a Sarawak proboscis monkey’s nose, with everything from river kayaking, climbing and hiking through the region’s many forests on offer to get your adrenallin pumping.

Top things to do in Sarawak include:

 1) Marvel at the caves in Mulu National Park, Sarawak:

 The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mulu National Park offers travellers one Indiana Jones adventure after another. Mulu National Park is Sarawak’s largest,  and offers everything from quad biking, to jaw-dropping views from the world’s longest tree-canopy walk, to fascinating treks through the lush forest.

However its famous limestone caves are the true attraction, and adventurers will relish at the opportunity to visit these deep, dark caves.

Within Mulu National Park, travellers can stay in hostels, cabins, an air-conditioned longhouse, or  stay nearby at the Royal Mulu Resort. Upon arrival all visitors to the Park must register and pay a National Park Entry Fee, of RM10 per person for each day you re-enter the park. 

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Mulu, is by air. MAS Wings (wholly owned subsiduary of Malaysia Airlines) offers daily flights from Miri to Mulu, and three times each week from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

Insider tip: Visitors are not permitted to enter the Park without a Licensed Park Guide, and it is advised to organise tours before departure. Daily tours with World Heritage Guides can be arranged through Mulu National Park. For more information go to: http://www.mulupark.com

2) Take in the sights and sounds of the Rainforest World Music Festival

Imagine a concert in the magical surrounds of the Borneo jungle where you can experience the performances of talented musicians from around the globe.

The annual Rainforest World Music Festival takes place in July each year, with over 20 international musical acts taking part, to a crowd of over 30,000 people.

Tickets start at RM 110 (approx. $AUD35 for a one day pass).

Getting there: The Rainforest World Musical festival takes place at the Sarawak Cultural Village, 45 minutes outside of Kuching.

For more information on the Rainforest World Music Festival go to: www.rwmf.net

3) Visit Bako National Park

Sarawak’s oldest national park was established in 1957, and is famous for its extraordinary natural scenery, habitats, plants and wildlife. Some of the most awe-inspiring attractions of Bako National Park are the secluded coves and rugged rocky headlands with magnificent steep cliffs that overlook the South China Sea.

Bako National Park contains an incredible variety of plant species and vegetation types, and is home to 275 rare proboscis monkeys.

How to get there: Regular buses and taxis can transport you from Kuching to Kampung Bako. From here, boats can be chartered at the National Parks Boat Ticketing Counter next to the jetty for the 30-minute boat ride to the Park HQ

Insider Tip: Before departure to Bako, visit the National Parks Booking Office and Visitor Information Centre, opposite the Kuching Waterfront, to book tours, and for up-to-date fare information.For more information go to: www.sarawakforestry.com

4) Visit a traditional Iban Longhouse

Sarawak is a land of colourful cultures boasting 27 ethnic groups, and a significant percentage of Sarawak’s population still live in longhouses and villages in remote areas.

The most popular Iban longhouses to visit are Skrang River, Lemanak River and Batang Ai, which can be arranged through local tour companies.

Upon arrival the longhouse natives will greet and welcome you with tuak (a local rice wine) and you’ll be entertained with traditional dances and cultural performances, and be able to watch the longhouse residents making traditional rattan mats, and handicrafts. For intrepid travellers there is also the option to arrange an overnight stay at a longhouse.

Insider Tip: When travelling to a longhouse, it is custom to present the residents with a gift. Rather than buying an expensive gift, it is better to buy cheap items in high quantities, such as lollies or crackers. Longhouse overnight stays can be arranged through local tour companies.

5) Visit quirky Kuching

Kuching is the largest city in Sarawak, and is also the state’s quirky capital. This ‘city of cats’ is full of history, and old world charm, and is the perfect city to discover by foot.

Highlights of Kuching include the Cat Museum and the gigantic cat statues peppered across the city, the Tua Pek Kong Temple, Fort Margherita and The Astana, the waterfront and nearby Bazaar, and the Sarawak Museum.

There is also a great mixture of tempting food and accommodation options on offer to cater for most tastes, with everything from to high-end hotels to budget-friendly back-packer style experiences available.

Orangutan at Sarawak

Best time to travel: On the whole, Sarawak has an equatorial climate. The temperature is relatively uniform within the range of 23°C to 32°C throughout the year.

For more information on Sarawak go to: www.tourism.gov.my or download the Sarawak information pack.