Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, occupying the southwestern ridge of Borneo. Its verdant jungles are strewn with massive natural formations, the world’s largest cave chambers as well as endemic flora and fauna. Sarawak’s greatest assets include its UNESCO World Heritage Site and numerous protected national parks. The vast number of hornbills found here has made Sarawak to be fondly known as ‘the Land of the Hornbills’.
Its vibrant ethnic groups, coupled with the legacy of the Brooke dynasty, weave a history filled with intrigue and fascination. Kuching, the capital city, is a good place to get a glimpse into the past. Explore the extraordinary natural marvels of Sarawak!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gunung Mulu National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders, which include complex cave networks and
rare geological formations. The park is home to thousands of animal and plant species, such as the sun bear and wild orchids. Among its attractions include the world’s largest cave passage, world’s largest natural cave chamber, razor-sharp limestone spikes and a geological formation resembling the side profile of America’s former President, Abraham Lincoln.
Not far away from the state’s capital city is the Bako National Park with its breathtaking landscapes and beautiful rock formations. The park is also inhabited by rare animal species such as Proboscis Monkeys and Leaf Monkeys as well as over a hundred bird species.
Described as a ‘living museum’, Sarawak Cultural Village showcases the traditional dwellings and lifestyles of Sarawak’s major ethnic groups. Situated at the foothill of Mount Santubong, this award-winning attraction is also the venue of the popular Rainforest Music Festival. Among the highlights here is the twice-daily cultural performance.
The 1613-acre Semenggoh Nature Reserve is a treasure trove of attractions. The most well-known is the Wildlife Centre that rehabilitates orang utans that were injured, orphaned or kept illegally. In the sprawling nature reserve, visitors can see orang utans of various ages, from adorable and mischievous young primates, to caring and protective mothers, to mature adults. Enjoy observing their antics during the feeding times (9.00am and 3.00pm) or watch them frolic in the rainforest. Other attractions include an arboretum, orchard and botanical garden.
Millions of bats and swiftlets, numerous historical sites, ancient tombs and a primary rainforest are among the enchanting attractions at this national park. Sprawling over 3,238 hectares, Niah National Park enjoys great popularity among history lovers and researchers for its archaeological significance. The Great Cave here was inhabited by prehistoric men nearly 40,000 years ago. Among the relics unearthed include Neolithic paintings and Palaeolithic artefacts. Another attraction is the Painted Caves, where depictions of human-like figures were found near an ancient burial site. Niah National Park is accessible from Miri and Bintulu. It is situated about 109km from Miri or 131km from Bintulu. Accommodation ranges from chalets, hostels to a rest house.
The newly-opened Darul Hana Bridge or Golden Bridge is a stunning landmark in the city. Situated along Kuching Waterfront, this 335-metre ‘S’ shaped pedestrian bridge connects Kuching North and Kuching South. Meaning peace and tranquillity in Arabic, the Darul Hana Bridge features traditional and modern design elements including stylised hornbills which denote the state’s emblem. It is open daily from 6.00am to 12.00 midnight.
Enjoy a dazzling show with dancing water, colourful lighting and special effects. Designed with state-of-the-art technology, this fountain has hundreds of nozzles that shoot water 25 m upwards. This fountain is situated near the Kuching Waterfront, Darul Hana Bridge and set against the new State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building.
Visitors can enjoy a 15 minute show along with beautiful views of the night from the riverbank of Main Bazaar. Another vantage point would be from the Darul Hana Bridge which spans the Sarawak River.
This is the biggest market in Kuching with an assortment of products ranging from fresh vegetables, jungle ferns, fruits to traditional snacks and handicrafts. It has a lively and colourful atmosphere with five main complexes including a food court and cafeteria. The market is especially busy on Saturday afternoons.
Housed in a stately building bearing Victorian-style architecture, this museum is a repository of information on the state’s ethnography, natural history, crafts and the petroleum industry. Please take note that visitors are not allowed to bring in their cameras.
Masjid India Bandar Kuching is located at Gambier Street, along the Sarawak River banks. The mosque is capable of accommodating 1,600 people. It is strategically located adjacent to the Kuching Waterfront, near several tourist attractions such as the Darul Hana Bridge and Darul Hana Musical Fountain. By night, the mosque will be illuminated by multi-colour LED lights.
Located about 60km from Kuching, this longhouse offers a chance to experience the traditional lifestyle of the local folk. Watch cultural performances, try your hand at playing the musical instruments, learn how to prepare local delicacies or go trekking to enjoy the outdoors. Trips to Annah Rais Longhouse must be pre-arranged.
Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, stands as the main attraction in this national park. The species here is called Rafflesia tuan mudae, which can grow up to one metre in width. Forest lodges are available for overnight stays. This park is about two hours’ drive from Kuching. Visitors can call ahead to find out if the Rafflesia is in bloom.
Recently refurbished, the Sibu Central Market offers interesting and lively sights of traders selling a variety of items in a clean and hygienic setting. This is the largest market in Sarawak, offering everything from exotic fruits and vegetables of the rainforest to handicrafts and poultry. The Sibu Market is situated along Jalan Channel opposite the Express Boat Passenger Terminal.
Enjoy an interesting display of all things feline! Exhibits range from feline art, souvenirs, a pictorial collection of cats, to statues and legends that are associated with these adorable furry friends.
Experience the unique cultures of Sarawak by living with the different ethnic groups. In a homestay programme, visitors can stay at an Iban, Bidayuh or Orang Ulu longhouse, a Malay kampung (village) house, or even a Melanau house. There are 30 homestay villages in the state. Among the well-known villages are:
Lambir Hills National Park is said to have one of the world’s greatest levels of plant diversity. Its 6,952 hectares of land is covered in lowland dipterocarp and heath forests. Its tall trees rise to a height of 45 metres and the forest canopy is home to 237 species of birds. Visitors can access this park within 40 minutes’ drive from Miri.
Since time immemorial, Sarawak River has been intertwined with the state’s history, culture and livelihood. A river cruise is a great way to recapture the charm of the bygone era. View Kuching’s historical landmarks along the riverbanks such as Brooke Gallery (Fort Margherita), Kuching Waterfront, Main Bazaar, Chinese Museum, new Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building and many more. Watch the sunset from the Sky Deck and enjoy light refreshments or enjoy a dinner on board.
Enjoy a longboat journey that takes you into the heartland of the Iban tribe. These tours take visitors to the traditional longhouse settlements to experience the culture and lifestyle of one of the largest and well-known ethnic groups in Sarawak. The Iban people are famed for their warm hospitality and visitors can see activities such as blowpipe demonstrations, basket weaving, cooking in freshly cut bamboo tubes, native dances and many more.
Damai and Santubong
Pulau Talang and Pulau Satang National Parks
Shopping in Sarawak is an adventurous experience. The state’s many ethnic groups are known for their intricate crafts and souvenirs. One of the state’s most popular crafts is the Sarawakian beads. Colourful beads of all sizes are fashioned into necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. Another must-have item is the pua kumbu textile.
This hand-woven fabric can be used as wall hangings, table covers and shawls. Sarawak pottery has gained a name for itself for its distinct designs and carvings. In some places, visitors can watch pottery-making. Bamboo mats are another popular item. These mats come in various sizes and are a great idea to enhance your home decor. Some shops even offer packing and delivery arrangements for a fee.
Main shopping spots around Kuching are:
Sarawak’s traditional delights are simply superb for those who are adventurous enough to give it a go. Coastal areas such as Damai and Santubong offer a variety of seafood dishes. The state is also a leading producer of pepper and pineapples. In the cool climate of Kelabit Highlands, the natives cultivate a special rice called Bario Rice. It is harvested by hand using age-old methods. The equally cold highlands of Ba’kelalan is gaining popularity for its crunchy apples.
For decades, Sarawak has been exporting high quality swiftlet’s nests. Aside from the local food, visitors can enjoy Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Western food in Kuching. Major hotels around the state serve a variety of continental cuisine. Sarawak’s authentic dishes include:
This signature dish consists of noodles served with an aromatic, tangy soup.
Handmade yellow egg noodles are used to prepare this tasty dry dish. The noodles are tossed with lard, garlic oil and black vinegar to give it the special flavour and taste. Muslim stalls offer a halal or pork-free version of this dish.
Literally meaning ‘spicy porridge’, this dish is made with condiments such as yam, bamboo shoots and wild ferns. It is popular during the Muslim fasting month.
A specialty of the Dayak ethnic group, this dish is made of chicken and ginger. It is cooked in a bamboo log over an open fire to seal in the aroma and flavour.
The salted terubok fish is popular in Sarawak. It tastes best when grilled.
Pretty and colourful, the Sarawak layer cake has a mosaic-like look. They are usually homemade and taste simply delicious with a cup of coffee.
This highly prized Chinese delicacy is said to have medicinal properties. Try it at upmarket restaurants.
Bottled Sarawak pepper can be purchased at most departmental stores, supermarkets and mini markets. It is locally produced and fresh.
Sarikei is known as ‘the pineapple capital of Sarawak’. The variety grown here is juicy, and low in acid and sugar. Other specialties of Sarawak include Umai, a raw fish salad and Tabaloi, a traditional sago cookie.
Sarawak is well-connected to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia’s capital city) as well as several other international destinations. The main airport is the Kuching International Airport. There are a number of other airports and airstrips in Sarawak, situated in Miri, Bintulu and Sibu. Malaysia Airlines, the national carrier, provides daily direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching with connecting flights to other towns. The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Direct flights are also available from Kuala Lumpur to Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.
In addition, the budget carrier AirAsia operates flights to Miri, Bintulu, Kuching and Sibu from KLIA2. Air Asia also flies to Kuching form the state of Penang, Johor & Kelantan. Malindo Air flies daily from KLIA.
Sarawak is also accessible by air from the neighbouring state of Sabah, and Labuan as well as Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The airlines that provide air links to Sarawak include Silk Air, Scoot Air, Royal Brunei Airlines and Wings Air for Pontianak (West Kalimantan) route. For further information on airlines route, please visit the website of the respective airlines.
There are regular ferry services to Sarawak from Labuan and Brunei Darussalam. The staging points are situated in Limbang and Lawas.
It is possible to take a bus from Brunei Darussalam to Miri. The journey takes about five hours. The route Pontianak (Kalimantan Barat) to Kuching is also available via Tebedu immigration post.
Getting around Kuching is simple with the easy availability of buses and taxis. Taxis are mostly available in front of major hotels and shopping malls.
Despite the vast size of the state, getting around Sarawak is fairly convenient with a good network of rural air services. Airports are situated in Miri, Bintulu, Sibu, Mulu and Limbang. MASWings, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines Berhad, connects the interiors such as Bario, Ba’kelalan, Lawas, Long Banga, Long Seridan, Long Lellang, Marudi, Mukah and Tanjung Manis which are equipped with STOL ports.
Overland transfers are possible via the Trans Borneo Highway which connects Sarawak to Sabah and Brunei Darussalam. Visitors are encouraged to get adequate information from the Tourist Information Centres on the duration of journey and routes.
|For more information, contact:|
Tourism Malaysia Tourist Information Centre:||
+6082 627 742 / 246 575
There is so much to do and so many places to see in Malaysia. To make sure that you don’t miss anything, use this handy map to navigate your way across the country and find great places to visit.
Perlis is the northern gateway to Malaysia. Despite its small size, Perlis has an abundance of attractions that make it a great destination.
Kedah is Malaysia’s largest paddy producing state. Delve into history in Lembah Bujang, the site of an ancient civilisation or relax in Langkawi, a world-famous resort island.
The site of a UNESCO World Heritage City, Penang is a holiday paradise with fabulous beach resorts and eclectic cultures. It is also the undisputable haven for foodies.
A tin-rich state in its heyday, Perak beckons with a range of sights and experiences. The state’s top attractions include Pangkor, an island getaway and Pangkor Laut, an internationally-acclaimed private island.
Hailed as the Cradle of Malay culture, Kelantan is a destination teeming with age-old arts, crafts and pastimes.
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Selangor is home to the country’s main airport KLIA, and the main gateway by sea, Port Klang. It is also the country’s most developed state with a long list of shopping malls and themed attractions.
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