Sarawak Travel Information
Contrary to what a lot of the Western media would have you believe, much of the state is still virgin jungle, however, there is certainly evidence of logging.
Sarawak is a tourist destination poised to take its rightful place among the preferred destinations for those seeking culture, nature and adventure tourism. Visitors will leave Sarawak having enjoyed a host of memorable experiences.
In Sarawak, thick jungles are only a few steps from the luxurious resorts. Modern amenities are readily available, even deep in the jungle. Sarawak offers a fresh alternative than can be visited either on its own, or as a perfect complement to a trip to West Malaysia, Sabah or other Asian destinations.
Aerial View of Kuching
Kuching is possibly the best place in the whole of Borneo to purchase artefacts and handicrafts from the entire region, particularly in the shops along Main Bazaar. Prices are not fixed – bargaining is considered normal practice.
Proboscis Monkey at Bako National Park
From Kuching, tours can be easily undertaken to the interior of the country to visit longhouse villages, travelling by bus and longboat. One of the popular longhouse trips from Kuching is to the villages on the Skrang River, approximately 250 km from Kuching, and not far from the town of Enkilili near the border with Kalimantan. En route, you will pass by numerous pepper and oil palm plantations, and of course the ubiquitous rice paddy fields. Pepper is a very important cash crop for the villages. The 45 minute trip up the Skrang River by longboat is a highlight of the trip.
Batang Ai Resort
Boat trip to Batang Ai NP
Gunung Mulu dominates the area
Mulu Resort on the Melinau River
The park is accessed by air with direct flights from Kuching and Miri in Sarawak amd Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. Located on the banks of the Melinau River, the Royal Mulu Resort has been open since the late 1990s, and offers resort style accommodation. The resort is built on 3 metre high stilts and designed in the style of the local longhouses. The river wraps around the resort like a moat, and is visible from most rooms.
The “show caves” – Deer Cave, Lang Cave, Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave, are truly spectacular and form part of the largest limestone cave system in the world. The Deer Cave boasts the world’s largest cave passage (over 100 metres high and 120 metres wide), while the Clearwater Cave boasts the longest cave in South-East Asia.
Mulu’s wildlife is as impressive as its flora, and is inhabited by an impressive variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects and other invertebrates, including deer, monkeys, giant porcupine, civets and all of Borneo’s hornbills.
A note about visiting Longhouses (this applies to any Longhouse in Borneo)
Longhouse Dos and Don’ts
Observing a few simple rules will ensure that your hosts enjoy the visit as much as you do.
- Never enter a longhouse without asking permission first.
- If you arrive unannounced, always ask for the Tuai Rumah or headman’s apartment.
- Always remove your shoes when entering a longhouse.
- Never push away food or drink offered to you. If you wish to decline, touch the plate or glass gently with your right hand.
- The Tuai Rumah, or headman, is a person of considerable importance. Always treat him with the respect his position deserves.
- If invited to bathe in the river, always wear a sarong or a non-revealing swimming costume. Never bathe where members of the opposite sex are bathing.
- If on an organised tour, always follow your tour guide’s instructions.
- Never distribute gifts to individuals, especially children. Always present gifts to the Tuai Rumah, who will ensure that they are distributed fairly throughout the community.
Photos copyright to Sarawak Tourism Board and Phil Youdale