Located on the island of Borneo, Sarawak, is the largest state in Malaysia and home to multiple flowing rivers and rainforests. Offering everything from great shopping and quaint dining to adventures activities, Sarawak and its capital city of Kuching are both highly popular holiday destinations among Asian travellers and Westerners alike. Below are some of the most interesting things to see and do in this picturesque region of Malaysia:
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Gunung Mulu National Park
With an expansive rainforest area, including caves, jungle streams and rivers, the Gunung Mulu National Park is home to an impressive variety of trekking opportunities, whether one prefers river boating, mountain climbing or exploring natural caves. Simple nature walks over man-made bridges and other unique structures are also available. The Sarawak Chamber is located within the park as well, which is a 3000 mile natural sandstone mountain.
An easy 30 minute drive from Kuching, Sarawak Cultural Village offers travellers of all ages a chance to explore Sarawak's history and culture in its entirety. Here, visitors will find perfect replicas of traditional long houses, huts and round houses situated in a circular fashion around a sparkling lake, similar to the way they would have been found hundreds of years ago. Travellers can also enjoy hearing local Sarawak storytellers re-create significant points in history for their listeners. Those who spend the day at the Village also have the opportunity to take part in daily music and dance performances, as well as many other diverse cultural activities.
Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
No animal lover will want to miss a trip to the Semengoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre when visiting Sarawak. Established in the 1970s, the Centre is dedicated to rehabilitating confiscated and surrendered wild animals in Borneo, such as orangutans and hornbills.
Sarawak's capital city of Kuching is located on the waterfront of the Sarawak River. A famous Malaysian landmark, The Waterfront, is situated along a strip of land that was once a commercial area owned by Great Britain. Today, it is Kuching's main attraction and the gateway to the city for both locals and tourists.
At the Sarawak Museum, holidaymakers can view ancient artefacts discovered during long-term digs conducted by local archaeologists. One can even view prehistoric skulls of the men and women who first made the areas rivers and caves their home. A truly enjoyable activity, some of the oldest artefacts in Asia are found in this impressive museum.
The Cat Museum is also a must see for anyone with even the slightest interest in feline species. The establishment stands majestic at the highest point of Bukit Siol Hill and provides an outstanding view of Kuching City. Although not as large as the Sarawak Museum, the Cat Museum is home to four main galleries where feline artefacts from around the world are housed. The museum takes travellers on a journey through the evolution and history of cats who have survived through the centuries and their social and historical roles in palaces, living rooms and everywhere in between.
Tua Pek Kong Temple
Kuching's Tua Pek Kong Temple is one of Malaysia's oldest structures, dating back to the mid-1800s. The Literal meaning of Tua Pek Kong is "Grand Uncle," and the Temple was reportedly constructed in honour of the Chinese deity of Tua Pek Kong. Beautiful ornaments, sculptures and carvings adorn the Temple, all of which provide outstanding photo opportunities.
Those who enjoy beautiful, well-maintained beaches will be pleased with what they find in Sarawak. Two popular beaches in this region include Golden Beach and Turtle Beach. Both are situated in the Similajau National Park and are easy to reach. Boasting a broad range of interesting wildlife species and tropical scenery, travellers can spot a variety of birds and mammals at either of these lovely beaches.
Whether one prefers to visit waterfront bazaars and outdoor markets or large indoor malls, the ideal shopping establishment can be found in Sarawak. The Waterfront Market and the Kuching Bazaar are perfect for those who enjoy bargain-hunting in outdoor marketplaces, while the Tun Jugah, Parkson Grande and the Sarawak Plaza are ideal for travellers who prefer modern, indoor malls.
Restaurants in Sarawak and Kuching tend to be quaint and family-run. However, there is also a variety of larger restaurants in the area's resorts and hotels. Asian, European and Middle Eastern fare can be found on most menus, and many restaurants also offer American dishes.
Accommodations of all types can be found in Kuching and the surrounding area, from high-end resorts to hostels and bed and breakfast establishments. Adventurous travellers may wish to consider an all-inclusive package that covers the cost of a rainforest excursion or a similar trek, as the latter are highly popular in this part of Malaysia. Those who choose Sarawak for a getaway can anticipate a one-of-a-kind adventure that includes breathtaking scenery, delicious food and unique activities and attractions.