Sarawak Travel Guide
Kuching waterfront © Aron Paul
Described as Asia's best kept secret, Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, and also its richest and most varied. It is situated on the island of Borneo, and along with Sabah, makes up East Malaysia, which is separated from Peninsula Malaysia by the South China Sea.
Like her neighbour, Sarawak is equally celebrated for natural beauty and diversity. This diversity extends to a rich cultural heritage and preservation of traditional lifestyles. Sarawak's numerous Dayak tribes still live in longhouses - with whole village populations living in one structure, with separate rooms opening on to a communal veranda. This communal spirit is extended to visitors who are invited to stay overnight.
Sarawak's natural wonders can best be experienced in its national parks, ancient rainforest and wildlife centres, where intriguing species of fauna and flora, cave systems and untouched coral reefs can be found. The clear waters off the coast afford an exceptional diving experience; 19 miles (30km) of trails wind through the tropical rainforest, mangrove swamp and rocky headlands of Bako National Park; protected species of Hornbill and proboscis monkey are at home in the forest and walkers can expect to see diverse plant and animal life. Permits are required and can be obtained in advance from the Sarawak Tourist Association office. The Niah National Park and Niah Caves are another favourite attraction in Sarawak.
Kuching is Sarawak's capital, an interesting city and good base from which to explore the national parks. Its rich history can be seen in a variety of museums, including the Sarawak Museum, or outside the city at Damai visitors can get to grips with the cultural heritage at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Gateway to the northeast, the resort city of Miri is fast becoming the state's most popular tourist destination, and is renowned as an adventure city. It offers a wide range of accommodation options, good beaches, and a lively nightlife, and is within reach of several national parks and natural attractions, as well as some of the best diving in Borneo.