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Famous places to visit in Malaysia: Sarawak

Previously, we brought to you a list of places to visit in one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Now, it’s time to pay a visit to the bigger of the two, the biggest state in the country, as a matter of fact.

The Land of the Hornbills, a.k.a. Sarawak, offers many interesting places for the perfect getaway. While the state does boast several nightlife, shopping and dining attractions, let us take a look instead at places that will bring you closer to nature.

Enjoy a relaxing and stress-free holiday (or adrenaline-pumping in some cases) at these places to visit in Sarawak.

1. Bako National Park

(Photo source: Nouvelles De Voyage)

(Photo source: Sunday Blog)

Did you know that this is the oldest national park in Sarawak? Did you also know that it was the main location for Malaysian movie “Nota”, starring Maya Karin and Hans Isaac, directed by Japanese director Yasu Tanaka?

The view offered by the park is nothing short of spectacular. It may be one of the smallest national parks in the state but it holds the distinction of having almost every type of vegetation that can be found in Borneo packed into the one small park.

They can easily be spotted while taking treks throughout the park. No worry of getting lost as the trails have been colour-coded. Each trail bears a different colour so just follow the correct one and you will be on the right track.

Also keep a lookout for the animals in the park. Some of the wildlife in the park are deers, proboscis monkeys (which can only be found in Borneo), flying lizards and bearded pigs. 

2. Mount Santubong

(Photo source: Alice Soon wordpress)

(Photo source: Gaia Discovery)

This single rise mountain may not be high enough at 810 meters to be intimidating for seasoned climbers, but it is still a challenging climb, especially near the summit where the slope is extremely steep.

You will be rewarded with beautiful views of waterfalls and mountain streams on the climb up, but do be aware of the time, do not get enticed into dipping into every pool of water you see as you do not want to still be in the jungle come nighttime. 

If climbing isn’t really your thing, visit instead the “living museum” located at the foothills of Mount Santubong. Otherwise known as Sarawak Cultural Village, the 17-acre site is peppered with replica buildings that represent every major ethnic group in Sarawak. Here you will get to see the longhouses of Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu; a Penan jungle settlement, a Melanau tall-house, a Malay town house with adjacent top-spinning court, a Chinese farm House and a Chinese pagoda. All houses are staffed with locals wearing traditional getups. 

Another pull to this cultural village is it plays host to one of the biggest music festivals every year. This year the Rainforest World Music Festival, which brings together renowned world musicians from all continents and indigenous musicians from the interiors of the mythical island of Borneo on one stage, will return in August

3. Kuching Cat Museum, Kuching

(Photo source: Virtual Malaysia)

(Photo source: Gorgonian Viaggi)  

The perfect place for cat-lovers. The name Kuching means cat in the Malay dialect (spelled “kucing”) and this particular capital city of Sarawak really ran with the idea. Dubbed as the “Cat City”, you will see numerous cat statues across the city, lest you forget the city’s name. They add a unique touch to the otherwise homely division. 

One of the must visits is the Kuching Cat Museum, which of course houses many artefacts related to our little feline friend. 

It was suggested by Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Laila Taib. In 1993, Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) took over the Cat Museum from Sarawak Museum. It has since been relocated to the ground floor of the DBKU headquarters in Bukit Siol, Petra Jaya.

The museum traces the history of cats back 5,000 years. With around 2,000 artefacts, it is a mix of beautifully crafted arts, historical pieces and kitschy exhibits. Also, get to learn more about superstitions involving cats and the history of the furry pet in Southeast Asia.

4. Pinnacles Trail, Miri

(Photo source: Planet Borneo Tours)

(Photo source: Albert Song)

Want to get fit while having some outdoor fun, enjoying nature? This trail, which is 2.4 km in length and 1,200 meters in height, will truly test your fitness level. Upon reaching the end of the trail, climbers will be greeted with 45 meter high, razor sharp limestone jutting out from the slopes of Gunung Berapi – one of the mountains (along with Gunung Mulu and Gunung Benarat) that can be found at UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mulu National Park. 

If your visit to Miri is done in May, opt to stay at Parkcity Everly Hotel, which overlooks the South China Sea and offers a splendid view of the rolling waves. Or just visit there for the annual Borneo Jazz Festival (previously known as Miri International Jazz Festival).

(Photo source: ExpatGo Malaysia)

The festival will be holding its 11th edition this year. It is one of the longest running Jazz festivals in the region, featuring both regional and international jazz acts.

This year it is set to be held from 13 to 14 May. Since the event takes place over a couple of days, visitors can take the chance to visit other attractions in Miri, such as Lambir Hills and the historical Niah National Park.

Being so near the waters, it’ll be a shame to miss out on scuba diving. The best sites to visit will be at the Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park. Also not to be missed out on is the “Blue Tears” phenomenon at Tusan Beach (pictured above), where the waves glow blue due to the presence of algae called “Dinoflagellates” in the water.

5. Sibu BASE Jump, Sibu

(Photo source: Vimeo / Scott Patterson)

(Photo source: Sibu BASE Jump’s Facebook)

This is more than just a typical BASE jump event as it is also an enriching cultural experience. Some of the activities done aside from the obvious titular jumping include snorkeling, white water rafting, and even longhouse stays.

First introduced in Sibu on 31 October 2009, it has since become an annual event at the town’s Wisma Sayan. As BASE is an acronym for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth – the four categories of objects one can jump from – it is no wonder then that the tallest building in Sarawak is chosen as the event’s yearly base.

With a height of 126 meters, only experienced jumpers are allowed to participate. They will launch themselves from the top of the building and land in Sibu Town Square.

(Photo sources: Alice Soon wordpress, Albert Song, Gaia Discovery, Gorgonian Viaggi, Vimeo / Scott Patterson)

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