Sarawak is the largest of 13 states in Malaysia. Located on the north and north-western tip of Borneo, it covers 124,450 sq. km and stretches over 750km. It makes up 37.5% of land area in the country (slightly larger than South Korea).
Sarawak is unique in that there are significant differences in culture, administration and lifestyle. Sarawak’s population of 2.4 million people comprises roughly 27 main ethnic groups still in existence, each with its own language, traditions and way of life. Sarawak is renowned for its abundance in natural resources. Liquid natural gas, crude oil and tropical hardwood timber sustain the economy. In the last few decades, agriculture (palm oil), light industries in food processing, shipbuilding and electronics, is becoming increasingly more important.
Kuching, Gateway to Sarawak
The quaint city of Kuching is Sarawak’s capital and main entry point. A small city of great history and legends, Kuching is forever remembered as the Camelot of the White Rajahs. Although the name ‘Kuching’ is associated with the Malay word for ‘Cat’, the city’s origins go centuries further before its modern day affiliation to cats and cat-lovers. Nevertheless, like the feline, the city embodies its own brand of grace and subtlety. The world’s first cat museum opened here. Fun, quirky, historic, Kuching and its region are filled with tourist attractions such as Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Borneo Highlands Resort, Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Cultural Village, Fairy Cave and many more.
At the Heart of Sarawak – Sibu & Bintulu
In the middle of Sarawak’s 750km coastline lie Sibu and Bintulu, Sarawak’s heartland hamlets.
Sibu lies at the geographic centre of Sarawak and offers great options in Iban culture and lowland forest. Options for pre-and post-convention activities include: shopping for local arts and crafts, dining (central Sarawak style), Iban longhouse-hopping; or for a little more excitement, take a ride in fast passenger ferries to lovely towns like Kapit for a taste of rustic living.
Central Sarawak is also the doorway to the Rejang, the longest river in Malaysia. Bintulu is Sarawak’s fastest-growing town. Once a sleepy little fishing village, it is now a booming industrial centre because of natural gas, and will soon be a capital for energy-intensive industries in Malaysia. A short drive takes you to nearby Similajau National Park, known for its chain of golden beaches, white cliffs and turtle landings.
Into the Wild – Miri
Miri, city by the sea, was once the last frontier in the north of Sarawak. It guards the entrance of the mighty Baram River, the artery to the wilds of Sarawak and the heartland of the Orang Ulu peoples. Mysterious and charming, it has always been Sarawak’s most romanticised destination. The oil and gas industry and its close proximity to Brunei has made the city a popular weekend escape for expats and Bruneians alike. A lively nightlife and excellent dining options make it an even more attractive destination. A stone’s throw away are Niah National Park, the site of Southeast Asia’s oldest human settlement dating back at least 40,000 years; and Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the world’s largest cave chamber and one of the world’s most extensive cave systems are found.