Sarawak – land of the Hornbill – is the largest of the three areas and three quarters is covered in rich, green vegetation, teeming with life. Ten national parks, each with its own fascinating and unusual mix of flora and fauna, are scattered throughout the state and are a haven for the wild, the endangered and the extraordinary.
The largest and best known of these national parks is Gunung Mulu, home to the spectacular Mulu Caves and Gunung Mula Mountain, soaring 2,375 metres up through the rainforest.
The adventures underground are just as heady. A maze of limestone caves houses the largest natural rock chamber on Earth (Sarawak Chamber), and the longest cave system in Southeast Asia (Clearwater Cave).
With only 30 percent of the caves explored so far, they may end up breaking their own records.
Typical of Sarawak’s bewildering natural abundance and diversity, Mulu National Park alone supports 1,500 species of flowering plants, 67 species of mammals and 262 types of birds, and the list grows as new species are found every year. Access to Mulu is via the town of Miri, Sarawak’s northern gateway.
To the South, the capital Kuching is a city very comfortable with itself, neatly juxtaposing the old and new. Ancient Chinese shophouses clustered together sit confidently across the road from the wide, European-Style esplanade along the banks of the Sarawak River.
Kitsch cat statues and sculptures dotted around the town (for ‘kuching’ means ‘cat’ in Malay) stand in defiant contrast to the imposing Sarawak Museum, Fort Margherita and the palace ‘Astana’ – handsome architectural monuments from the days of the White Rajahs.
But Sarawak is not only a land of biological and physical and physical treasures.
With some 27 ethnic groups living together harmoniously whilst maintaining their individuality, it is rich in culture. Iban, Malay, Chinese, Orang Ulu, Bidayuh, Melanau, the nomadic Penan – all are living cultures, with their own language, customs and traditional lifestyles that have thrived for centuries.
How to get there
Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Malindo Air, Singapore Airlines, etc, operates regular scheduled flights to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Korea, etc.
Express boats are available to service the network of rivers and the main villages along their banks.
Bus companies also operate regular services within the city centres and certain rural areas.