Choose A Sarawak Malaysia Vacation
"Land of Rainforests and Rainforest People"
Soak in the exotic culture of a Sarawak Malaysia vacation with a visit to a longhouse or a remote adventure along the Kalimantan border. Sarawak remains mostly forested with a network of rivers slicing up the landscape to tame its wild character.
As Malaysia's largest state, Sarawak stretches along a 1000 km coastline with indigenous tribes (Bidayuhs, Kenyahs, Penans, Iban) spread from the southern plains to northern valleys and rivers.
There are many choices for visiting national parks and wildlife sanctuaries from easy day-trip runs outside the capital city of Kuching to expeditions to rugged mountain terrain.
So what can you do on a Sarawak Malaysia vacation?
Good planning is a must when choosing a Sarawak Malaysia vacation. Many nature parks are accessible from the gateway town of Kuching. But to reach Niah, Gunung Mulu and a few others, it's best to fly into Miri or Bintulu.
Long river trips up the Rajang provide an alternative adventure over the Pelagus Rapids and into the land of the Iban.
Sarawak Malaysia Vacation: Species of Interest
Getting to Borneo takes more time and more money, so get the most out your holiday by planning a trip around an interesting tropical rainforest animal or special plant species. Or just go with the wind and see what kind of jungle animals appear.
Recognized as the great symbol of Sarawak, hornbills remain special to the Iban for ceremonial dress and carvings. A brilliant bird of majesty and sporting a royal-like crown (casque), sight these forest denizens around fruiting trees and listen for a slow, whooshing sound as they fly above.
Found only in the lowland forests of Sabah and Sarawak, the endangered gibbon is heard more than seen due to its wonderful whooping early morning call. Unlike monkeys, these primates do not travel in troops and their unmistakable calls invoke the spirit of the rainforest.
Native to Borneo, the big-eyed tarsier is the second smallest primate in the world and springs from tree to tree with long hind limbs. Active at night when its large haunting eyes are effective at absorbing light, it stalks lizards, beetles and frogs. An extremely difficult species to spot.
A spectacular display of nature arrives when cave-dwelling bats exit by the thousands to begin their nightly food runs. Watch a stream of flying mammals fill the sky as Bat Hawks await to attack their prey. Malaysia has over 100 bat species and these misunderstood creatures that are very important for pollinating fruit trees and eating insects.
With some of the highest diversity of palm species on the plant, take time to marvel at the shapes and sizes of these botanical gems and observe their use in the longhouse for matting, weaving, baskets and other functions. And if you get caught in a rainstorm, try out the umbrella palm.
Sarawak Malaysia Vacation: Destination Guide
Bako National Park
A popular wild diversion from Kuching, take a boat to this coastal reserve and spend a day exploring sandstone cliffs, mangrove swamps and sandy beaches. As the sea merges with the forest, wildlife abounds with crabs and mudskippers, flying lemurs, otters, rare Proboscis monkeys, pit vipers and tree frogs.
Gunung Mulu National Park
Rugged limestone formations provide spectacular scenery for the park, dominated by three mountains and some of the largest cave chambers in the world. Watch bats emerge by the thousands and attacked by Bat Hawks or take forest treks to mountaintops and the Pinnacles for great photography.
Niah National Park
Famous for gigantic caves, the exodus of bats and swiftlets by the thousands and even prehistoric wall paintings, Niah is an interior adventure into limestone architecture. Located 80 km from Miri, explore the world of caves and take lots of fascinating pictures for a unique nature experience.
Batang Ai National Park
For traditional Iban lifestyles, longhouse culture and a chance to observe orangutans, gibbons, hornbills and wild rainforest animals, Batang Ai is a jungle oasis for wildlife outings. Located 180 km from Kuching, the park borders Lanjak Entimau, Malaysia's largest wildlife sanctuary.
Similajau National Park
A coastal haven for lowland forest animals and nesting sea turtles, the park consists of freshwater swamps, heath forests and a long sandy coastline. These habitats cater to gibbons, hornbills, leaf monkeys and Storm's stork. Located north of Bintulu, spend a day birdwatching, picnicking and exploring the coast.
Lambir Hills National Park
flickr/Lisa and Alec
A botanical gem, the park flourishes with plant diversity such as palms, orchids and gingers to offset the lack of large mammals. The rich rainforest is accessible with a dozen jungle trails linked to refreshing waterfalls and shallow pools. Just 32 km outside of Miri town and suitable to visit any time.
Kubah National Park
Tucked at the foothills of a mountain range, Kubah is very reachable from Kuching and flourishes with abundant plant life, including wild gingers, aroids, palms and pitcher plants. Wildlife, such as deer, civets and bearded pigs, appears more at night or visit the Matang Wildlife Centre nearby.
Matang Wildlife Centre
Started as a rehab centre for abused orangutans, Matang is only 35 km from Kuching and provides shelter for sun bears, primates, civets and birds. Combine a rainforest trek with a visit to view animals up close and learn about efforts to protect mistreated pets for a return to the wild.
Loagan Bunut National Park
Combining a natural lake with a peat swamp forest makes for excellent bird habitat. Herons, bitterns, egrets, Oriental darters and other wetland birds thrive in grass and reed vegetation, while open vistas are good for birdwatching. It's possible to take a boat from Gunung Mulu Park to see more traditional landscape.
Gunung Gading National Park
Set up as a protection zone for the rare Rafflesia flower, visitors have a good chance to observe these botanical beauties in full bloom. Only 80 km from Kuching, try to call ahead to enquire about flower blooms to plan for the best day to visit. A Rafflesia sighting is always worth the time.
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
A sanctuary and breeding centre for orangutans, the tropical rainforests of Semenggoh provide natural habitat to reintroduce former pets into the wild. Located just 33 km from Kuching, visitors can view daily feeding and learn more about these endangered species.
For a real highland getaway, travel to the headwaters for a mixture of rugged terrain and indigenous culture. As a montane basin, remote mountain communities offer local hospitality and a chance to observe living in cloud forests. Be prepared for lots of walking on forest trails.
Tanjung Datu National Park
Located on the far western coastal edge of Sarawak, the park is a nature haven for a variety of interesting birds and mammals. A good site for observing primates, such as gibbons and leaf monkeys, and possibly porpoise spotting next to the sea. Tarsiers and slow lorises are active at night.
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