Located on the border of Sabah and portion of Borneo, Sarawak is relatively rich with its tropical rainforests locating abundant animal and plantation species. There are not many stories heard about how the nama Sarawak was derived but there are sources saying that the name was from the sentence said by Pengiran Muda Hashim when he gave the administration of the state to James Brooke, the first British soldier and adventurer (White Rajah) in 1841,”Serah pada awak”.
Our pushlist for Sarawak, would definitely be to explore the rich culture and nature starting from the caving systems at Gunung Mulu National Park. Known famously for its limestone karst formations, Mulu Cave has the largest natural chamber which could accomodate approximately 40 Boeing 747’s without overlapping their wings. With its spectacular scenery with phenomenal characteristics, Mulu Cave would be a tranquil escape into the rainforest of Borneo. Yes, of course it may require some physical challenge trekking and climbing the summits, but it would definitely be an unforgettable walk of life.
Visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, the biggest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak which aims to rehab and educate visitors of the endangered animals due to deforestation that is happening in Borneo. For those who do not know what orang utan means, literally translated in malay ‘orang’ means ‘human’ while utan means ‘forest’. It is a pity that these animals are unable to roam freely in the forest instead had to be trained to fend themselves over the years before being released into the forest due to the prior injured and orphaned orangutans found.
There are other places with spectacular and breathtaking views such as Mount Santubong, a tale of two beautiful princess named Santubong and Sejinjang, who were sisters that came down to earth to bring peace between two local villages. They both fell in love with the same man Prince Serapi and started fighting which each other. The King became beserk, came down to earth and curse them into both Mount Santubong and Mount Sejinjang. And maybe because of this folklore, people kept on saying that these mountains has the shape of a woman’s profile.
Not forgetting, there are 2 caves which are also interesting to be included in the itinerary in Sarawak, The Fairy Cave as well as The Bat Cave. The Fairy Cave was a former gold mining settlement of the nearest town called Bau. You will pass by various pepper plantations, local villages and lots of greenery before arriving the main area. Whereas the Bat Cave represents the name deeply, is the home to millions of bats. Don’t forget to bring along your own torchlight as the chambers are very big and dark.
Other than the nature as mentioned earlier with its cultures, Sarawak is an amazing state having several indigeneous groups with more than 40 sub-ethnic groups for example Bidayuh, Iban, Melanau, Bidayuh, Punan etc. each has its own language, culture and lifestyle. It would be impossible for us to suggest you to visit all different longhouses in a short stay. Instead, we would recommend you to have a visit at Sarawak Cultural Village to have a perfect introduction of how their lifestyles are despite of the modernization happening elsewhere. Not only the lifestyle, you will be entertained with some performances as well which you could also try out.
Of course normally before we end our articles, as Malaysians who love eating, we would love that you try the local dishes as well. Famous food which we would suggest to try in Sarawak would include laksa Sarawak, Mee Kolok, Tomato Kueytiaw, Sarawak layered cakes (could also bring it back as souvenirs), Mee Sapi and the lists just goes on. There are much more variety of noodles here which are mouth-watery. Do come and do the selections yourself and share your opinion with us.
So, when would be the best time to visit Sarawak? Our suggestion would say that a good time would probably be between March to November as it has very moderate rainfall during the year.