Wednesday, July 3, 2013

✿ Top 10 Interesting Places in Sarawak ✿

Sarawak is rich in history and heritage. It is also known as Land of The Hornbills. The population comprises of local ethnic groups namely Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau and other minor tribes plus the Malays,and Chinese living together in harmony for more than a century.
Being the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak covers a vast area of 124,000 sq-km of land along the northwest coast of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Sarawak offers you a journey of relentless discovery as you travel from city to city and from village to village where you will find, remnants of colonial architectures and in a rich heritage.
There was 76 interesting places in Sarawak, but i only choose only 10 top place that became popular for tourism.
01. Bako National Park ;
How to go there ;
There are a number of ways of getting to Bako. One is to take a tour Or by taxi (RM30 per way) or by mini van. We decided on the bus. This public bus, Petrajaya Transport Co leaves from Bus Stop no. 1 at Jln Market, opposite Elektra House for Bako Village (Kampung Bako) every hour from 7am till 6pm and costs a nominal fee of only RM2.50. Be prepared to wait though. It's not always on time.
The white mini vans take travellers into the outskirts of Kuching, charge at least double the price of public buses and waits to be filled before leaving. If need be, you can also catch one of these at the car park area opposite Electra House.
About 30 minutes later, we arrived at the bus stop at Kampung Bako. The Bako National Park office (more like a booth really) is by the jetty and manned by very helpful officers. Before entering the park, all visitors are to acquire permits which means just filling up a form and submitting to the officer there. Upon finding out that we hadn't booked a room at the park he promptly called the park to enquire on availability. The park is now a must see for anyone visiting Kuching and surroundings. Looking at the visitor chart, numbers have certainly jumped from several thousand in the early 90's to about several 10s of thousands in 2000s. Busy periods are especially on weekends. But on taking a closer look at the visitor chart, the peak seems to coincide with summer and winter holidays in Europe.
Boat ride to Bako;
Lesson no 1. make sure you bring along waterproof luggage. The recent trip in September was of fine weather, the water was still, the winds down and no rain. I'm not sure if the weather has anything to do with boat schedules but when the tide is low, boats have some difficulty getting to the jetty at the park and visitors may have to wade out to sea to the moored boat or enter and leave the park at tide related times ie earlier than expected sometimes.
The officer stationed at the Kampung Bako jetty usually arranges the boats for visitors. The local boatmen are licensed with the park and standard rate is RM40 per person per way and these boats can seat 4 - 6 persons comfortably. The ride takes some 45min, hugging the coastline, passing kelongs and fishermen out on their sampans pulling in their nets left out the night before. Finally, arrived at the Bako National Park jetty.
Let the boatman know when to expect you for your return trip and don't forget to ask for his name, just in case you have a change of plans and may need to get in touch with him. Normally, these boatmen will wait for visitors at the canteen so if you do have to change your plans, meet him there or pass on your message to the ranger or any of the other boatmen sitting around and they will be able to help you locate your boatman.
From the jetty, it's a bit of a walk to the ranger station. At the ranger station, visitors are required to pay RM10 for the entrance fee. For any room bookings, either pay there or present the voucher for the prepaid room. If you're early and roomkeeping has not completed their cleaning yet, then visitors can leave their baggage in the baggage room at the ranger station - hang around at the canteen or go on the treks.

02. Sarawak Cultural Village ;

A wonderful place to learn about the history & various culture from different ethnic groups in Sarawak. Highly recommended for anyone who loves history.
Tucked away at the foothills of legendary Mount Santubong, 35 km from Kuching is Sarawak's fascinating cultural showcase, the award winning "Sarawak Cultural Village" which is also the venue for the World Harvest Festival and the Rainforest World Music Festival, an internationally renowned festival.
This living museum is wholly owned by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) depicts the heritage of the major racial groups in Sarawak and conveniently portrays their respective lifestyle amidst 14 acres of tropical vegetation.Here, it is possible to see Sarawak's ethnic diversity at a glance. 
The handicraft is both bewildering and tempting, including the Kain Songket (Malay cloth with gold inlay), Pua Kumbu (Iban housewives textiles), Melanau Terendak (sunhat), Bidayuh tambok (basket), Iban parang (swords), Orang Ulu wood carving and Chinese ceramics.
The 45-minute cultural performance of songs, dances and entertainment is something you will not want to miss during your visit to Sarawak.
Iban one of the sarawak ethnic famous with traditional customs.
There are live dance show in the morning and afternoon. Advisable to plan the visit either in the early morning or afternoon for the morning show or afternoon show respectively beside the village houses. This would enable visitors to spent the full morning or afternoon there.

Comment from tourist :

“What an experience”
We just recently visited Kuching, Sarawak and decided to visit this village based on reviews from TripAdvisor and I am so glad we did. We was lucky to firstly get a really friendly taxi guide and that was just the start. We arrived just in time for the show at 11.30 am and managed to get seats near the front. The performers were amazing with all their colourful costumes and the surprising twist is that part of the audience gets to interact with the show and even 1 lady had to blow a dart from a massive pipe and try to pop one of the balloons that was on the wall very close to where we were sitting, she missed the balloon but she managed to hit the wall, then people were brought onto the stage to dance with the performers and even an old lady couldn't wait to get on stage to dance. It was very enjoyable and reasonably priced and I would definitely go again. Once the show was finished we got to look around the village with a passport we were given and at each different display we had to stamp our passport. There were some climbing upstairs involved, but you didn't have to if you couldn't. Thank you for a memorable day.

03.Cat Museum ;
About ;
The Cat Museum is under the management of the Kuching North City Hall. All collections are available in Cat Museum has acquired since it is located at the National Museum in Kuala Lumpur in 1987. The collection was brought to the city of Kuching by Sarawak Museum and it has been displayed for the first time on 1 August 1988 at Dewan Tun Abdul Razak.
Works on the collection of these cats continue to run until it is officially handed over to the Kuching North City Hall to be placed in the Cat Museum in 1993. The idea to set up a Cat Museum has achieved from contributions and efforts of the Honourable Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, Sarawak Chief Minister and his wife Datuk Amar Puan Sri Dr. Hajah Laila Taib.
Location ;
Cat Museum is located at Ground Floor, Kuching North City Hall Headquarters in Bukit Siol, Kuching, Jalan Semariang, Petra Jaya, Kuching. Kuching North City Hall building located on top of Bukit Siol with a height of 60 meters above sea level, which has a beautiful view overlooking the beautiful Kuching City.
Cat Museum covers an area of 1,035.0 square meters that has four main galleries and has more than 4,000 cat artifacts including paintings, and other memorabilia
Opening Hours;

04. Semenggoh Nature Reserve ;
The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was established in 1975 to care for wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets. The centre is situated within the boundaries of the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, approximately 24 km from Kuching.
When established, the three main aims of the Centre were:
To rehabilitate wild animals who have been injured, orphaned in the wild or handicapped by
prolonged captivity, with the objective of subsequently releasing them back to the wild.
To conduct research on wildlife and captive breeding programmes for endangered species.
To educate visitors and the general public about the importance of conservation.
The Centre has been a resounding success, caring for almost 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles from dozens of different species. However it is the orang utan rehabilitation programme that has made the Centre famous. In one respect, Semenggoh has been too successful – so many orang utan have been successfully reintroduced into the surrounding forest reserve that the forest’s carrying capacity has been reached, and rehabilitation activities have been transferred to the Matang Wildlife Centre, part of Kubah National Park. 
As a result of its success, Semenggoh’s role has changed and it is nowadays a centre for the study of orang utan biology and behaviour, as well as a safe and natural haven for dozens of semi-wild orang utan, graduates of the rehabilitation programme. It is also home to numerous baby orang utan, born in the wild to rehabilitated mothers, a further testament to the success of the programme. 
A visit to Semenggoh is a once in a lifetime experience - a chance to see semi-wild orang utan, ranging from tiny infants and boisterous adolescents to dignified mature adults, enjoying life in a secure natural habitat.
The orang utan (pongo pygmaeus) is found in the rainforests of Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan) and North Sumatra. It is one of the world’s largest primates, and is almost completely arboreal (tree living). The word “orang” is Malay for “person” whilst “utan” is derived from “hutan” meaning forest. Thus, orang utan literally translates as “person of the forest”.
A mature male has large check pads and a pendulous throat sac. Adult males can reach a height of 150 cm (5 ft), weigh up to 100 kg (220lbs) and have an arm span of 240 cm (8 ft). Females are about three quarters of the height and half the weight of the males. Both sexes are covered with long reddish hair. Orang utan have a low reproductive rate, females usually giving birth to a single infant once every 7-8 years. Females reach sexual maturity at 12 years of age but generally don’t have their first offspring until two or three years later. Males reach sexual maturity at 15 but their cheek pads may not fully develop until a few years later. The life expectancy of orang utan in the wild is unknown but is thought to be less than in captivity, where some have lived to over 50 years of age. 
Orang utan are primarily fruit eaters and spend most of the day roaming the forest foraging for food. They are particularly fond of wild figs and the pungent smelling durian. Although fruit is their most important source of food, they also feed on young leaves, insects, bark, flowers, eggs and small lizards. Each individual builds a new nest each night, a safe resting place 12-18 metres (40-60 ft) up in the roof of the forest.
Wild orang utan are generally solitary. However, adolescents often gather in pairs and females occasionally form temporary groups of four or five. This rather lonely existence stems both from the relative scarcity of food in the rainforest and from a lack of predators. A mature adult roams a vast area of forest every day in order to find enough food to satisfy its healthy appetite. Its huge size also eliminates the need for ‘group defence’. 
The orang utan is an endangered species and is totally protected by law in Malaysia, Indonesia and internationally. Today, there are an estimated 20-27,000 orang utan left in the wild (perhaps 20,000 or so in Borneo and the rest in Sumatra). Deforestation, human encroachment on their habitat, indiscriminate hunting and the live animal trade: all are factors that have contributed to a decline in their numbers. To gain a better understanding of the orang utan and re-introduce rescued animals into the wild, both the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities have set up rehabilitation programmes. Sarawak’s centre at Semenggoh is open to the public so visitors can find out more about these highly intelligent creatures of the rainforest.

05. Annah Rais Hot Spring ;
Annah Rais is located about 60km from Kuching City. It is situated on both banks of Sarawak River. Its spring under water that found in the middle of the river. It has become a well know spot after being "developed" lately sometimes in 2011. It's not a big tourist attraction but its just something where you can go and unwind yourself in this scenic environment in Tropical Rain forest.
The best part, you can swim in this river as pictured below. There's no crocodile or leeches here. It's Crystal clear water.
How to get to this spot from Kuching City ?
First, you have to get to Kota Padawan, formally known as "Batu 10". 
From Kota Padawan, it will take you about 48 KM to reach the spot. From Kota Padawan, you just follow the road sign leading to Kampung Annah Rais.
Hot Spring Entrance Fees;
Adult - RM 3.00
Student - RM 2.00
What to bring should you plan to come here ?
- Short or extra clothing.
- Tower
- Soap
- Some foods and drinks as you may not have what you may wanted to but there.
- You can do BBQ at the river bank but bring your own materials and the items.
When you should not go there for the Hot Spring ?
- When the water level is high or after a heavy rain as the hot spring ponds will be submerged into the river.
Alternative .
If the water level suddenly rise after a heavy rain while you are on the way there, you can just proceed to the place and visit the Bidayuh Long House, The Kampung Annah Rais. to visit this traditional long house, the entrance fee is RM8.00 per each.
This longhouse is as old as five generations. It is believed that our ancestors first settled at the foot of Mount Penrissen and later moved downward to four hill-tops. The choice of setting on higher ground was meant for security reason because in those days head hunting activity was widely practice in Sarawak.
When the White Rajah or the Englishman named James Brooke came and ruled Sarawak in the early 19th century, peace was gradually installed. This enable our ancestors to move down from mountain and hill-tops and settled here in what is known now as Annah Rais Longhouse.
Come and visit us if only you would like to know more about the life styles and cultures of the longhouse inhabitants. Join the home stay programs because it will enable you to experience the real life styles of the village folks.
Finally, go for jungle trekking in order to see for yourself the beauty of our tropical rainforest and a few stunning waterfalls.

06. Damai Beach Resort ;
Imagine lush rainforest, glorious sun and sea, a private sandy beach and an array of interesting activities delighting the senses, Welcome to the world of Damai Beach Resort, Sarawak.
Located on Teluk Bandung’s sandy beach facing the South China Sea and comprising 90 acres of sea frontage, the 4-star Resort is majestically nestled within the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, a mere 40-minute drive from Kuching the capital city of Sarawak and 50-minute drive from Kuching International Airport.
With its outstanding architecture, modelled on a traditional fishing village, days are often too short to experience all the activities the Resort has to offer. Tropical nights are no less intense, with enthralling cultural shows accompanied by pulsating rhythms. The Resort is a very popular holiday destination for locals during weekends.
The resort is a window to many experiences – a hilltop retreat, beach paradise and the ultimate rainforest living experience with value for money offerings. You will indeed be spoilt for choices!
We promise you a gratifying and unforgettable experience.
Be it doing nothing or everything, your time at Damai Beach Resort will be an enriching one, a true celebration of life.
Location ;
Damai Beach Resort is approximately 45km (50mins drive) from the Kuching International Airport and 35km (40 mins drive) from the Kuching city.
For the convenience of guests, shuttle services run by the Resort or public taxis (cabs) are available to/from Kuching city.
The Resort is located near the famous Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV), South East Asia’s only ‘living museum’ and the prestigious Damai Golf and Country Club (DGCC).
The distance from the Resort to SCV is approximately 1km. Guests can opt to take 9-10 minute walk to SCV, or a shuttle transfer from the Resort to SCV can be arranged.
DGCC is located approximately 3km away from the Resort and shuttle transfer from the Resort to DGCC can be arranged.

Interesting Places Around The Damai Beach ;
Mount Santubong :
It was a tale of jealousy and rage which had a tragic ending.
Legend tells of two sisters who were princesses of kayangan, the celestial kingdom who were well-liked by the people as they assisted them in their disputes. The princesses, Princess Santubong and Princess Sejinjang were invited by the people to live among them, which they graciously did.
Princess Santubong, the more beautiful of the two, had many suitors, got married and subsequently became pregnant. This made Princess Sejinjang very jealous, and consequently, she began to claim that she was more beautiful than her sister. Santubong would not agree and a huge argument ensued between the two. In the end Sejinjang became violent and hit her pounding pestle on the head of Santubong, who fell to the earth and grew into the mountain that bears her name. However, just before Santubong fell she threw her weaving loom’s beam at Sejinjang, breaking a part of her body, which scattered into the sea, creating the islands in the area (Pulau Kera, Pulau Burong, Satang/Talang-talang and so on). Meanwhile, the rest of Sejinjang’s body also fell to the earth and became the other mountain near Mount Santubong.
That is why the profile of Gunung or Mount Santubong looks like a lady lying on the horizon if viewed from various angles from the South China Sea.
Tomb of Sultan Tengah :
Sultan Tengah was the first and the last Sultan of Sarawak.
When Sultan Tengah passed away, he was buried together with his family members, the location of which is the Tomb of Sultan Tengah.

The tomb is located about 5kms away from the Resort (approx. 10mins drive).
The Cursed Crocodile Stone :
‘Local legend tells the story of inhabitants of a village called Kampung Landeh, who enjoyed peace and harmonious living, until the arrival of a crocodile from an area called Ulu Landeh. The crocodile was a mystical creature and very fierce. Its presence disrupted the peaceful lives of the villagers as it terrorised the villagers and killed many in the process. There were many attempts to kill the crocodile but failed as it had mystical powers.
One day, a brave warrior by the name of Panglima Merpati Jepang arrived at the village. Sensing that he was able to help, the villagers promptly appealed for him to destroy the mystical crocodile. Seeing the carnage caused, Panglima Merpati Jepang agreed.
A great fight and struggle ensued between the courageous warrior and the mystical crocodile, which ended in the successful inhalation of the mystical creature. During the fight, Panglima Merpati Jepang severed the crocodile’s large head from its body. The head subsequently drifted to the river mouth of Santubong River and was washed ashore. As the head was large, it remained ashore forever until it became a rock.
Subsequently, the inhabitants of Santubong named it Batu Buaya as it resembled the head of a crocodile.'
Monkey Island :
This is an island located a short distance away from Kampung Santubong. According to the local legend, the island was the site where Princess Sejinjang’s head was buried when it was decapitated by Princess Santubong.
The Cursed Of Man :
Located about 8 km (15 minutes drive) away from the Resort, this stone, with the shape of a man carved into it, is evidence of early Hindu influence.
Damai Beach Resort is Your Spot in Borneo. It only happens here.

07. Kuching Waterfront ;
Kuching Waterfront, which lines the south bank of Sarawak River, is THE place to sample the city's cosmopolitan vibes. 
During the daytime, it offers scenic views of the Astana, Fort Margherita and the Malay kampungs across the river; but night-time is when it really comes alive! It seems like half of the city is out meeting friends, watching a show, or just shooting the breeze. For something different, why not try jetty-hopping along the river on the local Penambang boats, and savour the different sights, sounds (and delicacies!) between the two riverbanks.
A result of a major restoration and land reclamation project, Kuching Waterfront today is the most popular meeting place in the city. 
Drab warehouses have been replaced with an almost 900m long esplanade, beautifully landscaped and dotted with wooden benches, food stalls, restaurants and entertainment facilities. A number of older buildings have been preserved and incorporated into the design, including the Chinese History Museum, the Sarawak Steamship Building, an open-air theatre and the Square Tower. Modern additions to the Waterfront include a restored Chinese pavilion, colourful musical fountains, and a number of modern sculptures.

08. Niah National Park ;
Niah National Park provides some interesting and impressive sights. The area was a major centre of human settlement as early as 40,000 years ago, and features one of the world’s largest cave entrances, Palaeolithic and Neolithic burial sites and iron-age cave paintings. The nearby Painted Cave houses wall-paintings depicting the boat journey of the dead into the afterlife, along with remnants of “death-ships” on the cave floor - boat-shaped coffins (its contents have been transferred to the Sarawak Museum). The surrounding area is covered in dense primary rain forest and is home to many species of plants and wildlife. 
Even today, the caves remain important for local communities, with birds nest and guano collection providing valuable employment and income. Niah Caves is a very pleasant place to spend a few days, although most of the major attractions are accessible to the day visitor. 
Niah National Park is located on the Sungai Niah, about 3 km from the small town of Batu Niah, 110 km south-west of Miri. The park has a visitor centre and good accommodation, and is very easy to get around, thanks to an extensive network of plankwalks. A flashlight and good walking shoes are absolutely essential - the caves are unlit, and the plankwalk can become slippery from the constant dripping of water and bat guano from the ceiling of the cave. A wide-brimmed hat is desirable, for obvious reasons.
Visitors leaving its Great Cave around sunset will see two great black clouds intermingling - the nightly ‘changing of the guard’ as hundreds of thousands of swiftlets return to their nests, whilst an approximately equal number of bats fly out to forage in the forest. A variety of luminous fungi can be clearly seen from the plankwalk at night.

09. Mulu National Park ;
Gunung Mulu is Sarawak's largest national park (544 sq km), and also Malaysia's first World Heritage Area, a status it was awarded in 2000. It is most famous for its limestone cave systems, including the world's largest natural chamber (the Sarawak Chamber), the world's largest cave passage (Deer Cave) and the longest cave in Southeast Asia (Clearwater Cave). The park's main attractions are the four show caves (Wind, Clearwater, Deer and Langs Caves), all readily accessible by wooden walkways and paths. Other fascinating sights and activities include; a bat observatory; a 480m rainforest canopy skywalk (the world's longest tree-based walkway); adventure caving trips to some of Mulu's less accessible caves; the challenging Mulu Summit climb, the spectacular Pinnacles trail, and the historic Headhunter's trail through remote rainforest scenery. 
Situated 100 km from the coast, the park is dominated by three mountains; Gunung Mulu (2,376m), Gunung Api (1,750m), and the as yet unconquered Gunung Benarat (1,585m). Gunung Mulu is sandstone, whilst Gunung Api and Gunung Benarat are formed from limestone and therefore have different geographical features. The summit of Gunung Mulu is covered by moss forests and stunted montane vegetation, whilst razor-sharp limestone pinnacles, some as high as 50 metres, are found on the upper slopes of Gunung Api. The park's forest ecosystems include peatswamp, heath, mixed dipterocarp, moss forest and montane vegetation; home to thousands of species of ferns, fungi, mosses and flowering plants, including 170 species of orchid and 10 species of pitcher plants, an impressive variety of mammals, birds (including 8 species of hornbill), frogs, fish and insects. 
Mulu's wildlife is often heard but not seen, but visitors are almost certain to encounter bats, swiftlets, cave dwelling insects, snakes, lizards, tree frogs and an abundance of beautiful butterflies. 
Visitors may not enter any of the caves or the Mulu Canopy Skywalk without a Park Guide. For most trails, including the Mulu Summit climb, the Pinnacles trail and the Headhunter's trail, a Park Guide is also mandatory. Bookings and payment of fees can be made at the park office. If you require a Park Guide you need to book the day before. During peak season, guides for popular activities such as the Pinnacles trail may be fully booked weeks in advance.
How to go there : 
The easier way to reach Mulu is by air. There are daily flights from Miri to Mulu and also connections from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu by MASWings. Alternatively, you can travel by boats. Express boat from Kuala Baram takes you up to Baram river arriving in Marudi and connects to Long Terawan in a smaller boat to eventually reach the park. It is also possible to hike into Mulu via the "Head Hunter's Trail" from Limbang by trekking down through Camp 5 and then onto Mulu Park headquarters.

10. Batang Ai National Park ;

Batang Ai National Park is located in the Sri Aman Division of Sarawak, in eastern Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It is located in Lubok Antu, some 250 kilometers east of Kuching. The park covers an area of 240 km² of extensive tropical rainforest with a number or rare and protected animals surrounding the 24 square kilometer artificial lake created by the Batang Ai hydroelectric reservoir. The park was proclaimed in 1991, and has become increasingly popular with locals and tourists despite the lack of facilities.
Access is possible by chartering a boat, as water is the main method of transportation in the area. The lush dipterocarp forests are home to the Orang-Utan, gibbons, and hornbills.
The lake creates a beautiful environment and gives a sense of peace and tranquillity. The local inhabitants are mostly Iban, and tours to nearby Iban longhouses are also a tourist diversion. This national park takes strong steps in having the local communities involved in its management. The communities have formed a cooperative called 'Kooperasi Serbaguna Ulu Batang Ai' and are helping to conserve the park.
If you are someone that like for an adventure, this is the place like no other, the sound of rainforest itself "hard to describe with word" but sure you know it...ride in an Iban(sea dayak) longboat is and adventure by itself, just imagine trying to balance yourself on a boat with only two or two and the half feet wide. If you are lucky enough to have a good boat men, he will show you how to fish with fish net on a boat. 
Not something to miss and bring your camera. Be sure to pay for a guide - they know where the animals live and hide. Without them you you will just be a westerner stumbling around and missing what is before you own eyes. Really very good indeed. If I had known - guidebooks do not do it justice. I would have stayed longer. Must be fit to get around. Not appropriate for very small kids or the elderly.
My Story :
We started from Kuching and we reached the huge artificial reservoir of Batang Ai (about 5 hours of minivan). Here we crossed the lake in the longboat, then we continued on foot to the Menyang Tais Longhouse, where we were warmly welcomed by the inhabitants Iban. Dinner and overnight at them. The next few days were a fantastic array of moves more and more 'in the interior, partly on foot, often by boat (there are no roads in that area), with a visit to other longhouse, waterfalls, vain attempts to spot orang utan, in short a total immersion in the forest of Borneo. Apart from the first night in the longhouse, the other nights were made in basic but comfortable facilities managed by Borneo Adventure, conceptually a sort of bivouac, without staff, with rooms (no furniture and only a mattress on the floor with mosquito net), shared bathrooms (clean) and a kitchen that our guide used to prepare meals with the food that we brought back from Kuching. The hike 'was organized very well, about the conversation don't worry villager spoke good English, was very professional and helpful. In conclusion: an unforgettable experience, highly recommended to those who love wild nature.