Sarawak, the land famous for its hornbills, is the largest state in Malaysia. It is located on the south-western corner of Borneo. Sarawak in its entirety is unique. Visitors will be enthralled by its vast rainforests, caves, flora and fauna and diverse ethnic communities. The uniqueness of this state even dates back to hundred years of history. To put it in a nutshell, Sarawak has a multi faceted history. It is one of heroic adventure, romance, piracy and rebellion.
Kuching, the state capital, sits on the river bank of the Sarawak river, 32 kilometres from the sea. The Sarawak river has an attractive esplanade known as the Kuching Waterfront. Here you'll get the view of the Astana (the palace) and Ford Margherita (named after the wife of Charles Brooke).
If you're a museum enthusiast, this state has a number of museums which display a variety of artefacts. One of them is the Sarawak Museum, reputed to be one of Asia's best. The museum has a fascinating collection of Borneo ethnological and archaeological artefacts.
There are also the Cat Museum, Chinese Museum, Timber Museum and Police Museum. If you've seen the indoor displays at the various museum, then proceed to other prominent places of interest. The Sunday Market or Pasar Minggu, is the best place to mingle with the multi ethnicity of Sarawak and taste the local atmosphere. Another attraction in the land of the hornbill is Sarawak Cultural Village. Located 35 kilometres from Kuching at the foothills of the legendary Mount Santubong.
If you are a beach goer then Damai Beach should be in your itinerary. About 40 minutes drive from Kuching, Damai not only has pristine beaches but numerous leisure activities. You can do jungle trekking, water sports and even golf.
If you want to be much closer to nature, proceeds to Niah National Park - an area of archeological significance. The Niah caves is home to million of bats and swiftlets. Here one will get to experience the collection of guano for use as fertiliser and the process of harvesting birds' nest.
Cave explorers will find Sarawak "the place to be" with several other caves such as the Mulu caves in Mulu National Park. Mulu caves contain South East Asia's largest cave system. The magnificent Sarawak Chamber, the largest cave in the world is claimed to be able to accommodate 40 Boeing-747 aircraft. There are other caves such as The Clear Water Cave and the Deer Cave.
When you're in Sarawak make it a point to visit the longhouse. Batang Ai National Park is one the places to experience the longhouses. Here you will meet the Iban ethnic group who still practises the traditional lifestyle. If you want a more luxurious stay, make a reservation at the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort.
And while you're here don't forget to buy some souvenirs to bring home. The state, with more than 30 ethnic group is well-known for its unique handicrafts such as wood carving, beadworks, pua kumbu (hand-woven Iban textile) and baskets. The Sarawakians have also popularised its own pottery making, which now flourished into popular indigenous industry. If that is not enough, don't forget the infamous Sarawak pepper…one of the best in the world.
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