SARAWAK is a treasure trove of tourist potential in South- East Asia. The allure of the Land of the Hornbill can be narrowed down to three quintessential ingredients – culture, adventure and nature.
Sarawak has over 27 sub- ethnic groups, all with their own distinct language, art, traditions and culture living in harmony within the 48,050sq m that make Sarawak.
This creates a spectrum of traditional heritage that can rarely be found in our modern day with arts, music and crafts from each race standing side by side in individual unison, a harmonious symphony as opposed to a melting pot.
In Sarawak today, there are many efforts to protect this symphony, with events such as the Rainforest World Music Festival as well as annual craft bazaars and workshops to keep traditional arts, crafts and games alive.
One can go to the Iban longhouses, Kayan longhouses, Penan huts and Melanau stilted houses to enjoy the unique lifestyles of the different ethnic groups, or even visit the Sarawak Cultural Village, which boasts different traditional- styled and furnished houses from the various ethnic groups in Sarawak.
Aside from art, the vast array of food with incredible diversity has become a trademark of Sarawak.
There are unique vegetables endemic to Sarawak like “Midin”, similar to fiddle- head ferns, as well as “Dabai”, otherwise known as the Sarawak Olive. They are staples in Sarawak households and delicacies found nowhere else in the world.
Sarawak’s signature dishes such as laksa, ayam pansoh and kolok mee have put Sarawak on the map, with Malaysians from different states popping over for a taste and international chefs praising the dishes’ singularity.
Other lesser known, but equally unique, dishes can be found throughout Sarawak such as kampua mee, mee sua and kompia – the trademark dishes within Sibu, which are so quintessential to the city’s identity that they have even painted murals within the city to commemorate them.
With food trails throughout Sarawak, it’s well within reach to go on a statewide food bender from city to city.
Within Sarawak, adventure and nature often come hand in hand. With 30 national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and 10 nature reserves, there are countless activities to partake in, where you can walk among the rich and ancient flora and fauna without endangering it.
Take, for example, Gunung Mulu National Park. Within this one park, you can find the world’s largest underground chamber – the Sarawak Chamber, the Deer Cave, which has the largest single cave passage in the world and the Clearwater Cave, the eighth longest cave system in the world.
This doesn’t include special guided cave diving for the more adventurous, as well as the three- day trek to the Pinnacles.
Other tours within Sarawak hold different opportunities for adventure and discovery, such as Semenggoh Wildlife Centre’s Orang Utan tour.
You can live a day in the life of an Iban warrior and witness the beadwork and weave- work of native artisans and witness the true lifestyles of the native tribes within Sarawak. You can have food from every culture on the same street, from the Dayak ayam pansoh, the orang ulu’s nuba laya wrapped rice and Malay kek lapis to the Chinese kolok mee.
You can walk among the orang utans and proboscis monkeys, watch a crocodile weave through the waters, kayak through the rainforest, dive in the coral reefs, spelunk in the deepest caves and walk under some of the oldest trees in the world, or over them if you prefer canopy walks.
There is no end to the wonders of what Sarawak has to offer in terms of experience tourism and over the years, its count in inbound and outbound tourism has gone up exponentially as awareness of the state’s wonders gains worldwide acclaim.
The Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association ( MITA) Sarawak Chapter, which helps bring in inbound tourists and business prospects for the tourism industry, as well as Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents ( MATTA) Fair, which facilitates outbound tourism, are much to be thanked for the recent advances in tourism within Sarawak.
Many Sarawak tour owners and businesses will be participating partners in this year’s MATTA Fair, including Sarawak Economics Development Corporation ( SEDC) Properties, Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites, Ariva Gateway Kuching Serviced Residences, Kuching Holidays and Car Rental, Brighton Travel and Tours, Greatown Travel and Tours, EcoGreen Holidays and Grand Continental Hotel Kuching, in the hopes of expanding Sarawak even further to its true potential.
For details, look out for Sarawak Tourism Board’s advertisement in this StarSpecial.
Gunung mulu National park is home to the sarawak Chamber, the Deer Cave and the Clearwater Cave.
Annual craft bazaars and workshops are held to keep traditional arts, crafts and games alive.
The trademark dishes within sibu are so quintessential to the city’s identity there are even painted murals within the city to commemorate the dishes.