10 Things to Do in Sarawak

10 Things to Do in Sarawak

The vibrant state of Sarawak has plenty to offer to visitors - from dolphin watching to caving, here are 10 things you can do in Sarawak.

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Situated on the island of Borneo, Sarawak is Malaysia’s largest state and known as “The Land of Hornbills”. With its vast wilderness and rich cultural heritage, Sarawak is sure to be appealing to a diverse range of visitors. From attending music festivals to dolphin watching, here are 10 things you should probably try out in this vibrant state!

1. Eating

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Malaysia is famous for its wide array of delectable dishes, and Sarawak is home to many delicacies that will have you salivating. Popular local fare you should get your hands on include Sarawak Laksa, Kolo Mee and Sarawak Kek Lapis. For more adventurous eaters, unique indigenous dishes such as Umai (raw fish salad) and fried Midin (a local wild jungle fern) are food you should definitely seek out while in Sarawak!

2. Cave exploration

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With Sarawak being in possession of some of the largest and most spectacular caves in the world, it is no wonder that caving is a popular activity here. The Gunung Mulu National Park has one of the world’s longest cave networks, and the Sarawak Chamber in the park is the largest underground chamber in the world. Various key attractions include the Clearwater Cave and Deer Cave, which are home to many species of bats and other creatures. Do note that guides are mandatory for all cave visits!

3. Jungle trekking and mountain climbing

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Bako National Park is Sarawak’s oldest park, offering a diversity of natural landscape and wildlife for visitors – see if you can spot the Proboscis monkey and bearded pig! Walk and hike along various trails in the park, taking your time to admire the beauty of Mother Nature on display.

Don’t forget to visit Gunung Gading National Park, and grab the chance to see Rafflesia, the world’s largest (and smelliest) flower. Other places to visit include the Kubah National Park, which is home to a huge sandstone ridge with three mountain peaks that you can trek up to, and Mount Santubong, which will be a challenging but rewarding climb!

Keep in mind that there are many other beautiful national parks in Sarawak in addition to those mentioned here – nature lovers will never run out of things to do here.

4. Visit cultural locales

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Sarawak’s rich cultural heritage will be sure to fascinate you, and a must-visit would be the Sarawak Cultural Village, which is also known as the “Living Museum”. The daily lives of local tribes will be on display, and you will be able to watch demonstrations of how they live, work, and cook in the longhouses.

Other cultural locales that deserve a place on your itinerary include the Annah Rais and Bidayuh Longhouses, Kuching Cat Museum (yes, it is a museum about cats!), Sarawak Museum, and Fort Margherita (a fort built in the style of an English castle).

5. Music festivals

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Sarawak plays host to Rainforest Music Festival, the region’s premier world music event. This music festival takes place in Kuching, and attracts more than 20,000 music fans every year. World music is celebrated at this three-day festival, and various music workshops and cultural displays will also be part of the event, making it highly worth attending!

Another music festival worth attending would be Borneo Jazz in Miri – obviously, this is a jazz music festival, and many international jazz artistes will take the stage here. Don’t miss it if you’re a jazz enthusiast!

6. Turtle watching

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Watch turtle eggs hatch and witness the hatchlings being released into the sea at Talang-Satang National Park, Sarawak’s first marine national park. Established with the main aim of conserving the local marine turtle population, the national park encompasses four “Turtle Islands” and will be a unique holiday destination to visit!

7. Dolphin watching

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Marine lovers, this activity is for you! The endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin can be found along the coastlines of Sarawak, and various tour operators have cruises organised to catch these unusual-looking dolphins in action. Other species of dolphins in the area include the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin and the common Bottlenose Dolphin – see if you can spot them all on your visit to Sarawak!

8. Visit farms and wildlife centres

Sarawak’s wildlife is diverse and abundant, and besides the national parks, there are various farms and centres where you can get up close to the animals. At Matang Wildlife Centre, you will be able to see endangered wildlife in large enclosed rainforest areas, with the main attraction being the Orang Utans.

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Rehabilitation of wild animals also takes place at the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see various species of wild animals at close range! If you’re feeling daring, you can also visit Jong’s Crocodile Farm, the largest captive breeding crocodile farm in Malaysia.

9. Take river cruises and longboats

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Savour the beauty of Sarawak’s rivers with their river cruises, where you will be able to enjoy a few leisurely hours, eating and drinking while listening to the live commentary. For a more adventurous journey down the rivers, longboat rides are also available. To get the most immersive experience, use the longboats as your transport when visiting the longhouses!

10. Explore the local markets

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Local markets are the best place for you to purchase souvenirs – tribal handicraft such as wood carvings and bead handicraft will make great gifts for your family and friends, and rural folks will also be selling local produce, ranging from wild honey to water apples! Satok Weekend Market is the largest open market in Kuching, and other unique items you should look for here include Sago Worms and Sibu Olives (also called Dabai).

With such a diversity of activities, Sarawak will certainly be a great holiday destination for everyone – act quickly and plan your trip to the “Land of Hornbills”!

About Author

Jessie Koh

Despite her terrible sense of direction, Jessie enjoys exploring (and getting lost) in new cities on foot. A pop culture junkie who spends much of her time catching up with music, television shows and movies, she relishes the opportunity to visit locations read in books and seen on screen.