A QUICK GLANCE AT SARAWAK
Sarawak is another state located in East Malaysia occupying 124,450 km2 of land and is populated by about 2.61 million of people comprising more than 40 sub-ethnic groups. It is also commonly known as the “Land of the Hornbills” and Kuching is its state capital. The Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, Indians, and a smaller percentage of Bidayuhs and Ibans (who have migrated from the countryside in search for employment) are the main residents who populated the cities and larger towns in Sarawak. Overall, the major ethnic groups in Sarawak are the Malay, Melanau, Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.
In terms of economy, Sarawak is quite similar to its neighbour state, Sabah, with mining, agriculture and forestry as its primary sectors. Sarawak also relies quite heavily on its export-oriented and primary commodities dominated economic structured. Sarawak started its industrialisation transformation since 1980s and has become successful with the industry now playing a significant role in shaping its economic expansion. Its abundance of natural resources, particularly liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petroleum, as well as vast forests for logging (world’s largest exporter of tropical hardwood timber) are the mainstay of Sarawak’s economy. As it is also blessed with huge stretches of land appropriate for commercial agriculture (about 4 million hectares), the agricultural sector continues to flourish in Sarawak especially for main crops such as oil palm, sago, and pepper.
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS OF SARAWAK
Fascinating Mountains, Caves and National Parks
Gunung Mulu National Park in Miri is the largest national park in Sarawak and it is also the first World Heritage Area (awarded in 2000) of Malaysia — one of the parks that one must visit. Gunung Mulu is famous for its limestone cave, including the Sarawak Chamber (largest chamber n the world), Deer Cave (largest cave passage in the world) and Clearwater Cave (longest cave in Southeast Asia).
Other popular mountains amongst hikers are Gunung Gading, the home to the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, Mount Murud (7,950 ft.) which is the highest mountain in Sarawak and Batu Lawi (2,043 m). Another national park worth visiting is the Bako National Park that houses a wide range of wildlife and vegetation such as swamp forest, mangrove forest, and more. Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the home of orang utans and various birds is another popular place of interests in Sarawak.
Beautiful Beaches and Exciting River Cruise
Cruising at the mouth of the Santubong River to look for the Irrawaddy Dolphin and a cruise around the Satang Island through mangrove swamps and picturesque fishing villages on the way to the South China Sea are some of the popular activities highly recommended for nature’s lovers. The white sandy beach and beautiful corals and marine lives of Satang Island make it an ideal spot for snorkelling. It is also famous for its turtle conservation and hatchery area.
Multi-Cultural Festivals Experience
Located near the foothills of Mount Santubong at Damai Beach (about 30 km from Kuching) is the Sarawak Cultural Village, which is also commonly known as the “living museum”. At this village, one can witness and experience the lifestyles and culture of the indigenous people of Sarawak. Within a 17-acre space, there are about 150 people living in this village, demonstrating traditional daily activities from different tribes, portraying their traditional costumes and dances, as well as crafts making skills.
Replicas of buildings of every major ethnic group in Sarawak such as the longhouses of the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu, a Melanau tall-house and a Chinese farm house can also be seen in this village. At night, visitors are usually invited to various ceremonies and drink a potent rice wine, tuak, produced by the Iban tribe. One can also enjoy the multi-cultural dance performances at the theatre located within this village. Restaurant and handicraft shops are also available here. One can experience marriage ceremony at the Sarawak Cultural Village, in traditional Iban, Malay, Bidayuh or Orang Ulu style