Bako National Park
Sarawak’s oldest national park was established in 1957, covers a modest 27 sq. km., and is about 37km from Kuching. It’s known for its extraordinary natural scenery, habitats, plants and wild life.
Its most significant features are secluded coves and rugged rocky headlands with magnificent steep cliffs that overlook the South China Sea.
The sea spray, wave action and the wind have also carved out magnificent sea arches and sea stacks at the base of the cliffs, some rearing above the waves like a mighty serpent’s head.
The attractive sandstone formations appear pink with iron patterns on the cliff. Further inland, waterfalls tumble down into freshwater pools in a tranquil and idyllic jungle setting.
Bako contains an incredible variety of plant species and vegetation types, and this is one of the parks great attractions. At Bako it is possible to see almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo.
Bako is also home to approximately 275 rare proboscis monkeys, found only in Borneo. The best times for seeing wildlife at Bako are just after dawn and just before dusk, when the animals are at their most active. Bako is a fascinating place for bird watching, as over 150 species have been recorded here.
Bakos extensive trail system is made up of 16 colour-coded jungle trails which offer a range of walking and hiking options. The fit and adventurous can opt for full-day jungle hikes or overnight camping expeditions, whilst those who prefer to take it easy can opt for a relaxing forest walk.
The Cat Museum is located on the Ground Floor of the Kuching North City Hall Headquarters Building at the Bukit Siol, Jalan Semariang, Petra Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak.It is owned by the Kuching North City Hall (DBKU). There are 2000 exhibits, artifacts, statues about cats from all over the world. According to Malaysian and Chinese beliefs, the cat is a lucky animal.
The museum covers an area of 1,035.9 square meters on top of the hill called ‘Bukit Siol’ which stands 60 meters above the sea level with beautiful sceneries overlooking the beautiful city of Kuching.
The responsibilities of the Cat Museum are to carry out research, collection, presentation, documentation, promotion, publication, education and awareness of historical heritage, cultures and the natural environment.
Gunung Gading National Park
Gunung Gading National Park is a beautiful expanse of mountainous rainforest only two hours away from Kuching. Located near Lundu, a pleasant little town in south-west Sarawak.
Initially, the park was a closed conservation zone for the spectacular Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world that can grow up to one metre in diameter. However, after extensive environmental impact studies, the National Parks Department decided that Gunung Gading is a treasure that should be shared with the public.
It was therefore opened to the public in 1994. However, Gunung Gading National Park remains closely watched by the National Parks Department to ensure that visitors will get the best opportunities to view the flowering Rafflesia without causing any damage to the young buds and other flora in the surrounding area.
A plank walk has been built close to where the Rafflesia is commonly found, making viewing possible when the plant is in bloom.
Jungle trails lead to streams, cascading waterfalls and the mountains, with one path taking trekkers to the summit of Gunung Gading (906m). The rugged mountains within the Park provide a scenic backdrop to the nearby town of Lundu, and the beaches at Pandan and Siar.
Gunung Mulu National Park
Mulu Caves National Park is home to one of the longest networks of caves in the world. Here lies the worlds largest underground chamber, the Sarawak Chamber, capable of accommodating forty Boeing 747 airplanes.
In Mulu, you will also find the worlds biggest cave passage, Deer Cave, which can fit five cathedrals the size of Saint Pauls in London. Another key attraction is Clear Water Cave, the longest cave in Southeast Asia. The massive caves here are home to millions of bats and cave swiftlets that swarm out into the jungle in great clouds every evening at dusk!
The outdoorsy type will be pleasantly surprised by some of the best examples of tropical limestone weathering in the world, including enormous razor-sharp pinnacles, deep-cut canyons, appropriately named The Pinnacles. There are tough but rewarding multi-day hikes available from the resort. A guide and porter are recommended.
Jalan Satok Sunday Market
This vibrant Sunday market along Jalan Satok, comes alive Saturday afternoon when local traders from the outskirts of Kuching peddle their wares.
Catch a glimpse of the fat squirming grubs, sieet, or unique wild ferns “midin” and other jungle produce sold in makeshift stalls by the roadside, or simply on empty rice sacks lain on the ground.
The place truly comes alive with a riot of colours, smells and dialects as the locals converge to buy their weekly produce.
Traders sell handicrafts, clothes, fresh produce, food and drinks and much more. This is also an excellent excuse for picture taking opportunities.
Take an outing to the market, and be prepared to face a bevy of smiles, fierce haggling and friendly faces in the true Sarawakian warmth and charm.
Lambir Hills National Park
The famed Lambir Hills National Park is located along the Miri-Bintulu road, 36 km south-west of Miri town in Sarawak, East Malaysia. It was gazetted as a park in 1975, and covers an area of 6,952 hectares.
There are around 1,173 tree species in the park alone, with 286 genera and 81 tree families making Lambir one of the more diversified forests in Malaysia. Wild animals can also be found in the deeper parts of the park, especially monkeys, sun bear, pangolin and bats.
It is best to visit the park in the morning, as there would be ample time to go along the various trails in the park. The main attraction of the park is its beautiful waterfalls, the nearest just a mere 0.18 km is Latak Waterfall. It is a 20 minutes walk from the Park office. If you stop to look at the wonderful forest flora and fauna along the way, it would probably take longer.
Before entering the park, register yourself at the Park office where the guide will explain some necessary safety rules before entering the park. If you are going to the waterfalls further ahead, it is best to go early in the morning as the journey will take several hours.The guide will also advise that visitors to the park exit the park grounds by 5 pm as the gates to the park will be closed at this time.
Other waterfalls in the park are ones on the Pantu trail such as the Pantu and Nibong waterfalls. It takes up to two hours journey to reach the falls. Then there are the Pancur, Tengkorong and Dinding waterfalls along the Bakam Trail.The other primary trails are Main and Lepoh-Ridan. There are other trails in the park, of which further information can be obtained from the park office.
There is even a 22-metre Tree Tower is situated on the Pantu Trail, about a kilometre from the Park Office. Visitors can climb and view the scenic Dipterocarp forest profile. It is also an excellent place for bird watching.
A holiday in Sarawak is not complete without a visit to the longhouses that are the traditional dwellings of many of the natives here such as the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu. A longhouse is a terraced street of separate dwellings covered by one roof. A tuai rumah (headman) is the head of the longhouse. Every family has their own separate bilik (room). Communal activities are carried out on the ruai (verandah). Male visitors will spend a night on the verandah whereas female visitors are invited to stay in the bilik or room.
Longhouse communities normally wear practical clothes like jeans and T-shirts. They only wear their traditional costumes during festivals like Gawai Dayak or the Iban harvest festival and also during weddings. Tour groups are normally greeted with a glass of tuak or rice wine and a welcome dance. After that, they will tour the longhouses and will be entertained by various cultural performances. You are usually invited to join in the dancing. Visitors can spend a night at the longhouses or in a nearby guesthouse.
Matang Wildlife Centre
The Matang Wildlife Centre is about 35km from Kuching. Located in Kubah National Park, this large enclosed area of rainforest is home to endangered wildlife. There is a training programme here that teaches Orang Utans, who have been orphaned or rescued from captivity, how to survive in the wild. Visitors will be able to see lots of Orang Utans here, especially during feeding time. Besides these adorable primates, there are also Sun Bears, Sambar Deer, Civet cats as well as three large aviaries that house Sea Eagles, Hornbills and other birds in Sarawak.
Jungle trekking is also possible as there are four jungle trails here, the Pitcher Trail (takes about 2 hours), the Sungai Rayu Trail ( about 3 – 4 hours), the Sungai Senduk trail (about 1 hour) and Sungai Buluh trail (about 2 hours). Picnic spots, an information centre, accommodation facilities, a car park and a small canteen are available at the park HQ.
Niah National Park
Over 400km up the coast from Kuching, hidden in the forests of Miri, are the Niah Caves. The park covers a vast swathe of 3,140 hectares of peat swamp, dipterocarp forests, as well as the massive limestone outcroppings within which the giant Niah caves are concealed. The caves consist of one big cave (The Great Cave) and some smaller caves.
In 1958, archeologists discovered evidence of human occupation of the caves dating back some 40,000 years. Rock paintings were found in what has become known as the Painted Cave, and the discovery of several small canoe-like coffins (death ships) indicate that this site was once used as a burial ground.
Sarawak Cultural Village
Known as the ‘Living Museum’, the Cultural Village was set up to preserve and showcase Sarawak’s cultural heritage. Located at Pantai Damai, Santubong, just 32km from the state capital, Kuching, it is the perfect place to get introduced to local culture and lifestyle.
Sprawled across 17 acres, there are about 150 people living in the village, demonstrating traditional daily activities from Sarawak’s diverse tribes like the processing of sago and the making of handicrafts. They wear traditional costumes and also put on dances for visitors.
The village residents provide information on their various traditional cultures and lifestyles. You can see replicas of buildings that represent every major ethnic group in Sarawak; longhouses of the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu, a Melanau tall-house and a Chinese farm house among others.
The village also has a theatre, where you can enjoy multicultural dance performances. Besides this, there is a restaurant and handicraft shop. You can even get married at the Sarawak Cultural Village, in traditional Iban, Malay, Bidayuh or Orang Ulu style.
The Iban longhouse has separate rooms placed side by side, all of which open to a long communal hall, used for leisurely activities like wood carving and basket weaving.
Guests are often invited to attend nightly ceremonies and drink a potent rice wine, tuak, which the Iban make themselves. Comfortable guesthouses are also available for visitors.
Similajau National Park
Similajau National Park, just 45 minutes from Bintulu, provides a great weekend getaway for the people within the central region of Sarawak. It has one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Malaysia with miles of unspoiled white and golden sand and rocky beaches facing the South China Sea.
Gazetted in 1978, it covers 7,064 hectares of virgin coastal forest, starting from Sungai Likau in the south to Similajau River in the north. Spanning 30km, it is abundant in flora and fauna and offers you a wonderful experience exploring miles and miles of empty beach.
The terrestrial fauna of the park boasts 24 recorded species of mammals, such as gibbons, banded langurs and long-tailed macaques. A very noteworthy reptile found here is the Saltwater Crocodile.
The Park has also recorded 230 species of birds, which include hornbills and migratory water birds like Storms Stork. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see dolphins out amongst the waves. Occasionally, green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
The Grand Old Lady
One of Sarawaks most important historical monuments. MIRI WELL No. 1 – The Grand Old Lady – struck oil on 22 December 1910. Grand Old Lady is not a frail figure of an old woman but Miri’s Number 1 oil well, the first cable-tool oil well in the country, a ‘mother’ who milked a poor country to a prosperous nation.
This landmark is about 30 meters high, Located on top of Canada Hill overlooking Miri, it attracts locals to enjoy the scenery or jog on the well-designed path.
The discovery of oil in 1910 on Canada Hill has a significant place in the history of modern Miri. Canada Hill is where the oil industry in the Sarawak started, with the successful drilling of well Miri-1 in December 1910.
The growth of the oil industry has helped to transform Miri from a small fishing village at the turn of the 20th century into a modern and prosperous town in the 21st Century.
The first derrick constructed was affectionately called ‘The Grand Old Lady’ and produced oil for 62 years. Next to the Grand Old Lady, the Petroleum Museum exhibits photographs and information on the petroleum industry.
In joint venture with Shell Malaysia and Petronas, has built a museum-cum-information centre. At the rear of the museum, the parking lot serves as a vantage point overlooking Miri town below.
The view from Bukit Telaga Minyak is rewarding because the panorama not only include the whole town comes but also the Miri-Brunei border, the offshore oilrigs and the refineries in nearby Lutong township.