KUCHING, 4 July 2022: Home to one of the largest pristine rainforests in the world with 28 ethnic groups living harmoniously against a backdrop of age-old heritage and elements of modernity Sarawak offers an alternative for those seeking humble authenticity far from the tourist-trap clichés.

Visitors to Sarawak can choose to experience Sarawak in a variation of ways – sharing the lifestyles of the many indigenous tribes at their longhouses, exploring gigantic caves at the iconic Gunung Mulu National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, chasing the adrenaline rush of kayaking through Sarawak’s rivers or relish the architectural splendours of colonial buildings across all regions in the state.

Bidayuh Ring Ladies
Photo by: Sarawak Tourism Board

Ultimate Guide for First-timers in Sarawak:

1. Blast from the Past – Brooke Heritage Trails

If you’re one for all things history, feel free to explore Sarawak’s rich and well-preserved colonial heritage. Head on to Sarawak’s capital city, Kuching where you can follow the footsteps of the first White Rajah James Brooke (famously played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers in ‘Edge of the World’) and his successors.

You can start with a walk around the heart of Kuching filled with historical buildings and monuments from the colonial era in Kuching, namely the Square Tower, Sarawak Steamship Building, Fort Margherita, Brooke Dockyard, Round Tower, General Post Office and more!

The Brooke Gallery at Fort Margherita and Ranee Museum at the Old Courthouse provides great insights about Sarawak in the early days is definitely worth the visit!   

2. Visit Malaysia’s largest museum – Borneo Cultures Museum

Step into the brand-new iconic museum building – the Borneo Cultures Museum! The world-class repository equipped with a state-of-the-art exhibition boasting five levels of gallery and exhibition spaces showcasing over a thousand artefacts that represent Sarawak’s amazing culture.  

Oh, did we mention that Borneo Cultures Museum is also the second-largest museum in Southeast Asia? That’s right, with a total of 6,726 square metres of exhibition space, it will be one of the best and most inspiring museum visits ever!

Borneo Cultures Museum
Photo By: Sarawak Museum

3. Experience Culture in the Village – Visit a Longhouse!

Celebrate cultures in Sarawak
Photo by: Sarawak Tourism Board

Sarawak is truly a celebration of different cultures. No indigenous-living experience is more complete, authentic and fulfilling than spending a day with the local community at a longhouse — usually located approximately an hour’s drive away from the nearest city or town. Other longhouses may require boat rides that cut through jungles.

Enjoy the culinary delights of the different cultures, dance to traditional music played by master musicians on unique Sarawakian instruments, listen to the stories, folklore and legends of the respective ethnic groups and discover the meanings of the tribal tattoos.

For more information about the longhouses in Sarawak, log on to sarawaktourism.com

4. Reconnect with Nature

The wild is calling! For those who are looking for a great adventurous escape from the concrete jungle and be one with nature, Sarawak’s vast geographical landscape offers a great eco-escape! Be amazed by its renowned national parks and recreational sites especially its rainforests and riverine waterways.

Explore a UNESCO world heritage site; Mulu National Park in Miri, and experience the lifestyle of riverfront in Sibu, Mukah, Sarikei, Bintulu and more! Chase Sarawak’s waterfalls such as Lambir Hills Waterfall, Kubah Waterfall and Ranchan Waterfall or immerse yourself in Sarawak’s true essence of nature by checking into Sarawak’s eco stays.

The peak of the Pinnacles in Mulu National Park
Photo by: Sarawak Tourism Board

5. ‘Food-ventures’ in Sarawak!

Sarawak is well-known for its’ diversity in ethnicities, culture and of course, its various palate of local delicacies merged with the rich flavours brought in by immigrants. This has led to an explosion of creativity in producing a wealth of dishes and food found only in Sarawak.

From Kolok Mee and Sarawak Laksa to Umai and Sayur Midin, not forgetting Mee Sua, Manok Pansoh to Kuih Lapis and Gula Apong ice cream, visitors to Sarawak will enjoy a scrumptious culinary that also abounds with generations of history and heritage.

Did you know? Sarawak’s capital city, Kuching is the first city in Malaysia to be named ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’ by UNESCO.

6. Escape to Bario-The Land of a Hundred Handshakes

In needof gentle winds, beautiful scenery, warm hospitality, rich culture and delicious food? We’ve got you!

Lying at an altitude of about 3,500 feet above sea level and located in the northeast of Sarawak is Bario (pronounced as “Bariew”) which means wind in Kelabit language, the gateway to Kelabit Highlands.

While in Bario, take on a guided tour around the village to learn about the history and the culture of the Kelabit community. Enjoy the must-visit longhouse where you can see the ancient timbers of the unique kitchen darkened by the constant smoke of generations of cooking fires.

For the adventurous, climb Sarawak’s highest mountain, Mount Murud (2,432m) a sandstone mountain which is a sacred place to the Kelabit people. There is also a rock garden that’s made up of mysteriously-shaped rocks and boulders.

Bario also has an incredible array of organic food such as the famous Bario rice and pineapple. Visit the Bario Salt Factory and observe the making of Bario Salt where the salt is processed by cooking the natural saltwater over a high wood fire and then drying them in a cut bamboo container.

In addition to that, grab the opportunity to experience their annual Bario Food Festival which is also known as ‘Pesta Nukenen’, held in July each year to enjoy the delicious organic food cooked by the various longhouses communities of the Kelabit Highlands.

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