Malaysians love travelling domestically. Data research from World Travel Monitor showed that Malaysians preferred to travel domestically last year while our Department of Statistics reported that Malaysians travelled within the nation for over 205 million times in 2017.
In that same year, Sarawak was the fifth most visited state, it beat out the food haven Penang which held the fourth place in 2016. And that makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Why are there more and more Malaysians visiting Sarawak while you… yes you, always postpone your travel plan away from the largest state in the country?
FeedMe Malaysia is here to tell you why. Sarawak Tourism has been amping up their campaign to push for more tourist footfalls. Ushering in 2019, their new tagline “Sarawak, More to Discover” is here to tell prospective travellers that the state is more than just nature and beaches, but also has rich cultures, unique food, and thrilling adventures.
Each of the logo colours represents the nature, ocean, and among others; while the hornbill symbolism is to project Sarawak as the “Bumi Kenyalang”. The campaign was run in Singapore, London and China last year and it received warm responses from all quarters. AirAsia is flying twice weekly from Haikou, China to Kuching and Royal Brunei Airlines would connect people from United Kingdom, Melbourne, and numerous cities in north Asia such as China, directly to its Bandar Seri Begawan airport.
The Minister Of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth And Sports, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, said Sarawak expects five million visitors in 2019 with estimated tourism receipts amounting to RM8.79 billion. So to get you to join this global phenomenon in visiting Sarawak, an internationally recognized destination, we are here to showcase five breathtaking locations that you cannot get elsewhere in other parts of the world:
1. Mukah – Cultural Heartland of the Melanau
Floating market in Thailand…? City of canals in Venice, Italy? How about a speedboat experience to cruise through the town of Dalat along Sungai Kut in a true Malaysian way?
The kampung town is the only man-made canal in Sarawak and the cruise lets you witness the kampung life on both banks of the canal.
You can stay in an authentic Melanau village house built above the water. In the noon, you get to see the locals harvest sago trunks from a boat and also be fascinated when you see how they harvest sago worms.
Not to miss sago pellet processing and ‘kuih sepit’ (traditional wafer) baking facilities while you are there.
You can also walk along a long stretch of interconnecting planks to tour Kampung Tellian and hear the legendary, sometimes tragic, tales of the burial poles dotted around the village.
2. Learn to cook Sarawak Food in Kuching
Gastronomy is also part of travelling but what Sarawak is offering is not just simply feeding you with great local delicacies, but also teaching you how to make them so you can prepare them at home.
Sarawak’s ethnic diversity means that there are more food variants and tastes. The class offers lessons on how to make some of Sarawak’s favourites such as Sarawak Laksa, Gula Apong Chicken, ‘Midin’ (organic fern), ‘kerabu’ (local salad) and ‘Ulam’ rice.
You will start by shopping at the local market where the instructors will teach you how to pick the freshest goods and also alternative ingredients that are not readily available at your home. The instructors come from different ethnicities so you can learn different styles that go into Sarawakian dishes.
3. Hiking and bath under Western Julan, the tallest waterfall in Sarawak
Immerse yourself in nature as you soak in the chilling water of the tallest waterfall in Sarawak. The hike to the waterfall could be challenging but once you stand before the waterfall, the sight itself could etch into your memory for a lifetime. Paradise has never come so close until you are in Western Julan.
The waterfall is 300-metre tall and you will get to witness countless breathtaking panoramic landscapes in the 7-8 hours trek. The trip also includes a 4×4 drive on well-maintained logging roads. By the end of the hike, you will reach the plateau of the Usun Apaun, 1100m above sea level.
You will sleep in a hammock at the campsite and let’s not forget that you can meditate your time away at the river before your dinner is served.
4. Diving at Miri-Sibuti Coral Reefs National Park
If you have been thinking to get a diving license, this is one of the best places to do it.
Witness the pristine corals and reefs in the popular dive destination Miri. You will get to dive 7 to 30 metres deep and your viewing range goes between 10-30 metres, close enough for you to lose your breath at its oceanic beauty.
Other than seeing giant anemones, clownfish, yellowtail fusiliers and angelfish, the site also has some interesting wreckage, such as a decommissioned oil platform (Kenyalang Artificial Reef) which has now become an artificial reef. There is even a sunken 30-metre cargo ship where the whole wreck is teeming with fish life. Sri Gadong Wreck is one of local divers’ favourite spot.
We told you Sarawak is like no other.
5. Bau Caves and Gunung Mulu National Park
There are two beautiful limestone caves at Bau: Wind Cave and Fairy Cave.
The Fairy Cave has great contrasts between the light entering the cave and its shadowy darkness, it is the perfect place for photographers to snap their next “National Geographic shots”. Whereas in Wind Cave, you can observe swiftlets and bats in the large cave as you relax beside a subterranean stream that runs through the cave. When you are there, do not miss out in learning the rich and cruel history of the caves, which dates all the way back to 1837 where some 2,000 Jagoi-Bratak Bidayuh men were killed and 1,000 women were taken captive.
As for Gunung Mulu, it is Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Area. It has the world’s largest cave passage and natural chamber. There are four caves in the national park, all readily accessible by wooden walkways and paths. You can spend your time gazing in dark at a bat observatory, walk above a 480m rainforest canopy skywalk, or the historic Headhunter’s trail through remote rainforest scenery, and more.
These five suggestions are only the tip of the icebergs in what Sarawak can offer. How many of these sites have you never heard of? You will be amazed by what else you can find on Sarawak Tourism website here. There are over 50 attractions listed on the site and none is less interesting than the other. Sarawak is truly more to discover.
Visit www.sarawaktourism.com to start planning your trip there this 2019.