Malaysia top resorts - Sarawak

Malaysia top resorts - Sarawak

Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states situated on Borneo, is known as ‘Land of the Hornbills'. It completely surrounds the tiny nation state of Brunei, and is bordered by the other Malaysian state, Sabah, to its north-west, and Indonesia to the south.

It has a rich and fertile environment, characterized by rainforests and mangrove swamps, a long coastline of white sands, and towering mountains. There are major rivers, too, although for all that its landscape is wild and beautiful, its population is around 2.5 million.

To demonstrate how popular Sarawak is with tourists you only have to consult the tourism statistics. In 2012 the state welcomed somewhere in the region of four million visitors. These were accounted for in both the domestic and international markets. By the following year this had rocketed to six million. The increase in people wishing to visit the Malaysians state has led to neighbouring Far Eastern countries, such as Japan, setting up even more direct flights.


When these visitors arrive in this corner of Borneo, they can expect a multitude of places to visit. Kuchung, the state capital, has a total population of just over 320,000. It is unusual in Malaysia in that it is divided into two separate sectors, Kuchung North and Kuchung South. Uniquely, each half has, respectively, its own mayor and commissioner.

The city offers many interesting sites to its visitors. Sarawak Museum, Borneo's oldest, incorporates fine specimens of indigenous natural history. Other places recommended for a visit include the Sarawak Islamic Museum, the Chinese History Museum, the Sarawak Timber Museum, the Sarawak Textile Museum; and, perhaps most unusually the Kuching Cat Museum. The latter was founded in 1939, and contains over 2,000 exhibits dedicated to the world's feline population. If this may seem a little eccentric to western visitors, the reason for such homage is that the cat is considered a lucky animal in Malaysian culture.

Rainforest World Music Festival

The RWMF is regarded as the region's premier music event, attracting huge numbers of devotees on an annual basis. Held in Kuching, the festival runs over three days and explores the incredible diversity of international music. As well as an eclectic bill of live concerts, the event also incorporates craft displays ,numerous food stalls, examples of local culture and music workshops. To give an example of the global appeal, previous festival performers have included Madagascar's Rajery, Mongolia's Namgar, Poland's Shannon, and Peatbog Faeries from Scotland.

The rainforest festival is also very lucrative in terms of the income that brings to the Sarawak economy. Since the festival began to be actively promoted to a wider audience by the Sarawak Tourism Board, there has been even greater scope for commercial activities. The degree to which this promotion has been a runaway success can be gauged by comparing audiences. In the festival's early years, a few hundred people attended. By 2013 the festival was able to take somewhere in the region of MYR 37 million.

The many reasons why visitors love to travel here is that the location itself is so stunning. The stages and tents are erected in the lower slopes of Mount Santubong, an 810-metre high mountain. Anywhere between 18 and 20 highly-experienced bands run through their vibrant sets against this spectacular backdrop. Between acts, the festival goers can browse through the army of food stall vendors selling choice Malaysian and other Asian cuisine.