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Discover Sarawak with Timothy Tye

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Sarawak Travel TipsSarawak Travel Tips (2 October, 2004)

B. Melayu

Sarawak Travel Tips introduces the largest state in Malaysia to those planning to make a trip there. Sarawak occupies an area of 124,450 sq km on the northwestern part of the island of Borneo. Sarawak shares a border with the neighbouring state of Sabah as well as with the Indonesian province of Kalimantan and with Brunei.

Sarawak has a population of 2.4 million. Over half a million people live in the capital city, Kuching. Other major cities in Sarawak include Miri (pop. 263,000), Sibu (pop. 254,000) and Bintulu (pop. 176,800). The biggest proportion of Sarawak's population are the Ibans, which make up 30% of the population. The Chinese is a close second, at 26%. Most of them are Hakkas and Hokkiens. Malays form 21% of the populations. Other indigenous groups living in Sarawak include the Melanau, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Kayan, Lun Bawang, Kelabit, Kenyah and Penan.

Map of Major Towns in Sarawak

Major Towns in Sarawak

  1. Kuching - capital (GPS: 1.56, 110.345)
  2. Bintulu (GPS: 3.17132, 113.0419)
  3. Kota Samarahan (GPS: 1.45971, 110.49917)
  4. Lundu (GPS: 1.67213, 109.8536)
  5. Miri (GPS: 4.39949, 113.99138)
  6. Sarikei (GPS: 2.1317, 111.52372)
  7. Sibu (GPS: 2.28728, 111.83053)
  8. Sri Aman (GPS: 1.23668, 111.46256)

Categories of sights in Sarawak

National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries in Sarawak

Mountains in Sarawak

Major Rivers in Sarawak

Cultural dance at Sarawak Cultural VillageCultural dance at Sarawak Cultural Village (2 October 2004)

History of Sarawak

Sarawak was historically part of the Sultanate of Brunei until 1842, when it was ceded to James Brooke, from where began a dynasty of White Rajahs ruling Sarawak. James Brooke became the de facto monarch of Sarawak without any intent of colonizing the state, and it stirred the imagination of other white adventurers with aspirations of the same intent.

Sarawak became a British Protectorate under the rule of Rajah Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke, the second ruler of the Brooke dynasty. The third Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Vyner Brooke ceded Sarawak to Great Britain, and it remained under British rule until it gain independence and joined Malaysia in 1963.

Sarawak State Assembly BuildingSarawak State Assembly Building
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What to see in Sarawak

Sarawak is a destination for nature lovers. There are many natural parks in the state of which the most popular include Gunung Mulu National Park, Bako National Park and Niah National Park. Gunung Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has some of the biggest cave chambers in the world.

Many visitors come to Sarawak to experience its indigenous culture. This often includes a visit to the longhouses to view how the Ibans and other groups live in the interior of the state. Those who are interested in the historical aspect of Sarawak should visit the heritage sites in Kuching, especially those along the Sarawak River.

Niah Cave, SarawakNiah Cave, Sarawak
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Getting there

Sarawak maintains tigher immigration control than any other Malaysian state. Malaysians coming from Peninsular Malaysia are required to complete an immigration form, and are limited to 90 days stay in the state. Foreigners are required to complete a second immigration form. Those who require a visa to enter Malaysia would need one specifically for visiting Sarawak. This should be specified when applying for your Malaysian visa.

By Plane

Kuching International Airport (KIA) is the main gateway for most visitors to Sarawak. It has direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Penang in Malaysia, as well as international flights to Singapore, Pontianak, Bali, Jakarta, Bandar Seri Begawan, Macau and Xiamen.

The Grand Old Lady, MiriThe Grand Old Lady, Miri
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authorshipPierre cb
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By Road

You can enter Sarawak by road from Brunei, Indonesia and from the state of Sabah.


The most ambitious road network in Borneo is the Pan Borneo Highway, which links Sarawak with Brunei and Sabah.

List of States in Malaysia

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