Proboscis monkey in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo

Photo by Greg Rodgers

(by Alex Krajanova)

Welcome to the “hidden paradise” of Borneo, a beautiful island of former headhunters, rainforest, snakes and orangutans. Sarawak is home to the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystem where new species of plants and insects are being discovered nearly every month!

More peaceful and laid-back than the ever-popular Sabah, Sarawak is cheap and extremely easy to travel. Hassle levels are low; Sarawak is the kind of place where the taxi drivers offer a friendly “hello” rather than stress.

The Sarawak Tourism Board has done a bang-up job of promoting their state as an adventure and culture destination. New shopping malls are springing up around Kuching along with charming boutique hotels and plenty of restaurants for enjoying fresh seafood.

Sarawak’s cultures, languages, and lifestyles mix in vibrant colours right in front of your eyes. Exploring Sarawak’s history in local museums becomes one’s pleasure rather than another “must see” activity on your list. You could spend months before running out of new things to discover in the many national parks.

A nice bonus? Unlike Sabah, most national parks have cheaper entrance fees; museums and other natural attractions are free.

Sarawak is one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo, situated in the southwest. Although Sarawak’s 28 indigenous ethnic groups — some of which once took pleasure in removing the heads from spice traders — speak 45 different languages, they live fairly harmoniously. Visitors are always afforded respect and a warm welcome. Compared to the hassle in other Southeast Asian countries, Borneo travel is a walk in the park.

Forget for a little while about the typical scams and enjoy talking to the locals; be open minded and you might learn a lot. It sounds like a well-worn cliché, but people really are genuine in Sarawak.

Photos from Sarawak

From Greg Rodgers: Enjoy a few pictures from my 2013 visit to Sarawak, including the Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching and a stay in a remote, Iban longhouse!

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