Holiday and Travel Tips in Malaysia

Travel in Malaysia - Contents

If you’re considering taking some time off to enjoy the sights and sounds of Malaysia, the information contained in the paragraphs below will be useful to you.

Peninsular Malaysia

Peninsular or West Malaysia is already quite developed with excellent facilities and a booming travel industry. Most destinations are accessible by a well developed and comfortable transport system is it by air, sea or land. However from an expatriate’s point of view, it will be worth your while to take the scenic route and travel by land.

The multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural makeup of Malaysia means opportunities for travel increase greatly thanks to the dizzying number of state and national level holidays, this coupled with the fact that Malaysia is a tropical country with negligible seasonal weather variations make traveling and sightseeing in Malaysia a breeze. Indeed it is an ingrained culture that city dwellers vacate their urban lifestyles and the rat race several times a year and “Balik Kampung” all it takes is a holiday on any day other than a Wednesday and by taking an extra day off you will end up with a four day weekend.

The fact that transport to just about any destination in Malaysia as well as food and accommodation are usually cheap, money is rarely a problem, however a bit of planning will often be necessary. For example the major holidays in Malaysia are Hari Raya Puasa, Chinese New Year and Christmas / New Year. The “Holiday Season” stretches from December to February, a quick check will reveal that these 3 months contain the largest concentration of public and state holidays. This coupled with the long year end break for most schools the payment of year end bonuses and the “clearing of annual leave” and vacation time for most workers mean that the regular tourist destinations will be heavily congested and availability of accommodations will be a problem. Transport will also be a factor due to these considerations.

Destinations will also need to be taken into account, for example beaches and islands along the Melaka Straits tend to more developed, less rustic and well, made less “pure”, thanks to heavy sea traffic through these straits. Also roads along the Peninsular west coast are definitely of higher quality than those leading to and running along the east coast. Of course it goes without saying that some hill and forest destinations tend to be more developed and commercialized than others, take stock of what you want out of your holiday, whether it is excitement, entertainment, adventure or just peace and quiet before deciding on where and when to go.

Consequently if you want to take full advantage of your time off and maximize your RM value, advance planning will be a necessity.

Weather in Malaysia while sunny and tropical all year long does have its vagaries, in particular the rainy monsoon season lasting for about 4 months from November onward will see sudden and heavy downpours as well as sullen skies and occasional day long drizzles interspersed by heavy rain. While this is rarely much cause for concern to most destinations, care should be taken if you’re traveling to the islands off the east coast as some of these may be closed during the season, the east coast itself, which is often prone to flooding or any hilly or mountainous destinations, due to the possibility of landslides.

Driving in Peninsular Malaysia promises to be smooth and trouble free, interstate highways are well developed and modern and among the best in the region. The scenery is often beautiful and relaxing with picturesque, quaint small towns and villages, sprawling paddy fields, lush plantations, mysterious jungles and majestic mountains. Rest stops and petrol stations are plentiful, and various inns and motels are available in every town. Highway users are normally charged a toll based on the distance traveled, a toll chit is given upon entering a highway toll booth and payment is made upon exiting at your destination.

Following is a breakdown of popular destinations in Malaysia’s various states.

Johor

Johor is the transit point from Malaysia to Singapore and at any time of the year, visitors from Singapore, Malaysia and all over the world come to this prosperous state for business and pleasure. Indeed Johor has much to offer and will surely captivate your senses. Due to its proximity to the affluent Island Republic, prices in Johor are likely to be somewhat higher.

Much of the attraction of Johor lies in its natural treasures, surrounded by the sea, destinations such as Desaru and its excellent beach resorts come to mind immediately, a little less well known destination is Kukup, famed for its scrumptious fresh seafood and not forgetting Tanjung Piai and its environmentally vital mangrove swamps.

Other natural attractions include the vast Endau Rompin National Park, with its dark and mysterious rainforests and the Tanjung Tinggi Waterfalls, a perfect place for an afternoon picnic with family and friends.

Johor Baru, the state capital is another historic city with attractions such as the “Istana Besar Johor” or Johor Grand Palace, Dataran Bandaraya, the Sultan Abdul Bakar Mosque, the Royal Museum, the Handicraft Centre and the Johor Art Gallery to visit and experience. Shopping and bargain hunting in Johor is facilitated by numerous markets, bazaars and large shopping malls catering to all tastes and budgets.

Kedah

Paddy fields. These are the first words that will come to mind when Kedah is mentioned. This state is extensively farmed and oftentimes when on Kedah roads, one can see paddy (rice) fields stretching far into the horizon. Although Kedah has seen much development over recent years, it still retains all of its rustic charm, and people are still extremely friendly even to strangers they’ve never met before.

The capital of Kedah is Alor Setar, a large town with all the amenities a traveler could wish for, points of interest include the “Pasar Pekan Rabu”, or Pekan Baru Bazaar, where local produce, handicrafts and souvenirs may be purchased. Historical sites in Alor Setar include the Balai Besar, a hundred year old example of Malay architecture oftentimes used for state level religious and royal functions. The stunning Zahir mosque and the Kedah Royal Museum with its ancient historical artifacts are also worth a visit.

Gunung Jerai, a mountain in Kedah that is steeped in legend and beautiful ancient forests is a must see for nature lovers, hikers and bird watchers. Finally Kedah is the main transit point for trips to Langkawi.

Kelantan

Another state sharing its border with Thailand, Kelantan is arguably the most conservative state in Malaysia, with a very strong Islamic background, Kelantan is perhaps the best showcase of Malay traditions and culture in the country. Life in Kelantan is sedate, calm and dignified with strong family and religious values.

Though much of the state is less developed than most others, its capital Kota Baru, the focus of trade and commerce is quite modern. With a booming cottage industry of weavers, crafts and foods found nowhere else in Malaysia, not at the prices here at any rate.

Visitors will be treated to a vast array of goods, handicrafts and souvenirs at the Kota Baru Bazaar. The Cultural Centre in downtown Kota Baru also offers a showcase of Kelantanese tradition, history, culture and crafts. The beautifully crafted and colorful giant kites or “Wau”, the massive wood and metal tops or “Gasing”, the beautiful and ornately forged Malay serpentine dagger or “Kris” and the implements of the “Wayang Kulit” or shadow play are prominent displays.

As far as natural attractions are concerned Kelantan really shines. The beaches of Kelantan are absolute pockets of tranquility and beauty, with its swaying palm trees, rustic villages and simple friendly life, “Pantai Cahaya Bulan”, “Pantai Bisikan Bayu” and “Pantai Seri Tujuh” are veritable paradises on Earth.
Kuala Lumpur

The largest, most heavily populated, most affluent city in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is also the nations capital and the focal point of politics, trade, industry and communications for the country. With a population approaching 2.5million souls, K.L is modern, high-tech, dynamic, cosmopolitan and very beautiful.

The current landmark of K.L is the hugely impressive Petronas Twin Towers, one of the tallest buildings on Earth, sharing the skyline is K.L Tower, one of the tallest towers. Scores of skyscrapers rise above the roaring traffic, bright lights and soaring aspirations of its citizens, all working and vying for a bigger and better life, future and piece of the economic pie.

Though in all respects K.L is a city of the new millennium, it has lost considerably less culture and charm than many other cities in the region. A very celebrated and world renowned British university recently stated that it would be using Malaysia and particularly Kuala Lumpur as a model of inter-racial harmony in their syllabus as it is the only place in the world that inter-racial harmony works so well.

And harmony is what makes K.L stand out as much as it does. The values of each culture are integrated into the city, making it stronger and more robust, yet flexible and adaptable, for the virtues of tolerance and forbearance has become ingrained in the people of K.L.

For the traveler, a visit to K.L is bound to excite the senses, known as the “Garden City of Lights”, K.L certainly lives up to its name, the city centre is perpetually bathed in light 24 hours a day, and the streets are wide and shady from the trees and foliage strategically planted to make walking in the tropical midday sun more tolerable, and walking is probably the best way to see K.L.

From the up-market, cool and fashionable designer brand boutiques of Bukit Bintang in the city’s showcase “Golden Triangle” to the bazaars of bustling Masjid India in K.L’s “Little India” to the noisy, vibrant night markets of Petaling Street in Chinatown and the wet markets of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, you must walk, taking in the sights, scents and sounds of K.L.

For a taste of the rich history of the city a visit to the Masjid Jamek, located precisely in the centre of K.L, the National Muzeum, the National Monument, Merdeka Square and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a must. The city itself can be a museum, age old shops and buildings such as the old railway station, the ancient “kopitiams” or Chinese coffee shops of Chinatown, and the crumbling and sometimes disused buildings near the Puduraya bus terminal and the temple districts are legacies from the past.

For a taste of culture and arts, popular venues would include the recently opened “Istana Budaya” or Cultural Palace a brand new facility offering traditional and modern plays, dances and performances, the Central Market where open air performances and plays are regularly staged, the Dewan Philharmonik Petronas, home to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Art Gallery.

For nature lovers just 5 minutes (barring rush hour traffic) from the concrete canyons of Bukit Bintang lay Bukit Nanas a designated “green lung” and a mini nature preserve in the inner city. 30 minutes away just across the Selangor border lie Templer Park and Taman Rimba Kanching, nature reserves, with winding jungle paths and spectacular waterfalls. The Lake Gardens and The KLCC Park also offers a temporary, soothing relief from the mad headlong rush of city life.

Nightlife is also extremely lively in K.L from crowded, pulsating dance clubs and discotheques to quite bars and delis, the nights of K.L has something to offer for everybody. The most “happening” locales are still the same, Bukit Bintang, Bangsar, Ampang and lately Sri Hartamas and Bandar Utama. The city never sleeps.

Melaka

Melaka has a rich history dating back some 600 years, originally founded by Parameswara, a prince from Singapore it rapidly became a focal point for trade and commerce in the region with merchants coming from all over the world to trade in spices and silk. Melaka’s tumultuous history involved intrigue and war with three successive European conquerors, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English. Even before this, prominent figures in Malay history such as Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Tun Perak and the mysterious Puteri Gunung Ledang had become the stuff of legend.

Present day Melaka has been declared a Historical State and is regularly thronged by visitors eager for a glimpse of its illustrious history from times of yore. Attractions like the Portuguese fortress of A Famosa, now just a shadow of its former glory, the Stadhuys, the stronghold of the Dutch Governors from the mid 17th century, but now housing the Historic and Ethnographic Museums, Hang Li Po’s well, named for the Chinese princess wed to the Melakan Sultan during the peak of Melaka’s power, the mausoleums of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat, two great warriors and heroes of Melaka. St John’s Fort, The Cultural Museum and a reconstructed example of a Melakan Sultan’s Palace are all legacies from this bygone age.

Other attractions in the state include less historical but no less interesting locations, such as the Melaka Zoo, Mini Malaysia, a cultural showcase of traditional dwellings and implements from all the states, the crocodile farm, the Ayer Keroh Forest Reserve and the Butterfly Farm. For those seeking a more nautical theme a boat ride to the island of Pulau Besar might interest you, according to local legend the island is the home of fairies and supernatural creatures and many visitors have reported “strange” experiences.

For bargain hunters and antique collectors a stroll down Jonkers street is a must, rows of shops sell everything from cheap colorful souvenirs to ancient artifacts costing a small fortune.

Negeri Sembilan

Cross the southern border of Selangor and you will find yourself in “Nine States” Negeri Sembilan, formerly composed of nine states each ruled by a Malay chieftain, it is now a single state in Malaysia. Often thought of as a quiet and rural state one passes through in order to get from K.L to Johor, Negeri Sembilan has retained much of its “Minang” Malay roots.

Life is indeed quiet and sedate in Negeri Sembilan industry consists of primarily light industry, agriculture and fishery, as everywhere else in Malaysia the populace is friendly and unassuming, with a ready smile and a ready hand.

Places to visit will of course include the beaches of Port Dickson, a popular picnic and family holiday destination, with its economical guest houses, chalets and hotels and miles of sandy beaches. The Ulu Bendol Recreational Park is a little known haven for campers and nature lovers with its lush jungles and beautiful waterfalls the nearby Gunung Angsi provides a scenic challenge for climbers. Another destination would be the Pedas Hot Springs for an exhilarating and reputedly therapeutic dip.

The Royal Museum and Royal Palace in Sri Menanti and the Seremban Lake Gardens are more than worth visiting as are the picturesque villages, heavily influenced by the Sumatran Minangkabau culture and architecture, they are found nowhere else in Malaysia.

Pahang

Located in the centre of Peninsular Malaysia, Pahang is characterized by highlands and jungles. Perhaps the least developed state in West Malaysia, Pahang is also the largest state. An eco-tourists dream, Pahang boasts some of the oldest jungles in the world. The Taman Negara National Park is accessed through this state, and the rainforests there is estimated to be in excess of 130million years old. The National park offers facilities to suit just about every adventurer or nature lover’s desires.

For those seeking a short holiday in a cool and comforting hill setting away from the sticky, sweaty Malaysian weather, Cameron Highlands and Frasers Hill offers just that. These destinations have a climate not unlike summer in England, Cameron Highlands is the more developed of the two with a booming agricultural industry with large scale tea, flower and vegetable plantations, whereas Frasers Hill is more like a quiet hill resort offering quiet and isolated inns and holiday chalets, excellent bird watching and an abundance of peace and quiet. Genting Highlands, also in Pahang offers a world class casino (the only licensed casino in Malaysia), a huge theme park, a golf course and five star accommodation, dining and entertainment.

Pahang is also famed for its lake resorts, Tasik Chini and Tasik Bera in northern Pahang offers river safaris, jungle trekking and water sports in the two massive freshwater lakes. Also in northern Pahang, close to the state capital and commercial and industrial centre of Kuantan, lay the beach and island destinations of Pahang. Cherating, Teluk Cempedak, Mersing and Balok enticing travelers to stay forever with its white sandy beaches, blue waters and world class resorts. Tioman Island, another world famous beach and diving destination can be accessed from here as well.

Perak

Historically significant to Malaysia, Perak’s wealth of tin deposits helped build the country during the heydays of tin mining in the first part of the 20th century. This industry was primarily worked by Chinese immigrants and hence Perak towns retain a very “Chinese” feel. Much of the records of the sometimes turbulent history of the tin trade in this state may be found at the Perak Geographical Museum in Ipoh, the capital of Perak.

Another booming town in Malaysia, set amidst verdant hills, Ipoh, the Perak state capital is very pleasant with beautiful parks, friendly people and excellent food. The famous hill temples of nearby Sam Poh Tong, carved from limestone, impart a feeling of ancient spirituality and mystery.

Known as “Bandar DiRaja Perak” or the Royal City of Perak, the town of Kuala Kangsar, is famed for its old buildings and architecture such as the Iskandariyah palace. Taiping, another town in Perak is well known for its lake gardens, its zoo and its museum, the oldest museum in Malaysia. A cool and refreshing and still undeveloped hill destination is located near Taiping as well, known as Bukit Larut, this destination draws many visitors yearly.

Pangkor Island off the Perak Coast is another mainstay island destination in Malaysia, with its clear sandy beaches, warm waters, stunning scenery and world class resorts, Pangkor draws thousands of tourists yearly.

Perlis

Perlis is at the northernmost tip of Peninsular Malaysia’s west coast. The smallest state in Malaysia, it is a serene and quiet state where life goes on at a very relaxed, leisurely pace, mostly centered on agriculture and fishery, it is also a transit point for visitors to the famed Pulau Langkawi, a very popular island destination famed for its natural beauty, legendary history and tranquil beaches. Langkawi has also been designated a duty-free zone and is popular with bargain hunters.

The 370meter long Wang Kelian limestone caves are also a popular destination, along with the snake farm at Sungai Batu Pahat, Gunung Medan and its limestone formations are also a scenic spot many people visit.

Perlis shares much of its border with Thailand and centuries of contact between the cultures have resulted in a unique and delightful blend. Food, language and traditions are often influenced by Thai culture. Padang Besar is the main transit point to Thailand.

Pulau Pinang (Penang)

Composed of Penang island and Seberang Perai on the mainland, Penang is a highly developed and industrialized state. The frantic daily bustle of activity mirrors Kuala Lumpur in many regards, the potpourri of different cultures are also equally evident in cosmopolitan Penang, even the traffic is becoming more and more like the capital. However, unlike K.L, Penang has lost less of its old world charms.

Small thing like how the food is still prepared the wholesome traditional way, people are still more open and friendly, and how old trishaws and older trishawmen still ply the busy city streets alongside the latest model Toyotas and BMWs imbue a unique charm not found anywhere else in Malaysia.

Besides the beaches of Batu Ferringhi the spectacular view from Bukit Bendera and the night markets of Ayer Itam and Georgetown, Penang offers a quaint charisma that transcends modernity and archaism by effectively blending the two into a unique mix that is simply… Penang.

No trip to Penang is considered complete without a visit to the Kek Lok Si Temple, its towering pagoda and statue of “Kuan Yin” the goddess of mercy, having your photograph taken with the docile serpentine visitors at the Snake Temple, visiting Komtar tower, the highest building in the state, crossing the Penang Bridge, one of the longest bridges in the world and taking a ferry ride across the straits back to the mainland.
Selangor

Selangor is one of the most developed states in Malaysia, primarily geared towards industry, the state has numerous light and heavy Industrial areas. Selangor is also a transport and logistics hubs with an expansive, high traffic port, Port Klang and one of the world’s largest and most modern airports, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Shah Alam is the capital of Selangor and is arguably one of the most modern, well planned and efficient municipalities in the nation, the awe inspiring Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque is located in Shah Alam. The nation’s massive international sports complex at Bukit Jalil and formula one racing circuit at Sepang are also located in Selangor. The sprawling recently opened Putrajaya and Cyberjaya administrative and high technology parks lends credence to the meteoric advances Malaysia has made in recent years.

The awesome Batu Caves, a focus of the Hindu religion in Malaysia, the Kuala Selangor Nature Park a nature haven on the Selangor coast, the Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia, the Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam nature preserve and the impressive Mines Resort City and Conference Centre are just a few of the many, many attractions Selangor has to offer.

Selangor is unfortunately also famous for its heinous rush hour traffic. Being possibly the most heavily populated state in Malaysia and also because of the aforementioned heavy industrialization the highways and the city roads are uniformly congested at rush hour.

Terengganu

Beaches and Islands characterize this state, the major attraction of Terengganu lies in its extensive and picturesque beaches, quite similar to those of Kelantan the beaches of Terengganu are clean, idyllic and still relatively uncoil by development and mass market tourism. One beach in particular, Rantau Abang has an added attraction of the rare giant leatherback turtles which come once a year to lay their eggs on the beach.

Off the coast of Terengganu some of the most famous and dazzling islands in the world beckon the itinerant traveler. Pulau Redang, Pulau Kapas, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Tenggol offer unparalleled scenery, beaches and diving. Visitors to these islands often find it next to impossible to leave.

Kuala Terengganu, the capital of Terengganu is a booming town, grown rich from the proceeds of the state’s extensive petroleum industry based at nearby Kertih. Life however is still not as hectic as Kuala Lumpur or similar cities, places of interest include the central market, state museum and the state palace, Istana Maziah. Terengganu is also famed for its silk weaving, handicrafts and traditional boat building industry.

Finally for eco-tourism buffs, Tasik Kenyir, a vast man made lake offers adventurous activities like jungle trekking, canoeing and cave exploration. Anglers will instantly fall in love with Kenyir.

East Malaysia

Many visitors from West Malaysia arriving in East Malaysia for the first time get the impression that they have entered another country. Though Sabah and Sarawak are a part of Malaysia these states exude a totally different character. The first impression is usually of mild discomfort, as East Malaysia is not as developed or as technologically advanced as West Malaysia, but after spending some time and getting to know the lay of the land, the realization that East Malaysia is indeed quite different surfaces and with it comes the desire to fully appreciate just how unique the way of life is in these states..

Sabah and Sarawak share many characteristics, the developed areas are along the coast. The interior is thick with rainforests, mountains and rivers. Industry is nowhere near as pervasive as it is in the Peninsula, composed mostly of agriculture, oil and gas, lumber and fishery. The roads are of mixed quality, there are no broad, interstate highways, most are just dimple dual carriageways connecting the various coastal towns and cities. Many of these roads are closed during the rainy season which in East Malaysia is actually longer and more intense.

Travel by boat for revering destinations and travel by air to even more remote jungle or mountain destinations are also very common. Most East Malaysians use the regular and cheap interstate flights much like how West Malaysians use express busses. The visitor to the smaller towns in East Malaysia are well advised that car-rental operators are often scarce and taxis are often non-metered, bus services are also less pervasive and comfortable than those in West Malaysia. Telecommunications remain an annoyance, while landlines are very reliable, cellular networks are often less so.

Prices of accommodation and food are dependent on the location, for example seafood in Sandakan and Lahad Datu is cheap, fresh and very delicious, but hotel and food prices in Miri tend to be a little high due to its proximity with neighboring Brunei.

What all this means is that if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful holiday in order to “get back to nature / the basics, in a place where no one from the office can call and bother you , a trip to East Malaysia is definitely for you. Sabah and Sarawak is absolutely the best eco-tourism destination in Malaysia. Much of the best sights and experiences are “off the beaten track”, and not usually found in the travel brochures and circulars. Having a good guide, usually a knowledgeable and friendly cab driver (if you’re not taking a guided tour package) will make a tremendous difference in the enjoyment of your stay.

Sabah

Sabah is filled to the brim with exotic unspoilt natural beauty, despite the extensive and invasive logging carried out a few decades ago, it still has more than its share of deep forests and virgin jungles, much of the terrain in the interior is highland, culminating with Mount Kinabalu, and the highest mountain in South East Asia. Towering mountains covered in dense forests and deep valleys cut by mighty rives form the backdrop to pictorial, scenic villages and farmsteads of simple folk living and working the land as their forefathers have done since time immemorial. Indeed Sabah is a photographers dream. The following is a tiny sampling of the countless attractions Sabah has to offer.

Kinabalu National Park offers visitors forest and hill trails, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and of course the challenge of scaling the 4095 meter mountain. The Danum Valley Conservation Area offers 60 million year old primeval rainforest filled with prehistoric trees, birds, insects and animals many species of which remain undiscovered still. The Tambunan Rafflesia Reserve set amidst one of the most scenic Sabah roads, offer visitors a chance to see the incredibly rare Rafflesia flower, the largest flower in the world. The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre just outside the coastal town of Sandakan is famed for its resident “Jungle Men” or Orang Utans.

If you like beaches resorts such as the Tanjung Aru, Karambunai, Rasa Ria and Berringis resort will make you forget that you have a job to get back to. Further off shore, there are thousands of small islands off the Sabah coast waiting to be discovered by you, some are world famous Mecca for diving enthusiasts. Islands like Sipadan, Kapas and Layang-Layang with crystal clear waters and stunning coral reefs exploding with life beguile visitors. Jacques Cousteau extended his “brief” stay at Sipadan to six weeks, the longest his ship the Calypso has ever stayed at any single location, because he simply couldn’t bear to leave. How long will you stay?

The are a million and one things to see and do in Sabah, from golfing to antique shopping to water skiing to mountain climbing and hiking, if you bypass this destination because it is “too primitive” and “uncomfortable” you will be doing yourself a huge disservice.

Sarawak

The Land Below The Wind is very similar to its neighbor, Sabah, however in Sarawak, one gets a more “adventurous” feel. Mostly undeveloped wilderness and jungle, the interiors of Sarawak would seem inaccessible, mysterious and more than a little intimidating to the average city dweller. However it was in the spirit of Adventure that the history of Sarawak was founded. The White Rajah, an Englisman named James Brooke was given ruler ship of Sarawak after winning the favor of the ruler of Borneo by braving inter-tribal wars, rebellious headhunters, merciless pirates and the unforgiving wilderness. The average visitor today can taste all Sarawak has to offer with considerably less aggravation.

Most people visiting Sarawak for pleasure would be interested mainly in adventure and nature, due to space constraints, we will highlight only this aspect. Please understand however that what follows is a mere drop in the bucket from the cornucopia that is Sarawak.

The nature trail should begin with Bako National Park just outside of Kuching, the capital city, its easy trails and comfortable accommodations help visitors to fully appreciate the wealth of pristine, natural beauty found here. The Batang Ai National Park is located on a large lake smack dab in the Sarawak wilds, offering native Iban guides, longhouse stays and authentic native handicrafts and attire this park should not be missed. Human habitations have existed in the Niah Caves for 40 millennia. The Niah National Park, again in the heart of the rainforests situated halfway between Miri and Bintulu offers a glimpse of those primordial times through the Painted Caves and its silent burial grounds. Finally the Mulu National Park, the largest in Sarawak and also the most famous offers visitors the chance to explore the largest network of caves in the world deep in the roots of Gunung Mulu, Gunun Berapi and Gunung Benarat. A mere one-third of the cave complexes has been surveyed so far, a staggering 310 kilometers. If you are afraid of the dark, other activities may appeal to you, kayaking, white water rafting, jungle trekking, rock climbing and mountain biking are among other activities available.

From the innumerable other attractions of Sarawak, here are a few samples; scuba diving off the various offshore shoals, quite comparable to those in Sabah, jet skiing on the coast or in the jungle rivers, world class golf facilities in the wildlands and mountains, isolated, pristine beaches and the culture, food and histories of 27 ethnic groups, some of which have been here since humanity began.

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