Sarawak: Beautiful and Captivating is a travelogue that portrays the culture and development throughout Sarawak in a form of a pictorial book that covers a wide range of topics and bearing the cultural significance of the state. Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, with an area of approximately 124,967 sq. kilometers and a population of more than 1.5 million, is a gateway to a land of unspoiled beauty, lush tropical greenery, and adventure. Visitors and tourists come all year-round to experience the many facets of ‘Beautiful and Captivating Sarawak’ the activity-packed Cultural Village, the famous longhouses that have remained relatively unchanged over the years, the dramatic landscape. And to sip a glass of sweet sparkling tuak, to participate in ngajat, a traditional dance during Gawai Dayak.
They seek information to visit places, savour authentic local dishes, while the more adventurous ones look for exciting, unique places to explore. A book with the tourists’ interest at heart has long been felt necessary to make their stay comfortable and memorable in Sarawak. Hence, the production of Sarawak: Beautiful and Captivating places special emphasis on local picturesque places, activities, and festivals, some of which are not found in any other parts of the world.
Students and general readers will also find a wealth of interesting facts and data in Sarawak: Beautiful and Captivating, thus enriching their knowledge of the ‘Land of the Hornbills’. Those who wish to improve their command of the English language and those who are attending private classes in preparation for higher learning will certainly find this book useful. Here is a glimpse of what is in store.
Tourists will marvel at Kuching’s colourful Sunday Market its carnival—like array of stalls selling household goods, fish, meat, vegetables, clothing, exotic jungle produce, and rare animals.
No one should miss the Kuching Civic Centre, an outstanding landmark with a tower block, 252 feet high. It can boast of having the first planetarium in Malaysia and fine dining facilities at the top. The ambiance and service are second to none; one can dine while enjoying a birds-eye view of the city at the ‘Eiffel Tower’ of Kuching.
Traveling to legendary Santubong, a seaside resort within easy reach of the city will remind visitors of the rock carvings of early Hindu and Buddhist settlers. The place has much to offer in ancient tales and fables. Nearby at Buntal, numerous seafood restaurants offer culinary delights. The rustic beauty of Buntal makes it a memorable holiday destination.
Close to Pangkalan Batu at the Sarawak River waterfront, one can seethe Square Tower which once served as a fortress and dancing hall. Situated across the river is the historical Fort Margherita, now the Police Museum, with its huge collection of relics from the Second World War.
Other interesting exhibits include an early execution chamber, which visitors should not miss.
Bario or ‘Valley of the Wind’, as it is popularly known, is located at an altitude of 1,228 metres—a nature’s paradise. Surrounded by magnificent mountains, the gentle people of the valley, the Kelabits, get an inexhaustible source of minerals from salt springs. The Kelabit Highland was little known to the outside world until the Second World War and the arrival of the Allied troops and the former Emeritus Curator of the Sarawak Museum, Tom Harrison.
Adventurous outdoor lovers will find Camp Permai, modeled after the world-renowned Outward Bound School, most exhilarating. Itis an unforgettable holiday resort and outdoor education centre. For mountain trekking, sunshine, and stupendous scenery, there is no better place than Kampung Abang Bura. The quaint little village is a worthwhile spot to visit, only an hour’s comfortable drive from the Capital.
Eating out at Batu Lintang, trying out naan, unleavened bread and shabu-shabu are some of the culinary experiences that would thrill visitors.
Christmas, Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Gawai Dayak, Hari Raya Puasa, and Deepavali are all celebrated in Sarawak. Besides being rich and colourful ceremonies, the festivals foster goodwill amongst the diverse races, each with its intricate norms and traditions, yet living harmoniously and peacefully in this beautiful and captivating land.
The author hopes this compilation of articles and photographs will interest readers with authentic accounts of colourful Sarawak. He is confident that readers of this book will feel drawn closer to the land and its people, and be inspired to travel and discover Sarawak.