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Location Type: Region
Sarawak, also labeled "Land of the Hornbill" has more than 40 sub ethnic groups and several national parks such as Gunung Mulu NP and Niah NP.
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Wikipedia - Sarawak

Rumah Ugat, Kapit Division of Sarawak, Borneo
A Modern Iban Longhouse, built using new materials and preserving essential features of communal living

Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang ("Land of the Hornbills"), it is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia; the second largest, Sabah, lies to the northeast. The administrative capital is Kuching.

Sarawak has vast areas of both lowland and highland rainforest. However, Sarawak has been hit hard by the logging industry and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations and oil palm plantations. Malaysia's deforestation rate is increasing faster than anywhere else in the world. Statistics estimate Sarawak's forests have been depleted but thereis no definitive study to know how much. Malaysia's deforestation rates overall are among the highest in Asia, jumping almost 86 percent between the 1990–2000 period and 2000–2005. In total, Malaysia lost an average of 1,402 km² —0.65 percent of its forest area—per year since 2000. By comparison, South East Asian countries lost an average of 0.35% of their forest per annum during the 1990s.


Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Cities and larger towns are populated predominantly by Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, and a smaller percentage of Ibans and Bidayuhs who have migrated from their home-villages for employment reasons. Sarawak is distinctive from the rest of Malaysia in that there is only a small community of Indians living in the state.

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Wikitravel - Sarawak

Map of Sarawak

Sarawak is the largest and, certainly in terms of visitors per square kilometer, least touristed state of Malaysia. Nearly as large as peninsular Malaysia, the interior is covered in a thicket of impenetrable jungle and mountains and the great majority of the population lives near the coast or along rivers leading to the sea.

One of the stranger episodes in Malaysian history began in 1841 when James Brooke, an English adventurer armed only with a single ship (the Royalist) and diplomatic skills, was made Rajah of Sarawak by the Sultan of Brunei. James and his nephew and successor Charles expanded their private colony to cover much of the state. The third Rajah, Vyner, continued to develop the colony but fled from the invading Japanese in 1941, ending the Brooke dynasty after precisely 100 years. After the end of the Japanese occupation, Vyner returned to Sarawak in April 1946, but ceded the colony to the British in July of the same year. Sarawak joined together with Singapore, Federation of Malaya and North Borneo (today Sabah) to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.

Even by Malaysian standards Sarawak has an extraordinary mix of peoples: the largest ethnic group is neither Chinese (26%) nor Malay (21%), but the Iban (29%), who gained worldwide notoriety as the fiercest headhunters on Borneo. Back in the bad old days, an Iban lad couldn't hope for the hand of a fair maiden without the shrunken head of an enemy to call his own, and bunches of totemic skulls still decorate the eaves of many a jungle longhouse. Fortunately for visitors, headhunting hasn't been practiced for a while, although some of the skulls date from as late as World War II when, with British support, Iban mercenaries fought against the occupying Japanese. Other tribes of note include the Bidayuh (8%) and the Melanau (5%), as well as a smattering of Kenyah, Kayan and a group of tiny tribes in the deep heartland known collectively as the Orang Ulu (Malay for "upriver people"). ... read more

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Tours in & around Sarawak

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