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SARAWAK  
the land of the hornbill

"Sarawak is a state of Malaysia. The largest among the 13 states, with an area almost equal to that of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak is located in northwest Borneo Island, and is bordered by the Malaysian state of Sabah to the northeast, Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of Borneo) to the south, and Brunei in the north. The capital city, Kuching, is the largest city in Sarawak. Sarawak has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. It has several prominent cave systems at Gunung Mulu National Park. Rajang River is the longest river in Malaysia; Bakun Dam, one of the largest dams in Southeast Asia, is located on one of its tributaries, the Balui River. Mount Murud is the highest point in Sarawak."


Sarawak has been described as Asia's " Best Kept Secret". Now the secret is out. Sarawak is the place for history, mystery, romance and exotic adventures. The land of the fabled White Rajahs, the hornbill and the orang utan, Sarawak is the largestState in Malaysia and by far the most exotic.

 

Sarawak is situated in the north-west of Borneo. East and borders Brunei, Sabah and Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is the largest state of Malaysia covering an area of 124,450 square kilometres (48,342 square miles) with a coastline 720 kilometres in length which accounts for about 37.5% of area of Malaysia. Its highest point is Gunung Mured, 2,438 metres, and has the longest river in Malaysia, Batang Rajang, which stretches over 640 kilometres. Sarawak, with an average rainfall of over 200 inches per year, is an expansive network of rivers, rainforests, mangroves, swamp forests, mountains and has the world`s oldest limestone caves.
Sarawak is a tropical country with an equatorial climate. It is hot and humid throughout the year with mean daily temperature ranging from 23 C during the early hours of the morning to 32 C during the day. It experiences two monsoonal changes.
The West Coast East Monsoon, which usually occurs between November to February, brings with it heavy rainfall.
The South West Monsoon is usually less wet. Except for monsoonal changes, the climate remains fairly stable throughout the year. Annual rainfall varies between 330 cm to 460 cm for the greater part of the country.

Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, an outback of sheer beauty rich in resources such as pepper, cocoa, palm oil, timber and oil. With an area of 124,450 sq. km, it is a region of endless fascination, possessing the largest cave chamber in the world, verdant jungles, unique fauna and flora, white beaches, and remote islands. Its population of 1.5 million people is as rich and varied as the land.
Sarawak's endless rivers form the vast state's transportation backbone. The most common crafts used along the rivers are called perahus; they are low-lying pencil thin canoes equipped with outboard motors, and they curl along with surprising speed and agility. The experience of riding in one, while the impossibly dense jungle wall breezes past, is unforgettable.
The capital of Sarawak is Kuching. Malaysia Airlines flies regularly to Kuching International Airport as well as to Miri from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Singapore, and Kota Kinabalu. Boats are a common mode of transport in Sarawak, as its the dense vegetation of its interior is crisscrossed with rivers. Travel in areas not reachable by boat is often by light aircrafts and helicopters. Major towns are serviced by buses.

The Rafflesia flower grows up to a meter across and is among the strangest plants around.
Today it grows extremely rare in the world.
Despite having such a huge flower the plant has no roots since it is parasitic.
It steals its nutrients from plants to which it attaches itself.
The flower also has a unique scent - of rotting meat. This attracts insects that pollinate this strange bloom.
There is no way of telling when a Rafflesia will pop up. But one of the best places to see them is the Gunung Gading National Park near Lundu, about two hours drive from Kuching.
The park rangers keep careful watch on sprouting Rafflesia and if you call the park beforehand, they will tell you the chances of seeing one in bloom.

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   Ben van Wijnen

 

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