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Malaysia Travel Guide

Delving into Sarawak’s Magnificent Caves

It takes a lot of geological ducks to line up neatly in a row and stay there for a few million years to create a cave. All over Sarawak, home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world, those ducks have lined up numerous times as many of the most spectacular caves in the world were discovered and continue to be discovered right here.

Many of those already discovered are now ready for you to explore. But a word of warning, not all of these breathtaking, stunning subterranean caverns are easily accessible, but that just makes the most beautiful caves in the world all the more alluring.

Source: STB Photo Gallery

Sarawak is a big state and the tropical weather can make travel to certain parts of the state challenging and exciting. And with so many outstanding caves, it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit first and in which order.

So, while each cave has its own unique beauty and each is incomparable to another, this post will help you appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature’s masterpieces in Sarawak while visiting at least some of them while you are in Kuching or Miri.

1. Sireh Cave, Serian

Located about 70km South of Kuching, Sireh Cave or Gua Sireh is a true hidden gem with its stunning rock paintings believed to be about 20,000 years old, large chambers and caved parts with clean underground water.

Gua Sireh. Source: Sarawak Tourism

A trip to Gua Sireh can be made within a day. However, it isn’t an easy hike as there are some wooden steps and narrow passageways that one needs to get through. It is recommended to take a tour from Kuching where you can arrange to be picked up at your hotel. You can book tours to Gua Sireh here.

Upon arriving at Bantang Village, your journey continues on foot up a flight of wooden stairs that lead you up to the cave entrance. This is where you will be greeted with cave paintings estimated to be 20 millennia old and peculiar cave residents such as Cave Racer Snake, bats, insects and catfish.

Gua Sireh’s ancient charcoal paintings. Source: Sarawak Tourism

The interior of the cave has some unique yet stunning shapes that are warm-toned swirls and curves decorated for effect. Believed to be one of the earliest human settlements, archaeological materials such as pottery shreds, animal bones and food debris from the Stone Age, New Stone Age, and the Iron Age, have also been recovered inside Gua Sireh.

Caves - Gua Sireh

Inside Gua Sireh. Source: Klook.com

It takes approximately 4 hours to tour the cave and remember to bring a change of gear when visiting Gua Sireh as the tour takes you through to the neighbouring Broken Jar Cave that requires you to walk through a pool of water.

2. Deer Cave, Gunung Mulu National Park

The magnificent Deer Cave. Source: National Geographic

This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to millions of bats. It is said that between 2 to 3 million of them reside in here! The Deer Cave, which is probably Sarawak’s most famous cave, is located at Gunung Mulu National Park, about 90 minutes flying time from Kuching, or a 30-minute flight from Miri.

Deer Cave was only discovered in 1979 by British caver Andy Eavis whilst helping Malaysia better understand and appreciate the potential of the newly established Gunung Mulu National Park.

Deer Cave is the largest cave passage in the world. The entrance is so enormous-nearly 500 feet high- that the sun reaches deep inside and fresh air flows through the caves, allowing a peculiar, awe-inspiring habitat to exist.

As you walk through the cave, you’ll see millions of dark patches on the walls. Those are bats resting so try not to disturb them!

Source: STB Photo Gallery

As the day ends and after you’ve explored Deer Cave, stick around for one of the most spectacular phenomena you’ll ever see.

The Deer Cave bat exodus happens every day at dusk. Millions of bats leave the cave to search for food. It’s an awe-inspiring event.

Nestled in the lush wilderness of Borneo, Gunung Mulu National Park is accessible by river and road but we recommend light plane. MasWings, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, provides direct flights to Gunung Mulu National Park from Miri, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu.

Upon arrival at Mulu Airport, book guided tours here or here. Most of the tours are all-inclusive and provide airport transfers. Accommodation is varied so do your research!

One other point, local communities who have lived off the land for thousands of years and respect and appreciate what it has provided them, have been trained as tour guides and will escort you throughout your visit to the caves. Make sure you pick their brains about the caves and ask about their beliefs!

The Bat Exodus. Bats fly in a spiral manner to avoid predators like hawks. Source: STB Photo Gallery

3. Clearwater Cave, Gunung Mulu National Park

When you visit Gunung Mulu National Park, you will find a unique environment that stimulates all the senses. One of the many gems of this Park is the Clearwater Cave that is the 8th longest cave in the world at 227 km and the largest interconnected cave system in the world. No wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage site!

Source: Pinterest

The Clearwater Cave system contains an underground river and a plethora of unique rock formations. The amazing thing about these caves is that their true size is still unknown and even now, is still being explored.

Caves - Clearwater Cave

Source: STB Photo Gallery

Visiting Clearwater Cave in Sarawak is a real adventure that begins with the journey. There are two ways of getting to Clearwater cave.

From the park HQ, you can either trek the gentle 4km nature trail that takes approximately one and a half hours, or you can experience a long boat along the Melinau River with a stop at Wind Cave.

The Melinau River at Mulu National Park. Source: STB Photo Gallery

The Wind Cave features ancient, undisturbed stalactites and stalagmites that have, over hundreds of thousands of years, reached each other to create long structures known as pillars or columns. Once you’ve explored the Wind Cave, you can walk to Clearwater Cave in about 5 minutes.

When booking your tour for Gunung Mulu National Park, a visit to the Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave should be included as it is one of the must-visit sites at the park. If it isn’t, ask your agent to include it.

4. Sarawak Chamber, Gunung Mulu National Park

If you are into adventure caving, you must check out the Sarawak Chamber, one of the planet’s largest enclosed areas, natural or manmade. It is so huge, that it has enough space to house 8 jumbo jets in a row!

caves - Sarawak Chamber

Spot the person in the picture! Source: MuluPark.com

Getting to the Sarawak Chamber from the park HQ requires a full day of challenging adventure caving but some say that it is truly a once in a lifetime experience. The whole circuit takes about 10-15 hours which entails a 3-hour hike to Good Luck cave and then an 800m hike through a river channel to the Sarawak Chamber.

Source: MuluCaves.org

There are guided tours available to this magnificent chamber and you can find more information on the tours both here and here.

Before we move on from the Mulu Caves complex, if you seek even more adventure, you can attempt to hike the pinnacles of Mount Mulu. The hike is reportedly the most challenging hike in Malaysia (yes, even tougher than Mt. Kinabalu!) and requires a high level of fitness so make sure you train before you get here!

5. Niah Caves, Niah National Park

Located a mere 90kms south of Miri, the Niah caves are home to 65,000-year-old artefacts and cave paintings. It’s no wonder they are on track to be the next UNESCO World Heritage site. If that happens as expected, there will be a massive increase in visitors so you might want to get there soon, before the crowds!

Caves - Painted Cave

The ancient cave paintings at Niah. Source: TravelBlog.org

The site is also home to the oldest human remains found in Southeast Asia which indicate the caves were inhabited at least 65 millennia ago. You can check out fascinating artefacts including prehistoric utensils and turtle shells that will be on display at the Niah Archaeological Museum from January 2020.

Most importantly, the park is a major source of income to the local tribes people who also earn a living collecting edible birds nests built by Swiftlets high in the cave walls. The sustainably collected birds’ nests are prized by Chinese gourmets around the world and are exported under a supervised environment.

caves - Entrance of Niah Cave

Source: STB Photo Gallery

Getting to Niah Caves is easier than Mulu National Park as it is accessible by road. The journey by bus from either Miri or Bintulu takes approximately 2 hours so you can easily make a day trip out of it.

If you’d rather join a tour, there are guided tours from both Miri and Bintulu and you can get more information on these tours from here and here.

Source: STB Photo Gallery

No visit to Sarawak is complete without visiting her outstanding natural caverns. Whether you are a hardcore spelunker, an open-minded adventurer or an inquisitive visitor, Sarawak’s caves will provide memories and stories forever.

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Malaysia Travel Guide

RWMF CLOSES WITH 23,650 FESTIVAL-GOERS

KUCHING – Sarawak’s headliner tourism attraction, the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) has proven that it is more than just a music festival if this year’s sell-out crowd is anything to go by. A capacity crowd of 23,650 from all parts of the world attended the three-day festival.

rainforest world music festival (rwmf) 2019 finale

RWMF performers, musicians with volunteers cheering on the stage during the final night of RWMF 2019 held at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

This year’s nightly concert was artfully arranged in a seamless and flawless sequence. The 2019 line up featured 30 bands and over 200 performers. From the Chilean island of Rapa Nui in the South Eastern Pacific Ocean, Ballet Folcloric De Chile Bafochi showcased their spectacular costumes and sensual dance moves. From the South West Pacific Ocean, Wai from New Zealand gave mesmerizing performances at the Theatre Stage and at the mini sessions throughout the three-day festival.

Five Sarawakian bands, more than any of the years before, were featured this year. At Adau brought their legions of fans who danced along with their vibrant performance, fusing ancient melodies and rhythms of different tribes. Kemada featured traditional Iban music, games and culture while Suku Menoa presented Iban music, rituals and chants. Staak Bisomu provided a glimpse of the Bidayuh cultural heritage and Suk Binie’s performance was an energetic mix of traditional melodies from various ethnic communities of Sarawak. Darmas, from Malaysia, comprising of six young musicians got the crowd dancing to the rhythms of traditional Malay classics.

While the evening concerts draw in the crowd year in and out, this year saw an increase in audience for the afternoon interactive and education workshops. The same goes to the jamming sessions and mini concerts. There were more than 30 mini sessions held at the Iban longhouse, Bidayuh Terraces and Dewan Lagenda. These traditionally designed venues added to the diverse mix of musicians, to create a unique experience of jam sessions for the audience.

rwmf workshop

The diversity of culture and the instruments created at a rwmf workshop is a crowd favourite.

The Emerging Band Stage this year featured nine local bands over the course of the 3-day festival. Their performances were well-received by both local and foreign fesitval goers. Side activities held during the day. The RWMF partners include Friends of Sarawak Museum, Rainforest World Crafts Bazaar and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre.

What About Kuching (WAK) @ RWMF made their debut this year as artists, artisans, poets, sports trainers, and filmmakers from the Kuching community liven up the atmosphere at Damai Central. This multi-purpose recreational complex is located right next to the Sarawak Cultural Village. Certainly, the Sunset Stage was a big draw with a multitude of local bands entertaining the festival goers.

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) intensified their greening initiatives this year. The biggest impact among these iniatives was from discouraging the use of plastic bottled water. An estimated twenty thousand plastic bottles were saved from the rubbish tip. Festival goers brought their own empty bottles which they could fill from water dispensing stations supplied by Cuckoo. For its waste management strategy, STB worked with Trienekens (waste management authority) and partnered with Spativate (a social enterprise) in coming up with eye-catching designs on waste bins. Biji-Biji, an social enterprise, was on hand to make sure waste was collected for composting. STB also continued the tradition of tree planting and this time, the site was at Pantai Puteri, Santubong Village.

cuckoo water refill station rwmf 2019

One of the many water refill stations dotted around festival ground.

rwmf urbins by spativate

Specially designed garbage bins to encourage proper disposal of litter.Twenty two years ago, the RWMF began as a very small gathering of 300 people. Fast forward to 2019, the festival has gained worldwide recognition and won multiple awards. For the three days at least it was a little too easy to forget that there’s a world outside the festival site.

Next year’s edition of the RWMF will be held from July 10 to 12, 2020.

STB is a winner of the Asia Pacific Excellence Awards 2016 by Asia-Pacific Association of Communications Directors (APACD) and has received the ASEAN PR Excellence Award 2015 Gold Award. The Rainforest World Music Festival is a five-time Top 25 Best International Festivals recognised by Songlines World Music Magazine (2011 – 2015) and won the Golden City Gate 2019 five-star award for the Rainforest World Music Festival’s (RWMF) promotional video.

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Malaysia Travel Guide

RWMF Promoting Sarawak’s Musical Heritage

KUCHING:  RWMF 2019 will feature five Sarawak Bands who will play alongside some of the most prolific world music bands from all parts of the world.

The wildly popular At Adau brings the ancient melodies and rhythms from the different tribes in Borneo to the 21st century by fusing it with contemporary elements.  The seven member group combine sape’ tunes and traditional percussion from the Bidayuh and Iban with their own arrangements to present a pop-folk medley of songs which have made them a big cult figure in the local music scene in the last few years.

Kemada from Sibu in Northern Sarawak are dedicated to preserving traditional Iban music, games, culture and the gendang pampat, a traditional drum usually played during rituals and important celebrations such as Gawai Dayak. In the old days, the permission to use the gendang pampat was limited and sacred. Often they were prohibited which made them more precious to preserve yet at the same time, risking extinction because they were not allowed to be used often.

Suku Menoa comprises of five dedicated musicians preserving the culture and identity of the Iban tribe. They will bring to the world stage, their rituals, music and chants to provide a glimpse into how integrated all these are in their daily lives, even today.

From the Bidayuh community of Kampong Atas Singai in Bau come Staak Bisomu who will provide a fascinating look at the old and hidden rituals still practised by the tribe.

Winners of the Waterfront Music Festival 2017, Suk Binie’ are 7 musicians from Bau.  They play arrangements of traditional melodies from the ethnic communities of the Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu.

Many forms of performing arts are under threat today and although Sarawak has been diligently promoting and preserving its cultural heritage, many traditional practices have been abandoned.

Music is perhaps one of the best examples of this but with the popularity of ‘World Music’ at the RWMF in Sarawak and many other parts of the world, there has been a resurgence in cultural heritage promotion. Festivals like RWMF performs an important role in cultural exchange and encourages creativity that enriches the international art scene and is mostly intended to promote tourism.

Today, more effort is spent on safeguarding measures for traditional performing arts such as transmission of knowledge and techniques of playing traditional musical instruments and research, recording and documentation are being carried out.

In the last few years RWMF has played a crucial role in ensuring the viability of traditional forms of performing arts by developing audiences and raising awareness amongst the general public as well as to an international audience.

Meanwhile the Rainforest in the city (RITC) will take place from July 2 – 11 at Kuching Amphitheatre from 8.00pm till 11.00pm daily, hosted by Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, in collaboration with Sarawak Tourism Board.  Entrance is free and open for public.

RWMF2019 AT ADAU

The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place on July 12-14 at the Sarawak Cultural Village and is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth Sports Sarawak.

For further information on tickets, festival activities and logistics, please log on to https://rwmf.net/

 

 

 

 

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Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

RWMF Promoting Sarawak’s Musical Heritage

KUCHING:  RWMF 2019 will feature five Sarawak Bands who will play alongside some of the most prolific world music bands from all parts of the world.

The wildly popular At Adau brings the ancient melodies and rhythms from the different tribes in Borneo to the 21st century by fusing it with contemporary elements.  The seven member group combine sape’ tunes and traditional percussion from the Bidayuh and Iban with their own arrangements to present a pop-folk medley of songs which have made them a big cult figure in the local music scene in the last few years.

Kemada from Sibu in Northern Sarawak are dedicated to preserving traditional Iban music, games, culture and the gendang pampat, a traditional drum usually played during rituals and important celebrations such as Gawai Dayak. In the old days, the permission to use the gendang pampat was limited and sacred. Often they were prohibited which made them more precious to preserve yet at the same time, risking extinction because they were not allowed to be used often.

Suku Menoa comprises of five dedicated musicians preserving the culture and identity of the Iban tribe. They will bring to the world stage, their rituals, music and chants to provide a glimpse into how integrated all these are in their daily lives, even today.

From the Bidayuh community of Kampong Atas Singai in Bau come Staak Bisomu who will provide a fascinating look at the old and hidden rituals still practised by the tribe.

Winners of the Waterfront Music Festival 2017, Suk Binie’ are 7 musicians from Bau.  They play arrangements of traditional melodies from the ethnic communities of the Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu.

Many forms of performing arts are under threat today and although Sarawak has been diligently promoting and preserving its cultural heritage, many traditional practices have been abandoned.

Music is perhaps one of the best examples of this but with the popularity of ‘World Music’ at the RWMF in Sarawak and many other parts of the world, there has been a resurgence in cultural heritage promotion. Festivals like RWMF performs an important role in cultural exchange and encourages creativity that enriches the international art scene and is mostly intended to promote tourism.

Today, more effort is spent on safeguarding measures for traditional performing arts such as transmission of knowledge and techniques of playing traditional musical instruments and research, recording and documentation are being carried out.

In the last few years RWMF has played a crucial role in ensuring the viability of traditional forms of performing arts by developing audiences and raising awareness amongst the general public as well as to an international audience.

Meanwhile the Rainforest in the city (RITC) will take place from July 2 – 11 at Kuching Amphitheatre from 8.00pm till 11.00pm daily, hosted by Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, in collaboration with Sarawak Tourism Board.  Entrance is free and open for public.

RWMF2019 AT ADAU

The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place on July 12-14 at the Sarawak Cultural Village and is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth Sports Sarawak.

For further information on tickets, festival activities and logistics, please log on to https://rwmf.net/

 

 

 

 

Share

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

RWMF PROMOTING SARAWAK’S MUSICAL HERITAGE

KUCHING:  RWMF 2019 will feature five Sarawak Bands who will play alongside some of the most prolific world music bands from all parts of the world.

The wildly popular At Adau brings the ancient melodies and rhythms from the different tribes in Borneo to the 21st century by fusing it with contemporary elements.  The seven member group combine sape’ tunes and traditional percussion from the Bidayuh and Iban with their own arrangements to present a pop-folk medley of songs which have made them a big cult figure in the local music scene in the last few years.

Kemada from Sibu in Northern Sarawak are dedicated to preserving traditional Iban music, games, culture and the gendang pampat, a traditional drum usually played during rituals and important celebrations such as Gawai Dayak. In the old days, the permission to use the gendang pampat was limited and sacred. Often they were prohibited which made them more precious to preserve yet at the same time, risking extinction because they were not allowed to be used often.

Suku Menoa comprises of five dedicated musicians preserving the culture and identity of the Iban tribe. They will bring to the world stage, their rituals, music and chants to provide a glimpse into how integrated all these are in their daily lives, even today.

From the Bidayuh community of Kampong Atas Singai in Bau come Staak Bisomu who will provide a fascinating look at the old and hidden rituals still practised by the tribe.

Winners of the Waterfront Music Festival 2017, Suk Binie’ are 7 musicians from Bau.  They play arrangements of traditional melodies from the ethnic communities of the Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu.

Many forms of performing arts are under threat today and although Sarawak has been diligently promoting and preserving its cultural heritage, many traditional practices have been abandoned.

Music is perhaps one of the best examples of this but with the popularity of ‘World Music’ at the RWMF in Sarawak and many other parts of the world, there has been a resurgence in cultural heritage promotion. Festivals like RWMF performs an important role in cultural exchange and encourages creativity that enriches the international art scene and is mostly intended to promote tourism.

Today, more effort is spent on safeguarding measures for traditional performing arts such as transmission of knowledge and techniques of playing traditional musical instruments and research, recording and documentation are being carried out.

In the last few years RWMF has played a crucial role in ensuring the viability of traditional forms of performing arts by developing audiences and raising awareness amongst the general public as well as to an international audience.

Meanwhile the Rainforest in the city (RITC) will take place from July 2 – 11 at Kuching Amphitheatre from 8.00pm till 11.00pm daily, hosted by Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, in collaboration with Sarawak Tourism Board.  Entrance is free and open for public.

RWMF2019 AT ADAU

The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place on July 12-14 at the Sarawak Cultural Village and is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board, endorsed by Tourism Malaysia and is supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Youth Sports Sarawak.

For further information on tickets, festival activities and logistics, please log on to https://rwmf.net/

 

 

 

 

Share

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/