Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Bizarre wildlife found in the jungles of exotic Borneo

Ask any Malaysian what is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Sarawak and we bet most of them would give you the same answer: Magnificent mountains, wildlife, age-old rainforests, beautiful beaches and colossal caves.

This natural landscape allows for extraordinary biodiversity to exist while nurturing some of the world’s best-kept secrets… Or should we say, creatures? Most people have heard stories about the ubiquitous Hornbill that’s emblemetic to Sarawak but what’s out there that maybe you haven’t heard about?

Read on and learn about some of the most exotic and adorable, (OK sometimes!) animals that call our beautiful jungle home. We’ll even tell you where you can find them so you can play your own fun game of “Where’s Waldo?” Malaysian Wildlife edition! Believe us, there is #MoreSarawak than you know!

Horsfield’s Tarsier

These adorable little critters look eerily similar to a particular character from Star Wars. If you’re guessing Yoda, you’re right! Except that they don’t talk in riddles or read your minds – their superpower lies in their excellent leaping and climbing skills.

They are nocturnal, but thankfully, their big eyes to help them manoeuvre in the dark. Interesting fact, the size of one eyeball of the Horsfield’s Tarsier is the same as their brain. This makes them the largest-eyed mammal in the world relative to their body size!

Tarsier clinging to a branch

Photo by Christine Wehrmeier on Unsplash

Don’t be fooled by their cute demeanour, though! They are the only living carnivorous primate species. They feed on insects and small invertebrates, using their sharp sense of hearing and their nifty hands to detect and ensnare their prey.

Where to find them: Mulu National Park

Sun Bear

Even though they’re small, they can be very aggressive so if you see one, don’t mistake it for a cuddly teddy bear! The sun bear is arboreal, so you’ll need to keep your eyes on the trees if you want to see one and you can only see them in our rain forests in Southeast Asia.

They are essential to our ecosystem because they help disperse seeds while also keeping pesky termites in check, which means there is less destruction of our tropical trees which in turn means our atmosphere is clean enough for us to live healthily.

When they do come down from the trees, they also dig for invertebrates in the soil, enhancing the forest’s nutrient cycle through the mixing of rich and poor soil. Unfortunately, their global population has declined 30% over the last few years, making them the second rarest bear species next to the Giant Panda.

wildlife in Borneo - sun bear

iStock: wrangel

Their tongues are up to 25 cm long and help them to satiate their voracious appetite for honey. Because of this, they are also sometimes known as “honey bears”. You can tell the Sun Bear apart from other bear species from the horseshoe marks on their chest. Fun fact: No two markings are the same!

Where to see them: Matang Wildlife Centre

Microhyla Nepenthicola

If that’s too much of a mouthful, you can call it the “Matang narrow-mouthed frog”. That’s only the easy part. Spotting one of these rare creatures in the wild is, well rare! This newly discovered species is the second smallest frog in the world, around the size of a pea, and they make their homes around pitcher plants. They can only be found near Mount Serapi which is located in Kubah National Park.

wildlife in Borneo - second smallest frog in the world

Source: Reuters

They were discovered after scientists tracked the unique and powerful croaks of the males. Talk about a little body with a big voice! Because they were only discovered recently, not much is known about them. However, if you are lucky enough to spot one, make sure you are wearing ear plugs!

Where to find them: Kubah National Park

Sambar Deer

Did you know that the heaviest recorded Sambar Deer weighed an eye watering 550kg?! That’s slightly more than half a ton! So if you do go looking for the Sambar deer, make sure you are wearing running shoes!

sambar deer at matang wildlife center

Source: Matang Widlife Center

Despite their relatively large stature, these animals are pretty elusive; They are only really active at dusk and at night. When disturbed, their first instinct is to freeze before responding to predators with loud barks and foot stomping.

If that isn’t enough to frighten anyone or anything, their mane will rise in a confrontational manner! Imagine this half-a-ton of muscle and jungle survivor towering over you! Like I said, make sure you are wearing running shoes.

Where to find them: Mulu National Park and Matang Wildlife Center

Lesser Mouse Deer

Don’t be fooled by its name! Even though they look like a combination of a mouse and a cute deer, the mouse deer is neither a mouse nor a deer! Confusing I know but you can’t blame us for its name!

These shy, mysterious little critters are less than 50cm long and can be found on forest floors feeding on leaves, shoots, fruits and sometimes even fungi. With round bodies and spindly legs, they look almost like plush toys!

lesser mouse deer

Source: critterfacts.com

But while they may look like toys, peek inside a Mouse Deer’s mouth (we don’t recommend you do so), and you’ll find long fangs that give Dracula a run for his money!

Despite being land mammals, they can also hold their breath for up to four minutes and to escape prey, they’ll often leap into water and actually scurry across river beds to avoid getting caught! Yes, they can even hold their breath for 4 minutes underwater!

Due to their small size, they are commonly preyed upon by other animals, so they have to live quiet and secluded lives. However, a male will angrily beat his hooves when agitated or to ward off predators and warn other Mouse Deer of danger.

Where to find them: Lambir Hills National Park

Hornbill

There are so many things to be said about our state mascot. Sporting majestic beaks, Hornbills have impressive neck muscles (to support the weight of their regal bills) and are incredibly loyal to their families. They mate for life and will bond to defend each other against predators!

These beautiful feathered creatures also have their own ‘language’ – They speak to each other in a sort of morse code! It’s been said that the noise resembles that of a steam engine. This form of ‘communication’ is especially important and it’s how a male Hornbill sends messages to his mate through the barricade she makes during her nesting period.

rhinocerous hornbill

Source: Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock

Hornbills have a great significance in Dayak culture. For them, Hornbills signify the spirit of God, and they have to be treated with respect. It is said that if a Hornbill is sighted flying over their residences, good luck will be granted to the whole community!

Altogether there are 54 species of Hornbills in the world, 8 of which are found in Sarawak! No wonder Sarawak is known as the “Land of the Hornbills”.

Where to find them: Piasau Nature Reserve, Mulu National Park, Tanjung Datu National Park and Batang Ai National Park

Slow Loris

Tiny, cute, big eyes… But not cuddly! Although they look adorable, these nocturnal creatures are one of the few venomous mammals in the world.

slow lorris clinging to tree branch

Source: wordatlas.com

Surf the internet long enough and you might recall watching a video of a Slow Loris getting tickled. What many people don’t know is that the pose of the Slow Loris of its arms raised is a defensive pose and not one of enjoyment.

Unfortunately, not many people knew this, and when this video gained traction, many people wanted to own Slow Lorises as pets because of how ‘cute’ it looked.

As slow lorises are venomous with a potentially deadly bite, their sharp pointed teeth are often clipped with nail cutters without anaesthesia for the pet trade.

This makes the pet trade one of the greatest threats to the survival of this species, which places them as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. Here in Sarawak we’re protecting all our Slow Loris as best we can. Have fun looking for them but don’t try and tickle them!

Where to find them: Bako National Park

Share

Little Known Secrets of the Beads of Borneo

Meeting Borneo’s Majestic Orangutans

Cycling for Charity in Sarawak

Kuching Caving | Gua Sireh  Broken Jar

Seeing Green in Bario

Fine tradition of longevity noodle making kept alive

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

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

10 Things To Do in Kuching

1. Meet The People

Visit the well-preserved Bidayuh Longhouses at Kampung Annah Rais, Kampung Benuk, Kampung Mongkos or Kampung Pueh; perfect for photo ops and an insight into Bidayuh (Land Dayak) culture.

Trek above the clouds to kampung Semban, a very traditional Bidayuh community where older women still wear brass arm, leg and neck rings.

Visit Iban Longhouses on the Lemanak River or around Batan Ai Hyro Lake.  Sample home brewed rice wine (tuak), enjoy fresh jungle produce ans try your hand at blowpipe shooting.  Ornately tattooed elders will entertain you with tales of their headhunter ancestors and show off their traditional dancing skills.

annah rais

Two-elderly-Ibans-at-their-longhouse-batang-ai

Batang Ai National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia

2. Go For A Walk

Discover Kuching’s Historic City Centre, by yourself or through a guided walk or bicycle tour.  Climb Mount Santubong, for a birds-eye view of the city and the coastline, or take to the trails of Kubah National Park to discover rare and fascinating plant species and idyllic jungle waterfalls.  Visit Gunung Gading National Park for a close-up view of the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, amindst stunning rainforest scenery.

Visit Tanjung Datu National Park, at the remote southern tip of Sarawak, to trek through rugged, jungle terrain to deserted white sand beaches.  Or explore the beautiful upriver scenery of Batang Ai, staying overnight in Iban Longhouses and jungle camps.

Sarawak-Kuching-Kubah-National-Park

Quiet Beach in Malaysia Tanjung National Park Sarawak

3. Wildlife Encounters

Visit Matang Wildlife Centre to encounter young orphaned orangutans and sun bears and learn about the wildlife rehabilitation process.  Then check out Semenggoh Nature Reserve and its thriving population of semi-wild orangutans, or go for frog-spotting in Kubah National Park, home of Asia’s smallest frog species.  Take a boat to Bako National Park to view the rare proboscis monkey, as well as long-tailed macaque monkeys, Bornean bearded pigs, colugos and many colourful bird and reptile species.

Head upriver to Batang Ai National Park to follow the Red Ape Trail.  This area has possibly the world’s highest population density of wild orangutans and encounters are quite frequent.

BAKO NATIONAL PARK, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Frog Kubah

orangutan batang ai

4. Take To The Water

Take a Sarawak River cruise to discover Kuching from the water, and watch the sunset reflected in the water as the sun sinks over Mount Serapi.  Or hire one of the local tambang ferries to explore the riverside at your own pace.

Go Irrawaddy dolphin spotting and crocodile watching in Kuching Wetlands National Park, or visit Satang Island to see the marine turtle hatchery and enjoy snorkelling with the green turtles.  If you prefer to paddle you own canoe, try rainforest kayaking or rafting along the Upper Sarawak River, sea kayaking aroung the Santubong Rover and the Bako-Buntal Bay.

talang satang

wildlife cruise kuching wetlands santubong fisherman and dolphin

5. Underground Sarawak

Take part in a caving adventure int the limestone hills around Bau or Serian.  Beginner, intermediate and advanced level activities are offered and equipment is supplied.  Less adventurous visitors will enjoy the easily accessible caves area Bau, a short drive from Kuching.  The Wind Cave, is long and narrow with beautiful rock formations and a cooling breeze, while the Fairy Cave is more imposing, with extensive cave vegetation and a Chinese shrine at the cave mouth.

Bau Cave

sarawak borneo kuching bau wind cave

5-sarawak borneo playground Bau Wind Cave opening

6. Underwater Sarawak

The best wreck dives (including a WWII Japanese Destroyer) require at least an Advanced Open Water, but there are great muck dive and snorkeling sites around the turtle sanctuary islands offshore from Kuching.  You can dive in search of marine turtles in the morning and learn about their conservation in the afternoon.

sarawak borneo playground kuching wreck diving

sarawak borneo playground kuching wreck diving (6)

7. Food Drink

Kuching is famous for its celebrated noodle dishes, spicy Sarawak Laksa and savoury Kolo Mee, as well as a wide selection of Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine, exotic rainforest fruits, crispy jungle ferns and wonderful fresh seafood.  Dining options range from humble hawker stalls, through waterside seafood restaurants at Kampung Buntal and traditional Chinese delicacies at Siniawan Night Market to opulent fine dining outlets in 5-star hotels, and you can even learn to cook Sarawak-style.  Kuching’s most famous drink is teh-c-peng, a multi layered tea and palm sugar concoction worth of a brochure b y itself.  In the villages and longhouses you can try native cuisine such as manok pansuh (chicken steamed in bamboo tubes) and fresh jungle produce, accompanied by a glass of tuak.

Laksa Sarawak

Laksa Sarawak

kolokmee

Sarawak-Kuching-Adventure-Ikan-Pansuh

8. Culture Heritage

Follow in the footsteps of the White Rajahs around Kuching’s old city centre and the waterfront, taking in the Sarawak Museum, Islamic Museum, Old Courthouse, India Street Mosque, Textile Museum and many other unique heritage sites.  The cross the Sarawak River (by bridge or boat) to visit Fort Margherita, the Brooke Gallery and the exquisite Orchid Garden.  The surrounding Malay Kampungs have some fine examples of traditional and modern Malay architecture.

Learn about Sarawak’s traditional cultures at the award-winning Sarawak Cultural Village, stopping by en route to visit the world’s first Cat Museum, a prehistoric human figure and the tomb of Sarawak’s first and only Sultan.

Kuching Heritage Fort Margherita, Sarawak, Malaysia

sarawak-borneo-entertainment-rwmf-2012-day-2-afternoon

9. Shopping

Main Bazaar and Carpenter Street, the two oldest streets in Kuching, are packed with handicraft shops, art dealers and families practicing their traditional crafts, ranging from tinsmithing to coffin-making!  Nearby India Street is a pedestrian precinct with a fine selection of traditional clothing and textile outlets, and the adjacent Gambier Street is the place to buy spices ad utensils if you want to cook Sarawak-style.

In the Malay Kampungs across river, small family bakeries sell kek lapis (Sarawak layer cake), probably the state’s most popular souvenir.  Also across river, the colourful Satok Weekend Market iis renowned for the Bidayuh ladies selling handicrafts, forest produce, orchids and a whole range of local snacks and delicacies.

The potteries on Jalan Penrissen produce fine ceramics in a unique Teochew-Sarawak fusion style, and the potters are happy to be photographed at work.

The busy weekend market at the border village of Serikin, where Indonesian traders come to sell their wares, is a great place to buy cheap textiles, clothing, fresh fruits, jungle produce and handicrafts.  Heading north, the bustling and colourful Serian Market is a must-visit for fruit, vegetables, forest produce and amazing photo opportunities.

Seeing Kuching City on Foot

Visiting Sarawak As A Japanese Intern | All Time Favorites Local Food

Serikin Town Border Market

 

10. Festivals Celebrations

Rainforest World Music Festival: Every July, Sarawak Cultural Village.  The most exciting musical event in the region, and ranked among the top-25 world music festivals globally.

Kuching Festival: July and early August.  A month-long festival of musci, drama, arts, exhibitions and food, glorious food.

Sarawak Regatta:  Every November, Kuching Waterfront.  Dating from 1872, this is the biggest and best river regatta in Southeast Asia.  There’s even a category for visitors to join in.

Multi-Cultural Mooncake Festival: Mid-September Carpenter St.  Kuching’s Chinese community share the mid-autumn festival with everyone at a 4-day street party.

Pesta Benak (Tidal Bore Festival): November, Sri Aman.  Celebrates the Lupar River’s famous tidal bore.  Surfing and wave-riding competitions, water sports and nightly entertainment.

RWMF

sarawak-malaysia-borneo-sri-aman-colas-rathbone-surfing-tidal-bore-benak

Share

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