Little Known Secrets of the Beads of Borneo

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From the Zulu warriors in South Africa, to the ancient Egyptians of North Africa, to the pilgrims of the Middle East or South America, beads have a presence in many cultures but the one commonality is that they have always been more than an eye-catching accessory. The story of the beads of Borneo is no exception.

For many cultures, they were a currency, or perhaps a sign of faith, a symbol of wealth or a family heirloom to be treasured for future generations. Whatever the purpose, the one consistency is that they are always a way of expression.

Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo has a unique relationship with the beads of Borneo. Although there isn’t any definitive evidence of when exactly the beads came to the region, there is evidence to suggest beads were first used in Borneo by visiting sailors for bartering. Back then, beads were made out of shells, teeth, bones and stones that were perforated and worn as ornaments.

Some Sarawak tribes believe that the longer a bead lasts, the more powerful it becomes and the bearer can draw strength from the bead. However, to do so, the bearer must have a strong soul.

Source: Sarawak Tourism Board

There are over 30 tribes in Sarawak and each tribe has its own way of adorning themselves with beads. Some of them use them as necklaces, others as beaded head caps or beaded skirts, others as bracelets or even rings. Beads would also be used as decorations during festivals or other big gatherings.

The baby carriers used by Orang Ulu women to carry their infants are adorned with beadwork and finishes made out of wild boar or leopard teeth. Apart from indicating status, the tingling of the Hawk’s bells and large beads attached to the upper rim of the carrier would soothe the toddler on long journeys through the rain forest.

Many of the antique beads of Borneo are hard to find now. There are a number of reasons for this. Historically, the beads were sometimes buried with their owners as part of their grave clothes, or as “grave gifts”, for the deceased to use in their long journey to the underworld.

As mentioned, beads were also used as currency, often traded with visiting sailors or lost in the sometimes devastating longhouse fires that could rip through 100 doors in less than an hour.

As beads were increasingly hard to come by and time became a precious commodity, modern day beads are mostly imported from Indonesia and China, according to Heidi Munan, Sarawak Museum’s curator of beads. However they are still influenced by the original beads of Borneo.

So while these new beads are still traded, they are no longer the currency of trade. And despite being mass produced, they are increasingly expensive yet have little of the character of the original beads. At the same time, the number of communities still making the beads of Borneo in the traditional manner is slowly diminishing.

Preserving the traditionality of beadmaking

However, the Lun Bawang community in Long Tuma village, Lawas, northern Sarawak continues to make ceramic beads the way they’ve always been made. Partly to generate income for the community but also because they want to keep the tradition alive and let everyone have the opportunity to wear the beads during traditional festivities.

The process begins with a group of five women wading almost nonchalantly into the crocodile infested waters of Pa’ Lawas river to find and dig up the smooth fine clay, which they call “tanah salit”.

The clay is taken to the village by hand, pounded and kneaded to the right consistency and shaped into tiny beads, roughly the size of a pea. The beads are then sun-dried, and strung up on wire loops and fired in a backyard bonfire.

Patricia Busak, daughter of Litad Muluk, who manages the ceramic beads centre, was interviewed by the Star newspaper some time ago and talked through the process, “It takes at least three pairs of hands to make just one bead: one to gather and process the river clay before shaping it into beads; another to paint the underglaze pattern; and a third to paint the glaze and arrange the beads in an electric kiln at the community-owned workshop in the village.”

She went on to say, “It’s very specialised; for instance, only three women in our group are skilled at rolling the beads. I can’t roll, but I’m good at painting the pattern.”

The Long Tuma women are the only beadmakers in Sarawak. Even though their business is thriving, the most important thing for the Lun Bawang community, is the opportunity to preserve their heritage.

“The kind of beads we have, how we string and wear them, give us our sense of identity as a Lun Bawang,” concludes Patricia in the interview.

Beads of Borneo - Painting a bead

Source: Borneo Talk, “The Glistening Beads Of Kampung Long Tuma”

Because beads have been used for so long and came from various parts of the world, the types of beads found in Sarawak vary. Here are a few examples of the types of beads you should look out for during your time in Sarawak and especially if you go to a festival.

Lukut Sekala

The Lukut Sekala beads are worn almost exclusively by members of the Kayan tribe. These beads serve as a symbol of longevity to the community. This is because the beads last for so long that they have become heirlooms, passed down through multiple generations.

Source: @taytayxanadu on Carousell

There are also the Lukut Bela Laba, which are considered male or female depending on whether the shape of the bead was long or flat. The beads are considered extremely valuable. These beads are often of great value to the Kayan.

According to legend, a trader who wanted to travel by river to the interior of Sarawak bought a second-hand outboard engine with just one Lukut Sekala bead.

Beads of Borneo - bead designs

Source: Rustic Borneo Travel, “Borneo Beads – Beautiful Status Symbols”

Ba’o Rawir

The Ba’o Rawir, or the drinking straw beads are created by Kelabit ladies. The Kelabit tribe originates from the Bario Highlands located in the northernmost part of Sarawak. The Kelabit people have a close association with the Lun Bawang tribe as they are geographically close to one another.

The Ba’o Rawir beads are used to create intricate designs on the Peta, a hat worn by Kelabit ladies. It is a status symbol which had the equivalent value of one buffalo in the old days when owning a buffalo was considered a sign of wealth. Today, an antique Peta hat made out of Ba’o Rawir can fetch up to RM 30,000 (US$ 7,150).

Beads of Borneo - Kelabit woman head gear

Source: Kelabit Wiki, “Peta”

Experience bead making yourself

Located in the north of Sarawak, the Long Tuma village is close to the Brunei border. The Ceramic Bead Centre holds workshops where you can learn how to make the beads and create your own piece. The Beads centre is currently managed by Litad Muluk and her daughter Patricia who is quoted above.

These women work the fields during the day and use the bead centre as an extra income stream while keeping the tradition alive. You can even see how this group of dedicated women put together beautiful pieces of jewellery.

And if you like what you see, you can support their efforts by purchasing beads from the souvenir shop.

Here is where it’s located:
Pusat Kraftangan Manik Seramik
Kampung Long Tuma, 98850 Lawas, Sarawak
Tel: +6013 565 6951

If you’re interested to learn more about the beading culture of Borneo, Heidi Munan’s book on Bornean beads is a highly recommended read. In it, she explains the historic significance of beads and how they transcend its mere aesthetic appeal.

You can also order beads online and support the Lawas bead community at the same time. These 3 online stores offer authentic products sourced from Sarawak:

  1. Gerai OA
  2. Gaya Borneo
  3. Bonita and the Beads
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20 Awesome and True Malaysian Breakfasts!

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Breakfast is not called the most important meal of the day for nothing. With good breakfast, your day can be full of energy to get ready for challenges ahead.
Being a multicultural society comes with some gastronomical benefits – Malaysians are incredibly fortunate to have the luxury of eating a wide variety of food for breakfast each day, from delectable Chinese dim sum to a more spicy Malay food.
What is your favourite Malaysian breakfast food? In no particular order, here are 20 Malaysian breakfasts you must try during your stay here and where you can find them.
It is definitely worth reading!

Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is a favourite breakfast among all races in Malaysia. The fragrant rice dish is infused with coconut milk, and served with fried anchovies, sambal (spicy shrimp paste), boiled or fried egg, and sometimes cucumber as well as peanuts. Nasi Lemak has even been listed as one of 10 most healthy international breakfasts by TIME Magazine. The price ranges between RM2 and RM20 for a plate of nasi lemak, mainly depend on where you buy it. Nothing beats getting up early on a weekend than eating Village Park’s famous nasi lemak at Damansara Uptown for a true Malaysian breakfast!

Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is a unique Malay rice dish with the rice in blue colour, a type of nasi ulam. It is quite popular as a breakfast dish for Kelantanese. It is eaten with various mixture of Ulam (traditional local salad), crackers, fish or fried chicken, pickles, hard-boiled salted egg. The blue colour comes from flower’s petals used in cooking it. Try out nasi kerabu at Kesom Café, Petaling Jaya for your stay as it is packed with a good amount of flavour, various ingredients for texture and a price you simply can’t resist! But, in Kelantan, one of the best places to sample this dish is Kak Ma Nasi Kerabu in Kota Bahru.

Classic Combination (Kaya toast + Half-boiled egg + Coffee)

This is a classic combination as all walks of life love to eat it. A sweet start to your day with kaya toast, normally filled with coconut jam or peanut butter.
This is usually paired with a cup of coffee or tea, and sometimes complemented by a couple of soft-boiled eggs. The combination of this meal could be found at any kopitiam (cofffee shop). It is also one of the best sellers in some retail outlets such as Old Town White Coffee and Toast Box.
Tips: Popular kopitiam with this classic combination include Yut Kee Kopitiam, one of the oldest kopitiams in KL (Established in 1928) and Transfer Road Roti Bakar in Penang.

Tosai

No Malaysian breakfast list is complete without Thosai! This long, crepe-like meal may look huge when served, but you’ll soon see that it takes up a small room in your stomach. This is typically served with yogurt or curry on the side.
Charred to a mellow crisp on the edges, warm and a tad tart from fermentation, it’s hard to believe that something so simple and humble can turn into one scrumptious dish.

Famous restaurant to sample tosai: Chat Masala Restaurant in Brickfieds, Kuala Lumpur. (Specializing in authentic Indian cuisine)

Roti Canai

If there’s only one roti you’ll try in Malaysia, this should be it. Roti Canai, a type of flatbread influenced by the Indian ethnicity and it is usually served with dal (lentil-based soup) or kari ikan (fish curry) and is best eaten with bare hands.
Roti Canai is commonly sold in our local Indian tea stalls, famously known to the locals as Mamak stall. Mamak stall is also our locals favorite not only for food but also as a hang out place! Roti canai is variable from original, to the locals – Roti kosong, which means no fillings to choices of fillings with eggs, banana, chicken, lamb, tuna, etc, served with chicken curry, fish curry, dhal or combination of any curry of your preferences. Watching it being prepared itself is a spectacular as the roti is flung into the air like a pizza base.

Dim Sum

If you prefer snacks to breakfasts, or snacks for breakfast, this bite-sized style of cuisine will suit your palate and your gastronomic fashion. Fresh, flavourful and steaming food is typically served in bamboo steamer baskets and Chinese tea.
There are loads of variations to choose from, although some of the more popular ones are the Xiao Long Bao, Har Gow (Shrimp dumpling), Siu Mai (Steamed dumplings with pork and prawns) and Loh Bak Gao (steamed turnip cake).
Some of the famous outlets for your breakfast selection include Foo Hing Dim Sum in Puchong, Jin Xuan Hong Kong Restauratnt, Dragon-i Restaurant and etc. If your preference is halal, Malaysia has plenty of halal dim sum restaurants to choose from, with one of the popular brands in town being Dolly Dim Sum.

Yong Tau Foo

This Hakka dish is a mix of fish, meat, vegetables and tofu. Traditionally, only tofu cubes were stuffed with a paste of fish and pork, and then deep fried or braised. Vendors later got creative and started stuffing vegetables like bitter gourd, ladies’ fingers, chillies and brinjals. Along with the stuffed ingredients are fish and meat balls, and also fried tofu skin. The dry version of the dish is enjoyed with chilli and sweet sauces, but the ingredients are also served in a clear soup. Side dishes such as chee cheong fun and rice are optional. Some of the famous stalls for this dish include Foong Foong restaurant at Ampang and a Yong Tau Foo at Puchong Batu 14 in front of a Chinese vernacular school.

Bah Kut Teh

The name literally translated as “meat bone tea” where various parts of pork is slow-cooked in a complex broth of herbs and spices. Bak Kut Teh is one of the local Chinese favorite breakfast for a nutritious meal, a calorie dense breakfast where it is said that this dish was once created for the hard labour. It comes in various forms as it could be strong and intense, or light and soupy; it could come in a humble bowl with only pork, or it could come in a claypot of goodies.
Klang is regarded as the city of Bak Kut Teh as there are more than one hundred Bak Kut Teh restaurants in the city itself. Under The Bridge Bak Kut Teh is one of the first to come to mind when the question of best Bak Kut Teh arises. This restaurant in Klang dates back to 1979, but the recipe has over 70 years of history.

Noodles soup

If you like your noodles, why not have it for breakfast? Some of the exciting choices here include curry noodles, soto, wan tan noodles, fish soup noodles, shredded chicken noodles and asam laksa.

Noodle soup is another preferred local breakfast, where lots of variation is widely available across Malaysia. From a bowl of delicate curry noodles, soto, fish soup noodles, shredded chicken noodles and lots more exciting choices.
Noodle soup is an excellent pick for breakfast as the soup is highly nutritious especially when the soup is done right.

Laksa Perlis

Many may not familiar about dishes or cuisines from Perlis. However, you should not miss out Laksa Perlis.

At first glance, the dish looks just like the Malay laksa you find in the other northern states of Kedah and Penang. But if you’re looking for traditional Perlis laksa, head to the Laksa Kak Su at Jalan Siakap 1, Kuala Perlis.
Fresh house-made thick rice noodles are served in a fishy gravy along with “ulam” such as julienned cucumber, onion, chillies and daun selom.
Interestingly, Laksa Perlis, or known as “Laksa Kola” locally, is always eaten with pulut udang or kuih spera (like a curry puff but with a savoury grated coconut filling). It makes the gravy thicker and more delicious.

Big Breakfast

A huge plate of Big Breakfast for a breakfast or brunch with family or friends is the best way to kick off the first episode of the day.
With the mushrooming of fancy cafes in KL, most Malaysians have taken a strong liking for the western style hearty breakfast sets.
These usually come with a large portion of well-arranged sausages, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, toast and eggs.
Places to check out if you love a good brunch or Big Breakfast include FEEKA Coffee Roasters @ Bukit Bintang (pork-free), Plan b, Merchant’s Lane @ Petaling Street (pork-free), Acme Bar Coffee @ The Troika (pork-free) and many more!

Stir-fried noodles/Char Kuey Teow, Mee Goreng….

Stir-fried noodles or Char Kuey Teow or Mee Goreng and etc. are always the favourite dishes for Malaysians. It can be enjoyed as your breakfast, lunch or dinner as it is quite easy to find it on the streets.

Mee Goreng literally translated as fried noodle or commonly known as “chow mein” in Cantonese is another widely favoured choice of breakfast. It is fried with high temperature to create a strong aromatic plate of delicacy.
Char Keow Teow, which is basically flat rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, bloody cockles, Chinese lap cheong has won the heart of diners from all over the world. It is a must-try dish when travelling to Penang. You have not visited Penang if you have not check it out.

Lontong

Lontong is an Asian dish that is commonly served with nasi impit (compressed rice) which is cut into cubes. It is drenched with a coconut milk and turmeric-based broth cooked with a variety of vegetables along with condiments such as fried tempeh, fried tofu and boiled eggs. You can add to the mix with sambal. An addition that’s highly recommended is the fried beef lung. It’s sliced thinly and fried until very crisp so that even in the broth, the pieces remain crunchy. Famous spot to try out Lontong is Chawan in Bangsar, whereby many white and blue-collared men and women will gather there in the morning to take this dish to kick start the day.

Teh Tarik, Milo, Cham, Hoi Nam Cha, etc.

You haven’t been to Malaysia until you’ve tasted Teh Tarik, or “pulled tea”. It got its name from the way the tea is poured from cup to cup to achieve that frothy surface. It pairs well with any breakfast meal.

Apart from Teh Tarik, the locals love a cup of coffee, better known as “kopi” (Local Malay word). A mixture of coffee and tea and you will get a cup of “cham” which means “mixture” in Cantonese. Malaysians basically love a dose of caffeine in the morning. Not to forget that Milo, a malt chocolate drink that Malaysian children raved over.

Most people choose to dip their cream crackers or biscuits into a nice, warm cup of this yummy drink. Be sure to have a cup of our local beverages and you can be considered as truly visiting this country.

Buns, pastry and kuih

It is not to difficult to look for a bun stall in most of the local breakfast places especially the morning market. Some of the bun with good demand include sweet coconut jam (kaya) bun, dried meat bun, hot dog bun, minced meat bun, tuna bun, peanut bun and etc. Besides, some of these stalls also selling pastry and kuih – local desserts. Nyonya kuih, for example, is a proud invention that most Malaysians choose to surrender their sweet tooth upon.

Chee Cheong Fun

Chee Cheong Fun is a steamed flat rice noodle rolls and taken with sauce, either sweet or savoury. In Penang, the rolls are cut into short cylinders and served with condiments such as thnee cheo (a sweet dark-red sauce), hae ko (black, prawn paste sauce), chilli sauce, oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Some people prefer the Chee Cheong Fun lightly tossed in curry sauce as well. People in Penang all have their favourite but you can’t go wrong with the stall outside Seow Fong Lye Cafe on Macalister Lane. Be prepared to wait for your order.

Yau Char Kwai

Yau Char Kway (Cantonese) literally means “oil-fried devil” a name in accordance to the Chinese culture. The traditional deep-fried snack has been a breakfast staple for the Chinese for as long as any of us could remember. Here in Malaysia, it has been always served for breakfast with rice congee or dipped in soy milk, the long golden-brown snack is also eaten with bak kut teh or a cup of brewed coffee. You can also just simply munch on it.

Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang

Nasi dagang is one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Terengganu. Nasi dagang is a mixture of white fragrant rice and white glutinous rice. Here, most of the people prefer to eat it together with a curry made with ikan tongkol, a tuna species fished off the coast, and simple side dishes of acar timun and a hard-boiled egg.
Some of the top picks to check out this dish include a stall called Mak Ngah located at Kampung Bukit, Kuala Terengganu and also Kak Pah’s stall at the Batu Buruk food court.

Fish Noodles

 As most of the breakfast dishes introduced here are famous in peninsular, let’s take a look on a common dish for Sabahans called fish noodles.
Fish noodles at Jong Fa Pai restaurant in Kota Kinabalu served with meaty chunks of fish in a fish-based broth (clear or with milk) along with tofu, preserved vegetables and tomatoes. A halal version can be found at Wan Wan outlets.
Ngiu chap (In Hakka dialect), which means “mixed cow”, is another favorite breakfast noodle among Sabahans. Eaters can expect every single part of the cow in this dish, including beef balls, tripe, tongue and tendons. Some people even add in liver and other innards.

Sarawak Laksa

 For Sarawakian, Sarawak Laksa makes for an amazing breakfast. The late Anthony Bourdain, who featured Sarawak laksa in his TV shows once called Sarawak Laksa “Breakfast of the Gods”.
Significantly different from the many other types of laksa available in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak Laksa consists of rice vermicelli, shredded omelette, cooked prawns and strips of chicken in an aromatic broth, with sambal and lime served on the side.
This dish is beloved by all Sarawakians and is enjoyed by families and friends no matter what time of the day. Highly recommended Kuching restaurants that serve Sarawak laksa are Mom’s Laksa @ Gita (halal) and Golden Arch Cafe.

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

iNyala & REX’s Revival

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The iconic REX Cinema in Kuala Lumpur – an institution synonym with the 50’s generation – is given a fresher breath with a new look and new role. A big, neo-classical building nestled between Petaling Street, Jalan Sultan and bustling Kotaraya Mall, REX building is now a new icon in the capital, attracting youngsters and art lovers, not forgetting visitors from afar.

Once an attraction for Hollywood’s movies and Shaw Brothers’ legacy, the building was no more an old cinema with a parking lot. Long abandoned and untouched by time, the building managed to survive the development and commercialism. Fast forward, REX has transformed into an arts and social juncture branded as REXKL, with fresher look and liveable activities. As few small events starting taking parts in the venue, one big inaugural event that taking place at the moment is iNyala – the avant garde art programme for all to participate.

According to the organiser, iNyala is the first event in which college/university students will be able to contribute fresh, higher level ideas by incorporating the iNYALA theme: “Imagine the Impossible”, under the guidance of industry professionals. Unlike conventional mediums, innovation will play a key part in conveying the creative aspects to encourage appreciation and value in the arts.

The objectives are vivid. Promoting emergence of art and technology in Malaysia; nurturing a new generation of artists through unconventional mediums and platforms; and connecting people via engaging and responsive art pieces. With a combination of technology and multi media, the artworks are expected to be extremely rare for Malaysian scenes. The event started with a series of workshops from August until October 2019, followed by main exhibition in November. So watch out this space!

Back to now REXKL, much thanks to the ‘collective of like-minded architects, social innovators, brand identity builder and filmmaker, who comes together to repurpose the Rex Cinema building into a commerce-driven community space for all. Thoughtful content and processes that are in respect of the cinema’s history and its present community had been put in place to reshape the building and rebuild its social interaction within the community of Jalan Petaling, Jalan Sultan and dwellers of Kuala Lumpur city at large. REXKL was born out of our desire to reimagine a community space in the heart of the city – where individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds can meet and build connections.’

Event: iNYALA
Workshops: August to October 2019
Exhibition 1 to 30 November 2019
Address: REXKL, 80 Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur (Next to Petaling Street)
Email: [email protected]
web: http://inyala.my/home/

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MasterChef Ping Coombes Finds Inspiration for her Malaysian Recipes

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sarawak local and ethnic food for masterchef

WHEN Malaysian-born Ping Coombes came out with a cookery book, Malaysia, after winning MasterChef UK in 2014, a fan remarked that she should include East Malaysian cuisines of Sabah and Sarawak to complete her repertoire of Malaysian recipes.

Point taken, she makes it her mission to embark on a culinary adventure to Sabah and Sarawak.

Read more at Borneo Post Online

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10 Things To Do In Miri

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Miri  is Sarawak’s second largest city and the gateway to the state’s fascinating northeast region.

1.Meet The People

A short flight from Miri brings you to Bario, gateway to the Kelabit Highlands, home to the Kelabit people and their large, well preserved longhouses.  Miri is also connected by Twin Otter service to Ba’kelalan, a cluster of seven Lun Bawang villages famous for their orchards and organic vegetables.

Lun Bawang Festival (Irau Aco)

sarawak-borneo-people-lun-bawang-bamboo-band

2. Go For A Walk

Stroll through Miri Old Town, crammed with shops selling all manner of fascinating goods, taking in the Fish Market and the Tua Pek Kong Temple.  Visit Lambir Hills National Park, probably the world’s most complex and diverse forest ecosystem, for a selection of jungle trekking trails to suit every ability.

Gunung Mulu National Park, famous for its extensive cave systems also offers some spectacular trekking trails, including the demanding yet incredibly rewarding Summit Trek and Pinnacles Trail and the historic Headhunters Trail.

The remote Kelabit Highlands has a wide selection of trails, from half-day strolls in and around Bario to week-long expeditions, staying in remote longhouses, passing by ancient megaliths, camping out in the rainforest and ascending the rugged peaks of Pulong Tau National Park.

Sarawak Borneo Miri Lambir Hills National Park

Mulu Clear water cave

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3. Wildlife Encounters

Visit the caves of Niah National Park to view remarkable cave fauna, watch an amazing bat exodus and find your way back by the light of luminous mushrooms.  Head for Kuala Sibuti for an evening of crocodile spotting and firefly watching.

The Bat Observatory at Gunung Mulu National Park provides a grandstand view of one of nature’s natural wonders, while the world’s longest canopy walkway showcases the birds and plants of the rainforest canopy walkway showcases the birds and plants of the rainforest canopy.  Spend a night at Loagan Bunut National Park, with its incredible shrinking lake ecosystem and a resident population of Bornean gibbons, as well as hundreds of bird, reptile and small mammal species.

Niah National Park

a-u-bagly_hipposideros-diadema-with-pup_cave-roost-mulu-bat

mulu-frog

4. Take To The Water

Charter an express boat from Kuala Baram brings you to the upriver town of Marudi, gateway to Ulu Baram.  If you have the time, and weather conditions permitting, you can travel from Marudi by express boat and longboat to some of the remotest villages and longhouses in Sarawak, home to various Orang Ulu communities including Kayans, Kenyahs, and even nomadic Penans.

The Panoramic view of Sela'an Kayan village, Ulu Baram

5. Underground Sarawak

Visit the caves of Niah National Park, settled by modern humans for over 40,000 years and one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.  The Great Cave has one of the world’s largest cave mouths, a fascinating cave ecosystem and you can watch the birds nest collectors at work.  The Padang, where a shaft of light pierces the rear of the cave, is perfect for photo ops.  The Adjacent Painted Cave is the site of Niah’s famous cave paintings.  Leave the Great Cave around sunset, to see the nightly “changing of the guard”.  Two great living clouds intermingle in the sky as hundreds of thousand of swiftlets return to their nests, whilst a similar number of bats fly out to forage in the forest.

Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is most famous for its limestone cave systems, including the world’s largest chamber, the world’s largest cave passsage and the longest cave in Southeast Asia.

Niah National Park

Mulu Sarawak | A World Heritage Site

DekatJe Mulu Puncak Borneo

6. Underwater Sarawak

Miri is fast becoming a popular dive destination, due to the 22 pristine patch reefs that make up the Miri-Sibuti Reef Marine Park, lying at depths from 7 to 30 metres.  The best time to dive is March to September, with average visibility around 30 metres, but you can expect at least 10 metres visibility all year round.  Hard and soft corals cover the entire reefs, with abundant gorgonians, sea-whips,  anemones, sponges and crinoids.  There are also some interesting wreck dives in quite shallow water, perfect for a first wreck diving experience.

Most of the best dive sites are at depths between 18 and 30 metres, so EANx Nitrox Diver and PADI advanced Open Water ratings are highly recommended.  Bonus activities include whale shark spotting (in season).

7. Food and Drink

Miri has similar culinary selection to Kuching, although with its seafront location the seafood is possibly even fresher.  Inland, be tempted by the fresh jungle produce and organically grown fruits and vegetables prepared by the Kelabit and Lun Bawang people of the northern highlands, served with the unique fine-grained Bario rice, In the upriver Orang Ulu longhouses, enjoy tasty wild boar, free range chicken and exotic river fish served with glass of borak (Orang Ulu rice wine)

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8. Culture Heritage

Canada Hill not only offers excellent views of Miri and the surrounding area, it is also home to Oil Well No. 1, known as the “grand old lady,”  the first well to strike oil in Sarawak in 1910.  The adjacent Petroleum Museum traces the history and development of the oil and gas industries in Malaysia.  Back in town, visit the impressive and atmospheric San Ching Tian Temple, the largest Taoist temple in Southeast Asia.  If you are heading for Niah National Park, make sure to visit the fascinating Niah Archaeological Museum, tracing 40,000 years of human settlement at Niah.

Canada Hill, Miri, Sarawak

Niah National Park

9. Shopping

Miri Handicraft Centre showcases the ethnic arts and crafts of northern Sarawak.  Stalls are run by the producers, and craftspeople can often be viewed at work here.  items on sale include Penan mats and basketry.  Orang Ulu beadwork and woodcravings.  Miri’s Tamu Muhibbah is a colourful native market selling exotic fruits and vegetables, handicrafts and produce from upriver areas, including fragrant Bario rice, and great photo opportunities.

Exhibitionhandicraft Miri

Exhibitionhandicraft Miri

sarawak-malaysia-borneo-limbang-Bisaya-Babulang-festival-handicraft-exhibition

10. Festivals Celebrations

Borneo Jazz: One of the top jazz festivals in the region, attracting top jazz and blues performers from around the world.

Pesta Nukenen Bario (Bario Food Festival): The world’s most exclusive food festival celebrates the unique food, farming, forest and cultural heritage of the Kelabut Highlands.

Exuberance festival goers posing for the photographer

visit sarawak malaysia borneo miri borneo jazz 2014 andy kho

 

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Sarawak's rich river gateway

Ensure Visitors Informed about Visa on Arrival

10 Things To Do in Kuching

RWMF CLOSES WITH 23,650 FESTIVAL-GOERS

RWMF Promoting Sarawak's Musical Heritage

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