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My Wild and Beautiful Sarawak
By Kristine Jatog
Mont Kiara International School

I was looking for a cultural, yet relaxing holiday, and came to the conclusion that Sarawak was probably the place to visit. With a blend of ancient history, wild animal life and hospitable inhabitants, Sarawak was an interesting experience.

My trip started in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. On one side of the Sarawak River, a middle-sized, but developing city was shining; whilst on the other side were the “kampung” where most of the people lived. There were a couple of shopping centres, cafes and restaurants in the city as well as hotels of all classes. The first day I took a boat on the river called “River Cruise” to take a closer look at the city. Along the way, the captain of the boat stopped at his home in one of the many kampungs and entertained us with a colorful dance and music performance. Most of the people in the village came to watch, and people of all ages performed. After the performance, there was cookies and coffee for the guests.

The next days were set for the cultural part of Sarawak. Close to one of the beautiful beaches, Damai Beach, approximately an hour away from Kuching, there was a seventeen-acre living museum. It is called The Sarawak Cultural Village. Sarawak has thirty ethnic groups, including twenty-one native ethnic groups but the museum only displays seven of them. In the museum, there were exhibitions on the history of several tribes among which were headhunters. There was an artificial lake surrounded by seven different replicas of ethnic houses. There were dance performances, demonstrations, homemade food and local jewelry, plus a brief tour of each house. The people that worked there were representatives from each ethnic group and most of them lived at the museum. After the huge museum, we moved on to the natural parks.

The closest park was close to two hours away from Damai Beach. While walking through the rainforest, we saw wild plants and several animals for instance the strange looking rhinoceros hornbill (which is actually Sarawak’s state symbol), monkeys, gibbons and other different kinds of animals. The adorable orangutans were of special interest to most tourists. Not too far away there was also a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for many of the endangered species of Sarawak. The largest group of animals was the orangutans that had been rescued from captivity. We were even allowed to play with the cute cuddly creatures for a day! The gibbons were free and were trained to return. After a certain age, they are free to live independently in the wild. The older gibbons lived in the center permanently, and people were allowed to come and play with them. Eventually, it was time for me to leave the orangutans and return to Kuala Lumpur. My trip was incredible and a truly memorable one.

There are, of course, many other amazing activities that can be experienced but these are just a few to give you a brief taste of the state of Sarawak. The history, animal and cultural life of the inhabitants are some examples of the many adventures to experience in Sarawak. My trip to Sarawak was fantastic, and I would highly recommend it! One thing is for sure, Sarawak is quite unlike any other place on earth, and my trip there was definitely worth while.

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