If you’ve spent years dreaming of Borneo – of longboat trips down murky rivers, of jungle trails green in tooth and claw, of smoky longhouses and drunken dances, of strange creatures and hidden caverns, of blowpipes and head-hunters – rest easy: you’ve just found what you’re looking for. Sarawak is ‘classic’ Borneo par excellence, and few other places will reward a little adventurous spirit so grandly.
The beauty of Sarawak is its blend of tribal tradition and unfettered nature: everything from the scattered valley farms of the Kelabit Highlands to the bird’s-nest trading communities of the Niah Caves and the nomadic jungle Penan have their place. Of course, plenty has changed here since the first intrepid explorers started charting the tree-strangled hills, and the grim realities of modern capitalism have put paid to many of Sarawak’s treasures, particularly in the receding rainforest, where relentless logging continues to take its toll.
However, the essential flavour of the region continues to saturate most aspects of life here, and it’s still possible to find untouched corners of wilderness where it feels like the last 100 years never happened. The longhouses may have satellite dishes, the cities may have tower blocks and the jungles may have airstrips, but at the end of the day Sarawak is unlike anywhere else on earth.
Whatever your dreams, Sarawak is everything you imagined Borneo would be, and once you’re here all you can do is dive straight in and live out the fantasy.
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