The Land of the Hornbills promises you thrills and adventure, with activities that will challenge you both physically and mentally. White water rafting, hiking, caving, BASE jumping, diving, deep sea fishing, kayaking – you name it, we’ve got it. However, not all vacationers are looking to experience adrenaline rush. Some would much rather choose a relaxing retreat over action and adventure.
Home to one of the oldest and most diverse rainforests in the world, Sarawak is perfect for nature lovers. Peace and tranquillity are a sure thing, naturally. But even out of the jungle, relaxation can be found in the form of spa retreats, highland resorts, art classes and many more. Throw your worries out the window and engage in relaxing activities that will carve a smile on your face, right here in Sarawak.
Mind, body & soul
Sarawak welcomes you for yoga sessions with nature as your “studio”. From beautiful beaches to splendid jungle retreats, Sarawak’s got the perfect settings to suit different preferences. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned yoga practitioner or fairly new to it.
Spread your yoga mat and strike a pose at the gorgeous landscape that surrounds you in Santubong, Kuching. The beach resorts in there are perfect spots for you to recharge and enjoy a quiet time away from the city. You will find yourself amidst swaying palm trees, refreshing cool breeze and rolling waves – the ideal setting for practicing your yogic techniques and focus on nothing but yourself. Cove 55 recently hosted two international names in Yoga – Singapore’s Denise Keller and Indonesia’s Hendry Take.
After a good time of meditation, rest in one of their 16 lavishly designed rooms or suites. Take a dip at the terrace pool located at the heart of the property or better yet head out to the resort’s overwater platform where you can swim in the infinity pool or just relax on the lounger, with drink in hand while gazing at a mesmerising view of the glistening sea.
Another place where you can embark on a journey to wellness in one of the world’s oldest rainforests. Mulu National Park in Miri is home to a well-known resort & spa set right in the middle of the pristine Mulu wilderness. Take a dip in the swimming pool, rejuvenate in the resort’s luxurious spa or practice some yoga up where the air is crisp and a symphony of wildlife echoes through the trees. If you do feel a need for adventure, there’s no better place to experience it than at the National Park itself. Grand caverns, bizarre limestone rock formations, misty mountaintops, winding river are all waiting to be discovered and explored.
Elsewhere, there are plenty of options for wellness, such as traditional Bidayuh massage or a jungle spa up in the mountains. If you prefer an urban setting, there are plenty of wellness centres here with excellent products and services to cater to different needs.
Calm and culture
Lifestyle in the cities and towns of Sarawak is generally very laid back despite the wave of development that has brought modernity to its urban and suburban areas. This makes Sarawak the ideal choice for those who need a break from their hectic life. But to truly experience relaxation and see the local way of life at the same time, you need to head to the outskirts.
Annah Rais Longhouse in Kuching offers a look into the Bidayuh community’s traditional way of life. The longhouse sits in the mountainous area of the Penrissen Range and is completely surrounded by nature. Made from wood and bamboo, the long house is well preserved. It comes complete with a ‘panggah’ or ‘head house’ where they keep human skulls from back then when headhunting was still practiced. Take a guided tour of the longhouse and discover how beautiful and calming it is to live there. There is a small museum where you can discover artefacts dating back over 100 years ago. Let the sounds of bamboo musical instruments soothe your soul while you admire the graceful movements as the dancers perform a Bidayuh traditional dance at the longhouse’s cultural show. Spend a night or two at the longhouse so you can go explore attractions like Annah Rais Hotspring, the breath-taking Biduan Waterfall and bamboo rafting down the pristine river.
Lamin Dana Cultural Boutique Lodge at the village of Tellian in Mukah evokes a sense of calm the moment you lay eyes on it. Lamin Dana is old Melanau for “traditional house”. It sits by the river and looks out to a gorgeousview of the village, with wooden houses on stilts and surrounding greens reflected on the surface of the water. It’s very calm and quiet out there, save for the occasional chirps of birds flying past, boats and motorcycles zooming by, andthe locals as they go about their daily activities. Take a relaxing boat tour along the Tellian River, from which you can admire more beautiful wooden abodes built along the river or see rows of sago logs floating on either side of the river, which would later be processed into sago flour. Sample local food, see traditional dances and culture of the Melanau folk and many more. And to kill two birds with one stone, visit during Kaul Mukah and take a trip to Tapak Kaul Mukah to partake in the festivity.
Get your hands working on some art. Painting and working with colours are excellent stress busters, and it’s especially rewarding to see your work coming to life, and in vivid colours. Celebrated silk painting artist Narong Daun offers her weekend Batik Silk Painting Workshop, where you get to learn how to paint on a silk screen. Watch as your painting slowly come to life, with guidance from Narong herself. The weekend session is held in Narong’s studio at Kampung Garong, Penrissen. Besides the relaxing painting session, you can also step outside for a moment to enjoy the sweeping views of the surrounding mountains, hear the birds sing and breathe in the fresh air in the village.
Sarawak is not just for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It is a sanctuary where one can rejuvenate and find peace of mind. There are so many more places here for all of that, depending of course on what you’re looking for. So the next time you want to de-stress, get on that plane and fly down here to Sarawak, the Land of the Hornbills.