Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang (‘Land of the Hornbills’), it is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia; the second largest, Sabah, lies to the northeast.

The administrative capital is Kuching which has a population of 579,900 (2006 census; Kuching City South - 143,500; Kuching City North - 133,600; Padawan- 3rd Mile/ 7th Mile/ 10th Mile - 302,800). The name Kuching literally means ‘cat’ (kucing). Major cities and towns also include Sibu (pop. 254,000), Miri (pop. 263,000) and Bintulu (pop. 176,800). As of last census (Dec 31, 2006), the state population was 2,357,500.

Though it is interesting to note that Sarawak is, like Sabah to the north, a multicultural state, with no ethnic majority. The majority of Sarawak's people are non-Muslim; there are over 30 ethnic (non-Malay) indigenous/natives groups in Sarawak.

Sarawak Woodcarvings

Woodcarving is one of the bastions of Sarawak handicrafts, and you can find anything from stylishly crafted Kayan and Kenyah wooden spoons to ten-foot-tall guardian figures crafted from solid belian (ironwood).

Amongst the more popular items are elaborately decorated wooden bowls; Iban hunting and trapping charms with small hunched figures carved on the end of a long spike; all kinds of ritual masks; Melanau sickness figures (blum) used to cast away illnesses in healing ceremonies; entire longhouse doors carved from a slab of hardwood; blowpipes that can kill a wild pig (or a person) at 100 m; and the ornately carved and painted hornbill figures used by the Ibans for celebrating Gawai Kenyalang, the hornbill festival.

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Sarawak Pottery

Pottery made in Sarawak is of two distinctive types - one done by the Iban, Murut and Kelabit potters and the other by Chinese potters. Today, the range of Sarawak's potters have improved vastly as they create ceramic stools, drinking water cisterns, decorative jars and vases, lamps, candle holders, ashtrays, teapots, mugs and even photo frames.

Attractive souvenir items are also produced, ideal for tourists and visitors. Even the locals use Sarawak pottery as gifts during official functions and special occasions. Kuching's potteries are grouped together at 8th Mile on the Penrissen Road, just outside the state capital.

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About Borneo~

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located at the centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. Administratively, this island is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Indonesians refer to the island as "Kalimantan." However, for people outside of Indonesia, "Kalimantan" refers to the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Malaysia's region of Borneo is called East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo. The independent nation of Brunei occupies the remainder of the island. Brunei is the wealthiest nation on the island of Borneo.

Borneo is surrounded by the South China Sea to the north and northwest, the Sulu Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea and the Makassar Strait to the east, and the Java Sea and Karimata Strait to the south. It has an area of 743,330 km² (287,000 square miles).

To the west of Borneo are the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. To the south is Java. To the east is the island of Sulawesi (Celebes). To the northeast is the Philippines.

Borneo's highest point is Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia, with an elevation of 4,095 m (13,435 ft) above sea level. This makes it the world's third highest island.

The largest river systems are the Kapuas River, with approximately 1,143 km (710 mi) the longest river in Indonesia, the Rajang River in Sarawak with some 562.5 km (349.5 mi) the longest river in Malaysia, the Barito River about 880 km (550 mi) long and the Mahakam River about 980 km (610 mi) long.

Borneo is also known for its extensive cave systems. Clearwater Cave has one of the world's longest underwater rivers. Deer Cave, thought to be the largest cave passage in the world, is home to over three million bats and guano accumulated to over 100 metres (330 ft) high.


Lonely Planet Borneo (Lonely Planet Travel Guides)

Recommended Reading:

Lonely Planet Borneo (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) (Regional Guide) (Paperback)

Product Description
Discover BorneoWake deckside to the whoops of gibbons on your orangutan-spotting trip, Tanjung Putting National ParkFind out what Queen Elizabeth gave the sultan who had everything at Brunei's lavish Royal Regalia MuseumJostle garrulous crowds at a Kuching market for some nuttle, stir-fried jungle fern.

In This Guide:
First edition, with more research time than any other guide: 110 days in-country, 50 detailed maps, 35 jungle adventuresNational Parks color section covers where to spot elephants, monkeys and the enormous, pungent rafflesia flowersSpecialists discuss local markets, the best Malaysian cuisine, ecotourism and conservation.



Sarawak Bamboo Craft

From containers to kitchenware, flooring to fans and pipes for water or tobacco, bamboo is used in a thousand ways in Sarawak. The variety of its uses is matched only by the diversity of the designs and carvings. The Bidayuh people are masters of bamboo carving, and produce very fine boxes and containers that may have been designed to hold betel nut or blowpipe darts, but are just as good for storing pens and pencils. The Penan tribe produces equally fine bamboo basketry.



Borneo Wooden Warrior Mask

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Native Borneo Tattoo Set

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Traditional Malay Keris

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Traditional Borneo Rattan Handbag

Traditional Borneo Rattan Handbag
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Wooden Borneo Horbill Wood Craft

Wooden Borneo Horbill Wood Craft


Borneo Craft Supplies

Vast collection of high quality borneo crafts, antiques, musical instrumentsand other collectibles.

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