Visitors flying in from Peninsular Malaysia or Singapore are treated to a spellbinding view of muddy rivers snaking their way through the jungle beneath lush peaks. It not only just about sums up Borneo, but also sets the tone for what the southwest of Sarawak has in store. The area is home to several of Sarawak’s national parks, notably Bako, with its proboscis monkeys and excellent trekking. It’s also a good place to get a grounding in Borneo’s tribal cultures, which you can do at the museums in the likeable state capital Kuching. Among other top draws are the orang-utans of the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and the Sarawak Cultural Village, a brilliant collection of tribal houses near the beaches of Damai. To see proper longhouses, though, head east to the edges of Batang Ai National Park, home to many Iban communities.

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