Cut off from Kuching by the Santubong River to the south, the Santubong Peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Excavation in the 1960s and 1970s found tens of thousands of artefacts, including digging implements, across six neighbouring sites; they dated back to 3000 BC, when the Indian/Javanese Empire extended here, though little of any ancient civilisation can be seen today.

Dominated by the 810-metre Gunung Santubong, the area is dotted with oddly shaped geological formations amid patches of thick forest. The mountain is actually a national park (though there are no facilities and no entrance fee to pay) and makes for a moderately taxing trek. It takes around four hours to reach the summit, with rope ladders to help where things get steep; one trail up is clearly signed next to the Green Paradise Café on the main road. However, most visitors prefer to venture out to the beaches of Damai, 35km from Kuching at the peninsula’s northwest tip, or the excellent if pricey folk museum nearby, the Sarawak Cultural Village. Since the 1980s, stretches of the river and coastline have been developed as retreats for tourists and city-weary locals, though thankfully the resorts have left the tranquil, almost lonesome, nature of the area largely undisturbed. There are also two low-key villages, Buntal and Kampung Santubong.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Malaysia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Living the good life in Borneo

Living the good life in Borneo

Life in the beautiful region of Sapulot is relaxed and uncomplicated, and the communities who live here want to keep it that way. They are inviting visitors to …

02 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

Looking to unwind on a tropical island somewhere in Southeast Asia? Then head to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia’s ultimate escape from the country’s frene…

09 Feb 2016 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month