Sarawak, or the ‘Land of Hornbills’, has a reputation for caves, wildlife and national parks. But few realise the state in Malaysian Borneoalso features a variety of tropical beaches that make ideal spots for relaxing, snorkelling in the warm sea, or sharing a romantic moment with that special someone.
Approximately 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Sarawak’s Kuching, Sematan Beach near the border with Kalimantan is a favourite retreat for locals. Once a fishing village, now an exclusive resort, the sandy stretch of coastline often rates among the best beaches in Sarawak. The long stretch of sand hugs the South China Sea and is kept in a pristine and litter-free condition by the resort.
Located in Kampong Bakam approximately 15 minutes from Miri City Centre, Hawaii Beach in Sarawak is aptly named. Picture white sand stretching around the coast lined with curved palm trees. A footpath passes through the park adjacent to the beach, providing seating areas and barbequing spots. Visitors can get to this beach in Sarawak by either taking a taxi from Miri or catching the number 13 bus.
The most beautiful beach in Kuching sits inside the Damai Beach Resort. Picture clean, orange sand curving and hugging the dense Borneo rainforests. Damai Beach is kept in immaculate condition to give the guests at the hotel an ultra-luxurious experience. With huts and sun beds available at the resort and located next to Mount Santubong, Damai Beach is a favourite beach in Sarawak for Kuching residents. It takes less than an hour to get toDamai from the city centre.
A small stretch of public beach in Bintulu, a small town halfway between Miri and Sibu, makes a comfortable spot to enjoy the views and have a picnic. The orange beach is stunning at low tide,and local families often come to relax in the nearby park. Barbequing facilities are available free of charge, too. For a romantic or reflective experience, head down to catch a gorgeous sunset over the South China Sea. Halal-friendly restaurants and soft drinks are sold nearby.
Sarawak’s Tusan Cliff Beach grows in popularity not just for its stunning appearance and unpolluted waters. Apart from the views, cliffs and filling all criteria as a photographer’s paradise, Tusan Cliff also is the home of an unusual natural phenomenon. When the conditions are right, tiny bioluminescent micro-organisms called dinoflagellates turn the water to a glowing blue colour. The same happens in the mystical Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives. But this beach in Sarawak is much more accessible, as it’s within just an hour’s drive south of Miri.
A short drive from Miri City Centre sits Luak Bay. Within 15 minutes or 11 kilometres (6.9 miles) of the city, beachlovers can find the clean and photogenic Luak Bay. Picture white sand curving around the bay and an esplanade with benches and picnic facilities. Heading down in the evening for the sunset is a favourite activity for locals. The fastest way to get to the beach is to drive or take a taxi. Bus number 13 drops passengers off within walking distance of Luak Bay, too, for the more budget-conscious tourists.
Brighton Beach is the jewel of Sarawak. Located just five kilometres (3.1 miles) south of Miri, the city’s oldest recreation park still rates as a favourite spot for families, joggers and tourists. With two piers jutting out into the South China Sea and views of Miri Marina and the lighthouse, this beach in Sarawak also boasts one of Borneo’s best sunsets. The adjacent food court serves up fresh seafood as diners enjoy the views in the early evening.