Photo: Mangrove sunset at Bako National Park.

Sarawak is really quite big. It’s the largest state in Malaysia but also the most sparsely populated. This poses the question: how long should you spend in Sarawak? The answer really depends on what you want to do in Sarawak and how much money you have.

How long could you last?

If you’re after a see-the-rainforest experience and only want to visit the most popular and easily reached national parks, then you’re looking at around a two-week stay. This would include a few days at Mulu, a few days in Bako and day trips to Niah Caves and Lambir Hills – doing all the activities that take at most one day. Interspersed between your rainforest, you could also fit in a few days in Kuching and then a couple in Miri. Two weeks is a little bit short and to save on time, you’d likely have to fly everywhere rather than take the bus, but Sarawak is definitely doable in this amount of time.

There are worse ways to travel around Sarawak.

However, if you have the luxury of time, I would say that four weeks is the perfect amount of time to spend in Sarawak. With four weeks to play around with, you’d be able to spend a large chunk of time relaxing in Kuching, soaking up the colonial charm, actually do some of the longer (and more expensive) treks at Mulu, watch numerous relaxing sunsets at Bako and most excitingly, visit some of the lesser-known national parks, such as Batang Ai, Simalajau and Logan Banut.

On the waterfront in Kuching.

Of course you can take the option of staying longer than four weeks, which would mean being able to delve deeper into the Sarawak interior. Travelling into the interior is pretty easy as there is a rural air service; it’s when you want to travel around within the interior that time and money become problems. It is quite possible to hitch rides in the interior on the back of logging trucks or passing Hiluxes as long as you aren’t sticking to a rigid timetable as you may be waiting for hours or even days to find transport going in the direction that you want to travel. If money is no object then you can charter yourself a 4×4. These are really expensive, at around 300 ringgit for a three-hour journey – as a general rule, you’re looking at 100 ringgit per hour.

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This is where itinerary planning really becomes fun. Be sure to check up on our visa, border crossing and visa sections to make sure you're not trying to do the impossible. Also, remember you're planning a holiday -- not a military expedition.