Sarawak enjoys a tropical climate with average temperatures range between 25°C to 32°C. The rainy season is between November to February brings heavier rain and cools evenings. You can visit any time of the year.
Malay is the national language, however, English is widely spoken throughout the state.
The official religion is Islam; there are also Christians, Buddhists and followers of various traditional beliefs. Freedom of worship is respected and churches and temples for all major religions can be found in most town.
Malaysia has a single time zone and is 8 hours ahead of GMT. This means it is 8 hours ahead of London (GMT) and 7 hours ahead during daylight saving time in the spring and summer. It is 13 hours ahead of New York (Eastern Standard time) and 12 hours during daylight saving time in the summer.
The electricity supply is 220/240 volts at 50 hertz. The electrical plugs and sockets used are similar to those used in Britain. North Americans will have to use adaptors, which are readily available from the major hotels.
Banking and Currency
USD 1 = MYR 4.43 (please check current rate).
The Malaysian Ringgit notes are available in denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100, and coins from 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, and 50 cents.
Most outlets take the major credit cards and ATMs are readily available. However, do note that most but not all of these machines have a 24-hour operation and most convenient stores and coffee shops only accept notes. Money can be easily exchanged at banks and licensed moneychanger.
Appropriate dress is appreciated when visiting places of worship. Footwear should be removed before entering homes or longhouses. Nude sunbathing is unacceptable.
Preparation and Checklist
·It is advisable to wear comfortable and lightweight cotton or mixed fibre clothing or sarong (for evenings).
·A cotton hat or baseball cap provides some shade from the sun (optional)
·Bring a pair of sunglasses with UV protection
· Sunscreen (Optional)
·A small towel to wipe sweat
·Bring talcum powder as it reduces chafing
·Flip flops / thongs / slippers / Tevas
·A small portable traveling umbrella / raincoat / ponchos could be useful as downpours could happen anytime. This is especially so for the northeast monsoon season from November till February.
Jungle trekking tips
·Use a small lightweight backpack
·Lightweight loose-fitting cotton clothing is ideal
·Loose-fitting, long trousers are better than shorts, protecting legs against scratches from thorny plants and insect bites
·Good boots are essential; preferably lightweight, canvas or leather jungle boots that lace up high to keep out leeches. It is ideal cushion and protection from rough terrain and muddy terrain (* Please note that locally it may be difficult to find footwear in large sizes.)
·For most trips, bring swimming gear to slake off the tropical heat. Please remember, however, to respect local modesty.
·A small towel to wipe sweat
•Extra change of clothes (Not too many); Ensure you always have something dry to change into.
·If using a money belt, make sure contents are tightly wrapped in plastic and waterproofed to protect from water and sweat
·The weather can be unpredictable so be prepared for sudden showers. Bring a raincoat or buy one of the disposable raincoats.
·Bring insect repellents. Mosquitoes and bugs can be rather annoying. It can be a deterrent for leeches as well.
·Bring along a torchlight and some spare batteries
·Bring a pair of binoculars if you are interested to see more flora and fauna.
·Take sufficient water and pack a few ready to eat food (i.e. energy bar) to keep energy levels up
·A basic first aid kit should include band-aids, mild antiseptic cream for insect bites or light scratches, cotton swabs, tissues, bandages and painkillers, medicine for headaches and diarrhea
·Bring salt, tiger balm, iodine or medicated menthol oil to remove the harmless leeches if you do not wish to flick them away.
·A study walking stick may be useful for some people, especially during descents. Buy one or pick a dead branch.