Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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Sarawak : East Malaysia / Malaysian Borneo - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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SARAWAK - EAST MALAYSIA / MALAYSIA BORNEO
KUCHING : SANTUBONG & DAMAI BEACH - General Info
 
 

 KUCHING DISTRICT :

SANTUBONG & DAMAI BEACH

 

The Santubong Peninsula is located at the West Mouth of the Sarawak River. At its northern tip, Mount Santubong (810 m) rises majestically from the sea. The area has been settled since ancient times, and was once a major trading centre. Nowadays the Peninsula, particularly Damai, is a popular beach resort area and a good base for discovering the charms of Southwest Sarawak. All manner of attractions are here; sleepy fishing villages, primary rainforest, superb seafood restaurants, an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, a "living museum", and a choice of beach resort hotels. On a clear day, the Santubong area offers spectacular sunsets, as the sun sinks slowly into the sea framed by Sarawak?s rolling hills on one side and scattered islands on the other.

 

Only 35 minutes drive from Kuching, the Santubong area has a great deal to offer the visitor. It has some superb natural attractions centered on the rainforested slopes of Mount Santubong, its mangrove forests, rivers, near shore waters and mudflats. These different habitats are home to variety of wildlife making Santubong one of the best sites in Sarawak to see a range of wildlife in a natural setting.

 

A number of tours and excursions can be made from the various hotels at Damai or from Kuching. These include jungle treks to the summit of Mount Santubong, Irrawaddy dolphin watching tours, river cruises and wildlife watching tours in and around the Kuching Wetlands National Park, and bird watching at Buntal - one of Malaysia?s most important sites for migratory birds. Just offshore are two small islands - Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil. Satang Besar has been designated as a Turtle Sanctuary to protect the green turtles which come ashore to lay eggs.

 
 
BIRD WATCHING
 

The Santubong Peninsula offers a number of interesting sites for bird watching. Perhaps the best spot is Buntal village, an important wintering ground for migratory species. The whole Bako-Buntal Bay is listed as an ?Important Bird Area? under Birdlife International?s Asia programme. The best time for bird watching is from October to March, when large numbers of migratory birds can be seen in the Buntal river estuary. These include a variety of plovers, terns, egrets, sandpipers and godwits plus some rare migrants. Resident birds often sighted include the white-bellied sea eagle, brahminy kite and collared kingfisher. Pulau Tokong Ara, a small rocky outcrop located in the Santubong bay, close to Satang Island, is another site of interest to birdwatchers.

 

The island is home to breeding colonies of bridled terns and black-naped terns. Pacific reef egrets are also frequently sighted on the rock. Tokong Ara is best seen as part of a wider coastal tour of the Santubong area.

 
 
 
JUNGLE TREKKING
 

There are a number of jungle trekking and walking trails at Damai. The ?Santubong Jungle Trek? (blue trail markings) is a circular trail situated close to the hotels. The 2 km long trail takes 1-2 hours and begins at a ?Starter Hut? on the Santubong-Kuching Road. Pick up a trail map from hotel recreation counters. Damai Rainforest Resort also maintains a trail behind its activity centre. By far the toughest trek is the Mount Santubong Summit Trek (red trail markings) which takes 4-7 hours (up and down) depending on fitness and the route taken. Two trails lead to the summit. The ?Main Trail? starts near the resort hotels whilst a ?Short Cut? trail starts a few hundred metres past the Damai Lookout Point Seafood Restaurant on the Kuching-Santubong road. Whatever route you opt for it is essential to wear good hiking shoes and take plenty of drinking water. You can trek to the summit by yourself or go with a guide. Check with hotel recreation counters.

 
 

 

MALAY VILLAGES
 

There are a few interesting coastal villages (kampungs) in the Santubong Peninsula. The most accessible from Damai is Kampung Santubong, a well-kept Malay village at the foot of Mount Santubong. Buntal, a Malay fishing village just off the Kuching-Santubong road, is famous for the seafood restaurants perched on wooden stilts which line the shore. Pasir Panjang and Pasir Pandak are two beach-side kampungs which are surrounded by small rolling hills, coconut groves and durian orchards. Although Santubong is within walking distance (4 km) from Damai beach, the other villages require transport.

 
 

 

WATER SPORTS
 

Holiday Inn Resort Damai Beach and Holiday Inn Resort Damai Lagoon offer a range of watersports including jet skiing (RM 80 for 30 mins), canoeing (RM 12-20 per hour), sailing in catamarans (RM 70 per hour) and windsurfing (RM 50 per hour). Both hotels can also arrange coastal excursion trips and snorkelling and beachcombing trips. Further details and prices are available from hotel recreation counters or the Damai Beach boathouse. Permai Rainforest Resort rents sea kayaks (RM 15-30 single, RM 20-35, double) and can arrange guided kayaking trips and coastal cruises.

 
 
 
EATING OUT
 

There are plenty of interesting dining possibilities for visitors to Damai. The resort hotels have a wide choice of restaurants, with menus ranging from spicy Malay curries and Chinese seafood to Continental cuisine and Western fast food. See accommodation fact files for full details. The Green Paradise Caf?at the entrance to the Santubong Mountain Trek is a 5-minute walk from the hotels and offers rice and noodle dishes in a pleasant jungle setting. The Damai Lookout Point Seafood Restaurant has a wider selection and is 20 mins walk from the hotels. Nearby Buntal village has a host of excellent seafood restaurants, and there are a few more dotted along the Kuching-Santubong road overlooking the sea. Hotels can arrange transport.

 
 

 

GETTING THERE
 

Santubong Village is roughly 31 km from Kuching. The Damai Beach area is 35 km.

 
 
 
 
KUCHING : SANTUBONG & DAMAI BEACH - General Info
SARAWAK - EAST MALAYSIA / MALAYSIA BORNEO