FOREIGN and local tourists need not go to Sarawak to buy its exotic souvenirs or taste delicacies familiar only in the Land of the Hornbill.
The “Sarawak, Paradise in Borneo" centre, located in Jalan Bukit Bintang, promotes the state's culture through the products and dishes it stocks up on.
On the ground floor are paintings, craft work, wood work, pottery, baskets and birds nest products.
There is also an area where visitors can get food that is popular with Sarawakians.
The centre is divided into six sections - a handicraft shop, Sarawak Longhouse, Courtyard Sanctuary, Tourist Centre, Art Gallery and a Jungle Café.
A long walkway inside the main door signifies the many rivers in Sarawak that are rich with wildlife and where water adventures begin.
On its left is the handicraft shop that sells the traditional wood products, weaved baskets, home décor items, dried prawns, pepper and even corporate gifts.
As visitors walk on, they will come to the two-storey longhouse with its bamboo walls adorned with native hornbill carvings, designs of traditional music instruments, antique jars and baskets.
At the longhouse decks or the ground floor, visitors see craftsmen demonstrate their skills in weaving pua or basket making.
From there visitors can make their way towards the courtyard sanctuary, complete with luscious green ferns, hanging jungle vines and a cascading waterfall.
At the courtyard's centre is a gigantic, man-made 6m traditional log ladder, cut from a single timber log, that ascends towards the tourists' centre on the first floor.
Where everything else is ethnic, the tourist centre contrasts with its modern facilities.
Visitors get updates on everything, from major events, tour packages to the best times to visit Malaysia's largest state.
The walkway then takes visitors to the art gallery where they can appreciate the exquisite art pieces of Ramsay Ong, one of Sarawak's finest artist.
The Jungle Café is where tired visitors take a break from their tour of the centre. Here, they can indulge in Sarawak laksa, kolo mee, mee sua, jungle ferns, sweet pineapples and drink tuak.
“Sarawak, Paradise in Borneo'' sales and marketing executive Sazahan Yassin, 24, said Sarawak was home to more than 30 tribes.
“Our centre is like a mini Sarawak, minus the wildlife,'' he said.
The centre's programme manager Datu Alvein Datu Amirul said the centre was a place for anyone wishing to know Sarawak, but did not have the means or time to do so.
“Even if they did want to travel to the state, they could come to the centre for information, travel packages or even to know what the best time would be to go to Sarawak,'' he said.
“We can also cater for birthday functions, wedding dinners, annual dos as our centre can accommodate more than 100 people at any one time,'' said Datu Alvein.
The centre is open from 10am to 10pm on Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. On the remaining days, it is open from 12.30pm to 2.30pm and 4.30pm to 6.30pm.
For details, call Sazahan at 03-2142 6113 or 03-2142 6114.