The quaint riverine town of Sebauh lies about 50 kilometres away from Bintulu town centre. It is known mostly for two things - a floating temple and Mi Udang.
The town is located within the District of Sebauh, which in its entirety is home to some 50,000 people of Iban, Chinese, Melanau, Malay and Orang Ulu descent. You can get there by driving about 40 to 45 minutes on the Bintulu-Miri Road from Bintulu town centre. A boat ride from Bintulu wharf takes half as long.
While signs of modernity is apparent here, the town’s rustic charm remains intact. The sight of old Chinese shops along the banks of the town evokes nostalgia, while an old gas station by the river is interesting to see.
An old coffee shop at the end of a row of shophouses facing the river is famous for its Mi Udang, a braised yellow egg noodle dish with udang galah (giant freshwater prawns). The prawns are seasonal and come straight from the river itself. It is also famous for its braised tapah fish noodle soup with preserved vegetable for a bit of tang.
From the coffee shop, the floating temple of Sebauh is clearly visible. Known as Natok Kon Sebauh, the temple sits on an island across the town and is the only one of its kind in Sarawak. It houses three deities believed to have immense powers and will aid those in need. You can get there by boat for a small price.
According to one version of several legends on the temple’s origins, told to us by Penghulu Lee Lei Seng of Sebauh, three fishermen (Haji Salleh, Tuanku Silai and Mohammad Su) went fishing at Kuala Sebauh. While eating on their boat, a couple of fish jumped out of the water and onto Haji Salleh’s plate. The other two men found this hilarious and laughed. When a gecko landed on the same plate, they laughed even harder and would not stop even after Haji Salleh told them to, until eventually their boat sank. About six months after the incident, an island appeared where the incident took place and three deities could be seen on the island on a moonlit night. The temple was built on the island for the deities said to be the three fishermen. And the island was said to have floated from its original location along the Kemena River to its current place, and aligns with a small mound just across the river at the town.
Sebauh is definitely worth a visit when you’re in Bintulu. Besides the delicious Mi Udang and the temple with an interesting story behind it, Sebauh is also visited for its fresh prawns sold at the market by the river and nearby longhouses where visitors can spend the night.
For more information, please contact Bintulu resident office:
1st Floor, Wisma Residen,
Jalan Pisang Keling, Off Jalan Tun Razak,
97000 Bintulu, Sarawak.
T: +6086 331 758 / 334 425
F: +6086 337 043 / 336 620
E: [email protected]