Sarikei is less known as a tourist hotspot, but this quaint little town is one of the places you should check out if you plan on exploring the central region of Sarawak. Located on the banks of Rajang River, Sarikei is a riverside town located 416km away from Kuching city.
Nicknamed the Fruit Basket of Sarawak, Sarikei is extremely famous for its sweet pineapples! Also, did you know that 80% of Sarawak’s world-famous pepper is produced in Sarikei? So, if you’re a fan of pineapple and pepper, it’s best to include Sarikei in your #RaonRaonSarawak bucket list!
photo source: yourapplewiki
photo source: [email protected]
The population of Sarikei consists mainly Iban, Malay, Chinese and Melanau.
Famed for being an agro-based region, Sarikei is Sarawak’s main hub for producing pineapple, rambutan, watermelon and many other fruits.
Now that you have a brief idea about Sarikei, let’s check out on what are the top things to do in this riverside town!
Sarikei Central Market
Of course, as the Fruit Basket of Sarawak, a visit to the Central Market in Sarikei goes without saying really.
Located just next to the Police Station, Sarikei Central Market is a fascinating place to visit. With over 400 stalls selling all sorts of vegetables, fruits, jungle produce, crafts and wares, this central market offer visitors a unique shopping opportunity.
You will also be able to mix and mingle with the locals, maybe have a little taste at what they’re selling. Yum!
Opening hours: 7am-1pm
Stay at longhouse
There are several Iban longhouse homestay options that you can consider when staying in Sarikei. One of them is Rumah Nyuka.
Rumah Nyuka, at Ulu Bayong, 30 minutes away from Sarikei, is a well-preserved longhouse made entirely out of belian (ironwood). This longhouse has more than 300 residents of 45 families, so you can expect it to be a very happening longhouse.
The best time to come here if from November to December, where you can go dabai collecting, known as the local olives. At the same time, you can combine this ecperience with trekking into the forest and swimming at the waterfalls within the longhouse vicinity.
Among the waterfalls that you can trek to from Rumah Nyuka are:
- Waterfall Sg Ulu Kuap: Level 1 / 45 minutes walk
- Waterfall Sg pau: Level 2 / 30 minutes walk
- Waterfall Sg Ruan: Level 2 / 30 minutes walk
- Waterfall Sg Munsoh: Level 3 / 1 hour walk
Contact: +60 111 403 6566 (Akun Ikau)
Reserve here (RM30/night).
Savour unique grubs
There are good grubs that are unique to Sarikei only. But the top contender goes to Sarikei Charcoal Toast Bun served at Aik Seng Café. This burnt toast has been the locals’ breakfast favourite for almost a decade ago.
Besides that, another must-try is Jakar King prawn tom yam noodle, served in coconut shell.
Tumpik is a good one to try as well and is often referred to as the locals’ pizza. A melanau delicacy, tumpik is made from sago flour and coconut flakes. Most revered tumpik is the one in Bintangor, just 30 minutes’ drive away from Sarikei. You have to try it because it’s not available elsewhere!
Tumpik stall: Gerai Abang Saini, Jalan Teo Kin Ngo, Pusat Penjaja Bintangor, Gerai No 15, 96507 Sarikei, Sarawak
Experience Pesta Nanas
Ideally, the best time to visit Sarikei is when Sarikei Pineapple and Fruits Festival (Pesta Nanas in Malay) is held. Annually held in November, this festival is the most happening event in town.
During this event, you will be able to sample the various species of pineapples grown in the area. Other fruits that are also sold during this event are citrus fruits, and dabai (local olives).
Usually, there will be cooking competitions among the local agricultural alongside live entertainment during this festival.
Visit Sarikei Express Terminal & the famous Pineapple statue
If you’ve been to a lot of places in Sarawak, you’ll bound to stop by jetties. It’s not really a surprise because Sarawak is a state that is highly dependent on river transportation. So, while you’re in Sarikei, head on to the waterfront and check out Sarikei Express Terminal.
photo source: sarawakdotcom
Sarikei Express Terminal is the gateway to Rajang and Belawai, the interiors of this region. Nearby the wharf is a giant pineapple statue – a hot spot for your next #RaonRaonSarawak photo.
Otherwise, just observing the native people travelling from boats to land and vice versa, is a unique insight to see.