Located three hours drive (193km) away from Kuching, on the Batang Lupar is Sri Aman. For the majority, it is known as the popular stop to Batang Ai national Park, and the famous tidal bore festival.
However, beyond all these hotspots, there are several unique attractions that will open your eyes and appreciate your travels to Sri Aman better!
About Sri Aman
Formerly known as Simanggang, Sri Aman was established in 1849 as a fort and administrative centre for Rajah Brooke rule. Now, the town and its division is a trade centre and exporter for timber, oil palm rubber, pepper and agricultural products.
Predominantly, the residents of Sri Aman are Iban, living harmoniously with a mix of ethnic communities such as Malay, Chinese and other ethnic groups.
Now that you’ve learnt a bit about Sri Aman, let’s check out on what are the top things to do here!
Climb up Mount Hosanna Chapel
On the way to Sri Aman, you will notice a hilltop building resembling a white castle. That very building is Mount Hosanna Chapel, one of the most iconic worship places in Sarawak. It is also reachable with a 185 steps up.
This chapel is a popular pilgrimage site for Christians, especially from West Malaysia whenever visiting Sarawak.
Experience Pesta Benak, Sri Aman
The most prime time to visit Sri Aman is when Pesta Benak (Tidal Bore in Malay) is happening.
First started in 1998, Pesta Benak is the signature event of this town where it will take place at the town’s riverfront. Basically, this fiesta happens during the time where the tidal bore phenomenon on Batang Lupar is at its highest, creating a series of waves travelling inland.
Ranked as one of the ‘top 10 tidal bore in the world’, it is a must for you to experience this phenomenon at least once in real life. And enjoy the fun where locals take part in longboat paddling competitions, surfing and all types of water sports!
Escape to Batang Ai National Park
It doesn’t come as a surprise anymore that Batang Ai is a worthwhile gem to explore in Sarawak. But did you know that Batang Ai is the home to many orang utan populations in Borneo? So if you’re a fan of this wildlife species, this is the place to be.
Besides orang utan, you can enjoy ecotourism activities like trekking into the jungle and live with the local Iban people.
Related reading: Must see animals of Sarawak
This natural beauty lies about 15km upriver from Batang Ai Lake. Hence, the first thing that you have to do when you come here is to enjoy the welcoming boat ride to the fullest. Absolutely peaceful!
For overnight stays at Batang Ai, you can opt for the traditional longhouses nearby or at Aiman Batang Ai Resort and Retreat (1 hour and 30 minutes boat ride from Park HQ).
Check out the legendary Batu Nabau Lubok Antu
There is one rock that you must visit in Sri Aman. And that particular rock is called Batu Nabau. So what does nabau means? Derived from the Iban language, Nabau means a great phyton in Iban language.
Shaped exactly like a snake, legends have it that Nabau rock was once a snake before it turned into a stone. At one glance, if you didn’t know that it was a rock, you’d be frightened and think that it was a phyton sleeping—yikes!
So, if you love folklores, or just discovering legends, make sure to add Batu Nabau to your #RaonRaonSarawak Sri Aman Bucket List!
Learn about Sri Aman’s history at Fort Alice
If you are a history buff, or just want a deeper understanding of Sri Aman when it was known as Simanggang, stop by Fort Alice, situated right in the heart of town town.
This ironwood-made fort was built way way back, as the British’s defence centre against the Iban headhunters under Rentap’s charge. Now, this more than 150 years old fort has been refurbished into Sri Aman Heritage Museum.
You can learn about how Sri Aman came about from Simanggang, and see an exciting collection of exhibits like crocodile effigies, antique British war canons and Iban war boats.
Opening hours: 9:00am-4:45pm (Tuesday-Friday); 10:00am – 4:00pm (weekends)
Savour on the local food in Sri Aman
We can’t forget the local food here!
Among the dishes that you must try are Sungai Tenggang’s famous Pak Lo Duck, and Fah Lok Café’s Satay Mee.
Another interesting fact is the chai kueh (vegetable dumplings) sold in Sri Aman is triangle-shaped, instead of the usual moon shape where chai kueh can be found in other parts of Sarawak.
Discover Gunung Lesong National Park
While most travellers visit Sri Aman because Batang Ai National Park, there is also the more secluded Gunung Lesong National Park.
This is a 595-hectare park with trails leading to waterfalls and bathing pools to dip into. The most attractive waterfall here is Wong jampang, where it is complemented with several bathing pools.
The trek to the summit is quite steep, so only hike if you are a seasoned hiker, and have a strong stamina.
As a forest that is considered sacred by the Iban people, it is advised that you come into the forest with respect.
Overnight stay is available at the Iban longhouse at the nearby Munggu Sawa village. Contact the longhouse headman prior to your visit at +60 19 4592 1540.
This national park is only reachable via a 4×4 transportation. Contact Sarawak Forestry (+60 82 248 088) for more information.