In between Sibu and Miri, you will find Bintulu a laid-back industrial town famed for producing most of Malaysia’s Liquiefied Natural Gas (LNG) supply. But that’s not all there is to Bintulu, because there are so much more to discover across this beautiful coastal town.
HERE ARE THINGS TO DO ON YOUR FIRST TRIP TO BINTULU:
Stroll at Tanjung Batu Beach
Wherever you go, there is always that must-visit beach in the itinerary. In this case, it is Tanjung Batu Beach. The white sandy beach with clear waters makes it a perfect spot for a quick jog or a quiet evening stroll. Once you’re done walking around, it’s time to quench your thirst and fill your appetite with a bowl of ABC (local shaven ice dessert) and rojak (fruit and vegetable salad) while enjoying the breath-taking Bintulu sunset.
Greet Flora and Fauna Natives of Taman Tumbina
Just 5-minute walk from Tanjung Batu Beach is Taman Tumbina, Bintulu’s very own mini zoo and a botanical garden that spreads over 57 hectares of hilly terrain overlooking South China Sea. In here, you will find all kinds of animals and plants such as orchids, Greater Flamingoes, sun bears, civets and cacti. The park opens from 9:00 am till 4:30pm daily.
Fun fact: The name tumbina is actually a combination of two words which are tumbuhan (plants in Malay) and binatang (animals in Malay).
Sample Local Dishes and Street Food
Besides the usual Laksa Sarawak or Kolo Mee, why not sample Mee Tomato, a favourite dish amongst the locals famed for it springing crispy noodles. You can find Mee Tomato in a lot of food joints in Bintulu from local cafes to food courts.
Talking about delicious street food, Bintulu Night Market has it all from pulut panggang (grilled glutinous rice), BBQ chicken wings or siew mai (pork dumplings). When in season, expect an array of local fruits such as durian and dabai sold here. The best thing about this night market is that it opens every night so no matter what day you’re in Bintulu, you’ll have a chance to drop by. The night market is located at Shahida Commercial Centre.
Go On an Adventure at Similajau National Park
Similajau National Park has lots to offer for nature lovers from dolphin spotting to crocodile watching. There are several trekking trails that you can do if you’re feeling adventurous. Follow along the main trail with red paint markings to reach the beautiful unspoilt beaches set in bays Turtle Beach 1 and Turtle Beach 2. Just imagine relaxing at these deserted beaches, glorious!
There are no public transport services from Bintulu to Similajau as it is 40 minutes away from the town. Arrange your transportation earlier using local taxis, Grab or tour operators for your convenience.
Learn How Belacan is Made at Jepak Village
Get a glimpse into the olden days of Bintulu by heading over to Jepak Village. At this Melanau fishing village, you will get to witness their unique and simple lifestyle through the making process of sago, terendak (headgear of the Melanau people), cencaluk (salted krill) and the Bintulu’s famed belacan (fermented shrimp paste).
Accessible by cars, we recommend heading there with penambang (water taxi) from Bintulu Jetty in town for that much added experience.
Hunt for great bargains at Pasar Tamu & Pasar Utama
These two local markets are located adjacent to one another and are easy to spot at with their iconic cone-shaped roof reflecting the terendak. If you’re thinking on stocking up some belacan to bring home, you’re in the correct venue! There is absolutely anything you can possibly want here, from dry to wet produce including Pua Kumbu textiles and woven palm bags which some are not even available in stores. For the daring ones, try grubbing on sago worms, something that is only found in Sarawak.
Join in The Fun During Borneo International Kite Festival (BIKF)
Every year, kite fliers from all over the globe will come to Bintulu to showcase their magnificent kites during the week-long BIKF programme during the last week of September. Touted as one of the best things to do in Bintulu, BIKF is a lively spectacle as you will see kites of different colours, shapes and sizes soaring high up in the air at Old Bintulu Airport. You can even fly your own kite and join kite-making workshops during this event.
Visit Council Negeri Memorial Bintulu
Did you know that The First State’s Legislative Assembly Meeting was held in Bintulu on 8th September 1867? To commemorate this historical meeting, the golden tower of Council Negeri Memorial was built, marking the place of the first meeting between second White Rajah of Sarawak Charles Brooke, 5 British officers and 16 native chieftains. However, it was not till 100 years later that this golden clock tower was erected. Now that you know the history of this place, be sure to visit and strike a pose at the birthplace of Sarawak Legislative Council for that trip’s memory!
Tour Spiritual Sites around Bintulu
Every location has its own customs and spiritual practice that is interesting to learn about. Two of the most famous spiritual sites in Bintulu are Tua Pek Kong and Assyakirin Mosque.
Since 1890s, the Tua Pek Kong in Main Bazaar Road has been a popular Buddhist worship place in Sarawak since 1890s. It has been rebuilt and survived turbulent times especially during Second World War where parts of Old Bintulu were destroyed by bombs and fire engulf. It is a must to stop by this well-known Buddhist temple in Bintulu because it is just impressively structured with dragon motifs and intricately designed roof.
Another famous house of worship in Bintulu is Assyakirin Mosque. Assyakirin means gratefulness in Arabic. Designed with man-made cascading waterfall, beautiful garden landscape, visitors will feel an air of tranquillity surrounded by this environment.