In the central area of Sarawak along the Rajang River the town of Sibu forms an entry to a wonderful part of Borneo as tourists visit Sibu for the longhouses and many Chinese cultural attractions. The town has a population of over 265,000 and can be reached from Kuching by plane (40 minutes), bus (half a day) or by boat which will take around 5,5 hours. The last option is a wonderful adventure and great experience. With the Kuching-Sibu Express you will cross the Chinese sea and the Batang Rajang River, Borneo's biggest river, with a speedboat, bringing you from Kuching to Sibu for only RM35. 2009 was declared as 'Visit Sibu Year 2009' to boost tourism industry in the central region as Sibu was lacking behind a bit compared to popular tourist spots like Kuching and Miri.
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Attractions in and around Sibu
Sibu is the main tourist gateway to many Iban and Orang Ulu longhouses. Some of the interesting villages in the center of Sarawak are Kanowit, Song and Kapit. The villages can be reached from Sibu by express boats from the Sibu Express Wharf Terminal. A trip to the Sibu area is incomplete without taking the opportunity to visit a longhouse to experience the many traditional customs of the Iban. Upon arrival to longhouse, the Ibans will usually welcome their guests with traditional rice wine. Visitors may try their hands at shooting with a blowpipe, weaving a Pua Kumbu, feasting on traditional Iban pastries such as Chuan and Sarang Semut, enjoy and experience the longhouse environment and the scenery of vast paddy field and the rajang river.
Popular attractions in or around the town of Sibu are the Sibu Night Market (7-11pm), where you can buy clothing, souvenirs and many other products. The Sibu Central Market is the biggest indoor market in Malaysia; it is home to thousands of stalls selling everything imaginable. Other interesting sights and attractions are: the Sungai Merah Heritage Walk, the Tua Pek Kong Temple, the Sibu Gateway, Gu Tian Gardens, Hoover Memorial Garden, Bukit Lima Forest Park, Forestry Recreation Park, Bukit Aup Jubilee Park and the Sibu Heritage Centre.
Shopping in Sibu
You will probably not visit Sibu for the shopping possibilities; but should you want to do some minor shopping the following malls are worth a visit: Wisma Sanyan, Sarawak House, Medan Mall, Kin Orient Plaza, Farley Departmental Store, Sing Kwong, Delta Mall and the Star Mega Mall (which is still being finalized).
How to get to Sibu
The most popular way to get to Sibu is by air as there are numerous daily flights from Kuala Lumpur. Two airlines operate on this route; Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia. Malaysia Airlines departs from KLIA (domestic) and AirAsia departs from LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal). Sibu can also be reached from Johor Bahru on Peninsular Malaysia; and from Kuching in Sarawak. Sibu Airport is an old airport. One of the big current projects in Sibu is a RM150 million revamp of the airport; which should be completed in early 2013.
Sibu can be reached from Kuching by plane, bus or by boat. Sibu can be reached from Miri by highway (though it is a 650km long drive). As a stopover you could sleep in a hotel in the town of Bintulu. Those who love self-drive holidays could also rent a car in Kuching and drive to Miri via Sibu themselves. It is even possible to travel through Brunei to Sabah/Kota Kinabalu. Close to Bintulu is the beautiful Similajau National Park, a park that only few tourists visit, and because of this; it usually is not that crowded.
Sibu has two bus stations. The short distance bus terminal is located near the Sibu Express Wharf Terminal and is used to travel within Sibu town and other local regions of Sarawak. The long distance bus terminal nearby SMK Deshon is for travel from Sibu to Kuching, Bintulu, and Miri through the Pan Borneo Highway.
Popular restaurants in Sibu
Popular hawker centers in Sibu are: Taman Muhibbah Food Court, Farley Food Court, Taman Harmoni Food Court and the Taman Muhibbah Food Court.
Popular hotels in Sibu
Below a list with some of the better hotels in and directly around Sibu (view all hotels here in a new page).
Map of Sibu
Below you can see a map of Sibu. You can simply scroll through the map with your mouse. Use the markers on the left to zoom in or out of the city map.