|Sibu Fort, which was built by Rajah Brooke
in 1862, and once located at Race Course Road, no longer exists
Step into Sibu and you are stepping into
what was once wild frontier that was given to Sir James Brooke as reward for
taming the rebellion for the Brunei Sultanate, who ruled the land then. He
became the first ‘White Rajah’ and began his administrative seat from Fort
Brooke in Sibu, in 1862. As interesting as its history, the name Sibu comes
from the local fruit ‘sibau’ – a small, sour and wild-version of the sweet
While the Melanaus were the first
inhabitants of the area, it is now steeped in Chinese influence, as the Chinese
settlers began to make their home here encouraged by the first White Rajah.
Although the city was razed to the ground
twice – once in 1889 and again in 1928, the spirit of the people survived. They
rebuilt the town, this time with bricks and mortar and lots of determination,
to become a thriving town.
Enviable located in the heart of Sarawak, Sibu is a holiday destination
for culture, adventure and nature. You can shop, dine, go bargain hunting or
for a little more excitement, take a ride in fast passenger ferries to remote
areas where the locals live right next to the jungle inhabited by exotic
animals or simply enchanted by the lure of Sibu.
As you journey upriver from Sibu, Chinese
shop houses soon give way to Iban longhouses. This exciting journey will take
you on to the Pelagus Rapids where Iban culture quietly merge into that of the
Orang Ulu with isolated settlements of Punan Bah, Kajang, Kayan, Kenyah,
Bukitan, Lahanan, Ukit and Penan people.
A visit to Sibu has to include:-
- Lembangan Market. Perhaps the most
vibrant night market in the state, the Lembangan Market is the place to get a
real taste of Sarawak. With its 700
stalls located along the Lembangan River between Mission Road and Channel Road,
it is used by the locals, upriver villagers and longhouse dwellers. It is a
great place to try all kinds of local delicacies and sweets and to experience
what the local livelihoods are like. The vendors even sell a fascinating range
of jungle produce, including flying foxes, squirrels, snakes, turtles, snails,
edible jungle fruits and ferns. Not only that, the vendors also sells a variety
of garments, toys, electrical goods and foodstuff at a price anyone can afford.
If at night, the atmosphere is thick with a carnival-like feeling.
- Sibu Civic Centre Museum. The museum,
which serves as Sibu's municipal museum, has a rich collection of white
ceramics dated back to the 10th to the 12th centuries. Well-known local figures
and tycoons contributed most to these collections. Among the interesting
exhibits is a three-metre long spear with a gigantic blade used by the
legendary rebel leader Sherif Masyahor, who fought against the British colonial
masters. There are also photographs depicting the town's past when it was just
a fishing village, as well as those on the timber industry, the main
contributor to Sibu's rapid growth in the early 1970s.
- Rejang Esplanade. An ideal place to
relax or take an evening stroll, the Esplanade was completed in 1987, using
reclaimed land along the riverfront. It is frequently used for cultural
performances and public events.
- Seven-Storey Pagoda. The seven-storey pagoda
is said to be more beautiful than its counterparts in South-East Asia, and even
Taiwan. The pagoda offers panoramic views of Sibu town. It is situated next to
the century-old Tua Pek Kong Temple.
- Bukit Aup Jubilee Park. The park, opened
in March 1993, is located about 12 km from Sibu town. This is a special place
for Sibu people to relax and keep away from the hectic town life. Sibu people
used to come here for picnics and family outing. Barbeque stands are available
for visitors to cook their delicious meal. It is a clean place. Visitors are
advised to up keep the cleanliness of the park.
- Forestry Recreation Park. The Forestry
Recreation Park covers 200 hectares of land at 18.5 km Ulu Oya Road. Managed by
the Forestry Department, the park serves as the centre for carrying out
research into soil and plants, particularly the mixed dipterocarp species such
as Belian, Engkabang, Alan and Bintangor. A section of the park is open to the
public. The park's facilities include a camping site, a 30-metre watch-tower, a
cattle and deer farm, and a huge fish pond. A major attraction to be included
soon is a butterfly farm.
- Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is
Sibu's central business and entertainment district. It is filled with hundreds
of shops, many restaurants, several hotels and the multi-storey Sarawak House shopping complex. It is a
haven for shoppers, especially during public holidays and festive seasons.
- Iban Longhouse. A trip to the Sibu area
is incomplete without taking the opportunity to visit an Iban longhouse.
Although the Ibans in the Sibu area are modern people who have fully embraced
the 21st century, they still practise many traditional customs and retain their
adat or traditional law. The Ibans
are a warm and hospitable people, and this hospitality, coupled with their rich
and colourful customs and traditions, can be a memorable experience.