History Of Sibu

By:

Sibu & Central Sarawak

 

Sibu was once a wild frontier that was given to Sir James Brooke as a 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. 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. Sibu comes from the local fruit ‘sibau’ which is a small, sour and wild-version of the sweet fleshy rambutan. Though the Melanaus were the first inhabitants of the area, it is now mainly influenced by Chinese as the early Chinese settlers made their home here encouraged by the first White Rajah.

 

Sibu today is Sarawak’s third and largest district, predominantly a Chinese town and 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.  Here you will get to see fish markets overflowing with freshwater fishes which will find its way to dining restaurants in
Hong Kong. Sibu boasts Malaysia’s longest river, Batang Rajang, at 563 km, and a great starting point for trips up to smaller towns, Kapit and Belaga. This could then lead you on to jungle treks to Kayan longhouses.

 

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.

 

Sibu’s most striking landmark is the seven storey high pagoda in its Chinatown District, and also home to cheap hotels, hawker stalls and wet markets. There’s little for visitors to do here in Sibu, though you’ll want to check out their most busy and bustling pasar malam or night market and the small museum narrating on the Chinese and the ethnic communities. Within 30 minutes drive from Sibu, you’ll get into the much remoted part of Sarawak, Bintulu. However, it’s much known as Sarawak’s fastest growing industrial area. Bintulu boasts the beautiful Similajau National Park, where you’ll get to see its long, unspoiled sandy beaches, broken only by rocky headlands and freshwater streams. The park offers visitors a range of activities such as trekking, bird watching, river and coastal cruises. 

 

Click here to read more about attractions in Sibu

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