Sibu, Gateway to Batang Rejang

Trip Start Mar 27, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Where I stayed
Li Hua Hotel
What I did
Tua Pek Kong Temple and Goddess of Mercy Pagoda

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Saturday, October 6, 2012

A driver from the park offered his services as a taxi (for a fee) and drove us back to Niah Junction, where we waited for the Express Bus that travels from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching.  This time we decided we would stop at Sibu and we are going to see how far up the river, Batang Rejang. we can travel.

The trip from Niah Junction to Sibu was around six hours.  The road continues to be very ordinary indeed, very bumpy.  I can understand why the locals are so unimpressed with the government in mainland Malaysia, as the roads over there are very good.   Poor old Sarawak and Sabah have only a single lane main highway for most of the distance around the entire coast. Given this is the main mode of transport for goods (except where they use boat), the highway gets a fair workout by trucks and buses.    Either side of Bintulu (a rather large town) there was dual highway, but it didn't last long and we were back to bumping along.

As we travelled down the road, we noticed that most large enterprises were involved in logging, woodchipping, or palm oil plantations   There have been huge swathes of rainforest removed and replaced with palm plantations.  It does provide work opportunities for the locals, but there appears to be great concern in Borneo that there is far too much foreign investment and profits do not remain in the country.  Not sure if that's correct or not, but it is certainly the view of many locals. 

Sibu seems to be a fairly large town too, not that we intend to spend too much time here.   We drove into the long-distance bus station and hopped into a local bus (much to the pleasure of the local bus driver who was very welcoming) and drove into the town.    We headed off for our hotel, which I had found in Lonely Planet.    Much to our surprise, we have a very nice hotel, and for only 75 ringets (about $A25) we have a lovely room and satellite TV (hoorah, catch up with the news and see some English speaking movies) and hot water (no hot water at Niah National Park)

Well, the happiness with our hotel was rather short-lived.  Unfortunately, there are kareoke bars either side of the hotel and the 'entertainment'(?) goes on until about 2.00am in the morning.  Not so good.  However, everything else is good.  The view from the hotel is good and it is very cental.

Tomorow we are heading for Kapit.

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