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The Melanau Heartland

It is well known in Mukah, and other places in the vicinity, that the women close their doors and will not receive their husbands unless they procure fish.

−Rajah Charles Brooke : Ten Years In Sarawak

Tour Details

Central Sarawak is the location of Malaysia’s longest river, the mighty Rejang. This tour goes off the beaten track, using both land and water transport to explore the Lower Rejang and other inland waterways, visiting the riverine town of Sibu and ending in Mukah, the heartland of the Melanau people. The tour is offered ex Sibu. Guests who wish to experience the express boat journey from Kuching and the rural countryside from Sarikei to Sibu, or spend a day with an Iban longhouse community, should select the extensions shown below.

Tour Itinerary - 2 Days 1 Night (Ex Sibu)

Day 1 – Sibu  Kut Canal  Dalat  Kampung Tellian (Mukah) (L D): Pick up at your Sibu hotel after breakfast. Take a stroll along Malaysia’s longest and widest river at the Rajang Esplanade, visiting the Tua Pek Kong Temple and its stunning Seven Storey Pagoda, then visit the biggest Central Market in Malaysia with over 1,200 stalls selling a huge variety of produce and commodities, some found only in Sibu. We then proceed to Dalat via speedboat (2 hrs approx), cruising through the mighty Rajang & Igan Rivers, passing by Malay villages, shipyards, timber & sago processing factories, Iban longhouses and Melanau villages. We turn into the Sungai Kut, an ancient hand-dug canal connecting two major river systems, and stop in a traditional Melanau village to stretch our legs and enjoy the atmosphere of this serene and peaceful place.

We continue along the Sungai Kut for 15 minutes, fringed by rainforest and mangroves, to arrive at the small fishing port of Dalat. At Dalat we visit the Church by the River with its remarkable altar piece, made from a traditional burial pole or jerunei, and view another impressive burial pole at the Jerunei Garden. After a short drive to Kampung Tellian, a water village near the town of Mukah, we arrive at Lamin Dana. An authentic replica of a traditional Melanau Tall House, Lamin Dana is both a Melanau cultural centre and a comfortable homestay. Take a brief walk around the water village and watch the traditional boat builders at work. Enjoy an exotic Melanau Dinner while watching fireflies amongst the trees. Overnight in Lamin Dana (Note: shared bath).

Day 2 – The Melanau Way of Life – Mukah – Departure (B L): After breakfast, take a boat ride along the Tellian and Misan Rivers to visit the local sago processing centre, which continues to produce sago pearls by hand the traditional way. We then cruise along the Mukah River to Mukah Market, where we can try local delicacies such as Siet (sago worms, not compulsory), Umai (a fresh raw fish salad) and Tebaloi (delicious sago crackers). Return to Lamin Dana for a traditional Melanau lunch before proceeding to Mukah Airport for the flight to Kuching (13.15 hrs) or Miri (14.20 hrs). Note: Guests may also return to Sibu by road or boat for a modest surcharge – please notify us in advance.

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Please quote Product Code ISW-006-21

Tour Itinerary - 4 Days 3 Nights (Ex Lemanak or Batang Ai)

Day 1 – Lemanak or Batang Ai – Sarikei – Sibu (L) : Pick up from Lemanak or Batang Ai Jetty.  Proceed to Sibu, making a rest stop at Betong junction. On the way, stop for lunch at Sarikei at the mouth of the Rejang. Sarikei is the  food basket of Sarawak, famous for its pineapples and its pepper. After lunch we will have a short walking tour around the waterfront area of the town, visiting some old Chinese shophouses and getting a feel for the local produce trading activities. En route by bus or van to Sibu we will make a few stops along the way, to sample some local fruits such as Bintangor’s famous green oranges, sweet Sarikei pineapples, bananas and dragon fruit. On arrival in Sibu, we check into our hotel to rest and clean up after the journey. In the evening we take a walking tour to Sibu Night Market, the largest in Sarawak, which offers a great variety of local street food and fresh produce.

Day 2 – Sibu  Kut Canal  Dalat  Kampung Tellian (Mukah) (B L D): Pick up at your Sibu hotel after breakfast. Take a stroll along Malaysia’s longest and widest river at the Rajang Esplanade, visiting the Tua Pek Kong Temple and its stunning Seven Storey Pagoda, then visit the biggest Central Market in Malaysia with over 1,200 stalls selling a huge variety of produce and commodities, some found only in Sibu. We then proceed to Dalat via speedboat (2 hrs approx), cruising through the mighty Rajang & Igan Rivers, passing by Malay villages, shipyards, timber & sago processing factories, Iban longhouses and Melanau villages. We turn into the Sungai Kut, an ancient hand-dug canal connecting two major river systems, and stop in a traditional Melanau village to stretch our legs and enjoy the atmosphere of this serene and peaceful place.

We continue along the Sungai Kut for 15 minutes, fringed by rainforest and mangroves, to arrive at the small fishing port of Dalat. At Dalat we visit the Church by the River with its remarkable altar piece, made from a traditional burial pole or jerunei, and view another impressive burial pole at the Jerunei Garden. After a short drive to Kampung Tellian, a water village near the town of Mukah, we arrive at Lamin Dana. An authentic replica of a traditional Melanau Tall House, Lamin Dana is both a Melanau cultural centre and a comfortable homestay. Take a brief walk around the water village and watch the traditional boat builders at work. Enjoy an exotic Melanau Dinner while watching fireflies amongst the trees. Overnight in Lamin Dana (Note: shared bath).

Day 3 – The Melanau Way of Life – Mukah – MangroveTrails – Lamin Dana (B L D): After breakfast, take a boat ride along the Tellian and Misan Rivers to visit the local sago processing centre, which continues to produce sago pearls by hand the traditional way. We then cruise along the Mukah River to Mukah Market, where we can try local delicacies such as Siet (sago worms, not compulsory), Umai (a fresh raw fish salad) and Tebaloi (delicious sago crackers). Proceed to the mangrove trails opposite Mukah Fish Market. You might see some mangrove flora & fauna, monitor lizards, monkeys and tree climbing crabs depending on weather condition and water level. Return to Lamin Dana for a traditional Melanau lunch. Visit Lamin Dana Handicraft Centre, learn and understand about Melanau handicrafts and how important the Sago palm is to the Melanau people. Sunset rendezvous at the Pesta Kaul site near the beach. Dinner, then enjoy watching fireflies among the trees at Lamin Dana (weather permitting). Overnight at Lamin Dana.

Day 4 – Lamin Dana – Departure (B): After breakfast, enjoy a walk through the nearby village to witness the mystical hollow burial pole, the Jerunei, up close and personal. Free at own leisure until transfer to Mukah Airport for the flight to Kuching (13.15 hrs) or Miri (14.20 hrs). Note: Guests may also return to Sibu by road or boat for a modest surcharge – please notify us in advance.

Book Now !

Please quote Product Code ISW-006-43

Optional Pre-tour Extension - Express Boat from Kuching

Pick up from your Kuching hotel and drive to the Express Boat Wharf to board the scheduled express boat to Sarikei (3 hrs). Meet and greet at Sarikei wharf, followed by lunch in a local restaurant. Sarikei, at the mouth of the Rejang, is the  food basket of Sarawak, famous for its pineapples and its pepper. After lunch we will have a short walking tour around the waterfront area of the town, visiting some old Chinese shophouses and getting a feel for the local produce trading activities. En route by bus or van to Sibu we will make a few stops along the way, to sample some local fruits such as Bintangor’s famous green oranges, sweet Sarikei pineapples, bananas and dragon fruit. On arrival in Sibu, we check into our hotel to rest and clean up after the journey. In the evening we take a walking tour to Sibu Night Market, the largest in Sarawak, which offers a great variety of local street food and fresh produce. Lunch included.

Optional Pre-tour Extension - Bawang Assan Iban Longhouses

Bawang Assan is an Iban settlement of 9 longhouses dating from the 18th Century, about 40 minutes from Sibu. It is particularly appealing to visitors for two reasons; firstly the longhouses range from the very traditional to the quite modern, so visitors can get a good idea of how longhouses have evolved to keep pace with the times; and secondly, many of the older inhabitants can speak excellent English and are therefore superb interpreters of their culture. After breakfast we proceed to Sibu Central Market to buy fresh ingredients for lunch. We then drive to Bawang Assan and explore the longhouses while our hosts prepare a delicious traditional meal. After lunch we accompany the locals in their daily activities, such as padi planting and fishing, or learn about Iban culture first hand from the inhabitants. In the evening return to Sibu for dinner in a riverside seafood restaurant. Overnight in Sibu. Lunch & dinner included

What's Included in the Price?

The tour price is based on a minimum of 4 (four) persons travelling together on a twin-sharing basis unless otherwise indicated. Accommodation in Sibu is a 3-star city hotel (4D/3N only). Please enquire for detailed pricing, extensions, 1-3 person rates and large group rates. Check the small print for our terms and conditions.

Tour Price Includes:

  • Accommodation  as indicated
  • Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • All transfers from Sibu or Batang Ai/Lemanak until drop off at Mukah Airport
  • English/Malay-speaking tour guide

Tour Price Does Not Include:

  • Air fares
  • Tipping for guides, drivers and boatmen
  • Alcoholic beverages 
  • Any items not described in itinerary

Note: Weather conditions and the water level may force our guides to modify the tour in the interests of safety. No refunds will be offered for any tour or extension sold.

Payment Methods

International Payment Methods:

  • 5% surcharge for payment by PayPal, Visa and Mastercard – we will email you a PayPal invoice that you can use to pay either from your PayPal account or by Visa or Mastercard.
  • Telegraphic Transfer – TT (bank wire) in Malaysian Ringgit to our bank account. You are responsible for all originating bank charges. 

 Domestic Payment Methods (for Malaysian customers and overseas customers already in Malaysia)

  • 5% surcharge for payment by PayPal, Visa and Mastercard – we will email you a PayPal invoice that you can use to pay either from your PayPal account or by Visa or Mastercard.
  • Online transfer to our bank account. 
  • Cash deposit to our bank account at any Maybank Counter/Cash Deposit Machine. 
  • By cheque (Malaysian cheques only, payable to “Suntravel Sdn Bhd”) at any Maybank Counter or Cheque Deposit Machine or by mail to the address shown on the page footer (please allow up to 7 days for clearance). 
  • By cash in person at our Kuching office. 

Bank Details 

  • Bank:  Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank)
  • Branch:  Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Account No:  011 038 810 818
  • Account Name:  Suntravel Sdn Bhd
  • SWIFT Code (for telegraphic transfers):  MBBEMYKL

Notes 

  • When you deposit to our bank account via cash or cheque, please ensure that you retain the deposit slip and email the scanned image to sun@suntravelborneo.com as proof of payment.
  • If using online transfer, please state your name and invoice number in the comments area.
  • If paying by telegraphic transfer, please note that Malaysian banks do not use IBAN codes. Please ensure you include the SWIFT code.

Hints & Tips

  • Mosquito nets are supplied at Lamin Dana. However, you should cover up or apply mosquito repellent to prevent getting bitten in the evenings.
  • It is extremely impolite to refuse any food or drink by waving it away. If you are full or don’t like the look of something, just touch the offered plate or glass with your fingers.
  • Please don’t give any money, sweets or gifts to children. Anything you may wish to donate should be passed to the village chief for equal distribution amongst all families. Your guide will advise.
  • Please carry small change and low value notes to buy drinks and souvenirs.
  • If you are vegetarian/vegan or have any food allergies, please let us know when you book so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Discover Central Sarawak's unique waterways and riverine communities on 2 to 4-day tours

Photo Credits

All photos on this page were taken in Central Sarawak and are a fair representation of what you may expect to see. All images © Sarawak Tourism Board.

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