Similajau National Park

by Audrey Lim, Dec 11, 2001 | Destinations: Malaysia / Sarawak

Situated in Bintulu, the Similajau National Park is made up of a total area of approximately 7,067 hectares. This large haven, having been gazetted in the year 1978, is a lovely place that is rich and abundance in flora and fauna. It also has unique geological characteristics such as fast flowing streams and rapids with a refreshing and peaceful jungle as backdrop. If you noticed a ruby red tinge in the water of these streams, well, it is actually the stains from tannin acid from peat swamp. This actually adds to the attractiveness of the streams. On a whole, the park is made up of mixed vegetation including the common dipterocarp. The diversity of the flora in turn is able to support a wide range of wildlife as will be explained below.

If you are planning a trip to Similajau National Park, there are a few things you must keep an eye out for. The many flora and fauna including a great variety of pitcher plants with tiny pitchers are not to be missed. These cute pitcher plants can grow from a tiny 1 cm to about 20 cm in height. Orchid lovers will also enjoy checking out the wild orchids found rooted to trees and rocks around the headlands. Around the regions of the shoreline, there are also plants such as the Pokok Ara Ficus sp., the Pinang Lakka, Cyrtospachys Lakka, and the Kayu Maki Cina Podicarpus sp. There are also Rhu Laut and Bintangor Laut all fighting for attention with the Ketapang found on the beaches. On the mangroves side are bakau, berus and the nipah palm. Within the heath forests, you will be able to find the Rhu Ronang and Selunsur and in the mixed dipterocarp forests, you will see the Meranti, Keruing and Kapur dominating the area.

Aside from the huge variety of flora, there are also many interesting wildlife that dominates the Similajau National Park. There are the usual mouse deers, wild boars, civets, barking deers and squirrels. Along with these animals are three different types of primates - namely the long tailed macaques, banded langurs, and the gibbons. If you are lucky enough, you might even spot a porcupine all out in its full glory, ready for full defense. So far, a noted 185 bird species have been recorded with 7 of them belonging to the hornbills' family. During the migratory period, you will catch the storm stork around the area too. Sometimes, even the saltwater green sea turtles can be seen loitering around the park area.

Should you wish to visit this place, it is good if you can stay over at the Similajau National Park for a few days. This diverse and large national park will only be better appreciated if you have the time to slowly take in all the natural beauty and attractions it has to offer.

Here is what you can do while at Similajau National Park.

Looking for a place to relax and unwind? Why not go over to the cool jungle streams and pools? Similajau National Park has the perfect place for those looking for a quiet time. The Kolam Sebubong (Sebubong Pool) located at the upper reaches of Sungai Sebubong is the place for you. As with all streams at Similajau, this one has a red tinge to it as well. The journey to reach Kolam Sebubong is rather fun. To get there, simply take a boat from the park's headquarters at Kuala Likau. The journey takes about 30 minutes. Once you alight from the boat, you will be required to trek through some watery sections and pools before reaching the kolam.

If you are looking for something a little wilder, then would you like to see the white frothy rapids? Similajau National Park has a great one called the Selunsur Rapids. Situated somewhere on the upper reaches of Sungai Kegalak, you will have to trek about an hour starting from the mouth of the river through the beach. The reward at the end of the trek is worth it, as you will get a most refreshing dip ever! If you are alert, you might even be able to catch the call of the birds of the wild.

If wild rushing rapids is not your idea of fun, don't worry. There are still plenty of things to see and do on the beaches or offshore. Beach worshippers can check out the numerous white sandy beaches such as the popular Golden Beach and Turtle Beach bordering the rocky headlands where many small waterfalls can be seen. Anglers hoping to try their luck at Similajau National Park can move 500 meters offshore (from the park HQ) towards Batu Mandi. This rocky retreat spot, during low tide, can be used as a spot for fishing.

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Visitor Information:

The Similajau National Park has all the basic facilities needed by visitors to the place. For starters, there is an information center where displays and other exhibits of its history as well as flora and fauna are stored. There is also a canteen to fill the tummy with food and drinks as well as other basic needs. Public rest houses are provided too.

If you are planning to stay over at the Similajau National Park, you can choose from the variety of chalets or hostels. There is also a "camping" option for the more adventurous ones.

Chalets - 5 two-roomed units (4 beds per room)
Hostels - 2 four-roomed units (4 beds per room)
Camp site - Able to accommodate 250 campers at any one time

Getting There:
Similajau National Park is located about 20 km northeast of Bintulu. The one-hour journey by boat from Bintulu to the park's headquarters at Kuala Likau is both fun and exciting. You wouldn't want to miss out on this one!