Not many Malaysians can say that they’ve been to East Malaysia before, what more Bintulu. Yet, there’s so much to see and do in this coastal town in central Sarawak.

Come here to experience the slow pace of life out of the busy city area. While Bintulu is known as an oil-producing town, much of its nature still remains unspoiled. You can hike, explore national parks, and dive into its pristine waters to see the coral reefs and sea creatures.

While Bintulu may be a little far off to fit into your “cuti-cuti Malaysia” plans, it’s definitely a place to consider ticking off your bucket list. So put on your adventure hat and read on to find out what to do in this Sarawakian town.

What to do

Niah Cave has a history of human inhabitants dating back to 40,000 years. (Picture: Tourism Malaysia)

Nature-related activities reign supreme here. One of the main things to check out here is the Similajau National Park. You don’t have to camp out to fully experience this national park, but spare at least a day to go on a 10 km jungle trek to see the native flora and fauna of Borneo Island. This national park is home to 180 species of birds and has a sandy beach, so you can even bring snorkelling gear to check out the creatures beyond the forest.

Checking out the historical Niah Cave is also a must—it’s Malaysia’s second-best cave complex after the Mulu Caves, and contains over 40,000 years of unwritten human history. Getting here requires a 4.5 km trek through the Niah National Park, but it’s significantly easier than trekking in Similajau National Park as the route is paved with a boardwalk.

Taman Tumbina Bintulu is home to several local animals including the tiger. (Picture: Borneo Talk)

If you want to look at animals in a more controlled environment, then you might want to exit the national parks and head towards Taman Tumbina Bintulu instead. This park is an integrated botanical and zoological garden with a variety of local birds such as hornbills and wildlife such as tigers, the Borneo sun bear, deers, and eagles. It’s a nice spot to hang out with the animals and lush trees. If you take a hike to the top of the hill at the park, you’ll even be rewarded with a nice view of the South China Sea.

Being a coastal town, naturally, the beach is a must-visit if you’re in Bintulu. Tanjung Batu Beach is a nice spot out of the city area to go to. When the tide is low, you can even walk over to the next island. Just be sure to get back to shore before the sun sets, as the tide will come rushing back quickly.

Where to stay

The Samalaju Resort Hotel. (Picture: Agoda)

If you find that most of your activities bring you to Similajau National Park, then you should book several nights at the Samalaju Resort Hotel. Situated along the cliffs of Tanjung Similajau, this modern resort overlooks the sea and has everything you need. Most rooms look out to either the large swimming pool or the South China Sea, so your stay there will definitely be a relaxing one.

Closer to the city is Parkcity Everly Hotel Bintulu, which is within walking distance to landmarks such as the Tua Pek Kong Temple, Pasar Tamu, and Pasar Utama. The coach station is also nearby, which can bring you to Taman Tumbina Bintulu. This hotel has 255 rooms to choose from, and they all come with the basic amenities. There’s even a free shuttle to bring you to popular landmarks in the Bintulu city area.

How to get there

From Kuala Lumpur, you can take direct flights to Bintulu via Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia. We won’t recommend driving from Kuching, as it’s a pretty long 10-hour drive!

PohNee Chin
Associate Editor
Poh Nee is the associate editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.