About Sibu, Sarawak

Welcome to Sibu, located just 130km from the South China sea – it is a Sarawakian town rich with heritage and unsung beauty. A place where modernity and history exist in symphony, much like how the town sits at the confluence of the Igan and Rajang rivers. A place where the air is fresh, the rivers clear, and the sky like artwork throughout the day. It is without a doubt, the most prosperous town in the Rajang valley and serves as the main port for the Rajang Basin.

The town derives its name from the local Sibau fruit, or more commonly known as the rambutan fruit which is called ‘Buah Sibua’ in native Iban.

The riverine town of Sibu was established in 1862 and was known originally as ‘Maling’, named after the winding portion of the Tanjung Maling. Prior to that Sibu was part of the Sultanate of Brunei that was later ceded to Sir James Brooke (1803-1868) of Sarawak who established Fort Brooke in the town in 1863.

Since then a diverse population of Chinese, Malay, Indians as well Iban and other and indigenous ethnicities has nestled around Fort Brooke and now call Sibu home. The fort was situated along Race Course Road but no longer exists today.

By 1871, Sibu was a bustling town with almost 60 wooden shops in existence as recorded by the Sarawak Gazette. Sibu developed rapidly and just two years later, in 1873, a divisional headquarters was set up in Sibu. This made it the epicentre of the Rajang basin. Much of the population consisted of the indigenous Malay, Iban and Melanau populations.

Wong Nai Siong (1849-1924) led the first Foochow settlers to Sibu in 1901, cementing Foochow dominance in Sibu which has not waned ever since.

The very first Sibu airport

The old Sibu Municipal Building

Map of Sibu City

There are so many attractions, hotels, eateries, markets, shopping plazas, museums, and fascinating nooks to explore in Sibu. The best part is that everything is within walking distance! However taxis are always available. City buses run from the busy boat terminal to all parts of the city; a one-way fare costs 33 cents. Buses to Kuching, Bintulu, and Miri leave from Sungai Antu - the long-distance bus terminal. A taxi to the long-distance bus terminal takes 20 minutes and costs about $3.

Rejang Express has a tiny ticket window located across the street from the bus/boat terminal; this is a convenient place to buy long-distance bus tickets without going to the Sungai Antu station.

Top Reasons For Choosing Sibu, Sarawak

  1. Sarawak has been blessed with political, economic and social stability for decades.
  2. The Queen’s English is widely spoken.
  3. Over 2.6 million people from 28 ethnic groups live in harmony in Sarawak. Our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious communities celebrate diversity, and welcome world travellers with a smile.
  4. Home to one of the world’s oldest rainforests yet striving to be at the forefront of modern technology and communications, Sarawak presents itself as a unique venue where “old-world charm meets modern convenience”, in a place where headhunters used to roam 150 years ago. Sarawak will take you to a unique world, where it is commonplace for misty mountains and green jungles to sit at the fringes of our ultra-modern city lights.
  5. The State Government ensures the best and the latest services are available in transportation, banking, commercial amenities, conferencing, accommodation and city developments.
  6. The State and Federal Governments offer financial sponsorship and delegate marketing packages to add amazing value to your event. Your supporters include Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak and Sarawak Convention Bureau.
  7. Outstanding value for money can be had with some of the most affordable rates for hotel accommodation, conference venues and tours in the world. Here, a room at a 5 Star Hotel is only RM300 a night, while local meal (or a beer) is just RM10, and a sirloin steak just RM50.
  8. Sarawak has been hosting world class conferences and meetings with great success since 2006. Its popularity and experience continues to rise as more delegates seek unique alternatives to typical city locations. This strength shines through the high 82% success rate we enjoy for international convention bids. For more information, go to www.sarawakcb.com.
  9. The history of Sarawak is as romantic as any in the world, filled with swashbuckling English adventurers and noble tribal kingdoms. In 1841, James Brooke, an English adventurer, was awarded the feudal title of Rajah. Thus began the rule of three generations of the White Rajahs, which lasted over 100 years and brought development to this raw and wild land.
  10. Exciting tours are at hand and can be experienced in just one day! Forty minutes from the city, visitors can come face to face with real orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, a secluded natural forest that is home to a group of semi-wild orangutans, most of which were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. A stone’s throw away from Semenggoh is the Borneo Highlands Resort. Lunch will be a fully organic affair, with greens from the Resort’s very own organic gardens. After that, immerse into Sarawakian culture in half a day at the Sarawak Cultural village, one of the world’s largest and best “living museums” in which visitors enjoy live classes or shows in blow pipe shooting, cultural dancing, craft making and many more.
  11. The state is a gastronomic wonderland that offers five star cuisine to the world’s best street food! Asian, Western, Middle Eastern, European, Halal, Vegetarian, and even special menus are available.
  12. Sarawak sits in a strategic position in the very heart of Asia, which means that delegates from all over the region will find it easy to connect via multiple flights including low cost carriers, through 2,500 seats a day to Kuching, its capital city and 1,000 flights a week from all over the world into Malaysia, while Sarawak is also served by the major hubs of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and Hong Kong.

Weather, Safety, Communications

Weather In Sarawak

Sarawak essentially observes tropical weather but the best part is it is never too hot. Humidity is a common feature, which can be duly expected from its proximity to waters. With the exception of the highlands, the climate is mostly warm and sultry. Throughout the year, the temperature ranges from 20°C to 30°C on an average. East Malaysia (including Sarawak and Sabah) thrives in 5080 mm of rain annually. The monsoon season peaks between November and February. On the whole, days are quite warm and nights are rather cool in Malaysia, resulting in a pleasant weather that is always inviting.

Safe Destination

Sarawak and Malaysia in general are well known for a stable democratic government as well as the safe and peaceful coexistence of its multi-cultural society.


Malaysia is a multilingual country where many people speak at least two languages and possibly a third. Sarawak is no exception. English is widely used especially in the cities and most directional signs and information notices are in both the national language of Bahasa Malaysia as well as English.


  1. No visa is needed before short visits by citizens of:
    • USA
    • Brunei
    • Singapore
    • ASEAN (except Myanmar)
  2. Citizens of these nations need to apply Visa early for Permit:
    • Israel
    • Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro)
  3. Arrivals from infected Zones:
    • Compulsory yellow fever vaccination certificate

Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits to Malaysia. Visitors to Malaysia must be in possession of a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the period of stay. Nationals from countries which require a visa can apply through the nearest Malaysian overseas mission

    (www.imi.gov.my) by submitting the following:

  • Visa application form with three (3) passport-sized photographs
  • National passport with remaining validity not less than six (6) months
  • Letter of introduction or invitation letter


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