"saw mills and shrimps" Bintulu by picek

Bintulu Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 37 photos

In Sarawak's oasis

Well, Bintulu turned out to be my favorite city in Sarawak. I enjoyed the atmosphere very much. The city's architecture is nothing special and there are mostly 'modern' block buildings everywhere. These blocks were worth of its price - there were many brothels, so called karaoke bars and pool rooms inside as well as optic shops, other shops, restaurants and stuff like that in ground floor. Soon, Abida cafe became our favourite place for lunch and dinner and My House Inn, just next to Abida's our favourite hotel.
People were just friendly there, you know. We travelled daily to small water village at the other side of river for fishing with local Muslim boys. There was a wooden stall that had delicious cakes at the first cross-section. The houses were simple and wooden, some had small shops where we bought cheap cigarettes, menthol Rave for 1.5 ringgit. And they were good... comparing to other, legal brands! Later on our first stroll through village we discovered friendly little restaurant near footbal ground. Oh, the place was lovely and teh tarik was delicious there. We ended up comming there every day. We soon learnt to know Malay word for 'a worm' as these earthy creatures are essential for catching srimp or 'udang' they say. The fishing took place usually at saw mill areas where many Indon, Burmese... workers do their job. However, we were never lucky enough to catch many shrimps or big one as I always told them (shrimps) before to not come too close if they want to stay alive. And we almost never caugt any fish. I find these animals very beautiful and elegant and I never saw them before in my life, so I was very curious about their environment and specially the way how their body is built and how their eyes shine after they were taken from water. Near one of the saw mills, on the eastern side of village there was a small Muslim cemetery with graves scattered on the hill slope and then there were also few old Chinese graves closer to village. Our friend Samsul said there are ghosts. However, I later have good and peaceful time with them when I went to explore the cemetery's area.
Night market was great place to try local food, oth delicious and cheap. Somehow we bought always different and it was impossible to try it all and to feel the taste as we got our senses fooled by eating too much different dishes. But it was fun and we loved going there every night for our dinner and fruit hunt. And I could never resist to buy banana roti. And my bottle of home made fresh warm soya milk.... mmmmm... was delicious....

... no more dreams of happy ending...

So, Bintulu is great! There was even (hmmmmmmm... punk?) rock concert the other day. My man didn't feel like going to see it with me as he was glued to TV watching saturday's Premier Leauge. As I am not always in mood for football and beside there was finally something going on, I made my mind and walked through late afternoon/night tropical tempest that made streets flooded and all rats swimming out from their shelters. The atmosphere was kind of crazy. Metalhead guys were dancing in front of huge stage under umbrella and wind was blowing through the stage as it was open air concert or festival (actually, there was roof only but that didn't help anything due strong wind from the river direction), so we soon found ourself more or less wet. Bands played...hmmm...how do they call it these days...MTV punk rock and ska and few played tender metal music, not too wild. Kids loved it and it was very nice to see people dancing and having fun despite bad weather and fact there was about 10 or 15 cm of water already in front of the stage.However, not being big fan of that kind of music myself, I enjoyed the genuine and lovely atmosphere in night, wind and rain just untill 9 pm when finally the festival got cancelled. Talking to friendly guy next to me, there was about 20 more bands to play that night. Oh, dear...


At Abida, there was always huge selection of food to eat and I was delightened with my 'nasi goreng veggie', fried rice with vegetable. I really love fried rice in Malaysia. Finally, Thai's fried rice lacked some taste. I knew from before that Muslim people know how to cook food deliciously and I was looking forward to visit Malaysia for that reason. However, there are many different ways they make 'nasi goreng' there and I almost never knew what to expect. And however different from one place to another, from one restaurant to another, in Sabah and Sarawak I discovered fried rice to be less spicy than in Western Malaysia and that wasn't bad either. At Abida there was lovely family atmosphere too and we soon realized that restaurant was popular by locals comming here for good food and teh tarik or coffee. Roti pisang I loved there too and I would eat it late in evening before going back to our room at My House. Hotel had sign 'No durian' at the reception desk and guys with tattoos going upstairs, displaying beautiful artworks on their backs, dragons and Asian stuff like that.
I was asked by few people whether I am not afraid of walking alone in night time.

"Because there is a lot of street crime. Gangs. Prostitution. Drugs..."

Hmmmm... I saw beautiful young ladies (okay, more precisely - girls) in front of the karaoke bars trying to tempt costumers to get in and saw computer games junkies of 10 years or so trying to get one ringgit for another video game. Also, I saw young men forming some groups at certain corners or streets. However, I didn't feel more endangered than walking through any of Slovene city streets.

  • Last visit to Bintulu: Dec 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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