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Parks & Reserves
The beauty of Similajau National Park is its coastline,
a chain of golden sandy beaches, punctuated by small
rocky headlands and jungle streams, and bordered
by dense green forest. Similajau was gazetted as
a park in 1976, to provide a conservation zone for
the unique geographical features of the coast and
to protect the flora and fauna of the surrounding
area. The park covers an area of 8,996 hectares,
and the main trekking trail hugs the coast so that
visitors are never far away from the main attractions
Similajau is best visited during
the dry season (approximately February to October)
when the coastline at its most beautiful and the
emerald green waters are crystal clear and ideal
for swimming. The park is located 30 km north-east
of the town of Bintulu, and is a very popular destination
at weekends. If you wish to avoid the crowds you
are advised to go during the week, when you are likely
to have the park very much to yourself.
at Similajau can be divided into three types -
the littoral fringe, kerangas (or heath forest)
and mixed dipterocarp forest. The littoral fringe
can be further sub-divided into rock and cliff
vegetation, beach vegetation and mangrove forest.
Amongst rocks and cliffs the vegetation is quite
sparse with only a few hardy shrubs and pitcher
plants able to survive. Casuarina trees line many
of the park’s beaches and mangroves are found
near the park HQ at Sungei Likau and at Sungei
Sebubong. Kerangas is an Iban word describing land
that is unsuitable for growing rice. It is relatively
stunted owing to poor soils and consists of scrub-like
vegetation and trees that resemble narrow poles.
The mixed dipterocarp forest is where visitors
will see the giant trees that are for many the
symbol of the tropical rainforest.
24 species of mammals have been recorded at Similajau,
including long-tailed macaques, gibbons, banded langurs,
shrews, mouse deer, barking deer, squirrels, wild
boar, porcupine, and civet cats. The park is an excellent
place for bird watching as 185 species of birds have
been recorded within the park’s boundaries.
Similajau is also home to two crocodile species.
The estuarine or saltwater crocodile (crocodylus
porousus) lives near the river mouths of the larger
rivers in the park and feeds on small mammals, lizards,
turtles, fish and water birds. It has also been known
to attack humans at other locations in Sarawak and
in Australia, therefore visitors are advised to take
notice of the crocodile warning signs. There have
been no recorded instances of crocodiles attacking
visitors at Similajau, but it is always best to play
safe. Please do not attempt to wade across the larger
streams in the park, but use the bridges instead.
Similajau’s other crocodilian is the harmless
false gharial (tumistoma schlegii), which feeds exclusively
on fish. Crocodiles are more easily spotted at night,
and the Park HQ can arrange crocodile spotting boat
trips for visitors.
One odd creature that is commonly seen at Similajau’s
beaches is the horseshoe crab, known locally as the
Belangkas. This prehistoric-looking animal is not
a true crab, but a modern day descendant of the trilobites
that populated the seas 400 million years ago. They
are often seen in pairs on the beach or in the shallows
of the sea. The female is some 10 inches (25 cm)
in diameter while the male is 6 inches (15 cm) in
diameter. Both have a long spike-like tail which
protrudes from their circular shell-like bodies.
Green turtles frequently come ashore to lay their
eggs at Golden Beach, and at the two Turtle Beaches
which are situated closer to the park HQ. There are
also occasional landings by hawksbill and leatherback
turtles. If you arrive at the beach on the morning
after a turtle landing you may see the trail marks
leading from the sea to the back of the beach and
the turtle ‘nest’. Please do not disturb
the nest or the turtle eggs - all sea turtles are
Totally Protected Animals in Sarawak and anyone found
tampering with a nest is liable to a heavy fine and/or
a jail sentence.
Dolphins are occasionally found
at Similajau, usually swimming in small groups quite
close to shore. Although you have to be lucky to
encounter a dolphin, it is always a memorable experience.
They can sometimes be spotted from the park’s
beaches but you have a better chance of seeing dolphins
if you take a boat trip along the coastline of the
park. There are five species that frequent the waters
off Similajau – the
Irrawaddy dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, the Indo-pacific
humpback dolphin, the finless porpoise dolphin and
the pantropic spotted dolphin – and all are
more frequently encountered between March and September.
|TREKS AND TRAILS
There is one main trekking trail at Similajau, which
follows the coastline of the park, and a number of
side treks off this main trail. The trail is relatively
easy to follow with red paint markings on the trees.
From the park HQ you must first cross the Sungei
Likau via the suspension bridge to reach the plankwalk
over the mangroves from, where you have two choices.
The first choice is to follow the plankwalk which
leads to the start of the trail proper. Alternatively,
you can take a short cut by turning left at the very
beginning of the plankwalk. A wooden ladder leads
down to a secondary trail which joins the main trail
near the junction for the Viewpoint Trail, the first
side trail. There is a shelter with picnic tables
at the viewpoint which looks back to the beach and
Shortly after the viewpoint turn-off, the main trail
leads to the coast. From here on the trail hugs the
coastline and passes numerous small bays and beaches.
An hour or so after the viewpoint trail, and just
before the Sungei Kanyau, there is a turn-off which
leads to the Selunsur Rapids. This side trail passes
through kerangas and mixed dipterocarp forest before
reaching a series of small rapids and rock pools.
Most visitors continue along the main trail to reach
the park’s excellent beaches - two turtle beaches
set in beautiful bays, and Golden Beach which is
a long, unbroken stretch of sand. All three beaches
offer excellent swimming in emerald green waters.
Alternatively, an interesting side trail (marked
in yellow) leads to the Selunsur rapids, which are
best visited after recent rainfall. One way of getting
the most out of Similajau is to hire a boat and be
dropped off at Golden Beach and then trek back to
the HQ (see below).
The following table provides details of one-way
trekking times from the park HQ.
One Way Trekking
Time From HQ
30 min (via short cut)
2 hrs 30 min
Turtle Beach 1
Turtle Beach 2
2 hrs 30 min
20 mins (plus boat
HIRE - COMBINING A TREK WITH A COASTAL CRUISE
a boat is one of the best ways of seeing Similajau.
The wardens at the park HQ can assist with boat hire.
Boats can be hired by the hour, for half day and
full day coastal and river tours, or for crocodile
spotting tours at night. You can arrange to be dropped
off at a beach and picked up at a pre-arranged time,
or you can take a boat from the park HQ to Golden
Beach or Turtle Beach and then trek back along the
Boat tours along the rivers
of the park can also be arranged, for example,
up the Sungai Likau near the HQ or the lower stretch
of the Sungei Sebubong. The Sebubong river is navigable
for a kilometre from the river mouth. Visitors
can then travel by foot along a small trekking
trail which leads to Kolam Sebubong, a small jungle
pool. Enquire at the park HQ about other river
|Entry Fees & Permits
There is a nominal entry
fee for all National Parks in Sarawak. A
permit is required for professional filming,
which should be arranged in advance with
the National Parks Booking Office. Please
check with the National Parks Booking Office
in Miri or the Sarawak Forestry website for
the latest fee structure. Visitors to Similajau
can obtain a permit and pay any fees at the
|The Park Headquarters
Upon arrival visitors are required to register
at the Park HQ. Next to the registration
counter there is a good information centre.
The Park HQ also has a canteen which serves
drinks, snacks, lunch and evening meals.
|Reservations & Enquiries
National Parks Booking
Visitors Information Centre,
Sama Jaya Nature Reserve,
Jalan Setia Jaya,Tabuan Jaya,
93000 Kuching Sarawak,
Tel: (+6) 082 248088 Fax: (+6) 082 248087
Online booking: http://ebooking.sarawak.gov.my/
|National Parks Booking Office
||0800 hrs – 1700 hrs
|Saturday, Sunday& Public Holidays
Similajau National Park
is located 30 kilometres north-east of the
town of Bintulu and is reached via an unsealed.
There is no regular bus service to the park
so independent travellers usually take a
taxi from Bintulu (approximately 30 min -
don’t forget to book your taxi for
the return journey). Local tour operators
also offer transport and guided tours to
the park. Alternatively you may charter a
fast boat from Bintulu Wharf, a somewhat
more expensive but enjoyable option.
Both individual chalet units and hostel
accommodation are available at the Park HQ,
all with 24-hour electricity and running
water. Please contact the National Parks
booking Office in Miri for the latest room
rates and to make reservations. Early booking
is advised if you are visiting at weekends,
public holidays or school holidays. There
is also a camp site, and barbecue pits are
provided for visitors wishing to prepare
their own meals.
Tel: (+6) 082 610088 Fax: (+6) 082 610099
Toll free line: 1 800 88 2526
Similajau National Park
Tel: (+6) 019