Similajau National Park is situated in the Bintulu, Sarawak. Attractions include fast following streams with rapids in the upper reaches set amidst a cool jungle setting.
It was gazetted in 1978 with the primary aim of conserving the flora, fauna and unique geological characteristics of the coastal area. The natural attractions of the area include fast following streams with rapids in the upper reaches set amidst a cool jungle setting. The clear waters of these streams are stained by the tannin acid of of the peat swamp lending it an attractive ruby red tinge. The park is covered with a mix of vegetation types ranging from those commonly found on the littoral fringes to heath and mixed dipterocarp forests. Such diverse habitats naturally support an equally diverse wildlife.
FLORA & FAUNA
There is a great variety of pitcher plants with tiny pitchers measuring merely 1 cm to those growing to 20 cm high. Tiny and colourful orchids are found rooted to trees and the rocks around the headlands. Other littoral fringe types include the Pokok Ara Ficus sp., the Pinang Lakka, Cyrtospachys Lakka and the Kayu Maki Cina (Podocarpus sp).. The Rhu Laut and Bintangor laut vie for attention with the Ketapang on the beaches while the mangroves are covered in Bakau, Berus and Nipah palm. In the heath forests are found the Rhu Ronang and Selunsur while the Meranti, Keruing and Kapur dominate the mixed dipterocarp forests.
There are three types of primates, namely the gibbons, banded langurs and long tailed macaques. The park also houses shrews, mousedeer, wild boar, civets, barking deer and squirrels. A chance encounter with a porcupine may cause its prickly spine to bristle in self defense. There are also 185 bird species, notably 7 species of hornbills. Migratory birds stopping by include the storm stork. Saltwater crocodiles, dolphins, porpoises and green sea turtles can also be found within the park area.
PLANNING AN ITINERARY
Day trips may be hectic and visitors are advised to plan for a few days stay in order to enjoy the natural attractions at the park.
Cool Jungle Streams And Pools
Kolam Sebubong in the upper reaches of Sungai Sebubong offers the perfect place to unwind. Its dark red waters reflect the vegetation of the river bank. A boat takes the visitor from park headquarters at Kuala Likau to the mouth of the Sungai Sebubong. The journey takes about 30 minutes. After travelling 1 km up river, visitors alight and trek through a series of white water sections and pools before reaching Kolam Sebubong.
The rapids are located in the upper reaches of Sungai Kebalak. A 1 hour trek from the mouth of the river through beach, kerangas and mixed dipterocarp forest brings you to the frothy white rapids for a most welcome dip! Keep your senses alert along the way and see if you can identify the beautiful bird calls.
Beaches And Offshore Attractions
There are numerous white sandy beaches bordered by rocky headlands. Crystal clear streams cascade down small waterfalls to the sandy beach. Two popular beaches are Golden Beach and Turtle Beach. 500m offshore from the park headquarters is Batu Mandi, a “rocky island” partially exposed at low tide. This is a popular spot for trying your luck at reeling in a catch for lunch!
There are five two-room chalets (four beds per room) and two four-room hostels (four beds per room). There a re more hos tel – style accommodation, which vary in size and can take about 130 people in various configurations. There is also a campsite that can accommodate 250 campers at any one time but you need to bring your own equipment. Cooking is not allowed inside the chalets or hostels. Visitors can have their meals and drinks at the canteen.
These include an information centre for the display and exhibit of history, flora and fauna; a canteen to sell food and drinks and daily basic necessities; and public toilets for day-trippers. Applications for permits and reservations for accommodation can be made at the National Parks booking office, Bintulu.
The park headquarters at Kuala Likau is accessible from Bintulu by boat. The journey takes one hour. The park is also accessible by road (taxi) from Bintulu. There is a bus service that drops visitors 9km from the park. From there, they can hire private transport or walk to the park headquarters. A taxi direct to the park is a better option.