In the balmy heat of Borneo, the deserted beaches of the Similajau National Park offer a welcoming respite. But further inland lies a starkly different world: within the thick foliage of the coastal rainforest, there is an explosion of greenery and humidity. I am trekking through a Bornean rainforest – a jumble of skysoaring Bintangor trees, wildlife, insects and a myriad of environments ranging from marsh to tropical rainforest.
It’s the second half of my sojourn through Sarawak, Borneo. After paying a visit to the last Tatau tribe in Sarawak, I continue to explore the surprises that Bintulu has to offer. Bintulu, Borneo is a destination better known for oil and gas than cultural attractions. Few tourists make it out here except for local visitors but I’ve heard it is all about to change. The Malaysian hotel chain, Tune Hotels group, has recently opened a new branch in downtown Bintulu and I’m here to check it out and explore the area.
Similajau National Park
30km away from downtown Bintulu is the sprawling Similajau National Park. The protected area features exotic rainforest, swamps and rocky beaches facing the South China Sea. There are over 7,064 hectares of virgin forest, starting from Sungai Likau as far as 30km stretch to Sungai Similajau.
From the gatehouse, our group of journalists/bloggers begin the 14-km walk along the jungle trail, with the Turtle Beach as our final destination. As weave our way through the tropical rainforest, we spot wild orchids, pitcher plants, moss patches and a series of swamps while crossing make-shift bridges and climbing muddy slopes.
Our forest guide tells us that the park boasts 24 recorded species of mammals, including gibbons, banded langurs and long-tailed macaque. 185 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including hornbills and Storm’s Stork. The lucky ones might even be able to spot saltwater crocodiles or dolphins swimming in the sea off the park’s coast. Occasionally, green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Although we didn’t spot any wildlife, we did come across some gigantic insects.
At times we would have to duck our heads to avoid prickly trees like these….
After almost 3 hours of walking, we reach the much-anticipated Turtle Beach – secluded, calm and a world of serenity.
Traveling to Bintulu, Sarawak? Book a room at the brand new Tune Hotels at Bintulu, prices starting from 9.99RM.
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