Charming Sibu – A Gateway To Central Sarawak

Charming Sibu – A Gateway To Central Sarawak

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Sibu Town

Positioned as the main gateway to Central Sarawak and the largest port and commercial centre in the Rejang basin, Sibu is a thriving modern town that will charm you with its historical and cultural heritage, vibrant food scenes and beautiful waterfront life.

Although Sibu may not always be the first choice of destination when it comes to visiting Sarawak, the unique charms of Sibu town that it is a down-to-earth place filled with friendly smiles everywhere will not disappoint. For those looking for an opportunity to explore Sibu, here are some of the highlights which might inspire you to explore this vibrant town.

Sungai Merah Heritage Walk

History buffs, rejoice! In a town that is predominantly Fuzhou since migration of early settlers originating from the Fuzhou region in southern China began in 1901, it is no surprise that you will be surrounded by Fuzhou cultural heritage buildings throughout the city. You can begin your Fuzhou trail in Sibu by visiting
Sungai Merah,
the earliest riverine settlement of the Fuzhou Chinese in Sibu. Wong Nai Siong, a Chinese Revolutionary leader responsible for leading the Fuzhou migration to Sibu, decided after travelling for 13 days down the Rejang River that Sungai Merah was the most suitable place to start a new settlement due to its strategic riverbank location.

Sungai Merah Heritage Walk, Sibu (Photo by Sarawak Tourism Board)
Sungai Merah Heritage Walk, Sibu (Photo by Sarawak Tourism Board)

The trail then led us to
Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden
which was built in honour of Sibu’s principal founder and features a bronze bust of him. You can also find more information about the history of the Fuzhou community in Sibu here.

Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden (Photo by Sarawak Tourism Board)

Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden (Photo by Sarawak Tourism Board)

We finally reached the end of our heritage walk with the
James Hoover Memorial Park,
commemorating the renowned Methodist missionary and educator, Reverend James Matthew Hoover from the USA who helped to build 41 churches and 40 schools all over Sibu. He helped to manage the settlement after Wong Nai Siong left from 1903 to 1935. You can read more about his journey, contributions and achievements here.

James Hoover Memorial Park (Photo by Sarawak Tourism Board)
James Hoover Memorial Park (Photo by Sarawak Tourism Board)

Sibu Night Market

After all the walking earlier, our stomachs began to growl in hunger. Our local guide informed us that
Sibu’s night market
is a must-visit place when it comes to searching for good local food at night. Our eyes glistened at the sight of assembled food ranging from Sibu’s signature Kompia (Sibu’s version of a bagel) with meat filling, inside barbequed pork, local savoury desserts such as yam cake and youtiao (a deep-fried Chinese breadstick), steamy dim sums, to local Malay cuisines and of course, satay served with peanut sauce.

While enjoying our snacks and walking around, we found ourselves in another section of the market where visitors can shop for affordable items such as souvenirs, clothes, shoes, accessories and more! This is a plus point for those who need a quick “fashion fix”, a wardrobe change or just need to buy a gift.

The market usually operates from 5 pm till 10 pm every evening and we’d say this place is definitely worth a visit as it is perfect for an evening stroll and getting to know the locals better.



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