The small Melanau township of Dalat makes an interesting half-day outing from Mukah, or a stopover if you are traveling by speedboat to or from Sibu.
Outside the district office, directly opposite the speedboat wharf and the Chinese temple, is one of the finest Melanau kelidieng (sacrificial burial pole) still in existence. The kelidieng, a hollow belian (borneo ironwood) tree trunk decorated with ornate carvings, was used in ancient rituals to ward off disasters. Should the community be threatened, a young maiden was placed inside the pole and given only drinking water until she finally passed away. This sacrifice would appease malicious or angry spirits and thus avoid disaster. Interestingly, the cross in the altar of nearby St Bernard’s RC church (500m walk upriver, visitors welcome) is also made in the form of a kelidieng, to give the concept of Christ’s sacrifice a Melanau cultural context.