Bintulu has a national park called the Similajau National Park. It is famous for its golden beach and Irrawaddy dolphins. The town has a reputation for producing the best ‘belacan’ (shrimp paste) in the state. In addition, the longest running kite festival in this region happens here every year. It takes place at an old airport which used to be known as the closest airport to a town in Malaysia. Planes practically land and take off in the middle of the town.


The town is the gateway to the hinterland of Bakun where the the second tallest concrete-faced rockfill dam in the world is; the Bakun Dam. The rich cultural heritage of the Kenyah can be found here. There are homestay service providers at Sungai Asap settlement as well as some who provide floating hut accommodation on Bakun lake.

The town was a sleepy Melanau fishing village until 1969, when oil and gas reserves were discovered off the coast. Since then, its growth has been phenomenal and it became the centre of oil and gas. The energy intensive industries are located at the Samalaju Industrial Park. Bintulu Port is also known to be the busiest in Sarawak.

Bintulu Division includes the three Districts of Bintulu, Tatau and Sebauh. The town was a small fishing village when Rajah James Brooke first acquired it in 1861.

Bintulu was derived from the local comunity word of “Metu Ulau” It means “picking up heads” based on an event occur at a river of the same name. The river was called Metu Ulau.


The population is made up primarily of Iban, Chinese, Melanau and Malay. The ethnic mix in this Division is as varied as it is elsewhere in Sarawak. Of these, the ethnic groups consist of the Kedayan, Kenyah, Bidayuh and Punan. There is also a sizeable expatriate population.

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