Sibu is the gateway to central Sarawak, a town rich with culture and tradition, embraced on all sides by nature. It offers many charms, both on the outskirts of the town and within. Spanning just 129.5km², the town is located at the meeting of the Rajang and Igan rivers. The majority of the population are Chinese, mainly Fuzhou, with other ethnic groups like Melanau, Malay and Iban as well. Together, they live in harmony carrying out their cultural traditions and appreciating the traditions of one another.During this product experience trip, the group was able to visit some traditional and organic food producers only found in Sibu, enjoy a night of breathtaking cultural dance performance at the Sibu International Dance Festival, see the historical and scenic landmarks as well as spend some time in an authentic Iban longhouse at the Rumah Nyuka homestay.
Day 1: Food, How It’s Made and a Dance Show
TYC Goat & Livestock Sdn. Bhd.
Owned by the Tang family, the TYC Goat and Livestock Farm is located 45km off the Oya Road (on the Sibu-Bintulu highway).They first began livestock farming in 2003 on 35 hectares of land, and today they are home to goats, cows, turkeys and other livestock. Their aim is to promote awareness on loving, caring for and protecting the environment through environmentally friendly methods of rearing animals and planting crops.
Family touring the goat pen
Turkeys at the farm
Visiting families touring the farm, with a goat accompanying them
Cows at the farm
The farm provides opportunities for visitors to take a tour of the farms, including school trips and tourists.The farm produces an assortment of dairy based products, especially goat milk. 70% of their sales are in fresh milk while 30% gets produced into other byproducts like soap and ice cream. They also produce coconut pudding, which is handmade and contains no preservatives, additives or coloring.
Goat milk ice cream
Fresh goat milk samples
Coconut pudding served inside a coconut.
Soaps derived from goat milk and other organic ingredients like sago, rosehip and charcoal
A display of the different soaps produced by the TYC farm
The Sua Longevity Noodles (Foochow mee)
Sibu is famous for its foochow dishes, and one of the most famous is the Mee Sua Longevity Noodles.The noodles are made of wheat flour, powdered lime, salt and water, and while many of the noodles you can buy in the stores are now factory produced, there is one man who keeps the mee sua noodle traditions alive.Located at located at 6 ½ miles, Jalan Oya, 96000 Sibu, Mr. Ting Cheng Sieng and his wife produce 25 to 30 kg of raw noodles daily, with optimum weather conditions.
Fine noodles being hung out under the sun to dry.
The preparation of the mee sua noodles
These handmade noodles are in high demand throughout Sarawak, prepared in the traditional way. Demonstrations on his technique can be organized, contact Ting Cheng Sieng (012 8531701) for more details.
Permai Lake Garden
The lake garden was opened in 2002 with scenic lake (developed by National Landscape department) that spans 11 acres. It is located at 5th mile Oya road in housing estate of Permai.
Every year, this lake holds a remote control boat race that brings remote control boat enthusiasts together, but every other day of the week it is a serene location with good photo opportunities and scenic views.
Empawah fruit and vegetable Farm
The Empawah Fruit and Vegetable Farm is on the outskirts of Sibu and Greatown Travel have proposed 6-8km tours via two ferries crossing the Igan river from Sibu town to the farm.
Sg Merah LED Night Market
The Sungai Merah LED Night Market is a sight to behold, offering a nice location to go shopping for cheap souvenirs as well as beautiful backdrops for photos.
Sibu International Dance Festival
The Sibu International Dance Festival takes place at the Sibu Civic Centre and the Ku Tien Memorial Park in Sibu every year. Dedicated to presenting a world-class celebration of the dance arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions that stimulate arts education, foster economic growth, and unite dancer and audiences.The festival was privately debuted in 2012 at Sibu, Malaysia. Four international dance groups has participated in the 2013 edition of the festival, attracting groups from Lithuania, Southern Thailand, Singapore and local groups. Indoor and outdoor performances will be held throughout the festival.
While filming and photography were not allowed in the Dance Festival, the entire event proved to be a breathtaking experience for all in the team. It was certainly a highlight for those who appreciate performing arts.
Day 2: Paradom and the Rumah Nyuka Homestay
Jetty Paradom is a historical landmark in Sibu, bustling with people who travel to and from Sibu by boat and ferry since 20 years ago. The shops lining the jetty was built in 1954.
You can drink coffee at the kopitiams (coffee shops) next to the river, go prawn fishing or view fireflies at night.
Homestay Rumah Nyuka
Rumah Nyuka Homestay, Lubuk Lemba in Sarikei District is located 85 KM from Sibu (17KM from Sibu – Kuching junction) and was built in 1955. It first opened its doors as a Homestay
in March 2011.
Now, 19 “Bileks” of families are registered as Trained Homestay Operators.
Also known as one of the oldest longhouses in Sarikei District with about 300 people from 45 families living under one roof, the Nyuka longhouse is a unique opportunity for visitors to experience their hospitality and nature.
Among popular activities for visitors to this longhouse are trekking to the nearby waterfalls, and of course, learning the ways of life for the local Iban people.The waterfalls are relatively easy to reach, ranging from 30 to 60 minutes, and are a great reprieve from the day heat, especially after a trek through the jungle.
As for experiencing the Iban lifestyle, you can join in on the fun in the ruai (the main hall of the longhouse) or see how the Iban cultivate pepper on the nearby hills and other farm products, as well as how they process it.
The longhouse has its own exhibit, boasting everything from the smoked heads from the bygone era of when Headhunting was still frequent, old gongs collected over the years in the longhouse, earthenware pots and household appliances, intricately woven mats and traditional costumes.
The longhouse people also sell an assortment of handicrafts including jungle products made from bamboo and ratan, woven products, jewelry and accessories and recycled products.
All in all, the journey was a memorable 2 days, spanning across Sibu and Sarikei, and offered a glimpse into the traditional ways of the people, the environmental closeness of the different races to the land, and the rich culture of the different people that can be found in central Sarawak.