Similajau National Park
Locality: Bintulu Div.
Year gazetted: 1976
Situated in Bintulu Division (about 30km from Bintulu Town) the national park provides recreational ground for the people within the central region of Sarawak. It has one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Malaysia with miles of unspoiled white and golden sand and rocky beaches facing the South China Sea.
First gazetted on 1 December 1976 and published to public on 20 April 1978 with and areas of 7,064 hectares of virgin forest, starting from Sungai Likau in the south and as far as 30km stretch to Sungai Similajau to the north. Another 1,932 hectares of areas was extended to the park on 17 February 2000 this made the total areas to 8,996 hectares. Even though its a small area of strip land running from North-South direction, approximately 30km, but it is rich in flora and fauna that provided nature lovers with rich experience and activities.
The beauty of Similajau National Park is its coastline, a chain of golden sandy beaches, punctuated by small rocky headlands and jungle streams, and bordered by dense green forest. Similajau was gazetted as a park in 1976, to provide a conservation zone for the unique geographical features of the coast and to protect the flora and fauna of the surrounding area. The park covers an area of 8,996 hectares, and the main trekking trail hugs the coast so that visitors are never far away from the main attractions of Similajau. Similajau is best visited during the dry season (approximately February to October) when the coastline at its most beautiful and the emerald green waters are crystal clear and ideal for swimming. The park is located 30 km north-east of the town of Bintulu, and is a very popular destination at weekends. If you wish to avoid the crowds you are advised to go during the week, when you are likely to have the park very much to yourself.
The vegetation at Similajau can be divided into three types – the littoral fringe, kerangas (or heath forest) and mixed dipterocarp forest. The littoral fringe can be further sub-divided into rock and cliff vegetation, beach vegetation and mangrove forest. Amongst rocks and cliffs the vegetation is quite sparse with only a few hardy shrubs and pitcher plants able to survive. Casuarina trees line many of the park’s beaches and mangroves are found near the park HQ at Sungei Likau and at Sungei Sebubong. Kerangas is an Iban word describing land that is unsuitable for growing rice. It is relatively stunted owing to poor soils and consists of scrub-like vegetation and trees that resemble narrow poles. The mixed dipterocarp forest is where visitors will see the giant trees that are for many the symbol of the tropical rainforest.
24 species of mammals have been recorded at Similajau, including long-tailed macaques, gibbons, banded langurs, shrews, mouse deer, barking deer, squirrels, wild boar, porcupine, and civet cats. The park is an excellent place for bird watching as 185 species of birds have been recorded within the park’s boundaries.
Similajau is also home to two crocodile species. The estuarine or saltwater crocodile (crocodylus porousus) lives near the river mouths of the larger rivers in the park and feeds on small mammals, lizards, turtles, fish and water birds. It has also been known to attack humans at other locations in Sarawak and in Australia, therefore visitors are advised to take notice of the crocodile warning signs. There have been no recorded instances of crocodiles attacking visitors at Similajau, but it is always best to play safe. Please do not attempt to wade across the larger streams in the park, but use the bridges instead. Similajau’s other crocodilian is the harmless false gharial (tumistoma schlegii), which feeds exclusively on fish. Crocodiles are more easily spotted at night, and the Park HQ can arrange crocodile spotting boat trips for visitors.
One odd creature that is commonly seen at Similajau’s beaches is the horseshoe crab, known locally as the Belangkas. This prehistoric-looking animal is not a true crab, but a modern day descendant of the trilobites that populated the seas 400 million years ago. They are often seen in pairs on the beach or in the shallows of the sea. The female is some 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter while the male is 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Both have a long spike-like tail which protrudes from their circular shell-like bodies.
Green turtles frequently come ashore to lay their eggs at Golden Beach, and at the two Turtle Beaches which are situated closer to the park HQ. There are also occasional landings by hawksbill and leatherback turtles. If you arrive at the beach on the morning after a turtle landing you may see the trail marks leading from the sea to the back of the beach and the turtle ‘nest’. Please do not disturb the nest or the turtle eggs – all sea turtles are Totally Protected Animals in Sarawak and anyone found tampering with a nest is liable to a heavy fine and/or a jail sentence.
Dolphins are occasionally found at Similajau, usually swimming in small groups quite close to shore. Although you have to be lucky to encounter a dolphin, it is always a memorable experience. They can sometimes be spotted from the park’s beaches but you have a better chance of seeing dolphins if you take a boat trip along the coastline of the park. There are five species that frequent the waters off Similajau – the Irrawaddy dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, the Indo-pacific humpback dolphin, the finless porpoise dolphin and the pantropic spotted dolphin – and all are more frequently encountered between March and September.
TREKS AND TRAILS
There is one main trekking trail at Similajau, which follows the coastline of the park, and a number of side treks off this main trail. The trail is relatively easy to follow with red paint markings on the trees. From the park HQ you must first cross the Sungei Likau via the suspension bridge to reach the plankwalk over the mangroves from, where you have two choices. The first choice is to follow the plankwalk which leads to the start of the trail proper. Alternatively, you can take a short cut by turning left at the very beginning of the plankwalk. A wooden ladder leads down to a secondary trail which joins the main trail near the junction for the Viewpoint Trail, the first side trail. There is a shelter with picnic tables at the viewpoint which looks back to the beach and park HQ.
Shortly after the viewpoint turn-off, the main trail leads to the coast. From here on the trail hugs the coastline and passes numerous small bays and beaches. An hour or so after the viewpoint trail, and just before the Sungei Kanyau, there is a turn-off which leads to the Selunsur Rapids. This side trail passes through kerangas and mixed dipterocarp forest before reaching a series of small rapids and rock pools.
Most visitors continue along the main trail to reach the park’s excellent beaches – two turtle beaches set in beautiful bays, and Golden Beach which is a long, unbroken stretch of sand. All three beaches offer excellent swimming in emerald green waters. Alternatively, an interesting side trail (marked in yellow) leads to the Selunsur rapids, which are best visited after recent rainfall. One way of getting the most out of Similajau is to hire a boat and be dropped off at Golden Beach and then trek back to the HQ (see below).
The following table provides details of one-way trekking times from the park HQ.
|Destination||One Way Trekking Time From HQ|
30 min (via short cut)
|Selunsur Rapids||2 hrs 30 min|
|Turtle Beach 1||2 hrs|
|Turtle Beach 2||2 hrs 30 min|
|Golden Beach||3 hrs|
|Selubong Pool||20 mins (plus boat trip)|
BOAT HIRE – COMBINING A TREK WITH A COASTAL CRUISE
Hiring a boat is one of the best ways of seeing Similajau. The wardens at the park HQ can assist with boat hire. Boats can be hired by the hour, for half day and full day coastal and river tours, or for crocodile spotting tours at night. You can arrange to be dropped off at a beach and picked up at a pre-arranged time, or you can take a boat from the park HQ to Golden Beach or Turtle Beach and then trek back along the main trail.
Boat tours along the rivers of the park can also be arranged, for example, up the Sungai Likau near the HQ or the lower stretch of the Sungei Sebubong. The Sebubong river is navigable for a kilometre from the river mouth. Visitors can then travel by foot along a small trekking trail which leads to Kolam Sebubong, a small jungle pool. Enquire at the park HQ about other river cruising options.
Interesting Flora and Fauna found in the park
The flora consist of three main types namely; Beach, Kerangas and Mixed Dipterocarp Forest, which provide Home to various species of plants, trees and wildlife. Among the well-known plants found here are the Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longisolia) and Bintangor trees (Barringtonia Asiatica). The terrestrial fauna of the park boasts 24 Recorded species of mammals, such as gibbons, banded langurs and long-tailed macaque. The Park records the presence of 185 species of birds, which include hornbills and migratory water birds like Storms Stork. A very noteworthy reptile found here is the Saltwater Crocodile. Lucky visitors may be able to sight dolphins out amongst the waves. Occasionally, green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Visitors are advised that turtles are totally protected animals and that it is an offence to disturb them or their eggs.
Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack)
Common tree species found in the park. Belong to tree family of Simarubaceae, it is a small and slender tree and can grow as high as 15 metres in height. It produces a cluster reddish fruits of finger-sized and test bitter. On maturity its fruits turn black similar to coffee berries. No other national parks in Sarawak, Tongkat ali are found abundantly grown. It is also known as Malaysian Ginseng. Possesses medicinal value for curing high blood pressure and also good for kidney problems. Researchers reveal that it can be used as an aphrodisiac especially for male. The tap-root parts are essential and often extracted.
Belong to a tree of Guttiferae and can be found at both hill and swamp forest of Sarawak. Plenty of species but only two species are to be found to posses the medicinal value calanolide for curing of AIDS. The two species are calophyllum langigerum and calophyllum desmannii.
Ikan Lumba-lumba (Dolphin)
12 out of 20 marine mammals recorded in Malaysia occur in Sarawak. These include Whales, Dugongs and Dolphins. Five species of dolphin recorded in Bintulu waters. They are;
i. Irrawanddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris)
ii. Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiop trancatus)
iii. Indo-pacific humback Dolphin (Sousa cinensis)
iv. Finless porpoise Dolphin (Neophocaena phoacaenoides)
v. Pantropic spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuta)
Dolphins occur during the months of March to September every year. They are often sptted in groups of four or more during early morning of the day.
Three common species so far recorded landing at the park beaches. These turtles are landing to lay their eggs. Three known localities are the Golden Beach, Turtle Beach I and Turtle Beach II. They come during the month of March to September annually. The three species are Green turtle (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback turtle (Dermochelyes coriacea), and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate).
There is a signboard that reads �BE AWARE OF CROCODILE�. This indicates there are crocodile in the Likau River. Even though such warning sign are put, till today no crocodile attacked are reported in the park. There are two species of riverine crocodiles exist in the park. They are False Gharial (Tumistoma schlegii) and an estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porousus). The former is harmless while the latter is dangerous.
Belangkas (Horseshoe crab)
This king crab often occurs during the dry season starting from early May to October. They usually come in pairs, being the males on top of the females. The males are smaller in sizes as compare to the females. They come to the shore to lay eggs. During this breeding season we are to see plenty of catfishes (Ikan belukang) around feeding on the eggs.
Burung Kenyalang (Hornbill)
There are eight species of Hornbill recorded in Sarawak. Wildlife survey shows only few species are found at the park forests. Only solitary species, the Black hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) is found roaming in the park compound. Early notice during the early morning and late afternoon.
Places of Interest
About 4 kilometers of the shore of Kuala Sungai Likau. Can be reached only by boat. Noticeable from the Park only during low tide.
Located at the headlands of Kuala Sungai Likau. It is a shelter, sited strategically for nature lovers to view the Marine life, birds and other creature around the park.
It is a black bare rock surface situated at the end reach of the Batu Anchau trail and about 2km walk from the Park Office.
It is a rapid that exist at the end reach of the Selunsur Rapid trail. It is about 6.8 km from the Park Office. The rapid can be noticed clearly after a heavy down pour and fast flowing of high volume water on the steep rock surface.
There are 2 units of Turtle Beach namely Turtle Beach I and Beach II. They are located about 6 and 7 km away from the Park Office. These are the places where Turtles land for laying eggs. This occasionally happens during the month of March till September annually.
It’s a Beach of Wonders. The splendid long stretch of golden sand gives it name Golden Beach. From the Park Office to the beach is about 10 km walks. It is again the suitable place for the turtles to land and lay eggs.
It is a natural pool at the sebubong River. It can only be reached by mean of fast boat as there is no existing rail connecting from the Park Office.
Main Trails (Red mark)
This trails cover a total distance of 9.8 km reaching the Golden Beach can be reached by jungle trekking of about three to four journey (single trip) and about 7 to 8 hours return trip. Can also be reached by fast boat of about forty minutes
Education Trail (Green mark)
Consists of 2 parts. One is 450m plankwalk along the mangrove forest and another is 600m jungle trail. It is so called Education trail because it is nearby the Park Office and suitable for any interest Parties especially students to know more about tree species.
Circular Trail (Red/Whites mark)
This trail start from the end of the mangrove plankwalk with a loping shape and later meet the main trail at 0.5km with a total distance of 1.7km.
Batu Anchau Trail (White mark)
With a total distance of 2.1km and ends up at the Batu Anchau (Bare Rock Surface).
View Point (Red/Yellow mark)
It is about 280km length where the view point is sited. It can be reached about 20 minutes walk from the Park Office.
Selunsur Rapid (Yellow mark)
With a total distance of 5km from the Park Office and another 1.9km to the end of the trail to reach the Selunsur Rapid. It takes about 2 hours journey (single trip) and 4 hours for the return journey.
Sebubong Pool (Red mark)
This trail starts from the sebubong River mouth and ends at the Pool. Iy can only be reached from the Park office by fast boat.
For nature lovers, Similajau National Park provides an nature trails. As you trek along the trail you will feel the tranquility of the forest. You are not lonely but are entertained by the music from the friendly insects and beautiful whistling of the birds. The thick forest canopies provide you with fresh air and shades as you walk along.
If you love watching, please bring along a pair of powerful binoculars, zoom-lens cameras and pocket guide book
There are plenty of birds (both small, medium and large birds) around the park. Notably the black hornbills are always around.
Snorkeling can be carried out along the shore line of the Park beaches. There are plenty of rocks where we can see different kinds of marine life such as Lobsters, shells, Crab, Fishes. Do not forget to bring along your own equipment as Pak Office does not provide any.
There are 20 units of concrete barbecue sets to cater the visitors who love barbecuing. You have to bring along a wire mesh and charcoal / briquette to do the barbecue. The canteen is available to cater foods and drinks.
Crocodile sighting can only be carried out at night. A chartered boat is required to sneak the crocodile along the Likau River. Please use a powerful torch or spot light the eyes of the crocodile. If you�re lucky you might be able to see the whole reptiles figure.
Sea and River cruising
Fast boat can be arranged privately. The charges for the cruise depend much on the distance and time taken during the trip. At the moment river cruise usually carried out along Likau River and Sea cruise to Batu Mandi and as far as Golden Beach.
Education & Research
Nature lovers need to know more about Similajau National Park. The Park posses unique rock features along the shorelines and also at least 7 Forest Types. At the moment we have established one unit of Education trail whereby students & nature lovers learn to know more about forest type, flora and fauna as well.
Swimming & Picnicking
Swimming and picnicking and also family gathering are usually carried out at the beach in front of the Park Office.
Other facilities include jungle trails, public toilets and washrooms, canteen, information centre and 24- hour electricity. There are four types of accommodation available at the Park.
Booking of accommodation can be done direct to the Park Office or through visitors information Centres in Miri or Kuching. Advanced bookings are always encouraged as to avoid disappointment especially during festive seasons, school holidays and weekends.
Reservations & Enquiries National Parks Booking Office
c/o Visitors Information Centre
Lot 452, Jln Melayu, 98000 Miri,
Tel: 085-434184 Fax: 085-434179
Forest Lodge, Type 5 (Chalet Class III)
Five units with 2 rooms and eight single beds each. Altogether they are 40 single beds are ready to accommodate the overnight visitors. Equip with ceiling fans, 1 unit of refrigerator, a set of settee and attached bathroom. These chalets are all facing the sea views.
RM 100.00 per room
RM 150.00 per chalet
Forest Lodge, Type 6 (Drive-in Chalet)
Two units are available for rent at the moment. Equip with standing fans and 2 units of single beds in each room. This double-storey chalet is also is also attached with 2 units of bathroom both downstairs and upstairs. Is suitable for a small group of four at one time.
RM 50.00 per room
RM 75.00 per Chalet
Forest Hostel (Hostel 2)
Four rooms with 16 double-bunker beds are available at present. Sharing common verandah and bathrooms. Equip with wall fans, lockers and wardrobes. One unit of mini refrigerators is available for simple foods and drinks.
RM 15.00 per bed
RM 40.00 per room
RM 160.00 per hostel
Forest Hostel (Hostel 3)
Eighteen rooms with 72 double bunker beds. Spacious sitting room equips with set of settee and rotating wall fans. The sitting room can be used for meeting / conference and can accommodate about 80 persons at a time. Attach with separated male and female toilets and spacious dining room. Often fully booked during festive season, school holidays and weekends.
RM 15.00 per bed
RM 40.00 per room
RM 720.00 per hostel
The Park does not provide any camps or tents for rent except the camp sites. Any groups or individual who intend to do camping in the park are advised to bring along their own camp / tents. Camping charge is RM 5.00 per head per night.
How to get there?
There are many ways to reach the Park;
1. Own transport
From Bintulu town to the Park RM 40.00 per trip
From Bintulu Airport to the Park RM 65.00 per trip
Public bus services are carried out by Syarikat Bus Bintulu Sdn Bhd. (SBBS). The buses that ply between the Bintulu Town to the junction of the road leading to the Pak (RH Jarau) is labeled with Sungai Plant Lot. The fare is RM 18.00 for one trip. For information you are not reaching the Park yet and you have to get another of transport to cover another 9km to reach the Park Office. You many walk on foot or used private transport.
If you wish to reach the Park by the sea you may fast boat Bintulu Town. It costs you RM 200.00 per trip.
* All fares and charges are due to changes, last date arquire 19 June 2003
There is a canteen selling simple meals, drinks and daily basic necessities. Many visitors bring their own picnics and meals to the park.
Similajau National Park is located 30 kilometres north-east of the town of Bintulu and is reached via an unsealed. There is no regular bus service to the park so independent travellers usually take a taxi from Bintulu (approximately 30 min – don’t forget to book your taxi for the return journey). Local tour operators also offer transport and guided tours to the park. Alternatively you may charter a fast boat from Bintulu Wharf, a somewhat more expensive but enjoyable option.
Entry Fees & Permits
There is a nominal entry fee for all National Parks in Sarawak. A permit is required for professional filming, which should be arranged in advance with the National Parks Booking Office. Please check with the National Parks Booking Office in Miri or the Sarawak Forestry website for the latest fee structure. Visitors to Similajau can obtain a permit and pay any fees at the park HQ.
The Park Headquarters
Upon arrival visitors are required to register at the Park HQ. Next to the registration counter there is a good information centre. The Park HQ also has a canteen which serves drinks, snacks, lunch and evening meals.
Both individual chalet units and hostel accommodation are available at the Park HQ, all with 24-hour electricity and running water. Please contact the National Parks booking Office in Miri for the latest room rates and to make reservations. Early booking is advised if you are visiting at weekends, public holidays or school holidays. There is also a camp site, and barbecue pits are provided for visitors wishing to prepare their own meals.
|Reservations & Enquiries|
|National Parks Booking Office
c/o Visitors Information Centre
Lot 452, Jln Melayu, 98000 Miri,
Tel: 085-434184 Fax: 085-434179
While swimming is popular along the beaches of the Park, saltwater crocodiles do inhabit the waters of the nearby Likau River, so be careful!
For booking and further enquiry, please or for On-line booking click http://ebooking.com.my
Similajau National Park
Tel: (+6) 086 489003 Fax: (+6) 086 489002
Further Information: http://www.sarawakforestry.com/htm/snp-np-siminajau.html