Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kapit, Sarawak offers plenty for tourists and adventure seekers

THE sunset in the mountainous Kapit Division with the Rajang River in the foreground, offers a breathtaking view at dusk.

Located inland of Sarawak, Kapit is a charming rural place that one should visit to appreciate the state’s unique geography and culture.

It is home mainly to the Ibans with a handful of Chinese, Malay, Melanau and Orang Ulu – thus visiting the division can be an enriching cultural experience as well.

Kapit is also synonymous with the most expensive freshwater fish in the state, Empurau, which cost more than RM500 per kilogramme! This is due to high demand for its delicious flesh.

The difficulty in catching this fish also contributes to its price as it is a slow-growing species and very particular about its habitat and breeding ground; preferring clear running water and where its favourite food, the Engkabang fruit, are available.

Kapit is the seventh of 11 administrative region in Sarawak and it is the biggest division spanning an area of about 40,000sqkm. It is has three districts namely Kapit, Song and Belaga, and two sub-districts Nanga Merit and Sungai Asap.

To reach Kapit, one has to travel to Sibu Division either by air, land or river and then board an express boat that is available from as early as 5.45am and ends at about 2pm. A trip cost between RM20 and RM30 depending on seating class – first, second or economy.

There are several express boat operators servicing the route almost hourly.

The 126km journey along the longest river in the country, Rajang River, takes nearly three hours. River transportation is the only mode of transport to Kapit for most people but plans are on the way to build a road from Kanowit in Sibu division to Song and to Kapit.

As one leaves the modern and bustling town of Sibu, the landscape along the riverbank also changes. One will pass by many longhouses as well as timber mills and log ponds, and the lush secondary forests and fruit trees.

In Kapit, life starts early.

In the town area, one can hear the shutters of shops being pushed up for business as early as 5am; while by 6am the earliest passenger express boat leaving for Sibu will honk intermittently and calling for passengers to board until it leaves the terminal at 6.40am.

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