Our next journey was a three-day trip along the Rajang river stopping in Sibu, Kapit and Belaga. We were unsure what to expect but we were recommend to use this route through the river. If you plan to take this journey be prepared to be submerged in the Borneo way of life. The hotels along the way are okay but do not expect any luxury! If we done the trip again we would have probably just gone along the road to Miri or flew from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu to save ourselves time as the boats are only at certain times and this normally means once you reach the next destination the last boat to the next place has already left! Heres a breakdown on how we completed the journey and where we stayed.
To get to Sibu from Kuching we got the 8:30am boat with hope that we would change boats at Sibu and head straight to Song. The boat from kuching to Sibu cost 65MR each and took 4 hours. When we arrived in Sibu the next boat was leaving in 30 minutes time but while we were in the queue it sold out! With no other choice we looked on ‘Agoda’ for somewhere to stay and booked our tickets for the 11:45 boat the next morning. If you’re travelling on from Sibu you can get the boat to Song or Kapit at 5:45am, 11:45am or 1:45pm and it cost 25 MR each.
We stayed at Comfort Inn, it was slightly out-of-town but really reasonable at 60RM for a double room and the hotel was brand new and clean. Sibu is the biggest town along the route so if you’re feeling unsure when you’re in Sibu our advice is that you head straight to Miri and forget the boat trip. That evening we headed back into town to the night market for some food and here we discovered ‘Crispy’, well that’s what they said it was called when we asked, a pancake type food with butter, peanuts and sugar in the middle, they’re amazing!
When we arrived in Kapit we had a walk around a few hotels close to the boat pier. Most of them were sleepable but not the best condition. We had a look online and found only one hotel on ‘Agoda’ called ‘Hotel Meligai Kapit’ it was 67RM per night for a double room. The town itself is very small town and you can walk around it in about 15 minutes. We couldn’t pre book our tickets to Belaga as there is only one boat a day at 9:30am so we had to be at the boat pier for 8am the following morning to buy tickets. There isn’t a huge variety of places to eat either, we opted for the night market where there was a friendly local helping us order as everything is in Malay. So we had some satay chicken and rice.
We arrived in Belaga greeted by monsoon rain. We met a couple from Poland on board the boat who had been doing the same trip as us and we got chatting while waiting for the rain to pass. They said they had been recommended to stay at ‘Dans Levoh’s Guest House’ so we all agreed once the rain had stopped we would take a walk there. The main thing to do in Belaga is visit the famous longhouses, the couple we met suggested we could book this through Dan too. When we arrived at ‘Dans Levoh’s Guest House’ it seemed shut and no one was answering so walked around the town to a few other guest houses. After seeing three or four we came to the realisation that they were all the same, broken toilets, dirty and bugs! We would just have to bare it for one night as there was nothing we could do! We stayed at Hotel Belaga, it was awful. We were greetedd by a large cockroache in our room so we were up as soon as the sun was to have breakfast and get out of there!! To go to the long house meant we had to stay longer and due to the accommodation on offer, we quickly decided to jump into the next 4×4 Taxi we could. They’re easy to organise and they will take you to Bintulu or like they did with us they will take you to the crossroads for 50MR each. Here we waited for the bus to Miri which comes every half an hour.