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Similajau
National Park

"If you like hiking, forests and nature, then Similajou is a must. I only started walking at 12 noon, it was very hot. But the forest was beautiful, many birds and crickets heard and now and then in the background I heard a monkey roar. Unfortunately not seen.
After the walk I was on the beach for an hour in the surf (didn't dare go into the deep because of crocodiles).
Anyway, had a wonderful day, experienced many new things. Maybe again this week, but then I start walking at 8 o'clock so that I am on golden beach before noon."

Similajau National Park is located 32 kilometers northeast of the city of Bintulu and can be reached via an unpaved road. There is no regular bus service to the park, so independent travelers usually take a taxi from Bintulu (about 30 minutes - don't forget to book your taxi for the return journey). Local tour operators also provide transportation and tours to the park. Alternatively, you can charter a fast boat from Bintulu Wharf, a slightly more expensive but enjoyable option.
Similajau National Park has a lot more to offer than just beautiful beaches. Guides will take you along jungle trails such as View Point Trail, Turtle Beach, and Golden Beach, where there is a large estuary with saltwater crocodiles, the largest in the world, and often basking in the sun. You can see a lot of wildlife, turtles, lizards, gibbons, macaques, wild boars, striped langurs, civets and the already mentioned salt water crocodiles.


 
The park is home to 185 species of birds, including hornbills and sea eagles, as well as 24 species of mammals. Add coastal and river cruisers to the other attractions and you will understand why Similajau National Park is such a popular destination for nature lovers. The coastline of the nature reserve acts as nesting beaches for green turtles and the occasional hawksbill turtles. If you are lucky you can even spot dolphins!
There is one main trail in Similajau, which runs the coastline from the park with a number of side trails. The main path is relatively easy to follow due to the red paint markings on the trees. From the headquarters you must first cross the Sungei Likau via the suspension bridge to get to the path of planks along the mangroves. You follow the plank path. There is an area with picnic tables at a lookout point that looks out onto the beach and park headquarters.
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Most visitors follow the main trail to reach the park's excellent beaches - two turtle beaches in beautiful coves and Golden Beach, a long, uninterrupted stretch of sand. All beaches offer excellent swimming in emerald water.
Renting one boat is one of the best ways to see Similajau. The administrators at the park headquarters can help you rent a boat. Boats can be hired by the hour for half- or full-day coastal and river cruises, or for nighttime crocodile spotting. You can arrange to be dropped off at the beach and picked up at a pre-arranged time, or you can take a boat to Golden Beach or Turtle Beach and then walk back along the main path.

 

Both individual chalets and hostel accommodations 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 a reservation.
Park opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. including public holidays

NB: Estuary = An estuary is a widened, usually funnel-shaped mouth of a river, where fresh river water and salt sea water are mixed to create brackish water, and where tidal range is noticeable.

 

   Ben van Wijnen

 

 

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