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5 things you can enjoy at Similajau National Park, Bintulu

Situated about 30km from Bintulu town, Similajau National Park covers a total area of 22,230 acres.

The park was gazetted in 1978 and opened to public in 1995.

Here are 5 interesting things about Similajau National Park:
Pay your entrance fee at this office before going into the park.
1.It is place where you can hike to the sound of waves crashing

There are about eight trails catering for visitors of all ages at Similajau National Park. The plank walk and education trail take about 15 and 20 minutes respectively. Thus making them suitable for young children.

Then, they have Circular Trail (1.7km), View Point Trail (1.3km), Batu Anchau (1.8km), Turtle Beach I Trail (6.5km), Turtle Beach II Trail (7.6km) and Golden Beach Trail (10km).

Choose your trail!

One tip for if you choose the Golden Beach Trail: start early and pack up some strength and endurance. Although you can make a round trip in one day, it is a very long walk.

Most of the trails go along the coast of Similajau. So you can imagine hiking these routes while listening to the waves crashing.

Additionally, the trails are mostly flat with little climbing required.

Apart from that, you can also soothe your soul with the sounds of insects and maybe some Bornean bearded pigs walking or champing their food.

Hike along the South China Sea!
2.The sand is gold in colour!

Golden Beach got its name thanks to its gold-coloured sand. This type of sand can also be found at Turtle I and Turtle II beaches.

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Hanz P. Hazebroek and Abang Kashim Abang Morshidi wrote in National Park of Sarawak that the parent rocks along the coast of the park include sandstone as well as mudstone.

“The resultant soils are red-yellow podzolic soils, composed of varying proportions of clay and sand with a few centimetres of decomposing plant remains on top. The yellow-orange colours are due to insoluble iron oxides.”

Putting geology and chemical composition aside, the golden-coloured beach offers the perfect Insta-background.

But we warn you! Unlike white sandy beaches which feel smooth between your toes, these golden sands are rough and harsh. So don’t even think about walking on the beach bare-footed.

The yellow-orange sand of Turtle Beach II.
3. There is a whale skeleton to greet you at the front office

Right outside of Similajau NP’s front office, there is a whale skeleton to greet you.

The story of this whale goes back to Dec 11, 2015 when it was first found stranded at Tanjung Batu Beach around 7pm.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation staff from Similajau NP, Malaysia LNG (MLNG) volunteers, Bintulu Fire Department and Civil Defense Department successfully released it back to the sea two hours later.

However, the animal was found dead at the same beach the next morning.

Identified as Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris), the carcass measuring 5.7m long was then transferred to Similajau National Park.

It is the first complete assembled skeleton of Cuvier’s Beaked Whale recorded in Sarawak and the second one in Malaysia.

The other one is on display at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Borneo Marine Research Institute aquarium.

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Say hi to whale skeleton before you head out to your journey!
4.It has a turtle hatchery

Three species of turtles have recorded landings at Similajau National Park; green turtle, leatherback turtle and hawksbill turtle.

They come from March to September annually. To protect their eggs, a turtle hatchery has been introduced to the park.

The staff usually dig their eggs from the beach and transplant them into the turtle hatchery. Then once the eggs are hatched, the hatchlings are released into the sea.

A glimpse into the turtle hatchery.
5.Similajau National Park has the Sea Turtles and Reef Ball Project

Speaking of turtles, these marine reptiles were absent for five years from Similajau since July 2010.

Then, they came back again in 2015 to lay their eggs. One of the strong reasons why they came back was due to the Sea Turtles and Reef Ball Project.

From 2013 to 2016, a total of 1,500 artificial reef balls were deployed off the coast of Similajau National Park.

This was to create habitat for marine life as well as to improve the livelihood of the local community.

In addition to that, Sarawak Forestry Corporation stated that the presence of the reef balls in the waters of Similajau National Park have greatly reduced trawling activities close to the park, thus providing protection and encouraging the return of turtles to the beaches of Similajau.

If you are feeling generous, you can adopt a reef ball through the Reef Ball Adoption Program. The funds are used to buy and deploy these artificial reefs at Similajau National Park.

Your generosity might bring more turtles to the beach to lay their eggs!

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This is how a reef ball looks like.
Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.
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