Top 11 Attractions in Sibu (2024)
Sibu is located in the heart of Sarawak, serving as an essential gateway for trade between Malaysia and Indonesia. The city’s population stands at more than 150 thousand people, with their historical sites preserved to reflect these traditions’ significance today. While this city is not a popular travel destination, here are some unique attractions in Sibu that will make your trip here worthwhile.
1. Sibu Heritage Centre
Housed in the former Sarawak Municipal Building, history lovers would adore this place, as one could learn about the rich history of Sibu in its early days. You will get to discover stories of the migration of Chinese migrants from different dialect groups in this centre, one of the historical attractions in Sibu. You will also get to see old photographs, cultural exhibits on other ethnic groups in Rejang, and the collection of fine antique artefacts like Chinese porcelain and clay vases.
You will also be treated to special exhibitions like genuine skulls from Iban longhouses, as headhunting used to be common in the Dayak culture, and taxidermy animals such as the Moon Rat, Orang Utan or Rhinoceros Hornbill.
2. Bukit Lima Nature Reserve
The Bukit Lima Nature Reserve lies conveniently in the heart of town, amid the Kampung Sentosa settlement. Besides owning jungle trails suitable for forest walks and running, the Bukit Lima Nature Reserve is also home to 39 species of birds, and one can just come here to watch and admire rare birds like flowerpeckers, sunbirds, and babblers. You can even catch a glimpse of the wildlife nearby, like pangolins, the Giant Squirrel, the Plantain Squirrel, Treeshews, and the Sambar deer, while going for a leisurely jog.
3. Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum
Not only is Lau King Howe Hospital Museum one of the must-visit attractions in Sibu, but it is also the first and only medical museum in Malaysia. The museum is dedicated to Lau King Howe, who has helped and impacted many lives since he moved to Sibu in 1915. What started as an intention to help rubber plantation activities eventually became a lifelong purpose for helping the people of Sibu and Rajang Valley.
The Lau King Howe Hospital Museum features remnants of old medical equipment and photographs with more detailed explanations of his story. Closed on Mondays, you can visit this museum on any other day of the week, from 9 AM to 5 PM and within 5 minutes from Sibu town.
4. Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park
Apart from the Sibu Heritage Centre, the Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park is one of the historical attractions in Sibu to visit if you enjoy history. One of the main pieces of history you can find here is about the Chinese Revolutionary leader, Wong Nai Siong, who led Foochow migrants on a large scale to Sibu in 1901. The site is chosen because it is believed that the land was where they first stepped foot.
5. Tiger Emperor Temple
If you are looking for religious attractions in Sibu to visit, you can check out the Tiger Emperor Temple. This 17-year-old temple is just 20 minutes from town and is still a hidden gem in Sibu. It is so remote that even locals might not have heard of it.
The temple’s entrance resembles that of a mouth of a tiger, alongside tiger statues guarding the sides of the temple. It is said that the Tiger Emperor Temple was built by a Chinese couple who wished to create a space for people to worship their ancestors.
6. Lin’s Swan Garden
Built in 2005, Lin’s Swan Garden is an enthralling place to visit and is undoubtedly an excellent spot for photo-taking. The highlight of this garden is the display of the statues of the 12 zodiac animals from the Chinese calendar, with a colossal swan statue as the centrepiece. According to the locals, this display symbolises happiness and good luck to the residents.
7. One Malaysia Culture Village
The One Malaysia Culture Village is a must-visit Sibu attraction with interactive exhibits, beautiful sights, and nature sounds surrounding you. Not only does this spot provide a glimpse into Malaysia’s diverse culture, but it also provides an opportunity for locals and foreigners alike to experience what life was like before modernisation. Getting there usually takes less than an hour, and it is located just across Jubilee Park, where you can take a car or bus number 3.
8. Sibu Central Market
Food is a massive part of every Malaysian, and the best place to discover the local delicacies is through the local market. Built in 1996 and located on Jalan Channel opposite Express Boat Passenger Terminal, Sibu Central Market is the place to go to, as it is the pinnacle for fresh cooking ingredients, besides being the most significant market in Sarawak and the largest indoor market in Malaysia.
Besides being open daily, you can come here for fresh and affordable ingredients as early as 5 AM, which closes at 7 PM. Apart from fresh produce, there is an extensive range of stalls selling exotic fruits, jungle produce, and general handicrafts. You may even spot Chinese hawkers selling live chickens wrapped in tubes of old newspapers. Just be sure to bring drinking water with you, as you will be doing quite a bit of walking.
9. Wisma Sanyan
As one of the tallest attractions in Sibu, Wisma Sanyan is a 125-metre one-stop centre that houses 120 retail shops, 22 office levels and five shopping levels, including local government offices and the Sarawak Municipal Council (SMC). Located by the Rajang and Igan Rivers, this landmark has become the largest town square with its vast space and is the official venue to host the annual Borneo Culture Festival. You can visit this place from 10 AM to 10 PM, on any day of the week.
10. Sungai Merah Heritage Walk
The Sungai Merah Heritage Walk is located beside the Sungai Merah (Red River). It is an old bazaar that is said to be the earliest settlement of Chinese migrants in Sibu, particularly the Chinese Foochow. The moniker is certainly apt, as the heritage trail along the riverbank occasionally looks red due to the river’s iron content. This makes this Sibu attraction a unique place to stroll and an exciting spot for photo-taking, especially during sunsets.
Just off this bustling market, visitors will walk along a riverfront trail, ending up at Wong Nai Siong Memorial Garden – a homage from the town founder himself. Walking here is undoubtedly an experience one shouldn’t miss.
11. Tua Pek Kong Temple
Tua Pek Kong Temple of Sibu is one of the oldest and most well-preserved temples in the town. With a history that goes all the way back to 1890, this 7-storey pagoda is said to be one of the most perfectly proportioned pagodas outside China. Apart from religious reasons, you can also come here to enjoy the magnificent sunset views from the top of the pagoda.
Sibu is a beautiful town in Sarawak that should be explored. It offers the perfect balance between nature and culture, so whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or want to soak up some of Malaysia’s unique history, the many attractions in Sibu will ensure your trip here is worthwhile.