Getting there & away
Long-distance buses leave from the regional express bus terminal on Jln Penrissen at Mile 2.5, about 5km southeast of the city centre. Around 18 city buses pass by the express bus terminal between 6am and 6pm, and a few buses operate until 9.30pm. Buses to the terminal stop in front of the main post office (60 sen); allow at least 20 minutes for the trip.
Except on weekends and public holidays, there’s usually no need to book seats on long-distance buses – just arrive, buy a ticket and hop on. Most of the long-distance bus companies have ticket offices at or near the Petra Jaya bus station (Jln Khoo Hun Yeang). Check the daily papers for times and fares, or ask at the visitors information centre (410944; www.sarawaktourism.com; Sarawak Tourism Complex, Jln Tun Haji Openg; 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm Sat & Sun) to see if there are changes to the schedules. Long-distance buses are modern, with air-conditioning and dodgy movies.
The main long-distance companies:
Biaramas Ekspres (452139; Jln Khoo Hun Yeang)
Borneo Interland (413595; 63 Main Bazaar)
Lanang Road Bus Company (462887) Head office in Sibu.
Vital Focus (619689; Jln P Ramlee) Borneo Highway, PB Ekspres and Suria buses.
Services to Sibu (RM40, eight hours) leave from 6.30am until around 11pm; overnight buses are a popular option.
Buses go to Bintulu (RM60, 10 hours, four daily) between 6.30am and 10pm You can also take an express bus all the way to Miri (RM80, 16 hours), with departures from 6.30am to 9.30pm, though flying is much quicker and doing the trip in stages is more pleasant. There are four daily departures to Mukah (RM56, 11 hours). All buses on these routes go via Sarikei (RM32, six hours).
Several companies have daily buses to Pontianak (RM45, around nine hours) in Kalimantan; some have more-comfortable services for RM70, including meals. Buses cross at the Tebedu–Entikong border. Most nationalities now need to get a visa in advance – check with the Indonesian consulate in Kuching before leaving, as it’s a long way to come back if you’re turned away! It’s a slow haul from Serian to Tebedu on the Sarawak side, but there’s a good highway from Entikong to Pontianak.
Express boats to Sibu (RM40, 4½ hours) depart daily at 8.30am from the wharf in the suburb of Pending, about 6km east of the city centre. To get there, catch CLL bus 17 or 19 (RM1.20) from the main post office, or Regas bus 1C (90 sen) from the stop next to the Riverbank Suites. The trip takes about 20 minutes. Taxis cost RM15.
Check at the visitors information centre (410944; www.sarawaktourism.com; Sarawak Tourism Complex, Jln Tun Haji Openg; 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 9am-3pm Sat & Sun) for the latest on booking and schedule changes, and get to the dock an hour before sailing to be on the safe side.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS; 244144; 215 Jln Song Thian Cheok) has at least eight flights daily between KL international airport and Kuching, three daily to Johor Bahru and at least one to Singapore. After the great reshuffle, MAS internal flights now only serve Sibu and Miri, plus Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Low-cost carrier Air Asia (283222; Wisma Ho Ho Lim, 291 Jln Abell) has seven flights a day to KL and two to Johor Bahru, with fares starting as low as RM80 if you book early enough, and also serves Sibu, Bintulu and Miri daily. Fly Asian Xpress (FAX; www.flyasianxpress.com) flies to Mukah and on to Miri once or twice daily.
All Malaysia Airlines flights to Pontianak in Indonesia have been withdrawn, but Batavia Air (244299; 1 Padungan Arcade, Jln Song Thian Cheok) still flies there daily en route to Jakarta. You will need to arrange your visa in advance.