Gateway to the Batang Rejang, Sibu has grown rich from trade with Sarawak’s interior since the time of James Brooke. These days, although the ‘swan city’ does not rival Kuching in terms of charm, it’s not a bad place to spend a day or two before or after a boat trip to the wild interior.
Situated 60km upriver from the open sea, Sibu is Sarawak’s most Chinese city. Many of the two-thirds of locals who trace their roots to China are descendents of migrants who came from Foochow (Fujian or Fuzhou) province in the early years of the 20th century. The city was twice destroyed by fire, in 1889 and 1928. Much of Sibu’s modern-day wealth can be traced to the timber trade.