Gateway to the Batang Rejang, Sibu has grown rich from trade with Sarawak’s interior since James Brooke's time. Offering some of Sarawak's best food – local seafood is especially well priced – the ‘swan city’ is a good place to spend a day or two before or after a boat trip into Borneo's wild interior. Visit in July for one of the state's best cultural festivals, or explore one of Sarawak's most interesting regional museums year-round.
Situated 60km upriver from the open sea, Sibu is Sarawak’s most Chinese city. Two-thirds of locals trace their roots to China, and many of them are descendants 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, which began in the early 1930s.