1. Oct 28, Day 15: Up at 6 am this morning at Niah Caves Chalets. We did more than an hour of qigong. Qi was strong, with many trees nearby, the adjacent river and the rising sun. Left the chalets at about 8 am, had "Kueh Chap" for breakfast at a coffee shop in Batu Niah town. All satisfied, we set off in our journey to Sibu, some 350 km away, on way to Kuching. Along the way, we passed through Bentulu at about 11 am.
2. We plan to stay Thursday and Friday night in Kuching, before crossing over to Kalimantan at Entikong on Saturday, and spending Saturday night in Singkawang. Singkawang is Michelle's (wife of Yeow Pheng) hometown. Tentatively, we will spend 2 days in Pontianak before moving on.
3. It was a relatively comfortable drive to Sibu; potholed and uneven road surfaces in some stretches, but otherwise good road, one land either way. Could see that timber industry is still a thriving business in Sarawak. Saw a number of sawmills along the way. Trucks carrying logs were also a regular occurrences along the road to Sibu. It was quite a challenge trying to pass one of these.
4. We arrived at Sibu about 3 pm and, with the help of our GPS, checked into Premier Hotel, at RM230 a night. With a population of about 260 000, Sibu is located at the confluence of 2 rivers. It is a gateway for tours to tribal long houses up the rivers. From our 12th floor hotel room, we have a great view of the town. The town hugs the North side of the wide brown river, as the river meanders to the sea. It has wide roads and looks orderly. Many 3 to 4 storey shop houses with English and Chinese signage, much like any Chinatown. I could see a church in the centre of the town, rising more than 7 storey high, and further out, 2 Chinese temples, one of them with a pagoda rising above the surrounding buildings.
5. In the evening, we had dinner at a colourful restaurant that served relatively good chicken rice, and walked the popular Pasar Malam (night market), a car park turned hawker centre in the night. It looked great, against the setting sun.
6. It served the familiar hawker fare, but was surprised to see the pau here is much bigger than usual and mee chiang kueh, which I have not come across for a long time.
7. Will take a look at the Central Market tomorrow morning before continuing our journey to Kuching. The Central Market is the largest indoor market in Malaysia.