Photo: Jonas Voss

Bintulu is a coastal town with total population of less than 200,000 peoples.

Administratively, Bintulu town is under the 9th Division (or Bintulu Division) of Sarawak, with size almost as big a Malacca (Melaka) state in peninsular. The town is about 650 kilometers from Kuching and about 215 kilometers from either Sibu or Miri.

Bintulu Division consisted of two districts – Tatau district and Sebauh district and two smaller sub-district – Sangan and Tubau.

How to get to Bintulu by plane? The main gateway to Bintulu for international travelers is via the Bintulu Airport, located about 25 km from the town center.

Malaysia Airlines and Airasia are the only airlines servicing Bintulu-Kuala Lumpur route on daily basis. Domestic flights (within Sarawak and Sabah) is handled by MASWings  (a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines) which took over the rural air service from FlyAsian Express (FAX) on October 1, 2007.

MASWings links Bintulu with other towns such as Mukah, Sibu, Miri, Kota Kinabalu and Belaga. International connections are not available since that Bintulu is not declared as an international airport.

When checking in, note that all flights outside Sarawak are considered “international”, even if you’re only going elsewhere in Malaysia. A restaurant is located on ground floor at the lower ground and in the boarding hall.

Bintulu town is about 20 minutes away by taxi. Get your taxi coupon from the taxi stand just outside the arrival hall – at a fixed price of RM29.50. Currently, there are no buses feeder bus serving the airport to the town center.

However, if you’re adventurous enough, about 1.5 km from the airport is the main highway where you can catch a bus (Bintulu-Town bus) to the town center. The interval is about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

How to get to Bintulu by bus? Bintulu regional express bus terminal is located at Medan Jaya about 5km from the town center.

All Sarawak major towns and cities like Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Mukah, Betong, Sri Aman, Sarikei, Batu Niah and Sungai Tujuh are well connected with Bintulu. There are wide array of bus choices such as Borneo Bus, MTC Transport, Biaramas, Eva Transport etc.

Medan Jaya bus terminal also served Sungai Asap (Bakun resettlement area) and Bakun (a hydro-electric project). An international link bus such as to Brunei (via Sg. Tujuh) and Pontianak, Indonesia can be bought at the terminal. Estimated travelling time from Kuching to Bintulu is 10 hours, which sometimes transit to other main towns.

There is a logging road linking Bintulu with Belaga town. However, you’d have to hire / pay private vehicle locally known as 4WD (Four Wheel Drive Vehicle) such as Toyota Hilux, Toyota Landcruiser. You can easily hire one near Li Hua Plaza area.

How to get to Bintulu by Car? Bintulu is linked to major town and cities in Sarawak by extensive network of roads. The nearest city Miri is only 3 hours drive from Bintulu via the coastal road and 3 hour plus using the old highway.

The furthest you can go by car is from Bintul is Pontianak, Kalimantan  which is about 1050km away, or to as far as Tawau in Sabah (more than 1000km).

Get around Bintulu Town
On foot. Bintulu old town or town center is quite a pedestrian-friendly with lots of traffic lights served for pedestrians.

However, a walk to other parts of the town might be a tiring one, especially to Parkcity Commercial area (1 km away) and Medan Jaya (5 km away). So opt for bus which cost you less than RM2 for one way.

By bus. Bintulu has one of the most efficient bus transportation system in Sarawak, which is served by Jepak Transportation Sdn. Bhd. The bus serves transport to other minor parts of the town to as far as Tatau and Kuala Tatau. Intra-town or municipal bus can be found at the Pasar Tamu Bus Terminal.

Car. The most convenient option to get around the town and intra town travel is by car. You can rent a car such as Kancil as low as RM70 per day and bigger capacity car such as Toyota Camry for RM380 per day.

Beyond Bintulu town
Express boat. Express boat is another mode of river transportation linking Bintulu town to other smaller towns and native’ longhouses found along the Kemena river areas such as Sebauh, Tubau and Labang.

The fare ranges from RM5 to RM80 (depend on your destination). Travelers can also opt to rent a ‘perahu’ (longboat) or speed boat to other minor towns for greater adventure.

However, it is rather expensive – from as low as RM100 to RM700 per day (not inclusive of fuel surchage) depend on they type of speed boats.

Have you been to Bintulu before? Are you planning to visit Bintulu? Please share your experience or leave a comment below.