Simalajau National Park, about 30 minutes away from Bintulu town center, used to be the ‘real nature’ retreat away from hustle and bustle of town living.

It also used to be surrounded by pristine coastal rain forest, largely untouched by human activities.

Now it is bordered on every corner by oil palm estates. Soon, a port, an aluminium smelting plant and other heavy pollutants, heavy industry will become it neighbour. Many have expressed their concerned about the National Park’s future especially the wild life.

In a measured response, the state government on 2000 extended the park size by 1,932 ha in addition to 7,064 ha already gazetted in 1978. State government said its will implement several measures to protect the park.

Let’s hope they do. Last year I posted an article about the park here at Bintulu Edition. The article was written based on several visits to the park from August, 2007 to June 2008.

Initially, I thought it was a well thought article, as it mentioned all the ‘nice’ things about the park – eg, the beautiful jungle; memorable crocodiles sighting trip; picnicking at the waterfall and the golden beach.

There were no mentioned of the park apparent lack of maintenance – damaged barbecue benches, huts, walkways, bridge, and dirty toilets. For that reason, it invited several negative comments.

In fact an expatriate (working for a local hotel) I personally know, happened to read the article and was contended to let me know he disagreed with the article.

“… are you writing that article to please the park management or is it really your honest assessment of the park? I visited Simalajau Park last week and saw rubbish everywhere, planks on bridge were broken. It was definitely far from what you described in this article” he said without mincing his words.

Then I decided to unpublished the post. So,  this is sort of a re-written version of that earlier post. Yeah, I guess it should have been written in a slightly balance tone – instead of sound like praising too much.

However, I’ve not visited the Simalajau National Park almost a year now. Perhaps, I should visit it again before middle of this year and made a follow up post. Let’s hope, by then there will be no more damaged benches, huts, planks, dirty toilets etc.

By the way, have you been there yourself? When was the last time you were there? I’d be interested to hear from you too.

Scenic view along the road towards Simalajau National Park.

Scenic view along the road towards Simalajau National Park.

The swamp trail. A walk on this meandering trail through the swamp is very relaxing indeed. If youre lucky enough you can catch a glimpse of wild life including crocodile, rare kingfisher.

The swamp trail. A walk on this meandering trail through the swamp is very relaxing indeed, but do mind your steps. If you're lucky enough you can catch a glimpse of wild life including crocodile, rare kingfisher.