14 Top Things To Do In Sibu, Sarawak

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Going to Sibu and now want to know what all the best things to do in Sibu, Sarawak are? We have you covered! Below, you will find our Sibu things to do guide which covers all you need to know to plan the ultimate trip.

While Sibu is one of Sarawak’s largest cities, it’s not often on the top of people’s list when visiting Sarawak. However, Sibu is an underrated city that has a vibrant food scene, rich cultural and historical heritage and some great natural attractions. 

Located on the Rejang River, the longest river in Malaysia, it’s 60 kilometres from the coast. It’s the gateway to Sarawak’s interior. It grew wealthy from trade with the interior and, today, makes it money from timber. It’s also the gateway to exploring this area for travellers.

Tua Pek Kong Temple Sibu Sarawak
Tua Pek Kong Temple

It’s Sarawak’s most Chinese background city with two thirds of locals tracing back their heritage to Foochow (or Fuzhou) province at the start of the twentieth century.

I explored Sibu as part of a bigger trip to Sarawak. There is plenty to see and do to occupy yourself for a couple of days. Sibu is also known for its food so make sure you eat up!

Below, in our full guide to things to do in Sibu Malaysia, you will find precisely just what to do in Sibu, Sarawak, as well as the best places to stay. There is also a handy map of all the Sibu attractions that our guide details below to help you with your itinerary planning.

Let’s start!

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Top 14 Things To Do In Sibu, Sarawak

Here are the best things to do in Sibu. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe. They are somewhat in geographical order starting in the centre at the top rated Sibu Heritage Centre.

Learn Sibu’s History At The Sibu Heritage Centre

Sibu Heritage Centre
Sibu Heritage Centre

The Sibu Heritage Centre is a cool, circular building which showcases Sibu’s rich history, as well as the cultural heritage of Sarawak’s ethnic groups. It takes you from the beginning of Sibu to today and discusses the early Chinese migrants, the dialect groups and the earliest indigenous tribe groups.

Also covered is Sarawak’s communist insurgency, Sibu’s Christian traditions and local feelings when Sarawak became part of Malaysia in 1963.

There are many photos, information boards, Chinese porcelain, clay vases, relics, tools and more including skulls that were hung from Iban longhouses. There are also taxidermied animals found in Borneo as well as (randomly) animals found around the world.

Admission to the museum is free.

Address: 18 2, Jalan Central, Pekan Sibu, 96000 Sibu

Explore The Heritage Shopfronts Around Jalan Tukang Besi

Heritage Shopfronts Around Jalan Tukang Besi Sibu
Heritage shopfronts around Jalan Tukang Besi

This area around Jalan Tukang Besi between Sibu Heritage Centre and Tua Pek Kong Temple is perfect for a short walk exploring these heritage shopfronts.

It’s a picturesque, low-level area that’s worth taking a moment to enjoy while walking between these attractions.

Visit Tua Pek Kong Temple

Tua Pek Kong Temple Sibu
Tua Pek Kong Temple

When deciding which Sibu, Sarawak attraction to visit during your trip, a visit to Tua Pek Kong Temple is a must. This popular tourist spot is where people come to pray or just admire that temple’s colourful architecture. 

A Taoist temple has existed on this spot since 1871! You can climb up the seven storey pagoda, Kuan Yin Pagoda, which was built in 1987. There are great views from here, especially at sunset. You may need to get the key at the ground floor desk.

This Sibu tourist attraction also has stone carvings, shady trees and nice places to sit as you watch the river traffic go by. It’s a must visit place to stop in Sibu to take a moment and enjoy.

Address: Jalan Temple, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak

Shop And Dine At The Sibu Night Market

Sibu Night Market
Sibu Night Market

Craving some street food? Head down to Sibu Night Market, known to be Sibu’s street food paradise.  Here you can buy anything from dim sum, barbeque to local cakes. 

As well as food, you’d also find a number of stalls that sell clothes, electronics, and household items for bargain prices. 

The night market opens daily from 6pm along Market Road. It’s easy to try a few different things as you wander around for great prices. It’s where I ate 🙂

Address: Jalan Market, Pekan Sibu, 96000 Sibu

Get A Bargain At Sibu Central Market

Sibu Central Market
Sibu Central Market

The Sibu Central Market is the place to head for fresh produce, local food and more. It’s the largest indoor market in Malaysia with over 1,000 stalls. You can get yourself a bargain meal here or simply walk through and soak up the local colour. It’s huge!

In addition to what you may expect to see, there are interesting exotic fruits, jungle produce, handicrafts, textiles and pottery. Upstairs is where you can find numerous food stalls with Chinese, Malay and Iban options. It’s also one of the biggest (if not biggest) food court areas I have gone to as well.

Food court area at Sibu Central Market
Food court area at Sibu Central Market

I had a great lunch here which was atmospheric, cheap and delicious. Winning!

Built in 1996, this market is open from 5am until around 7pm, although not everything stays open all day. Mornings are the best time to visit.

Address: Jalan Channel, Pekan Sibu, 96000 Sibu

Watch The River At Rejang Esplanade

Rejang Esplanade Sibu

This esplanade was built in 1987 and is a pretty landscaped riverfront area with great views of the river and all the ships, barges, “flying coffin” boats and more. It’s great for river watching, although there was a lot less river traffic than I was expecting.

There are chairs, a playground and it’s a great place to stop for a moment and take it all in. Look out for the Sibu swan statue over the river. The swan is the city’s emblem.

Address: 31, Jalan Maju, Pekan Sibu, 96000 Sibu

Shop At The Tallest Building In Sarawak: Wisma Sanyan

Wisma Sanyan Sibu
Wisma Sanyan

Once known to be the tallest building in Sarawak at 125 metres tall (it was beaten in 2019), Wisma Sanyan first opened its doors in 2001 and houses a shopping mall with 120 shops, restaurants, and many office levels.

In September, it is home to the annual Sibu Base Jump. At this event, participants jump from the highest point of this building with a parachute.

In March, there is the Sibu Tower Run which is a race to see who can run up the staircase here the fastest.

Address: 1, Jalan Sanyan, Pekan Sibu, 96000 Sibu

Walk Through Empty Wards At The Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum

Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum Sibu
Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum

Known to be one of Malaysia’s most unique museums, the Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum was once a fully functional hospital.  Today, it is Malaysia’s only medical museum with bizarre and sometimes scary medical exhibits and instruments.

You get to wander the empty wards and corridors while examining early 20th century medical equipment and photos. They certainly made me glad that I live in the 21st century. There’s also a display of nurses uniforms.

The museum was dedicated to Lau King Howe, a pastor from China who came to Sibu in 1916 and helped fund medical services in the area. His story is also told in the museum.

It’s one of my favourite things to see in Sibu as it’s just so different and interesting.

Open daily from 9am to 5pm except Mondays. Donations are appreciated.

Address: Jalan Lau King Howe, 96000 Sibu

Take The Sungai Merah Heritage Walk

Sungai Merah Heritage Walk Sibu
Sungai Merah Heritage Walk

The Sungai Merah Heritage Walk takes place next to the Sungai Merah (Red River). It starts an old market bazaar that is where its believed the first Chinese migrants settled in 1901. The migrants were lead by Wong Nai Siong, a leader and educator who came from Foochow.

He brought a second lot of migrants in 1901 and also helped migrants settle into town. This area is significant to the local Chinese background population.

It’s a pretty riverfront stroll. The market place is currently being rebuilt, but should open again soon. Regardless, it’s still a nice place to check out. The river lives up to its name as it does occasionally look red thanks to the iron content in the river. There’s also a lot of pink around which helps add to its glow.

The trail finishes at the Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park (coming up next).

See The Beautiful Landscape At Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park

Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park Sibu
Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park

This memorial park was erected in honour of Wong Nai Siong, the leader mentioned above. The park and monument shows the reverence locals have to him, and the garden is always clean and well-maintained. 

This area is a popular place to go to for early morning exercise routines. 

Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Pekan Sibu, 96000 Sibu

Go On A Picnic At Taman Bukit Aup Jubilee Park

Taman Bukit Aup Jubilee Park is a popular place for locals to relax, especially during weekends, as it is a peaceful place to unwind and have picnics.  The park’s facilities include a pavilion, amphitheatre, lookout tower, lagoon, garden, playground and a barbeque area. 

There’s also a suspension bridge over a small lake and jogging and walking trails. It’s quite a hilly area.

From the top of the lookout tower is a great place to go to see the surrounding longhouses and plantations in the area. This tower is also a place the local Iban people bring offerings for the spirit Naga Bari who is meant to help people in need.

Address: Jalan Inai, 96000 Sibu

Take A Short Trekking Adventure In Bukit Lima Nature Park

Bukit Lima Nature Park Sibu
Bukit Lima Nature Park

Need to get out of the city? Bukit Lima Forest Park is the place to head. Here, you can take a short trekking adventure and participate in a bird watching activity afterwards. There are to 39 bird species in the park and animals such as pangolins, macaques and squirrels. 

Located in a peat swamp forest environment, this park is popular for jogging and walking. The trails add up to about 5.7 kilometres long on wooden boardwalk.

There is also an observation deck and seating. The only downside is that the boardwalk can get slippery and there isn’t much shade making it quite hot if you go in the afternoon like I did.

The park is to easy reach as it’s just a 15-20 minute drive from the centre of Sibu. You can take a Grab taxi or local bus number 10.

Address: 5 Lorong Sentosa, 96000 Sibu

Enjoy Jade Dragon Temple

Jade Dragon Temple (Yu Lung San Tien En Si)
Jade Dragon Temple (Yu Lung San Tien En Si)

The Jade Dragon Temple, also known as the Yu Lung San Tien En Si, is believed to be one of the biggest temple complexes, not just in Malaysia, but in all of Southeast Asia.  Here religious practices like Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are brought together under one roof. 

It’s about a 35 minute drive here from the centre of Sibu. If you take a taxi, ask them to wait for you as there is not much near here.

It’s an amazingly picturesque temple complex and worth the time of coming here if you can fit it in.

Address: Jalan Sibu – Bintulu, 96000 Sibu

Experience The Bawang Assan Longhouse Village

Bawang Assan Longhouse Village Sibu Sarawak

If you want to experience the authentic and traditional life of an Iban then you should definitely visit the Bawang Assan Longhouse Village. This village is a collection of nine longhouses dating from the 18th century of the indigenous Iban population. It’s an interesting mix of traditional longhouses to more modern ones so you can see how longhouses have evolved over time.

If you visit here, you can get a glimpse of the Iban’s daily activities, such as planting on rice paddies, fishing and learning how to Ngajat – a warrior dance from the tribes. You can also try some of their traditional food.

Many of the older Iban speak great English which adds to the experience. It’s possible to visit for the day or stay overnight.

The village is 40-minutes away from the main city centre by taxi or an hour by boat. The visitor information centre in the Sibu Heritage Centre can help you organise a trip here.

Sibu Tourist Attraction Map

Find all the attractions in Sibu on the following map as well as the recommended hotels below.

Top Things To Do In Sibu map
Click the map to open it in Google Maps

Best Place To Stay In Sibu

When it comes to where to stay in Sibu, there is an excellent range of hotels in the city centre for all budget types. To help you shortlist where to stay for your trip, I’ve listed a few different places to consider including a budget, mid-range and more expensive option.

You can also find our guide to the best hotels in Sibu here.

BEST – Kingwood Hotel Sibu Review

Kingwood Hotel Sibu pool
Fabulous pool area by the river

Located on the banks of Rajang River, this hotel is walking distances to many of the city attractions such as the Sibu Central Market and the waterfront.

The Kingswood Hotel has a range of room options that can accommodate from one to four people in single, twin, double and quadruple rooms. All rooms have desk areas, minifridges, tea and coffee making facilities, air-conditioning and everything else you would expect from a four star hotel. Some rooms offer stunning river views as well. 

Facilities include free wifi, an amazing outdoor pool by the river, gym, 24-hour front desk, and two on-site restaurants. Free private parking is also available for guests. 

This is our top pick for where to stay as I had a great stay here. It offers great value.

Click here for the latest prices or click here to read my full review.

MID-RANGE – De House Hotel Review

De House Hotel is conveniently located in Sibu, near the city’s must-see destinations. 

Guests can choose from 40 well-appointed rooms which can accommodate two people right up to four people in a family suite which comes with two queen beds.  Each of the rooms features AC, a TV, fridge, kettle and private bathroom.

The hotel also offers a vast array of facilities and services like free WiFi for all rooms, in-house coffee shop and restaurant, salon, and convenience store. 24-hour front desk, laundry services, tours, and free parking is also available. 

Click here for the latest prices.

BUDGET – Qu Lin Resident Review

Qu Lin Resident is a good choice for budget conscious travellers. The property isn’t too far from the city centre, just four and a half kilometres away, offering access to Sibu’s must-see destinations. It is very close to the Sungai Merah Heritage Walk and Wong Nai Siong Memorial Park.

The Qu Lin Resident has a range of room options including twin, queen and a family room which comes with a single and queen bed. All rooms have free wifi, air-conditioning, desks and bathrooms, while some rooms offer stunning river views. 

Facilities at the hotel include an on-site restaurant and fitness centre. 24-hour front desk, laundry services and free parking is also available for guests. 

The hotel is basic, but comfortable and fantastic when you consider how crazy cheap it is.

Click here for the latest prices.

Click here for more of the best hotels in Sibu.

How To Get To Sibu

Sibu Airport
Sibu Airport

It’s easy to get to Sibu by bus, plane or ferry.

Regular flights to Sibu Airport (SBW) are available via Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, MYAirline and MASWings coming from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Bintulu, Miri and some other major destinations.

To see all the latest flights and prices, click here.

Buses run regularly from Sarawak cities (e.g. Kuching, Miri and Bintulu) to Sibu Bus Terminal.

If you need to take a bus, click here for the latest timetables and bus prices.

Ferries also run daily from Kuching and Kapit with express boats leaving the port between 8:15 am to 1:15 pm.

If you’d prefer a ferry, click here for the latest ferry fares and schedule.

For more detailed instructions:

Sibu With Kids

Inside Tua Pek Kong Temple Sibu
Inside Tua Pek Kong Temple

Sibu is a great destination to visit if you have kids. They are likely to enjoy many of the Sibu things to do above as well.

For example, take a short trekking adventure in Bukit Lima Forest Park where you can do a fun nature hike, discover the forest’s fascinating wildlife and go birdwatching. 

Similarly, you can also take them on an educational tour at Sibu Heritage Centre, where they can learn more about the place’s history and culture, and even get a chance to know more about Sarawak’s ethnic groups. You can enjoy delicious treats and drinks in one of the cafes nearby afterwards. 

Then take them to the night market to try some new foods for dinner.

Final Words

Sibu from Kingwood hotel room at night
Sibu

Sibu may not be a famous tourist destination, but you’ll find a lot of hidden gems here, especially if you’re planning to explore the city. 

I had a great time exploring Sibu on my big Sarawak adventure, and I’m sure you can too.

So, whether you’re going here for just a day trip or staying for a couple of days, you’ll see that there are plenty of things to see and do in Sibu. 

I hope you enjoyed our guide to the top things to do in Sibu, Sarawak. You can find the best hotels to stay in Sibu here or find our full travel guide to Sibu here. Heading on to Kuching? Find our guide to Kuching here. How about Miri? Find our guide to Miri here.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.