Kaput in Kapit

Trip Start Mar 27, 2012
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Trip End Oct 18, 2012


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Where I stayed
New Rejang Inn
What I did
Kapit town

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Sunday, October 7, 2012

The next morning we went to the wharf and took our express boat, which is really long and shaped liked a torpedo, down the first part of our journey up the Rejang River to Kapit.   The Rejang River is Malaysia's longest river of over 640km, but we weren't planning on doing the whole journey.  Not sure how far we went, but it took 3 hours to get to Kapit in a boat that travels around 55km/hour.

Along the route, we saw a number of longhouses and the industry seemed to be primarily based around logging or woodchipping.   Our first stop was a small town called Song, which was about 2 hours from Sibu.   We then travelled on to Kapit, which is quite a small town, which is the commercial and administrative centre of an area comprising some 39,000 sq.km, so it does boast some District Council Offices, as well as a State and Government Government Complex.  

We were rather surprised at how many cars were in the town, given it is a really small town, with only a few roads running parallel to the river, and we asked if there was now a road from Sibu.  We were told no, the only mode of transport was via the river but that there is a barge that permits drive on cars, when it is available.  There is about  35km of road in Kapit, and 13kms in Song,  but there are quite a few logging tracks.

To our great disappointment, we were unable to go further up the river to  Belaga because of the low water levels.   Interestingly, there is now a road from Belaga  to Bintulu, because of the dam that has been built in the area - a distance of some 100ks. however, you can only get from Kapit to Belaga by boat..... ah well!

We spent overnight in Kapit and had a good time with the very friendly locals.  We enjoyed a great meal in one of the Chinese restaurants.  The owner insisted on us trying one the local delicacies (on the house) which is olives, which are soaked in hot water in a sugary substance.  They are quite soft and have the consistency of a date.  The nut inside is about the same length as our olives, although it is twice the depth.   Like our olives, they are a bit of an acquired taste.  Needless to say, Arthur wouldn't even try it!    I also had to try another local delicacy in Sibu (again, on the house) which was some fishy looking substance which I had to place on a green vegetable (which looked like some kind of cucumber).  It was extremely spicy and just about burned my tongue off - much to the delight of the locals who were watching my every move.  However, I upheld the traditions of the perfect tourist and swallowed the lot, eyes watering and grinning like an idiot!

We enjoyed a trip to the local Kapit Museum, which gave a good history of the area and the measures taken to unite all the local tribes, including the headhunters.   There used to be a fort at Kapit, Fort Sylvia, named after the wife of Rajah Vyner Brooke, a member of the Brooke dynasty, which reigned in the area for more than 100 years.  Not much left of the fort but a plaque these days.   A trip to the local market was fun, with some interesting fruit and vegetables on display.  I did get some very nice local woven cloth.

Back to Sibu late tomorrow.

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