Similajau National Park

Similajau National Park lies about 30 km northeast of Bintulu, directly at the coast. There is a beach that looks pretty good directly at park HQ but the water isn‘t clear and large salt water crocodiles are known to inhabit the rivers of the park — and one of these rivers flows into the South China Sea right next to the beach.

Beach near park HQ at low tide

Leaf in the forest

The park has excellent walking trails through dipterocarp rainforest, a plankwalk that leads through mangroves at the river, friendly staff and good accommodation including a small cafeteria. We took a taxi from the Bintulu long distance bus terminal to get there and stayed in the park for 2 nights.

Turtle Beach 2

Crayfish on the beach

On the afternoon of the first day we explored the beach, the mangroves and the short trails around park HQ. On the second day, we went to Turtle Beach II by boat and took the coastal trail back to park HQ (about 9 km). We strayed from the path several times to explore some of the beaches where we saw white-bellied fish-eagles, a monitor lizard and horseshoe crabs, taking extra care near the mouths of the larger rivers because of the crocodiles.

Horseshoe crabs on the beach

A monitor lizard

In the rainforest we encountered macaques and an oriental vine snake.

The rainforest

Juvenile oriental vine snake (Ahaetulla prasina)

In the early morning of the third day we chartered a boat for a wildlife spotting tour on the river. We saw gibbons and hornbills from afar, but they were too far away to get any good photos. For crocodiles one should rather go at night but that wasn‘t possible in our case because of the low tide. Still it was a very good boat ride.

A very small river with red water in the park

A larger, murky river in the park. Not a good place to swim I guess.