2007 Holiday Pictorials

Express Boat Ride

This is a backpost of the short year end holidays I would like to share with fellow bloggers. Most of the time I get emails from tourists from outside Sarawak and Sarawakians who have never gone on a river adventure up the Rajang River. So if you have plans to ride on an Express Boat here's a few pictures on what its like. Water transport plays an important role in the everyday life of the rural folks whose homes (mainly longhouses) and riverine towns are not connected by road networks. The rivers become the lifeline for these settlements/towns. How does one go upriver especially from Sibu? Firstly what does a typical Express boat look like?

A typical Express Boat

Most West Malaysians who have been to Langkawi will call it a Ferry as most of the boats that ply between Langkawi and the mainland Kedah (or Penang Island) looks similiar. I can say most of the 'Ferries' there are built in Sarawak. Sarawak especially Sibu is famous for its shipbuilding industry so its basic shape and design are almost similiar. But for most West Malaysians who are not so exposed to this mode of transport and if you talk to them about 'Express' they will immediately identify it with the Express Bus which plies along the West Malaysian highways.

The Sibu Express Boat Terminal

The Ticket Counter with time, destination and the express boat pictures. During peak season or holidays do buy or book your tickets early

The distance upriver to Kanowit, Song and Kapit. Back in the 70s with slower engines powering the express boats it takes 2 hours to reach Kanowit, 4 hours to reach Song and 5 hours to reach Kapit. Now with the speedier boats it takes half that time. Try not to risk the morning boat rides as the mist in the morning makes navigation dangerous and there are some instances that the express boats collide with one another or also hit the smaller vessels

Passengers on the perabong

During peak time or holidays there is a tendency for the boats to be full of passengers that those who do not get seats will have to sit on top (or perabong in Iban). I do remember the conversation I had with my West Malaysian friends during my school days at a hostel School. At that time I also did not know that for them 'Express' means bus. I mentioned about sitting on the roof of the 'Express' when I go back to my longhouse every Gawai. And being young as I was they would go 'Dasyhat orang Sarawak, naik bumbung Express lagi tu'

You get to travel on the perabong with the chicks (in the box)

The modern Express now is fully air conditioned, so those who manage to get the tickets will enjoy a comfortable environment. Sometimes they will play some wrestling matches, good movies or karaokes. You can get to hear Iban Song also (Nah I would not want to start with that Iban Song joke). Some lucky passengers get to watch some adult movies (not the hardcore ones la) if the crowd is right - and I am not kidding! I think the Sarawak River Board do not have the necessary clauses in their Rivers Board Act to prevent this....should think about it. But the sound will be drowned by the loud engine which may be why they rather play 'Action' movies

The advantage of sitting on the perabong is that you get to see the scenic views along the river. Something like the River Crusie along Sarawak River. Just pray that it does not rain.

The ultimate test for a good Express Boat Passenger is something like a Fear Factor episode. That is getting off a boat (or getting on) if you are stopping over at the nearby jetties. You will need both the skills and the courage to get on or off a rocking boat.

So this are just some of the experiences shared for your further exploration. The days of the express boats are numbered in a way because of the rapid infrastructure developments in the State. The recently completed Lanang Bridge and the improvement of the Sibu to Sarikei roads have reduced the number of express boats trips plying Sibu to Sarikei. Before the Express Boat rides become a romantic past - make a point to try it soon.


apaiumbart said…
bisi pulai ke Ng. B nuan piok...
Lady Kiana said…
i know that iban song joke!! =P
Anonymous said…
wowww tat remind me of my trip bck 2 Marudi huhu..i liked 2sit on d perabong instead of sittin comfortably inside d express boat..can get free tan bah hehehe.. ;p
gia said…
ahh indai aaa..rindu amai bepatih betis enggau bala ngemayuh nya dlm ekpress
wis said…
Baka berita turis nya kaban...akai rai, balat amat joke iban song nya hehe
Anonymous said…
hehe best amat nepan express boat seperis ko orang sekayu Rajang. tang menua kami nadai ngena nya coz semak pasar suba kelia pama ke Sibu nengah Paradom nya meh kena rindu amat asai dipercik air ngelaban ombak.
best nepan express boat nya. mulai ke pengingat nepan nya tiap kali pulai pemisi ke sibu ngau ke Bawang Assan. hehe
I haven't taken a ride on the speedboat before. How's the ride..?

Anyways, Happy New Year.. hope you enjoyed your holidays!

Now, go back to WORK!
Apaienduq said…
Nemu nyemerai AS? Batang Rajang deras !!
RECC said…
Fuh! Kelia kandang taun 80-90an, selalu amat ngena express ari Sibu ngagai Sarikei. Diatu, munyi Ko AS, nyu kurang pejalai express ari Sibu-Sarikei, ketegal jalai alun ke nyu majak manah digaga org.
Mumy said…
sitting on perabong sound fantastic but scary...is there any bujang senang there..just in case if smone fall into the river...:)
Apai Salleh said…
In 1995, I was lucky enough to take the fastest speedboat operating on the Rajang. Took us roughly one and half hours to get to Kapit from Kanowit and 3 hours to get to Belaga from Kapit. Another couple of hours to reach Bakun and a few hours to get to Long Jawe in the upper Balui. Once you get past Long Murum, the waters in the upriver Balui gradually shades to a very deep blue.
Apai Salleh said…
If I am not mistaken, the Engines were a pair of Yamaha's 200s.
ZACH said…
I had the experience travel up to Kapit in he Express in 2003. It was an interesting ride. I always want to go up the Rajang agina whenever I go to Sibu but time is not on my side. The hope of travelling on the Express is still intact in me.