I decided to visit the nearest Sarawak Forest National Park to Sibu – Bukit Lima Forest Park.
The park is surprisingly close to the town centre, in fact, it is only 20 to 30 minutes drive away, assuming you don’t get lost – which I did.
The park was tricky to find as it is hidden away around to back of a housing development, and from the main nearby roads, it is not that clearly signposted. Both TripAdvisor and Google have the park in roughly the right location, but neither show any roads leading to the park, which was very confusing. If you use TripAdvisor to give directions via Google then where the route on Google stops (on the main road) you need to turn left into the housing development and then drive around until you find the park! I managed to do this by driving and trying to get closer to the ‘spot’ in the TripAdvisor App.
It is not clear, at least to me, whether or not the park is still ‘official’ as even though there was a manned park hut at the entrance the name of the park appears to have been removed from the main sign.
The park has a series of elevated boardwalks which form a circular route (of sorts) through the area (see below).
The park is described as a forest reserve, but these days it seems to be a place not to view wildlife, but a place to jog. I found the joggers quite annoying as there was a constant sound of people pounding along the board walks in their brightly coloured leisurewear. Even more annoying were the walkers who insisted on playing music via the speaker on their phones. So much for a quiet and relaxing environment.
With all the noise of the joggers, and the music playing walkers, the chances of seeing any wildlife were almost zero. Plus, there was no area in the park that was free from the distant rumble of traffic. Having said that, I did see some Long Tailed Macaques in the distance, and there were some butterflies floating around, plus quite a bit of bird song – and that was it, all the wildlife I saw in nearly two hours of walking. However, the park does give you a feel for how dense the forest was when the first settlers arrived in the area. The park also exposes you to the smells of the forest – and if you can get away from the distant sound of the traffic and the pounding feet of the joggers, the sounds of the forest.
Sadly the park is falling into a state of disrepair. It appears that the boardwalks have been renewed over the last ten years through sponsorship by companies, but in other parts of the park, the walkways are now closed and/or rotting away.
One thing that was odd was a number of information boards I read in the park described it as being in a peat bog, hence, I guess, the elevated walk ways, but when I visited there really didn’t seem to be any sign of a peaty bog, in fact it appears to have dried out.