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Road trip from Sibu to Mukah, Sarawak – why are the roads so bad?

By on April 19, 2014 in Malaysia

Today I decided to have a road trip from Sibu to Mukah. Why? Well, why not? Thought it would be good to visit the coast and to have a look at another town in this part of Sarawak.

Mukah, as the crow flies, is about 60 – 70 km from Sibu, however, there is no direct route, and instead, you have to do almost three sides of a square to get there; hence the journey is around 170 km and takes just over 3 hours.

The drive is fairly standard (boring) in that there is not a huge amount to see other than plantations and jungle, and a few towns along the way. However, the roads are in fairly poor condition as they are full of lumps and bumps, which helped explain the poor suspension and handling of the rented car as it had clearly had a hard life on these surfaces. In fact, the roads are so bad in some places that you have to concentrate and scan the road surface for defects otherwise you can get a nasty jarring shock and/or damage the rim of a wheel, which would lead to a flat.

There are no ‘touristy’ things to do along the way.

Having spoken to a few people, I think I now know why some of the roads are so bad – it is overloaded lorries. As one person explained to me ‘it is in our culture to overload the lorries, so instead of them weighing say 10 tonnes they way 30, and then damage the road’. This makes sense to me as I saw a lot of lorries on my drive, and in a number of places it really looked like the damage to the road surface had been caused by large wheels sinking in.

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