Attractions in Mukah

sunday morning

Mukah is a pretty small town but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything to offer besides the infamous sago worms and umai. I stayed at the Kingwood Resort Mukah with Clare, which is about a 14 km distance away from the town. We woke up at around 9 am in the morning, and I read the papers while having my nicotine fix at the balcony before deciding to head down to Mukah.

hitched ride

Unfortunately, the hotel shuttle is currently in transit and the reception informed us that all the taxi drivers are on assignment so I told Clare we’ll just stand by the highway and hitch a ride. I had this idea of using a RM 5 bill (RM 10 if that fails) to flag passing cars to Mukah down. We looked like tourists so I reckon people would be inclined to pick us up. The first car didn’t stop and it started to seem like a bad idea when an SUV saw us and pulled up.


These fine folks were on assignment from HICOM for a Mukah project and was all too happy to drop us off at Mukah. They wouldn’t even accept payment but I insisted, noticing the cigarette packs on the dashboard, to buy them some smokes. It was very kind of them to do that, most people wouldn’t stop but I have faith in The System (TM). πŸ™‚

mukah mascot

They dropped us off at Mukah Old Town where the pasar tamu is. This is the central market where you can get umai, sago grubs, tebaloi, and other authentic Melanau produce. The official mascot of Mukah is a fish – Mukah is known for their fresh fish from the sea and fish is their primary export.

fish gills

I’ve been told that the best method of ensuring that a fish is fresh is to look at the color of the gills.

fish bite

It may also be necessary to bite off a chunk of fin to verify the freshness of the fish.

fish camwhore

I have been learning the arcane arts of camwhoring to limited success too. πŸ˜‰

tamu stall

The pasar tamu has a lot of stalls selling local produce such as tebaloi, belacan, fish crackers and sago pearls. The kind ladies at the stall were nice enough to show us how sago products are actually made.

sago paste

Sago comes in a paste form which can be used for cooking various dishes or processed to make other sago products.

sago pearls

Sago pearls are made from sago paste after a baking process. There are different grades and sizes of sago pearls, some of which is eaten with umai and some for cooking.


The famous tebaloi (sago crackers) is a sweet biscuit made of sago flour that has been exported to markets as far as the US and Australia.

fish market

Our next stop is to the famous fresh fish market, where the catch of the day is sold straight from the fishing vessels the very same morning.


The stalls were doing brisk business selling everything from barracudas…


…to stingrays.

old man

We met this friendly old man selling stingrays who saw us taking photos and quickly pointed us to the opposite stall where a huge stingray has just being caught and was in the process of being chopped into more manageable portions.

huge stingray

The gigantic stingray was easily the size of a car tire and the man handled the dissection with the ease of one with years of experience, pulling out the innards and chopping the parts into smaller sizes.

baby sharks

We also saw a catch of baby sharks. They look really cute in that size, but I imagine the cuteness factor will disappear when one of them bites your toes off. πŸ˜‰


Fishing seems to be the favorite pastime of the people of Mukah. It’s done on a large industrial scale with fishing vessels and also on a smaller scale with recreational anglers at the pier.


This is the obligatory “I was here” photo with the Welcome to Mukah sign. Crucified and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. πŸ˜‰


Mukah is also home to a famous Chinese temple built by the early Chinese settlers in 1879.


I found the statue of a lion with a fatherly paw over it’s cub very adorable. πŸ™‚

sago chimney

The main historical attraction in Mukah is the 20 meter tall chimney from the first sago factory in Mukah. We nearly missed it due to its unassuming facade.

mukah end

Mukah is a very laid back and relaxed town that is about to be developed into a huge administrative capital from the SCORE project. The town is a little bit far from the resort, but it’s definitely worth the trip, if only to experience the culture and heritage of the Melanau people.

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22 thoughts on “Attractions in Mukah”

  1. Aww looks like Clare beat you to the mark this time with the fish pics..was on her blog a few days ago… sigh. royalities going her way this time. Great pics anyway….Glad to hear got out of the hitchhiking experience alive lol.
    Btw did you get along to Kampung Tellian?

  2. I like your travelogue posts. Like going there, but without having to go into a trance, have an out of body experience and fly across the ocean. I really miss reading the Borneo Post in the morning. Reading it with coffee is great. The news is always funny, though its not supposed to be.
    – D

  3. Jeff: Yeah, she didn’t bring her digicam and I nearly didn’t bring mine! I left it at home for some godforsaken reason, and was already at the bus terminal. Couple of phone calls later and I managed to get it sent to the bus terminal in time for us to catch the bus. Phew.
    Else there would have been no photos from the Mukah trip. Well, I did pack the unreliable T-70 (which I dropped into a waterfall) for beach shots but that wouldn’t even start up half the time now.
    Hitchhiking? It’s relatively safe in rural Sarawak. But yeah, lucky I didn’t kena liwat. πŸ˜‰
    essentric: Yeah, and I think the baby sharks were just ensnared in their nets and they sold it anyway since some people eat shark. I’ve eaten it once (Sorry Doreen) on a deep sea fishing trip and it tasted kinda sandy and tough.
    Darren: Did you kena liwat? πŸ˜‰
    (=’.’=): Thanks! I was kinda sleepy actually from the drinking and sleep deprivation. We were up till pretty late that night.
    Yeah, we do have baby and adult sharks in our waters. I went on a deep sea fishing trip once (3 days 2 nights) and someone caught a shark. They managed to pull it on board and it was alive for quite a long time. Medium sized shark. No one dared to go anywhere near it coz it was thrashing like made. Finally, the on board cook decided to slice it up and deep fry the meat. It tastes like sandy fish. Very grainy.
    suituapui: Yup, but I kena liwat so many times already in rehab, once more time won’t matter anymore. πŸ˜‰
    I’m kidding, I didn’t drop the soap in there.
    It should be pretty safe in rural Sarawak. I won’t do that in Sabah though.
    I don’t know if sharks are an endangered species…if they are, why are the byproducts still coming in and selling like hot cakes? I mean, hot bowls of soup?
    willchua: It’s a traditional Chinese lion with those curly circles for hair. Heh!
    David: Thanks mate! Yeah, I know what you mean about the Borneo Post. I’ve been told hilarious stories by someone who used to work in the papers. It used to be worse though, about 10 years ago, I could spot linguistic errors in almost every page. πŸ™‚
    xes: Yeah, we have a lot of diversity over her due to the large land mass. A country of our own. History tells us about the Cobbold Commission and seperationist efforts. I wonder how we would have turned out if we hadn’t joined Malaysia and remained a British Protectorate. Hmm…thoughts better left unsaid in blogs. πŸ˜‰

  4. it shouldnt be ‘fatherly paw’ that is a female lion. if you notice it is always on the left side as you face the entrance. the male is on the other side….with its paw over a ball.

  5. ront: Thanks for the clarification. Motherly instinct eh…
    I knew the dragon represented the emperor in the old days and the phoenix represented the empress.

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