In the past, yachts could go up the river to Kuching and anchor right in the middle of town. There is now a causeway and this is no longer possible. The best option is to anchor at the mouth of the Santubong River where there is a small private marina.
There is good transport into town and the Bako National Park is nearby. Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and has a fascinating colonial history. After years of ownership by the white Rajahs (The Brooke family), the State of Sarawak eventually became part of post-war Malaysia. There is an excellent museum in the city with such unusual items as shrunken heads and a monster crocodile.
Sibu City is the gateway to the mighty Rajang River and its vast hinterland. As the main commercial centre and port for the Rajang Basin, Sibu is the starting point for one of the world’s great river journeys. The second largest town in Sarawak, Sibu is situated on the confluence of the Rajang and Igan Rivers, 70 miles from the South China Sea. It is a thriving, modern town dominated by its bustling and crowded waterfront. Anchor on either side of the wide river, keeping well clear of the central channel and busy barge traffic.
Sibu’s wealth and fame are largely due to its enterprising, hard working, Foochow community, who arrived in Sarawak from Southern China during the reign of Rajah Charles Brooke (1900-1917). The city’s population of 180,000 is a colourful mix of Chinese, Malays, Ibans and other ethnic races. Each race takes great pride in its own traditions and customs, but racial harmony and unity are the norm here.
From Sibu, local ferries can be taken hundreds of miles up the river through steep sided valleys, and on occasions rapids, right into the heart of Malaysian Borneo.
The passage from the coast to Sibu on the Rajang river is well charted and deep enough for keeled vessels up to 4 metres. The journey is fascinating and anchorage can be found anywhere, but particularly at one of the many longhouses on the banks. The local Iban tribes provide famous hospitality and are always ready to tell you of the exploits of their grandparents. They may even show you the hut where they keep ancient shrunken heads from previous skirmishes.
Passage via the Igan River back to the sea is no longer possible for sailing yachts due to the construction of a major road bridge about 5 miles from Sibu.
Miri Marina offers full facilities and berthing for 80 yachts up to 115 feet. The marina depth is approximately 5 metres. Located in Miri town, the marina offers plenty of opportunities to discover the wonders of Sarawak. It is an ideal base from which to explore the nearby Mulu, Niah and Lambir Falls National Parks. Contact: infomirimarina.com
Anchor in the south-facing bay off the town in 10 metres. Fuel is available from local barges and all the facilities a cruising yacht might need can be found ashore.
Labuan is an island approximately 5 miles off the coast of Brunei Bay. Once a part of the Sultanate of Brunei, Labuan was ceded to the British in 1846. It remained under colonial rule for 115 years except for three years during the war, when it was under the Japanese occupation. Labuan became part of Sabah in 1963. Its strategic location and proximity to major shipping routes and offshore oil and gas fields has boosted the local economy. As Malaysia’s only truly deepwater anchorage, Labuan is a free port, a Federal Territory, and an International Offshore Financial Centre.
Bandar Labuan is the main town, with airport and ferry connections, and is a popular tourist destination offering good diving, snorkelling, beautiful beaches and nature trails.
This marina is part of the Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf and Country Club estate. It is located adjacent to the city centre of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. The modern 104-berth marina has an array of sporting and leisure facilities. Flanked by the 5-star Pacific Sutera and Magellan Hotels, the complex also has a 27-hole championship golf course.
With the large island of Pulau Gaya abeam the port side, approach the marina on a heading of 117-115 to waypoint 05’ 58.18N and 116’ 03.31E.
The channel into the marina is marked with white pylons and runs parallel with the shore in a northerly direction. These can be hard to spot from sea but the stone seawall is easy to distinguish and the marina entrance will be clearly visible to starboard once closer to shore. Approach on a heading directly east, keeping Tanjung Wakong half a mile to port. When abeam of Tanjung Wakong, turn towards Sutera Harbour on a course of 128°. Contact VHF channel 71.
Note that this approach is using Admiralty Chart #3626. However, the most recent chart does not indicate Sutera Harbour’s location. The average depth is 5 metres inside the basin and outside the breakwater is more than 7 metres.
Fuel, water and wireless internet are available, but any provisioning will have to be done at the five major shopping centres in town, ten minutes away by taxi.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
The contents of this website may not be reproduced or copied in any form – printed, electronic, photocopy or otherwise – except for excerpts used in reviews,
without the written permission of the publisher.