Mukah is a tiny coastal town of early trading and fishing port. It could be accessible by road nearest from the city of Sibu, or 2 hours speed boats trip from the town of Dalat. Mukah have an airport where you can fly in from Kuching or Miri only with small aircraft during the days as it have short take off and landing runway with no guiding lights to guide the aircraft during night time. Although most of its hinterland that was originally sago plantation which later developed into oil palm plantations, Mukah remains the main sago production place for Sarawak. As the nickname ‘The Melanau Heartland’ suggests Melanau is the majority of people here but other ethnicities such as Chinese, Iban or Malay could be still seen.
Mukah is famous for its iconic Kaul Festival. It is held annually in Melanau calender’s month of spirits to thank the spirits for a abundant past year and in the same time a prayer for a great year ahead. People would send offerings and play games and had a communal picnic by the beaches during the celebration. If you miss the event, you could opt to head to Lamin Dana located in Kampung Tellian Tengah, a traditional home built in 1999 that provide home stays for its guests and visitors. It is like a live museum where you can get to learn almost all about Melanau culture from dances to musical instruments, language, foods, costumes and crafts. It truly represent the effort to preserve a culture from disappearing forever in this present times.
Back at Mukah town, it is safe to assume a visit to Mukah market is a sure thing. An ideal place for people watching and purchasing local specialties with fair price. Get Mukah’s famous fish and prawn crackers which is said to be the best quality in the Sarawak and all the fresh fishes and greens you can get every day. Make sure you try out Mukah household’s dishes. The Umai, similar to sushi made of raw fish marinated with shallots, chillies and lime juice. Other local favourites includes Tebaloi, made of sago flour and coconut shred with prawns stuffed inside; And sago worms eaten alive or fried – not for the fainthearted, which actually are sago trunk dwelling beetle larvae. Certainly these are foods that you might only get the best in Mukah.
The Sago Factory Chimney situated next to the market by the side of the Mukah’s river banks is one of the few tourist sites and landmark. If you have more time to spare, do take a sampan across the river to Taman Tanjung Pedada, Seberang Mukah. It is a hidden paradise with its nature at its best. A place for someone who loves photography.