Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sri Aman town, Sarawak

I was up in Sri Aman a year ago for some work-related matters, as usual. This town, no longer referred to as a small town by most, has grown quite a bit since my previous visit in 2002.

Sri Aman Division, formerly known as ‘Simanggang’ or Second Division, was established on the 1st of June 1873. The name Sri Aman was taken from the historic event of the "Deklarasi Sri Aman" or Peace Declaration which was signed on the 21st of October 1973 between the Government and the Communist members. The change of name was officiated in March 1974.

Sri Aman Division comprises 2 districts and 3 smaller districts, which are Sri Aman and Lubok Antu Districts whereas the smaller districts covers Engkilili, Lingga and Pantu.

I just found out that the population is around 90,000 people, which is quite substantial for a town which, on a first-time visit, would not impress you much in terms of urban development which seems to be rather scattered along the main road leading into town.

Sri Aman's main attraction would be the tidal bore or locally known as the "benak", which occurs everyday in the Batang Lupar River, with different wavelenghts and heights. If you don't know what a tidal bore is, it's a wave that runs in a river. The wave height can be very high depending on which time of year and tide season it is, high enough for a surfer to even ride on. From the estuary of Batang Lupar river, the wave or "benak" runs another 30km or so inland. There is an annual Pesta Benak celebrated in Sri Aman which further promotes the tidal bore phenomenon to tourists and locals alike.

The photos you see here show the extent and magnitude of the waves at certain times (photos courtesy of I've yet to get into a boat myself and confront one of these huge benaks face-to-face, so far I've only seen them from the comfort and safety of the Batang Lupar riverbank.

Sri Aman is a mere 3 hours drive from Kuching City; if you've got a car and half a day to spare, drive up to Sri Aman and try to catch a glimpse of the legendary benak for yourself.

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