Thursday, September 1, 2011

Matu-Daro to Dalat

Second stop, Daro, 60 km from Tanjung Manis, and we took 2 hours 15 minutes. The duration of the trip was much longer than what we had expected, for we had to take 2 ferries. First ferry was nice with 15 minutes crossing. The second at Muara Lassa (Delta of Lassa) almost got us killed by waiting. Strong current and wide river were the culprits. It took us 1 hour 20 minutes to complete our crossing.

A ferry is approaching the ferry point (upper left). Sign board at the ferry point, stating the operation and the fees of using the ferry service (upper right). All the vehicles are required to line up at the ferry point (lower left), where one or two small stalls were set up by the locals for business. The stall owners are mostly Melanau.

Our advice is, while we were waiting for the ferries, why don't we take a close examination on the river bank and we would see these small creatures. Mudskipper- the fish that can live on the ground for hours (left) and small crabs.

A scene on the ferry.

Cars are disembarking from the ferry.

Daro is a small town by the river of Daro, with a population of 20-30 k. The name Daro is quite similiar to a UNESCO heritage site- Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan :p Unlike the mightly Igan or Rejang River, Daro River is small. Daro Town consists of two rows of very old wooden shops by the side of the river, and a few rows of concrete shops behind the wooden shops. Across the small river (probably 30 feet wide) is the residential kampung (village), which most of the houses are made by wood.

Two rows of old wooden shops by Daro River (upper row). Community fire brigade is located just beside Daro River (lower left). A closer look on the old shops reveals that the whole structure is in fact made by wood, except the roof.

Although road is built connecting the town folks to the outer world (upper left), boats are remain as one of the major transports for them. Water garage for the private speed boats can be seen along the river (upper right), while Hospital Daro has their speed boat unit ready to serve (lower right). A small bridge linking the people on the opposite side of the river was built at the end of the small town.

Upper row shows the newer Daro township with concrete buildings, located just behind the old wooden shops (if we come by road, we will see the concrete shops first). The petrol station is really simple (lower left). The fish and the tiled walkway are parts of a small garden by the river.

Pasar Ramadhan was held in Daro, during our visit. A youngster was showing off his skill while waiting for the break of fasting.

Roasted chicken for break-fast? That's the least that we can get from Daro Town. We bought some kuih-muih, rendang chicken, and umai before leaving the town for our next stop- Matu.

Our third stop, Matu, approximately 30 km away from Daro. We took 20 minutes to reach Matu from Daro. Matu is a really small town (a village should be more appropriate), with the center of 2 rows of wooden shops.

The modern-look concrete buildings for the police station (left) and the district council (right) gave us a feeling of "out-of-syn" in the small town of Matu.

Matu Town is really small, with two rows of wooden shops (upper row). The clinic of Matu is situated in a kampung house building (lower left). We met several kings of the road when we were leaving Matu Town. What else can we do other than to give way to the moo-moo?

To reach our fourth stop at Kampung Igan (Igan Village), we had to cross Igan River for the second time, using ferry (the first crossing was through the Igan Bridge at the very beginning of our trip). That was the third and the last ferry that we had to take. The ferry didn't keep us waiting. We took 20 minutes for the crossing. LS's father used to teach at SK Kampung Igan, about 30 years ago. During the time, the village was accessible only by the river.

We were greeted by a group of monkeys at Matu's ferry point. One of them showed its dissapointment upon the no-animal-onboard policy (left). However, one swallow had been given the VIP pass to sit on the ferry for the crossing, without labouring its wing :p

The old wooden building of SK Kampung Igan was abandoned, and replaced by several concrete buildings at about 300 meters away. To our surprise, several workers and parents at the school were able to recognize LS's father, with just a little bit of hints given. They were the students of the school 30 years ago, grown up, trained, and then went back to Daro to work. They told us that some of the students are now very successful in their life. That's a great news for a teacher.

Houses at Kampung Igan (upper row). The old school building had been abandoned (lower left), replaced by new concrete buildings (lower right).

Photo taken in front of SK Kampung Igan.

We took 30 minutes to travel another 25 km from Kampung Igan to Oya. The small town (or should be considered as a village) has a total 3 rows of wooden shops along the road. The population, the most, a few hundreds. We make a quick stop at Oya, just to answer to the call of nature.

The shops at Oya Town (upper row), which the wooden shops on the upper right is authentically unstable, which is not caused by the wide angle distortion. Oya Town is located beside Oya River (lower left), with a small school SJK Yak Tee sits right in the middle of the town. Construction to build a new township is now in progress about one km away from the old town.

Our photo beside the main road of Oya Town.

Our sixth stop was Dalat. LS and his parents own some memories of Dalat. Dalat turned up to be the resting point for LS's parents to travel from Narub to Sibu,  many many years back, when his parents were teaching in San San Primary School in Narub.

Dalat has developed much, and it's totally different from it's old days. The old wooden shops were replaced by concrete buildings, and the whole town were beautified and well landscaped. It is hard to imagine that right in the middle of the Borneo jungle, a small town like Dalat can emerge, survive the emigration, and grow through the time. From the talk with old friends (didn't meet for more than 25 years, but still able to recognize each others. Strange, isn't it?), more development are coming, and the business is getting better.

The Chinese temple (upper left), the village on the opposite of Oya River (yes, Dalat and Oya Town shared the same river, upper right), and the green petrol station (lower left) are still remained on their old locations. However, new shops are emerging in the surrounding area, thanks to the effort of the local government.

This nicely landscaped garden was where the old wooden shoplots previously stand (photo is not well-joint using panorama setting). The old shoplots were turned into ashes, caught by fire many years ago. However, the curse of fire had turned into the reborn of the town, like the arising of the phoenix through the inferno flame.

Photo session at the garden.

The reunion of the really old friends (no joke) after more than 25 years aparted. We have a promise to keep- to meet them again in future. This was the coffee house that LS and his parents used to visit 25 years ago, same owner, but difference location.

We stayed at Dalat for more than an hour, tried to pick up old memories catching the latest development. After a drink with the old friends, we set off to Mukah. Mukah was the final destination of the day, roughly 35 km from Dalat, and we took around 30 minutes to reach Mukah.

What to expect in Matu-Daro, Kampung Igan, and Oya-Dalat?
  • Small towns. Populated by different races- Melanau, Chinese, Iban, Malay, and other natives.
  • Some nice food- rendang chicken and umai from Daro. Nice tea and coffee at Dalat.
  • Daro and Dalat are the bigger town with more shops, and probably a better place to rest. Matu, Kampung Igan and Oya are small, with only 2 - 3 row of shops.
  • The ferry service at Matu stops after 6 pm and will resume early the next day morning.
For more information about these places, please visit:

We headed to Mukah, our last stop for the day.

Take a look on our sharing about other places in Sarawak:


  1. I was from Daro but didn't go back for more than 20 years. These photos really brought back a lot of my memories. Thank you very much.


  2. Replies
    1. That's great! Do share your experience with us :)