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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

Kapit is your quintessential lazy little town on a river and my favorite place in Sarawak. The only way to reach Kapit is by boat from Sibu. A oneway ticket runs about 25 ringgit ($8) and the ride takes a couple hours.

Lodging is not cheap and there are no dorms/hostels. The least expensive hotel I could find was 50 ringgit per night, but there was a catch. In addition to the usual “no durians” sign, this hotel also prohibited guests from bringing chickens in the building. You know you’re in the country when hotels post “no chickens” signs! I visited Kapit with Kevin, who I had met CouchSurfing in Kuching. This worked out well since, in addition to having excellent company, we were able to split the cost of the room.

Being a sleepy little town, there isn’t too much going on in Kapit. The central market is definitely the heart of Kapit and we spent plenty of time there, tasting, watching, and interacting.

Kevin sparked a conversation with a woman who was selling something she claimed to be octopus, but I think she just didn’t know the English word for what it was. The lady was really nice and ended up making us umai, a ceviche like dish unique to Sarawak. It was really tasty and we also got to try some fruits I’d never even seen before. Our presence brought a great deal of attention to the stall as we were the only foreigners in town.

Outside of our great experience at the market, the food in Kapit wasn’t anything special. There is a small night market with food stalls, but it was unremarkable. The market featured an abundance of sate and chicken dishes, but little else. Kapit definitely proved that the food doesn’t have to be great in order for me to enjoy a place.

As far as nightlife is concerned, Kapit literally has a couple bars. Kevin and I checked them out at about 9pm on a Thursday night and they were empty. We returned a few hours later and found that one was totally packed. It was surprising to see so much activity in a little town on a weeknight. We were given VIP treatment by the locals and had a great time.

Kapit was a great place to relax and enjoy the simple life, but still had the option of getting loose with the local youth. The lack of foreign visitors creates an atmosphere where you are welcomed and greeted with smiling faces. There are similar places throughout the region, but it was very refreshing to visit this one in Sarawak.

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