It has been more than a decade since I took any bus express bus service in Sarawak. Due to my unexpected mandatory quarantine came to an abrupt end after the recent change in entry requirement, I had decided to go back Sibu earlier. Options are limited as flight was not available every day and air ticket price can be insanely expensive.
Buying bus ticket can be done online now. Ticket to Sibu cost RM48 after 20% discount. I chose Bus Asia (previously known as Biaramas) because they seem to have the most frequency of the day.
My journey started from Kuching Sentral. This is my first time here and it ain't big as I initially thought. For those who are familiar with Bandar Tasik Selatan Bus Terminal, navigating Kuching Sentral would be a breeze.
As the pandemic keep raging at the state, the bus schedule is rather dynamic and many schedule trips were cancelled.
I got to take a double decker bus. An operator will check for police permit before we were allowed to go onboard.
The bus will not be seated to full capacity and there will be proper distancing between passengers. This bus has a spacious seat and what appear to be built in with its own entertainment system. Unfortunately, the entertainment system was just there for show.
As the bus air conditioning system is not installed with HEPA filter like aircraft, I decided to keep myself safe with a respirator after assessing the risk.
The bus departed on time at 1000 and make a quick stop at their depot before continue for the first stop at their cargo collection point in Serian (1118).
I would thought this will be the only stop in Serian but I was wrong. After collecting some cargos, the bus then proceed to the nearby bus station.
After Serian, the bus will stop at Sri Aman (1340), which is about the middle point of the journey. I am glad to see Fort Alice has been restored as a museum now and no longer in the dilapidated state during my last visit here.
Sri Aman bus terminal is situated in what appears to be a new commercial area and share the same building with the Pasar Tamu. This would be a perfect place for a toilet break and they charge RM0.20 per entry.
From here on, I would thought the bus will then head straight to Sarikei but it made another stop at Jelukong bus terminal (1445) where the bus drivers usually have their meal. This will be an ideal place for passengers to buy refreshment or snack.
The Pan Borneo Highway remained unfinished after all these years. The bus journey was somewhat reasonably comfortable even with this unfinished project.
Sarikei will be the last stop (1745) before the bus heading to Sibu.
I finally arrived Sibu Bus Terminal at 1900, after hitting the road for 9 hours. Initially, I estimated a 7 hours journey and I didn't expect it would took so long. This could be attributed to the many stops on the way while the bus limits its maximum speed at 80 km/hr.
Even though this was a long journey, I get to see the transformation of the small towns along the way.