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Bintulu is a coastal town, and the capital of Bintulu District (7,220.4 square kilometers) in the Bintulu Division of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is about 650 kilometers from Kuching and about 215 kilometers from either Sibu or Miri.

Some remnants of natural rainforest still exist near Bintulu despite the impact of the booming logging industry and the gradual encroachment of plantations, principally of oil palm and pulpwood, the latter mainly comprising various species of acacia and eucalyptus.

Bintulu is a major industrial centre. Its port area in Kidurong, which is located to the east of the main town hosts the Petronas Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Complex, currently the world’s largest liquefied natural gas production facility on a single site, with an annual production of 23 million tonnes.

The town is geographically situated half way between Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Bintulu is a central gateway to tourist spots like Bakun Resort, Niah Caves (Gua Niah in Malay), Mulu National Park, Loagan Bunut National Park, Lambir National Park, Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary, Rejang Pelagus, Belaga and the Bario Highlands.

An Iban longhouse near Setiam, Kuala Tatau-Bintulu road
Taman Tumbina (Tumbina Park) in Bintulu

Bintulu is accessible by air and road. The completion of the Pan Borneo Highway has connected Bintulu by road to other major towns in Sarawak. Bintulu Airport is located 5.5 km south west of the town and is equipped to handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747.

As a booming industrial town, Bintulu has been undergone rapid transformations lately. The economic growth of Bintulu is reflected by the sprawling construction area and the openings of several international fast food chains in the town area. New houses are currently constructed in the suburban areas to cushion the increasing population of the town. The rapid growth of the town's population, coupled with the increasing affluence of its people has catapulted the recent retail boom that the town is witnessing. New mall and supermarkets are the testaments of this.

However, the rapid urbanisation that Bintulu is facing has also led to the growth of the squatter's settlements and slums that surround the town's industrial area. The most notable is the slum area around the Sungai Plan area. The squatters' settlements are generally inhabited by the migrant workers who came from either the rural areas or the neighbouring countries (notably Indonesia). However, the local authority has made significant efforts in tackling this problem by building units of low-cost homes, the most notable being the RPR Kidurong low-cost housing development.

The role of the primary sector to the economy of Bintulu has greatly diminished and has been replaced by the secondary and tertiary sector. Bintulu is also equipped with several hotels that are able to cater to the needs of the town's burgeoning business communities. Furthermore, a more robust growth is anticipated in the future due to the Bintulu's position as the main urban focus for the ambitious multi-billion dollar Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy

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Last modified: 11/02/11
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