The climate is hot and humid throughout the year with temperatures ranging between 29-32°C. Average humidity is about 80% and sometimes higher. The main monsoon is from October till February.
Find more information about weather in our resources page dedicated to this subject.
East Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah) is a melting pot of cultures and religions as you can see in Bintulu. The ethnic composition is mainly Chinese, Malay and the local natives (the largest group being Iban) and a large number of foreigners working here coming from Britain, Australia, The Netherlands, German, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, China, U.S., Indonesia, etc.
In Bintulu you have people with religions in Christian (majority), Muslim, Buddism, Hinduism and most of religions have their own places of worship in churches (e.g. Christian) , mosques and suraus (smaller places of worship for Muslims), and Chinese temples.
All these different ethnic groups have many occasions to celebrate. The most important festivals/public holidays are:
Most big shops are open during public holidays.
Several languages are spoken in Sarawak. Bahasa Melayu is the official language. English is widely spoken. There are also many Chinese dialects and other indigenous languages in use.
It is very helpful to hire an amah (cleaning lady / helper) for house keeping and child care. They can work for half or full time or as a live-in amah. You can also hire a gardener to take care of your garden (cut off grass and bushes to prevent snakes). Outpost can help you to find a trustworthy helper/gardener, though sometimes it takes time to find the right person.
In this tropical climate it is best to wear natural materials like cotton or linen. Bring along a good supply as in this climate several changes may be needed daily. You may have some problems to find large size clothes/underwares and shoes in Bintulu, but you can find it in bigger cities like Miri, bring it yourself or order online. You can also find nice clothes for children but shoes could be a problem apart from flip flops and plastic shoes.
When attending a Malay (Muslim) party, it is preferable to wear long sleeves and trousers or a long skirt. generally people are pretty relaxed about what people wear. Occasionally a dinner/dance party is organized where formal attire is appropriate.
If you are thinking of taking a holiday in cool areas, e.g. a skiing holiday in New Zealand, bring some woollies as well. You may need a woollie on the plane or at Kuching airport where the air-conditioned departure room can be exceptionally cold at times!