Binyo Penyilam

Binyo Penyilam is situated at South East of Bintulu town. It is in the tributary of the Kemena River about three hours upstream journey. Currently the only way to go to Binyo Penyilam is only by boat.

Using private rented boat is more leisure and more things to see
Travellers from Bintulu town can choose either to use private boat that can reach up to Binyo Penyilam or the normal ferry ‘Express Boat’ that will only reach a logging camp at the end of its route in Binyo and then proceed with small local boat to Binyo Penyilam.

Another advantage of using private rented boat, you can photograph many things along the way! Crocodiles and birds can be seen in Kemena River banks especially during low tide
The locals use their small wooden boat which is easier to navigate in small and sharp corners of the stream

The Landscape


The unique landscape of Binyo Penyilam consists of Lowland Dipterocarp Forest, Kerangas Forest, Seasonal Swamp Forest and Peat Swamp Forest that caters for numerous unique species of Flora and Fauna. The main landscape of Binyo Penyilam is full with scattered small lakes of  brackish water.

The grassland marsh promise you so many things to be photographed
What is it famous for?

Binyo is mainly famous for its Tapah fish scientifically known as Wallago leerii. This fish have been  one of the major economic resource for the locals in the area. 

However, a worrying trend of unsustainable harvesting of the fish is now contributing the depletion of its numbers. Few years ago one can easily find Tapah fish as big as 10kg each but in recent years it is hard to find even a 5kg fish. 

Nonetheless, Binyo Penyilam is one of the important spawning areas for fresh water fish in Bintulu.

Fresh water fish are abundant in Binyo Penyilam, a good place for sustainable fishing activities

What might interest you

Bird Photography

I have also never really had a chance to do bird photography in the place but there are a lot of birds that you can find in the place with approximately more than 130 species recorded, it will depend on your luck to see one up close though.

Parakeets can seen during certain season in Binyo Penyilam
Macro Photography

Because this is my favourite photography work I would say yes, there are a lot of things for macro photography here. It ranges from tiny little insect to orchids and mushrooms. I will rank Binyo Penyilam to be the best place to do macro photography for Odonata (Dragonfly and Damselfly) where it is easy to spot them and some species allows you to go close enough (with slow movement) to photograph them (with 50mm macro lens) and I would say this place is a heaven for Odonata species.


Orchid species are abundant in Binyo Penyilam, ranking from the common species to some Bornean endemic species. This place is a great place for orchid lovers where some rare species such as Dendrobium kenepaiense, Dimorphorchis lowii and Dyakia hendersoniana can be found, lots of Trichoglottis smithii can be seen blooming at the river banks during flowering season (when I spotted them) in July – November. 

The famous Black Orchid can be found in Binyo Penyilam
The Tiger Orchid, Grammatophyllum speciosum can be seen common in orchid garden but seeing one in the wild brings a totally different feeling
One of many Thrixspermum species
The rare Dendrobium kenepaiense
Another unusual orchid Bulbophyllum taeter
The beautiful and strange Dimophorchis lowii
Another rare peat swamp orchid species the Dyakia hendersoniana
Another beautiful species Papilionanthe hookeriana
Among the beautiful Phalaenopsis spp. that can be found in Binyo Penyilam
One of my favorite orchid species, the Bulbophyllum medusae
If you are an orchid lover you should come here, but no collection is allowed however photographing them is most welcomed.

Nepenthes (Pitcher Plants)

As all Peat Swamps and Kerangas forest do, this place is also a good habitat for Nepenthes species or also called as pitcher plants. I have found five species with some varieties in the area and I assume there will be at least another two more species that can be found in Binyo penyilam in the future with more visits to the place.

Once you reach the grassland marsh you will be surrounded by Nepenthes species
Nepenthes rafflesiana can be found everywhere at the grassland swamps
Nepenthes ampullaria is not easy to see in Binyo Penyilam
Nepenthes albomarginata can be found at the Kerangas Forest
Correct me if I am wrong as far as i know this is Nepenthes rafflesiana var elongata

"Rasau" or Pandanus species is common in Binyo penyilam
I have only done several visits for photography works in Binyo Penyilam thus rendering my success in photographing other things such as birds, frogs and beautiful landscapes in the place. The difficulties in walking through wet peat swamps while carrying a bag full with camera gears makes it much tougher.

Nevertheless, I am sure one will be very satisfied after a visit to the place as there are many things to be photographed including the people and their longhouse in Binyo Penyilam.

Sadly, most of the natural forests surrounding the place are under pressure of land conversion to oil palm by the locals. 

I hope we can support ecotourism in the place to prevent further conversion of the landscape and also helping the locals to have some other kind of daily income rather than converting their beautiful landscape into something else or depending on unsustainable harvesting of resources such as Tapah fish.

For information, Binyo Penyilam is a proposed National Park.

Here is a link for a trip that was organized for Natural Science Society Bintulu (NSSB) in 2008.

Getting there

Do contact me if you are interested to visit the place.

Thank you for viewing! Enjoy more photos that might spark your interest in Binyo Penyilam.

Other than orchids, this lipstick flower or Aeschynanthus sp. is a beautiful thing to photograph
Soft shell turtle can be found in the brackish water of Binyo Penyilam
This beautiful palm Cyrtostachys lakka are growing in large groups in Binyo penyilam
The brackish water creates very beautiful reflection


  1. Excellent writeup and beautiful fotos. Having been away from Sarawak for more than a generation this article takes me back to sceneries that I long to recall. But the croc is a first though!! Great job.

    I will revisit this blog often and hope to catch more of your fotography.

    1. Hi laksa1
      Thanks. Yup lovely sceneries of Sarawak, hopefully it will still be there to be enjoyed by us in future. The croc is always a "No problem" thing if they could talk they would probably say "we come in peace"!..just like what an alien would say if they come to earth...perhaps???

      Thanks for your support.

  2. that Phalaenopsis looks like the one that we got at BRC garden..gosh, I need to go there and see the's so pretty...

    1. Ling you should really go there and spend at least a week or more during the early raining season. I think that Phalaenopsis in BRC garden is probably the same one with the one in the photo because when I took the photo it was during the collection trip done by Malcom and the Singapore guys (or gals), check it out maybe it is the same one.

  3. What a beautiful place, and some really awesome shots!

  4. Awesome shots! Nice write up. Wish i can go Sarawak again for a fulltime nature escapade..

  5. It's really beautiful shoot man and also I really appreciate for the scientific knowledge that you share with us. By the way, did you found any type of Wild Ginger species and any kind of primates? I really thankful if you can share it with me. I really hope that one day Bintulu people will notice that the NATURE are still exist in the Gas Town. ~Visit the Nature, Saved Our World~