SIMANGGANG: The iconic Pesta Benak (Tidal Bore Festival) is back.
The festival, which was introduced in 2001, is so popular that Sri Aman or Simanggang came to be known as ‘Bandar Benak Malaysia’.
This year the festival enters its 19th edition, two years after as it was last held in October 2019 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides the tidal bore itself another attraction at the festival is regatta boat racing.
The tidal bore in Batang Lupar starts in the area of Pulau Seduku which is the upper part of Lingga District about 44.6 kilometers from the estuary and 34.5 kilometers from Simanggang Town. The wave travels at a speed of seven to 18 kilometers per hour.
And it happens every month following the high tide and will cross the banks of Bandar Simanggang which makes the town the main venue of the tidal bore festival.
This year, a total of 18 events will take place until Sept 11.
At the 18th edition of the event in 2019, the Cahaya Putri Ruai 8 team was crowned the ‘Raja Benak Batang Lupar’ or River King. They took home the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud Cup as well as RM5,000 in prizemoney.
For this year, the River King crown will fetch the winner twice the amount – RM10,000.
Other activities include the organisation of Bazaria Benak; Benak, Miss Tourism Benak; Ratu Kebaya Benak; ATM Bersama Komuniti; cultural performances; concerts; water surfing show; Benak Road Trail Run; Benak Big Bike Gathering, cycling; corporate exhibitions; photography competition; firework displays and many others.
Deputy Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development II Datuk Francis Harden Hollis who is also event adviser, stated that the tidal bore festival is a unique tourism product for Sarawak and Malaysia.
“Our desire is to move this festival up in the list of the 10 best events in Sarawak.
Next, is to popularise Bandar Simanggang as the ‘Bandar Benak Malaysia’ which could contributing to the tourism industry in Sarawak,” he said.
“I welcome everyone to come to Bandar Simanggang to join the Sri Aman Pesta Benak 2022.
”I am confident that the event will be able to dignify this unique natural phenomenon as a tourism product for Simanggang Town.”
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg officiated at the launch of the Sri Aman Pesta Benak on Saturday (Sept 10), while the closing ceremony is expected to be officiated by Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib on Sunday (Sept 11).