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About Sematan

The Sematan Town

The Sematan town is an old idyllic wooden bazaar by the sea flanked by white sandy beaches. A quiet little sleepy town 110km from Kuching.

Sematan started as a Chinese trading outpost of four families near the Cape of Tanjung Dato adjacent to the West Kalimantan coastal town of Paloh. Today there are 100-strong Chinese community in Sematan. This little town prosper during the 1950s when the British colonial government set up a bauxite mine in 1958. 

During the Confrontation period, Sematan became an outpost of British Gurkha soldiers looking for Indonesian invaders from across the border. 

Sematan has tremendous potential to become a leading tourist attraction because of its beaches.


  • Talang Talang turtle islands, just off the coast of Sematan, was perfect for snorkeling.
  • Tanjong Dato National Park and the Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary are not far away from Sematan.
  • The Selako longhouse at Pueh, which houses about 500 people, was nine kilometers inland.

The Culture

The Sematan Malay community were made up of mainly fishermen who were steep in legends and tradition. One Malay legend was about a grand-lady of Telok Serabang called ‘Nakhoda (admiral) Itam’ or ‘Jeragan Sitam’.  Nakhoda Itam was a great warrior who dressed like a man and came from the Natuna island Ranai, in a sailing boat with  coconuts, which she planted at Labuan Gadong in the Tanjong Dato National park.

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