Bekenu is a small fishing town near Miri, approximately 46 kilometres away from Miri city center. The town has a few very historical rows of wooden shophouses dating back to the 1930s, and a fish market with the usual food centers. The wooden shophouses are set to be demolished in February 2017.
There are also newer two-story concrete buildings that were completed in the 1970s. The fish and vegetables in the market are cheap and fresh, and many people go to Bekenu specifically for the fish and produce. Restaurants there serve exotic meat and dishes. Being a coastal town, Bungai beach near Bekenu is a beautiful place for a family outing or picnic. Bungai beach is adjacent to Tusan beach.
Bekenu originated when the Brooke Government established a small administrative district office on top of a hill overlooking the Bekenu rivermouth to collect some customs and excise and to maintain order.
Bekenu had a serious flood situation in 1962 when flood water levels completely inundated the town.
In the 1990s, Bekenu saw the palm oil industry gaining ground, and land transforming into oil palm plantations. The lingua franca in Bekenu is a mixture of Iban and Bahasa Sarawak, although other languages such as Malay, English and Chinese may be understood.