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Where adventure begins....


Mulu WhiteWater Rafting

Are you heading to Mulu for a few days of fun, tour and adventure?

If you are heading to Mulu National Park, then you might as well join our WhiteWater Rafting at Sungai Tutoh. This is the latest list of activities organised by Benarat Lodge.


It is a 2 hours adventure for the thrill seeker along the Tutoh River, Add in the fun into your itinerary, as you tour the Caves, witness the 5 million bats coming out from the caves and onwards to see the Penan Settlement.






The Whitewater Rafting package includes safety jacket, trainer to guide you and off you go!

Rate per person: RM150 per person


To know more information, please email us at: Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com




The annual Padawan Raft Safari 2016

Padawan Raft Safari is a fun water sport held annually since 2004 right here in Sarawak. In this rafting competition, each team needs to build their bamboo raft before the date for it to be used in the race. True to its meaning, this Raft Safari is a great competition, where competitors get to admire wildlife and birds in the wild, passing through the dense jungle with their friends and families and at the same time paddling to the finish line.




The Raft Safari offered RM24,500 worth of prizes up for grabs. Besides rafting and kayaking, there were many side activities such as cultural dance, songs and local traditional cuisine.

A total of 138 competitors signed up for this competition. Depending on the categories that they had signed up for, the participants will be flagged-off from 7:00 a.m to 9:00 a.m, from 3 different villages namely; Annah Rais village, Temurang village and Danu. The finishing line would be at Git village where the closing ceremony will be held at 3:00 p.m.


Image credit to Sarawak Tourism Board website


There were several rafting categories during the competition. For the Rafting Expert and Kayaking Category, the distance from the starting point was approximately 40 km. The approximate distance for Men’s Open Rafting was 26 km while the Women, Government Departments, and Hotels & Tour Agencies Rafting were 22 km.  

In the Expert category, Kampung Sungan’s ‘Puncak Mutiara Tebedu’ finished the course in four hours and 57 minutes, snatching the first place and winning RM3,000 prize money and championship trophy. Finishing close at second place, Saati/SUPP Kampung Biya Jaber clocked four hours and 59 minutes, while Lanting Sadong placed third with a time of five hours and 12 minutes.

In kayaking category, first place was crowned to Eco Adventure Team that had completed the race with the fastest time of four hours and 14 minutes. The second and third place were won by Perkesa B and Perkesa A respectively.

In Men’s Open category, first place goes to Kelab Rekreasi Lingga, while Tebakang won the Women’s Open winning title. Bunan Gega health Clinic emerged the best among the teams competing in government agencies event, while in the tourism agencies and hotel category, the top prize went to BHR 4 Sekawan.

As it is an annual event, we hope to see more of the raft safari in the near future. This is a new tourism product and hopefully as it progresses, we are able to have more international team joining in.



VIVACITY Megamall, the newest and largest shopping mall in Kuching

Shopping malls had increased these past few years in Kuching. One after another opens up their doors to welcome people from all over Kuching, even from all over Sarawak to their mall. The newly opened VIVACITY Megamall, the newest addition to malls in Kuching, had just opened its doors to visitors last December 2015.

The mall was designed by Archicentre, the same team that designed Setia City Mall in Shah Alam. There are also hundreds s of condominiums and suites, called The Jazz Suites @ VIVACITY on top of the mall. It is currently the biggest shopping mall in Kuching, and the carpark has about 3,800 parking bays at basement, podium and roof levels, each with its own dedicated entrance and exit.

The four-level shopping mall is currently buzzing with activities. Almost all shop lots had tenants. On lower ground there are supermarket, specialty food, essentials and services, while on the ground floor, they have international fashion, jewellery & timepieces, cosmetics & skincare and alfresco & cafés such as Nando’s; the first branch in Kuching, the first Tony Roma’s in Borneo, Burger King, The Library, Quiznos Cafe, Secret Recipe and many more.

Besides several newly opened branches of restaurants in Kuching, there are also many firsts of their respective brands or chains opened here in Vivacity. You can find Tokyo Station on Level 2, where you can find lots of Japanese stuff such as groceries, snacks, household products, skincare range, stationery items, luggage and home furnishings. This is the first of its chains in Malaysia. You can even see the “ransel”, a firm-sided backpack made of stitched firm leather or leather-like synthetic material, most commonly used in Japan by elementary schoolchildren sold at the shop. Customers get to purchase Hokkaido Matcha Milk, never-before-seen KitKat flavours such as Cheese Cake, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato, and many other stuff that you may never encounter in our local shops.

Visitors can also visit Sports Direct, the UK’s leading sports retailer, selling varieties of internationally recognised sports and leisure brands; Calliope, an Italian interpretation of the latest fashion trends and the first of its chains in Malaysia; Samba, an Ipanema, Zaxy, Ryder & Grendha Concept Stores from Brazil of which opening ceremony was graced by the “Samba Queen” from Singapore, Farah Dawood De Morais; KAISON, the decoration and gift retailer, focusing on selling affordable yet well designed products; Seoul Garden, an authentic Korean-styled BBQ Buffet restaurant; and so much more!

For those who are not familiar with the roads in Kuching, the mall is located at Jalan Wan Alwi, Tabuan Jaya Baru 2. From city centre, it will take about 20 minutes’ drive.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s head over to Vivacity Megamall now and check out this new mall!

Tags: Vivacity Megamall | Kuching |


'Lan Berambeh', an annual event for Sarawakians in Peninsula Malaysia

Lan Berambeh, which translates to “Let’s Stay Over” in Sarawak language, had been gaining popularity among Sarawakians in Peninsula Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur.

In the recently held event on 24th of October 2015, it had gathered about 10,000 Sarawakians attending the dinner. The dinner was graced by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Tok Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib.


Image credit to The Borneo Post


This event was held to support the Sarawakians studying, working and living in Peninsula Malaysia, as well as somewhat healing the homesickness of their home and family.

Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had launched the dinner that night and a short video titled “Kamek Anak Sarawak” was shown afterwards.



Apart from the dinner, a carnival was held at Putra World Trade Centre from 9 am to 11 pm on the same day. This carnival welcomed everyone who wanted to know more about Sarawak and not only Sarawakians. The carnival had managed to show the uniqueness of Sarawak and the culture to Peninsula Malaysians who attended the carnival. The stalls selling Sarawak products such as food and handicrafts were erected on that day.


Image credit to The Borneo Post


There were also convention sessions for Sarawakian students in the afternoon. There were 4 sessions in total; Education by Yang Berhormat Liwan Lagang, Socio Economy by Datuk Seri Richard Riot, Rural Development by Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and Politics by Hajah Nancy Shukri.

The annual event which was open to the public, was a platform for Malaysians to familiarise themselves with Sarawak culture. The first ‘Lan Berambeh’ was held on 2008, and by then it was only a dinner gathering for Sarawakians. Over the years, it has become a platform to exhibit Sarawak’s unique culture and craft work while reuniting ‘anak Sarawak’ in Peninsula Malaysia.

Hopefully, this joyous event will continue in foreseeable future so that people from Peninsula Malaysia will get to know Sarawak better.



Bravo Riung Kuring Restaurant, Kuching

The food that we Malaysians eat, or rather should I say the Malay, Chinese and Indian food that has been at the forefront of most of our meals would have been Chicken rice, Nasi Lemak, Laksa, wantan mee, kampua mee, kolok mee, roti canai and many others. However, Malaysia being a hot pot of many other nationalities coming to Malaysia to work, marry or start a new life here has also seen Sundanese food getting popular here. Sundanese tribe from Indonesia has had a strong following in Malaysia.

In Kuching, the popular Sundanese food can be found at Riung Kuring Restaurant. Riung Kuring restaurant is located at No, 97, Jalan Dagok, Off Jln Kulas Utara Satu, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak.



We checked out the restaurant recently and here is our review. The restaurant is located not very far from RHB Bank at Jln Kulas Utara main road but if you did not know about the restaurant, you would never drive in ( turn left) into this small road. We managed to locate the restaurant. It was located at a house that has been converted into a nice little quaint restaurant. They have the outdoor (non aircond) which is actually the car park that has been designed into the sitting area for tables and chairs. Then there is the living room that is air-conditioned.



We browsed the menu and didn’t know what to order as everything looks good. In the end, we settled for Nasi Ayam Bakar Madu and Nasi goreng ayam special. I also ordered a glass of The C Peng Pandan Special and ice lemon tea.

When the food arrived, the food presentation was inviting. The rice was wrapped in banana leaf, served with a piece of grilled chicken thigh which had been slathered with honey. There were a piece of fried tofu, tempe (an Indonesian soy patty), some ulam raja, slices of cucumber and cabbage, a bowl of sourly soup and a small plate of sambal. The soup was quite tasty despite its appearance as the combination of sweet and sour was pretty good. The chicken was so delicious and succulent.



Something new to us. Every meal has the special Sundanese chilli sauce. It tasted a bit like nasi lemak sambal to me. If you ask me, the chilli sauce could double as nasi lemak sambal as well. It was spicy and it actually warmed up my stomach for the whole afternoon after the meal.

My nasi goreng ayam kampung was tasty as it should be. Stir fried with anchovies, put in some cut chilli, dressed with a fried egg on top of the rice, some sliced cucumber, fried chicken wing and of course their signature chilli sauce, home made by them.



The only thing that is not satisfactory is that the anchovies are not crispy enough. They must have heated up the wok, fried the egg, and the poured in the rice and other ingredients together with the anchovies. They should I think fried the anchovies until crispy, then separate it out from the wok. Fried the other ingredients in as well as the rice, and then pour back the anchovies when almost done. That way, not only do we have a tasty nasi goreng, but we will also bite in into the crispiness of the anchovies instead of having a anchovies taste but not crispy. However, despite that, the meal is still wholesome and wonderfully delicious.

The Pandan drink was good. Felt like drinking cendol, the taste that is.



On the whole, we love the food here and will recommend it to anyone who loves spicy, Asian food. Well done Riung Kuring! Keep it up and improve where you can.



Vege Hut, a vegetarian restaurant in Kuching

We visited Vege Hut today. Vege Hut is the newer of the several vegetarian restaurants located at 3rd mile Kuching. Its address is at 2659, Jalan Rock, Central Park Commercial Centre, 93200 Kuching, Sarawak, opposite Timberland Hospital.


It was not packed when we arrived and the restaurant is clean which is a must for us. The restaurant is divided into air-cond and cooling fan section.


They sure have a wide selections ranging from porridge to Chinese dishes and even Indian food like Roti canai of all variety, Thosai, and others.


We decided to try the Indian dishes this time around. We ordered roti canai susu, thosai, vegetable rolls and some drinks.


I have always been fond of Thosai and I have to say that today, I was not disappointed. The Thosai was prepared by an Indian person who works in a Chinese vegetarian restaurant. The Thosai was crispy the way I like it and it was even a little sour like how a Thosai should taste like. I was given a small bowl of curry gravy and a small bowl of curry potatoes, though I much prefer chutney, and dhal. It cost me RM2.20.



Thosai: 9/10

Curry Gravy: 6/10

Portion for money: 8/10


My colleague ordered 2 pieces of Roti Canai susu which was RM2 each. The roti canai when served was sweet because of the condensed milk, and firm. She likes the roti as it is a bit crunchy on the outside, and gooey on the inside. Though, 2 pieces of roti canai susu is a bit overkill since it makes her full for the whole day.



Roti Canai susu: 8/10

Curry Gravy: 6/10

Portion for money: 7/10


Then our vegetable rolls were served. I swear that if you just change the wrapping and use a McDonald’s wrapping paper, anyone would agree that this must be the latest menu from McDonald’s. Food was good.



Vegetable roll: 7/10

Portion for money: 8/10


We ordered Lassi and ngo mee thing (Chinese herb drink that is supposed to cool the body system). Having tasted better, the latter was nothing to shout about. I would give it a 5/10. The lassi is quite nice; foamy, sweet and a bit sour like any other lassi.


Overall, we would give the restaurant 7 out of 10. We like the interior and the cleanliness of the restaurant. Compared to the other restaurants in the area, we like this one the best. The price is also reasonable, and the staffs are friendly. 

Tags: Vege Hut | Vegetarian restaurant in Kuching | Kuching Restaurant |

TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 2015

Refreshing lunch break at Uncle Bean Cafe, Kuching

After a refreshing stroll along Carpenter Street, why don’t you stop by at Uncle Bean Café for lunch ? The café is opened daily from 7:00am to 10:00pm.
The café does not serve pork and they do not use lard in their cooking. The air-conditioning was also perfect after the exhausting stroll under the sun. We also like the interior design of the café. It is decorated with vibrant wallpaper, colourful chairs and the table has abstract design all over it.

Interior at Uncle Bean Cafe
Browsing through the thick menu, there is a variety of Malaysian food available. You can order their fried noodles, fried rice, nasi ayam penyet, curry noodle, and even toast for breakfast.

Uncle Bean's Nasi Ayam Penyet
My friend decided to try their Set Meal, which includes rice, one of their chicken dishes, vegetables and a glass of soft drink. I ordered a glass of ice green tea and a bowl of Sarawak Laksa, since I am on a quest to find the most delicious Sarawak Laksa in Kuching.
After a while, our drinks were served. Along with it, they gave us our cutleries on top of cute paper napkins. When I take a sip of my green tea, it tasted normal. 
Not long after that, my laksa was delivered. I was surprised to see that the bowl was quite big, considering the price was only RM6.00. However, there was a thick layer of oil on top of the laksa. There were also strips of chicken, eggs, bean sprouts and prawns. After squeezing lime and adding sambal belacan into the laksa, I slurped the noodle and was amazed by the taste. It actually tasted good despite the oily gravy. The gravy is not that spicy, a bit sour (because of the lime) and it was seasoned well. Because of that, I finished the laksa contently, just leaving traces of oil at the bottom of the bowl. Actually, I practically almost licked the bowl up. 

Laksa Sarawak
My friend enjoyed her rice with ayam goreng rempah (spice fried chicken?) and a small plate of baby kailan with oyster sauce. In fact, it was the second time that she ordered the fried chicken since she liked it very much when she tried the dish during her first visit at the café. At that time she also ordered a cup of café latte and from the photos that she took, it looks amazing.

Cafe Latte at Uncle Bean Cafe
Cafe Latte at Uncle Bean Cafe
The café also serve cakes and coffees, but when we came in, there were no cakes on display so we didn’t get to try them.
Overall, I gave their laksa 8 out of 10. I wished their gravy was not that oily, or else I would give them a 9. The laksa was delicious and I put it on the third place of my personal Laksa Sarawak ranking. 
I look forward to taste their nasi ayam penyet next, and hope I will not be disappointed. Compliments to the chef! 


Review of Saigon Fusion Vietnamese Restaurant, Kuching

It was on Mother’s Day that I brought my mother to try out this little Saigon Vietnam fusion restaurant at a small lane off Carpenter Street Kuching.




Just a few shops away from the popular pub for tourists lay this little gem. The place was decorated with some Vietnamese painting, an aquarium greeting you at the entrance and some small cloth toys at the counter, which I  imagined is for sale. Some wood painting decorated the wall, and dim light with wooden furniture all combined to create a urban oriental feel, though I felt that the furniture was a bit large for a small restaurant, as it occupied more space than necessary.




The restaurant is not very big, and there were a few diners already having their dinner when we arrived but the staff there was very busy taking orders and helping out at the kitchen. The ambience stayed lively with many tourists flocking in.




The food variety was not many, and there were some Vietnamese coffee and soft drinks at RM4 a can. We were greeted with cold wheatgrass drink each upon sitting down. Menu was simple, the usual ever popular spring rolls consisting of sliced prawn, vegetables and a slice of meat and beef noodles.



Spring Rolls


It being a Mother’s Day, we ordered some spring rolls at RM18 a plate, baked crabs with special Vietnam sauce ( 3 small crabs at RM42), some vermicelli with pork chop, and vermicelli with prawns stuffed over lemongrass stick.


Baked Crabs with special sauce

Baked crabs with special Vietnam sauce


We find the spring rolls a bit bland but perhaps that is how Vietnam spring rolls are like and the dish that we liked the best was the baked crab. It was a bit sweet and yet tasty. When I asked for a shell breaker to break open the crab shell, they gave me a piece of paper and the shell breaker. That was great because usually when you pound down on the crab shell, the juices from within the shell or the broken pieces of the shell would fly away and may landon your face which could be rather embarrassing. So with the paper, I wrapped it over the crab before I pounded down on it. Nice, neat and no mess except when you have to diligently pull out the broken shell from the flesh, which was also fun in eating crab meat.


Vermicelli with prawn stick

Vermicelli with prawns stuffed over lemongrass stick


After that, our Mango Sticky Rice dessert arrived. It cost RM25 a plate. It was not exactly what I expected. I remembered tasting them in Thailand, and the sticky rice with the sauce which is actually made up of coconut cream is a bit salty. Here, the sauce is sweet only, and not salty like the Thai mango sticky rice dessert. Again, perhaps this Is their own version of a Vietnam Mango Sticky Rice dessert. My brother however enjoyed the sticky rice, as he found it cooked just nice and tender. As novices about Vietnamese food, we were not sure what to expect but the simple menu and the delicious baked crab was satisfying enough and it was a very fulfilling dinner for my whole family.

Tags: Vietnam Saigon Restaurant | Vietnamese food Kuching | |


What 2015 Goat Year means to those born in this Chinese zodiac

The year of the Goat (sheep / ram) is just around the corner. Many Chinese families are now busy doing spring cleaning, buying food and drinks in preparation for the Chinese New Year that will fall on 19 February 2015.
Let’s find out more about the Chinese zodiac of “The Goat”. The Goat ( Chinese: ; pinyin: yáng), according to Wikipedia is the eighth sign of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Goat is associated with the 8th Earthly Branch symbol,  (wèi).
The listing of Year of the Sheep or Goat or Ram are 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979 and 1967. Are you born in Year of the Goat?
A goat is a gentle and calm animal. People who are born in the year of the Goat tend to be tender, gentle polite, filial, clever and kind-hearted. They tend to be artistics, pious and enjoys living quietly.
In their daily life, they try to be economical. Women born in this year are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation.
Read on as the next few paragraphs may interest you.
Fortune Foretelling in 2015
It is their order to encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian), a year to offend “Taisui’, the god in charge of people’s fortune. In 2015, their fortune in all aspects will fluctuate. In career, there won’t be a promotion or salary rise. Only if they stick with their current job and work hard, will they smoothly get through the year. In wealth, they should be very cautious about any investment, or there will be a loss. In relationships, they are suggested to be tolerant of their family, friends and colleagues to avoid any conflict.

Career: They may encounter some road blocks in career in 2015, especially in March, June, September and December. In these months, their emotions will be fluctuant, so it is likely that they will argue with colleagues. In comparison, their fortune in career gets better in February, July and August. As long as they persist in working hard, they will gain much in the coming year. At any rate, no promotion will fall upon them in 2015.

Wealth: The financial fortune of sheep people will be just so-so. They should reduce daily expenses, or it will be hard to make ends meet. It is not a good idea to lend money to others. The investment in stocks, bonds and real estate should be stopped. People who are living in a rental house should keep doing this. Don’t buy a new house or move. Setting a fish tank in the west or north of the house may increase their fortune in wealth. 

Relationships: Sheep people can easily lose their temper in 2015. As a result, couples and lovers may argue. They should communicate with each other to solve the problem to avoid breaking up. Also this is not a good year to get married. Single males may get involved in a relationship, and females will still expect to get back their former love.

Health: They should keep away from sharp tools and weapons such as knifes, swords, saws and scissors, because they may easily get injured this year. In daily life, they should play sports and avoid eating too much greasy food. Sheep born in 1943 and 1979 need to be careful in driving and doing sports, especially in June and December.

Study: Sheep students will hardly be able to concentrate on study this year. They should adjust their emotions to focus on study. Some students’ study may be affected by family problems, so parents should pay attention to their behavior and try to be attentive to their children. Moreover, children may get infected some illness, which will influence their study.
Hope your find the above information helpful as you celebrate the coming New Year of the Goat. Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!


Legend of Mount Santubong, Kuching, Sarawak

There are actually several beliefs of this legend. Every household might tell a different story. However, the legend’s main characters are still Puteri Santubong (Princess Santubong) and Puteri Sejinjang (Princess Sejinjang).

The most popular version of this legend is that Santubong and Sejinjang are princesses from Kayangan (Heaven). These two princesses had wonderful talents. Santubong was famous for her weaving skills, thus  the cloth that she made were very beautiful, while Sejinjang was known for her talent in pounding rice, and the rice that she pounds became the most delicious rice.

When two villages, namely Pasir Kuning (Yellow Sand) and Pasir Putih (White Sand), were having a fight, the King had sent both princesses to bring peace. Santubong was sent to Pasir Kuning while Sejinjang was sent to Pasir Putih. Because of the princesses’ talents, they were so busy making money that they have no time to fight with the other village. In the end, both villages were peaceful.

However, this did not last long. The two beautiful princesses had many suitor and admirers, but nobody can charm them, until one day, they met Putera Serapi (Prince Serapi). They fell in love with the prince, and the prince was also in love with both of them. He asked both of them to be his wives but both of them refused to share him. They started quarrelling with each other to be the prince’s only wife.

The quarrel turns into a frightful fight as they became violent. Sejinjang hit Santubong’s cheek with her pounder, and even though she was hit, Santubong hit Sejinjang back using her belidak, a tool to weave cloths. The force and sharpness of the belidak broke Sejinjang’s head into a million pieces.

The King was angry with the princesses for fighting over a mere mortal, thus he cursed them into Mount Santubong and Mount Sejinjang. The broken pieces of Sejinjang’s head scattered into the sea and become small islands which are now Pulau Kerak (Monkey Island), Pulau Satang (Satang Island), Pulau Talang-Talang (Talang-Talang Island), Pulau Lakir (Lakir Island) and many others.

Another version of the legend is that Puteri Santubong and Puteri Sejinjang were not immortals as people had believed. They were actually daughters of Sultan Brunei that had run away with their seven brothers after their father had been murdered. In their escape to go across South China Sea, their brothers had abandoned them. The two princesses seek refuge at a mountain which is now known as Mount Santubong. Because of a fight between both sisters, Sejinjang had to find another shelter which is another mountain nearby, now known as Mount Sejinjang. The locals that passed by both mountains to find basic necessities saw the two beautiful girls. Since they never saw them before, they had assumed that both princesses were sent down from heaven.

Nowadays, people who passed by the mountain can see the side profile of a woman. Mount Santubong is one of the national parks in Sarawak, and one of the famous tourists’ destinations nowadays. There are Sarawak Cultural Village, Damai Beach Resort and Damai Central at the foot of Mount Santubong. Also, Pulau Talang-Talang is famous for Irrawaddy dolphins sighting, thus making it another famous tour in Kuching.

For those who are interested to go to Kuching and see for yourself this awesome mountain that had inspired this kind of legend, you can visit this website: 3D2N Cuti Kuching Damai. You get to enjoy the cool breeze in the morning at Damai Beach which is located at the foot of Mount Santubong.



Dec 2014 Promo 3D2N Sabah Good Deal RM250

Greetings in this Festive Month! This is the last month of 2014.
Offer! Sale! Promotions are going on everywhere.
We figured that we didn’t want to be left out too to give YOU , Our Friends and Customers a  chance to visit SABAH, for 3D2N on a very GOOD DEAL! A DEAL SO GOOD that you usually only see it only during MATTA FAIR!

Here is what our Deal is !



We are offering  a  for only RM250 per person, airport transfers with stay at 4 Star Sabah Oriental Hotel with breakfasts. Just bring 4 persons to take this package and you are ready to go! Minimum requirement of 4 persons per booking. (Min. 4 pax booking)

You must book from now until 21 Dec 2014

3D2N Sabah Good Deal

for travel from now until 30 Mac 2015.

Call us now at tel. + 60 16 4123 304 below or contact us here

Go on! Book now! 3D2N Sabah Good Deal @ RM250 per person

Please help us to inform your friends or relatives who deserves a holiday.


Sarawak Borneo Tour Team

(Sandy / Patricia / Khalimatul / Fadzillawaty)
HP: 0 16 4123 304 / 016 575 3715 / 016 806 4022


A taste of Kuala Lumpur right here in Kuching at Golden Jade Restaurant

If you have been working in West Malaysia for several years and are now returning to Sarawak, let us tell you a secret.

If you have been yearning for that Kuala Lumpur Cantonese cooking style dishes, then you can find just the restaurant here in Kuching. It is located Golden Jade Restaurant.


Exterior & Interior of Golden Jade Restaurant

Exterior & Interior of Golden Jade Restaurant


The taste is a bit on the heavy side, but we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner that night. Let us share with you what we ate.

We had stew pork with mui chye (salted vegetables). Thick succulent stripes of pork stewed to tenderness with salted vegetables. In the olden days, most people love to eat it with plain porridge.


Stew pork with mui chye

Stew pork with mui chye


Tofu deep fried with anchovies and mince pork. Most restaurants here in Kuching usually deep fried tofu with mincemeat and soya sauce poured on top of the tofu. Here is a slightly different version, we had mince pork and anchovies deep fried with onions and soya sauce, and then poured over the deep fried tofu. It was delicious, and it prompted me to cook the same dish at home over the National Day weekend.


Tofu deep fried with anchovies and mince pork

Tofu deep fried with anchovies and mince pork


The captain recommended us their new dish, which was Mongolian pork deep fried with pepper and vegetables. We absolutely loved this dish. The taste was more on the heavy side, but we loved the peppery taste of the pork. Ohh lala! I just love it and ate most of it.


Mongolian pork deep fried with pepper and vegetables

Mongolian pork deep fried with pepper and vegetables


We also ordered this rather new style cooking of kailan vegetables that had its leaves sliced into thin slices and then deep fried with anchovies. Then it is stir fried again with its other branches.


Kailan vegetables deep fried with anchovies

Kalian vegetables deep fried with anchovies


We wanted to order steamed fish but they only had Tilapia fish that night but we did not like Tilapia fish. This dish like how it is cooked in most Chinese restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, it is steamed, and with lots of sliced ginger over it. Most of the restaurants here in Kuching would steam the fish with tofu, tomatoes, ginger and chilly. The taste would be too bland for us. After a while, you will get bored of eating the same cooking style dish all the time.

We also ordered a sweet corn soup. Flavour was nice, though nothing extra ordinary here.



Menu for Seafood and Poultry   Menu for Fish and Shark's Fin

Menu for Seafood and Poultry                                 Menu for Fish and Shark's Fin


The whole meal cost us only RM88. All in all, we would give it an 8 out of 10 rating. If you are in Kuching and do not know where to go for your meal, do drop by Golden Jade Restaurant and we are sure you will love the food. Be warned though, the taste is more on the heavy side but you will definitely ask for 2nd bowl of rice. Bon Appetit!



9 Must-go Places in Sibu, Sarawak

Sibu is the third largest town in Sarawak, besides Miri and Kuching, populated by mainly Chinese, as well as Melanau, Malay and Iban people. The city might not be a famous tourist destination, but there are some places that you have to visit once you are in this Swan City.


1.     Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum

This museum is one-of-a-kind medical museum in Malaysia. The place has old medical equipment on display with old photos adorning the walls. Lau King Howe, a generous man who ran a rubber tree plantation in Engkilo, donated a big sum of money to build it, hence the name of the hospital. Furthermore, it was stated in Sarawak’s history that Sir Duncan Steward had received early treatment here when he was stabbed by Rosli Dhoby.

It was interesting to be taken back in time when you see the old instruments, as it lets people imagine the medical facilities in the past, with its limited helping hands and staffs. Visitors can walk through the ward and experience the thrill of walking in the empty hospital, without the nurses and doctors around.


Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum

Lau King Howe Hospital Memorial Museum


Image credit to Sarawak Tourism


2.     Tua Pek Kong Temple

The interesting architecture of the temple with its pagoda is a prime tourist attraction in Sibu. People come here to pray for a better life and for their family and friends or just to admire the unique architecture. For Chinese New Year and other celebrations, the temple is decorated beautifully and you might get to watch the fascinating show on the stage. Moreover, a hundred years old Rain Tree in front of the temple is another appeal at the temple, and although the tree is hard to maintain, the people here see it as a symbol of longevity.


Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sibu

Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sibu

3.     Wong Nai Siong Garden

The memorial garden is built in remembrance of the Foochow immigrants in 1901, led by Wong Nai Siong. The beautiful landscape shows the respect the people has to him, as the place is well maintained and clean. For the locals, it is a perfect spot for jogging and evening exercise. Besides, you can walk around the surrounding of the garden where you can find many Foochow foods, such as kampua mee, kompia and many others.


Wong Nai Siong Garden


Image credit to TripAdvisor


4.     Sibu Heritage Centre

This circular building displays the history of Sibu, and the cultural heritage of ethnic groups in Sarawak. The entrance of the museum is free and it is air-conditioned, to create a comfortable environment to the visitors while browsing the gallery. The landscape outside is quite spectacular. There are some handicraft shops selling Sarawak souvenirs including Iban costumes, and some cafés nearby.


Sibu Heritage Centre

Sibu Heritage Centre


5.     Bukit Lima Forest Park

Situated at Kampung Sentosa, the park attracts mostly joggers, as it is a perfect place for exercising. The visitors can go try the short trek, where you can enjoy quiet and peaceful environment. Furthermore, you might see some birds, lizards, terrapins or even long-tailed macaques there.


Bukit Lima Forest Park

Bukit Lima Forest Park


Image credit to TripAdvisor


6.     Sibu Central Market

Sibu Central Market is the largest indoor market in Malaysia, and be prepare to be awed by the vast span of stalls at the market, selling fresh vegetables, fruits and live poultry. As Sibu is famously known for dabai or Sibu olive, you can find many stalls selling this fruit with different price based on the size and quality of the fruits. Another unique attribute of the market is that you will find chickens or ducks neatly wrapped in newspapers, fastened by nylon strings arranged nicely on the table.


Sibu Central Market

Sibu Central Market


7.     Taman Bukit Aup Jubilee Park

The park is a favourite place for the locals to relax during weekends. It comprises an amphitheatre, sky steps, pavilion, observation tower, gardens, canteen lagoon, playground and barbeque area. You can see the surrounding plantations and longhouses at the top of the observation tower. The park is quiet and a great place to breathe in some fresh air or just having picnics there. Besides, you can visit 1 Malaysia Culture Village which is just opposite the park.


Taman Bukit Aup Jubilee Park

Taman Bukit Aup Jubilee Park


Image credit to TripAdvisor


8.     Daesco Star Mega Mall

You probably did not visit Sibu to shop, but look out for this new mall in town. This mall is operated by Daesim Group, and it was located at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman Sibu. There are several stalls and shops, varies from food stalls, electronic, etc.


9.     Wisma Sanyan

This is the tallest building in Sarawak. It was opened in 2001, and the building serves many purposes such as shopping mall, restaurant and offices. This building houses Parkson and Giant Supermarket, along with the headquarters of Sarawak’s largest timber companies, Sanyan Group. Furthermore, BASE Jump was held here annually since 2009.


Wisma Sanyan

Wisma Sanyan


To go to Sibu, you can either board a bus or a plane. From Kuching, the road distance is about 400 kilometres, so if you want to enjoy the scenery of Sarawak’s greenery along the way, you can opt for the 5 hours bus ride from Kuching Sentral. Flights to Sibu from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Kuching are also available.

Tags: Sibu | Sarawak |


Rock Road seafood Restaurant, the upclass restaurant in Kuching

Rock Road seafood restaurant has been around since before we were born. It is located at Jalan Rock, Kuching. It was established in 1960s and previously known as Rock Road Café, taking after the name of the road that the restaurant is located, but in 1983, its name was changed to Rock Road Seafood Restaurant.


Its reputation being that they serve good variety of seafood cooked in various different styles. It is more of an upclass restaurant, with even the current Governor as one of its patrons.


We visited this restaurant several weeks ago. Here is our review of the place and the food served there. The restaurant consists of 2storey. They have outdoor seating at ground floor and indoor seating on 1st floor and where you can opt for private room if you wish to. The moment you enter the restaurant, you are greeted by a wide array of live seafood, vegetables and fruits placed around a booth of sort to display all that they have. There, you can choose the type of fish or crabs that you want and how you want it cooked. You actually order your food even before you are even seated.


Sharksfin soup

Sharksfin Soup


Then you are led up to the first floor to your table, where friendly waiters and waitresses in uniform serve you. For starters, we were served pickles made from cabbage. Its more like kimchi to me, though I would prefer pickles made from papaya like how the restaurants in Kota Kinabalu would serve pickled papayas as appetiser.


We ordered sharks fin soup for 4 persons. The taste was fine. Lots of crabmeat and sharks fin in the soup. It cost RM52 for 4 of us.


Next, we ordered a plate of Hock Chew Style noodles. Taste wise was delicious and our friends thoroughly enjoyed it.


Hock Chew Style Noodles

Hock Chew Style Noodles


We also ordered Crabs stir fried in satay sauce. We used to come to this restaurant often because of this dish. However, this time around, it tasted different from our last visit, several years ago. The sauce used to be peanuty, and sweet, with very nice flavour and we would dip deep fried golden buns into it. This time around, the sauce seemed a tad thicker, and was not what we had anticipated. There were not enough peanut in the sauce. We would suspect that perhaps there was a change of chef. As they say, the chef will determine how much business your restaurants get and the flavour may differ from one chef to another.


Crabs stir fried in satay sauce

Crabs stir fried in satay sauce


Deep fried golden buns

Deep fried golden buns to be dipped into the satay sauce


One of our favourite dish from this restaurant, is the Lohan vegetarian dish. We used to love this dish very much and would order this dish on each visit. This time around, it tasted different from our last visit. Again, we would attribute this to a different chef.


Our next dish was Scallop with broccoli. Just a few broccoli, and a few slices of scallop set us back by RM38. Expensive or not?


Lohan vegetarian dish

Lohan vegetarian dish


We also ordered Fish pan-fried with soy sauce. The fish was fresh and succulent enough, and tasted good with the soy sauce.


Fish pan-fried with soy sauce

Fish pan-fried with soy sauce


This night, I was looking forward to my crab dinner but it was not what I expected.  Of all the dishes that we had this night, the thumbs up would be the sharks fin soup and the pan-fried fish.


This is an upclass restaurant, and the whole dinner, together with drinks cost us RM283.95. No doubt it was on the high side, but if you enjoyed the food, what is there to complaint right? 



Eat as much as you want and pay any amount you like at Lovely Vegetarian Restaurants Kuching

This is not a new concept and has been around in Europe since several years back. Usually this concept is practiced by organizations wanting to do charitable deeds as they believe in doing kindness to mankind.


Lovely Vegetarian Restaurants entrance  Lovely Vegetarian Restaurants Charity Banner


Lovely Vegetarian Restaurants is one such restaurant. It is located right behind Hock Lee Centre, along Jln Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim Kuching. They practice the concept that you can eat as much as you want and pay whatever amount that you like or can afford to. It is up to you.



Lovely Vegetarion Restaurants Interior 1    Lovely Vegetarion Restaurants Interior 2


They are opened only from 11:00am -1:30pm . Their lunch is buffet style and self service. You help yourselves to the food and after you finish eating, you just need to wash the plates or utensils after you finish eating. They serve about 10 dishes, 2 soups, tea, coffee, dessert and some ice drinks.


Food served at Lovely Vegetarion Restaurants


Variety of food served at Lovely Vegetarion Restaurants


The restaurants can sit over 100 persons and sometimes the local folks can celebrate their wedding or birthday functions here. The environment is quite cozy for dining as it is all air-conditioned. The place is also very clean.


Self service



If you enjoy healthy vegetarian meal, come check out this restaurant with a unique concept.



7 reasons why you must visit Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching

If you are sightseeing in Kuching make sure to add Sarawak Cultural Village to your bucket list because Sarawak Cultural Village is a must visit place when you are in Kuching. The cultural village showcases the arts of different longhouses and guests will get to experience the way of living of the local tribe. Furthermore, entertaining yet educational cultural show in an air-conditioned theater is the perfect closing for your trip!


1. Summary of Culture in Sarawak

Sarawak Cultural Village is a place for tourists to see the lifestyles of most ethnic tribes in Sarawak. It is not called a living museum for nothing. Each house has residents, where the staffs of Sarawak Cultural Village wear traditional clothes, based on the ethnic house they “reside” in. Sometimes if you are lucky, you might find a man wearing traditional cloth playing sape at the Iban house.


2. Amazing performances

They have live performances every day. Each performance is a mixture of suspense and entertainment. After the dance, one guy would hold a blow dart as if he was going to blow the dart at your face. However, be rest assured that the blow dart is empty. Then, he will show you his amazing skills at blowing darts by popping balloons that are quite far from where he is standing.

Even though their routine is the same for every performance, you will not get bored as they will invite one lucky audience to come up on stage and play the blow dart. Each of the performers looks like they are having fun on stage, with bright smiles plastered on their faces.

Cultural show performed by dancers wearing traditional clothes

Cultural show performed by dancers wearing traditional clothes


3. Traditional food and handicraft

There are traditional foods sold at the houses. You can try these delicious foods, made by the locals while you browse through the house. They are kuih jala (rice cookies), kuih ros (rose cookies) and kuih sepit (love letter). You can watch them being prepared by the ladies at the house. Try it while it is still hot!

There are also beautiful beadwork and pua kumbu on display. Each design has tribe motives with colourful beads. You can even buy them as souvenir.

Kuih jala or rice cookies sold at one of the house  Rice cookie being prepared in a small wok

Kuih jala or rice cookies sold at one of the house


Kuih Chuan or rose shaped cookies  Kuih Chuan being deep fried in a wok after dipping the chuan / acuan (mold) in batter

Kuih Chuan or rose shaped cookies


4. Rainforest World Music Festival

Sarawak Cultural Village is home to the famous annual Rainforest World Music Festival where performers from all over the world gather here to perform their traditional music. Also, these performances will captivate you and the music will raise your spirits. You might even be dancing along with them in no time.


5. View house architectures

Each ethnic group has their own house designs. For example, rumah panjai lives up to its name as it is a very long house. However, the longhouse at the village is not as long as the common longhouse in Sarawak since it will took so much space in the area.

The house consists of many units, resides by different families. They have one long veranda in front of the houses, where families gather and celebrations are held.

Melanau house is also a sight to see. They traditionally lived near the sea, so the house was built uo to forty metres above the ground.


Orang Ulu Longhouse  Melanau Tall House

Orang Ulu Longhouse (left) and Melanau Tall House (right)


BIdayuh Longhouse  Malay House

Bidayuh Longhouse (left) and Malay House (right)


6. Recreation place

The location of Sarawak Cultural Village is just opposite Damai Central, a place for sea dipping and occasional bike riding. Families often visit this place for picnic, and there is a food court here where you can try the local delicacies at a reasonable price.


Beach at Damai Central

The beautiful beach at Damai Central


7. Great view

With Mount Santubong as its backdrop and rainforests surrounding the village, the picturesque view will take your breath away. The calm and peaceful lake in the middle of the village is rather beautiful, especially for people who love photography.


The bustling entrance with Mount Santubong at the back

The bustling entrance with Mount Santubong at the back



Sarawak Cultural Village is a must-visit place in Kuching. Leaving Kuching without visiting the village is akin to eating red bean ice without the red beans. It is a one-of-a-kind experience where you get to see a summary of Sarawak culture in one place.

Tags: Sarawak Cultural Village | Kampung Budaya Sarawak | Interesting place in Kuching | Longhouse in Kuching | Longhouse in Sarawak | Melanau House | Iban Longhouse | Bidayuh Longhouse | Orang Ulu Longhouse | Penan Hut | Malay House | Chinese Farm House |

FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014

Uniquely unforgettable Longhouse Experience in Sarawak


PART 1: Semenggoh Orang Utan


  I was looking forward for the trip on the first day with Joey, my friendly tour guide and two tourists from Madrid, Spain called Danni and Ann.
  As I looked up the skies, I could see that the weather was good even though it was little bit cloudy. We started off our journey at 8 am from Singgah Sana Lodge in downtown Kuching. While waiting for Joey, we made preparations and checked to see whether we have everything in our backpack.
  When we were inside the van, Joe gave us a briefing regarding the rehabilitation centre since it was important for us to know about the rules and regulations when looking at the Orang-utans. He gave us this list of   DO’s and DON’T’s once we arrived.
The DON’T’s
1)      Do not bring food or drink during the trip as they are sensitive to smell
        2)      Do not use a stick or your fingers to point at the Orang-utans as they will consider it as a   challenge
        3)      Do not use flash while taking pictures as they will be shocked and would possibly attack you.
        4)      Do not attempt to touch the Orang-utan younglings as their mother is very protective.
        5)      Do not stare directly into their eyes as it will provoke them.
        6)      Do not stand too near the Orang-utans for safety reasons.
        7)      Do not bring a camera tripod. They will think that it is a weapon.
The DO’s
        1)      Do be careful when walking. Orang-utans might perch on the treetops doing their business.
        2)      Always look up as some young naughty Orang-utans tend to throw stones or tree branches
        3)      Do RUN if the shelter ranger told you to do so!
  It took us at least an hour’s journey from Singgah Sana Lodge to the rehabilitation centre took us. The journey time can be extended to a further 15-30 minutes if the traffic is busy. We arrived at our designated destination by 9 am. We walked down the trail and followed our guide. We had our first sight of the Orang-utans at our first pit stop.
  We were fortunate to see a mother Orang-utan and her child coming out from bushes. Although it was their feeding time, they do not seem to be eating at all. As we walked along the trail, we could see a signboard with all the Orang-utans’ name written on it. It somehow reminded me of the old Western style ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ poster. 
  When I interviewed one of the rangers named Mr. Mustadza, he told us that the Orang-utans’ names were given after the staff who worked in the rehab centre. Some were named after famous people. One of the Orang-utans here is called Ritchie. The 35 year old Ritchie weighs around 150 to 160 kg. He got his name from James Ritchie, who was a famous photographer as well as a journalist. Somehow, Ritchie did not make his debut appearance on that day. However, we were happy enough to see a female orang-utan called Seduku and her child along the way. Seduku was initially nervous when she encounters a large number of tourists. She tends to carry her child behind her back as if she is trying to prevent humans to take her child away.
  Some of the rangers advised us to keep our distance at least 5-6 feet away from them. Her child was just 5 months old. One hour later, Seduku’s husband, called Anwar, came out. Anwar is lazier and is less protective over his child since he prefers the attention from the photographers. However, we still needed to be cautious and alert just in case anything goes wrong.
  According to the rangers, there have been cases where rangers were attacked by the Orang-utans last year. One of the trails where this incident happened was closed for safety reasons. They might look cute and fragile but they can be very aggressive. A ranger told us that the orang-utans are just like humans with their own mood swings. We even learnt some amazing facts about Orang-utans. Do you know that their DNA resembles human DNA by at least 90 to 95 percent? I guess that explains their mood swings. One of the wildlife centre rangers was attacked last year by a female Orang-utan called Hot Mama. This fiery Orang-utan is legendary for her short temper and aggressivenes.
  Mustadza explained that the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre was meant to be a rehabilitation centre for Orang-utans and other wildlife. The Semenggoh Wildlife was finally open to the public after receiving enthusiastic public interest and enquiries. Mustadza goes on to explain that the general public wanted to see the wildlife roaming around in a natural setting rather than being caged. I can’t help but agree with him on that point. Seeing these marvellous Orang-utans and other wildlife moving freely in this beautiful wildlife centre is indeed a breath taking and awe-inspiring moment!
  After spending an hour in the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre we followed our guide and headed off to the pepper farm where the famous Sarawak black pepper is produced. As we looked forward to this next part of our trip, we were glad that we had the chance to see the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and its colourful inhabitants.



PART 2: Sarawak Pepper Farm


Our next stop was the pepper farm, which is about one hour's trip from the Semenggoh Wild Life Centre. During our short trip to this wonderful farm, we had   the privilege of discovering the secret behind Sarawak’s well known black pepper farm. I have heard of both locals and tourists giving wonderful feedback on the world famous Sarawak Black Pepper.
  We also saw some grinding machines that are used to produce the wonderful Sarawak Pepper that we have grown to love, especially here in Sarawak. These grinding machines were designed with two sections, namely the right and left section. The right section of the grinding machine is used to produce low quality pepper. The left section on the other hand is reserved for making premium quality pepper.
  The old machine, which was put up for display purpose, also functions the same way as the new machine apart from the fact that  it was made out of wood and needed to be operated manually.  The old-fashioned grinding machine that we saw in the pepper farm works by the operator to turning the hand-operated round lever. The new machine on the other hand only requires the operator to pour in the pepper seed and let it do the grinding on its own. 
  After we had our fill of observing the fascinating method on how pepper is produced in this farm, we embarked on our three hours journey to Nanga Ukom longhouse. On our way to Nanga Ukom, we made a quick stop at a small town called Lachau to buy some gifts and a few necessities that would be useful for the longhouse community we were planning to visit. I bought some small packets of food for the children of the longhouse. The Spanish couples settled for some bags of salt since our tour guide mentioned that these things are much needed the residents who would otherwise have to travel some distance to town in other to get them.
  We began to notice that the clouds were getting darker so we proceeded with much haste. We hope that that it will not rain until we reached our destination. We finally arrived at Nanga Ukom at around 4.30pm. From here, we will continue on to the longhouse by boat. Our tour guide was fortunately sensible enough to arrange transportation with the boatmen in advance. We will spend 45 minutes on the boat before finally reaching Nanga Ukom longhouse. The boatmen had to make several stops along the river, turned off the boat engine and navigated by oar through some narrow parts.
  We were lucky that our journey down the river to Nanga Ukom longhouse was pleasant. In fact, the dark cloudy skies eventually receded and gave way to sunny weather. We were initially very afraid that it would rain and we might end up having to delay our trip. The unspoilt view along the river was very breath taking indeed. After 45 minutes on the boat, we finally reached the vicinity of Nanga Ukom longhouse. From here, it’ll just be a 10 minutes walk towards the hills of Nanga Ukom before we reached the longhouse. We just simply can’t wait to meet the residents of Nanga Ukom longhouse and get to know more about the traditional Iban living. I’m sure that’ll be something to write about!

PART 3: Nanga Ukom Longhouse 


The moment we arrived at Nanga Ukom longhouse Sarawak Jared, the assistant to the tuai rumah, warmly greeted us. Jared functions as a secretary to the longhouse chief, tuai rumah by recording the names of any visitor that visits Nanga Ukom longhouse
  We took a deep breath, settled down for a while and had a little chat with the longhouse residents. As I walked around, I noticed several peculiar objects that were hung all over the long house area. These objects were present in every corner of the longhouse. I asked Jared about these curious objects. He then proceeded to tell me an interesting tale about the object.
  The Iban people of Sarawak called these objects Piring Ampun. The Piring Ampun serves as a memorial for those who have recently departed. The Piring Ampun is hung on every corner of the long house as a sign for the departed spirits to ask them to go to the next world in peace as their time in this world has ended. The Piring Ampun is hung for a duration of 100 days starting from the date of the deceased’s time of death as the Iban believe that it’ll take the recently departed 100 days to reach his final destination. Food is put on the Piring Ampun as a sign of offering for the departed spirits. I was fascinated by this tale since although I’m an Iban boy I grew up in the city and have never heard of Piring Ampun.
The longhouse chief, tuai rumah returned to the longhouse at around 5.30pm. He greeted us warmly and sat down with us. The relatively young tuai rumah, at the age of 28, gave us a tour of the longhouse. He invited the Spanish couple to watch the cock-fighting event or locally known as Sabung Ayam, which they politely refused! As for me, I took the opportunity to watch this traditional longhouse past time. I can see some residents bringing up their best roosters for the event. In this event, the participants from either the same longhouse or another longhouse would pit their roosters against each other to win the bets that are placed on the winning rooster. However, I didn’t manage to catch the exciting part of the cock-fighting event, as both of the roosters in this cockfight were reluctant to fight each other, which was then considered as a draw.
  Our dinner at 7.30pm consisted of mouth-watering traditional Iban cuisine such as chicken cooked with ginger, green vegetables and jungle ferns. I also managed to observe an interesting thing that evening. The tuai rumah’s father was treating his grandson who was down with fever. He smeared a twenty-cent coin with a white sap powder, put in on his grandson’s stomach and recited some prayers. This was the first time that I have even seen a traditional Iban medicine at work.
  Later, we all gathered at the hallway and were treated to an enchanting Ngajat dance performance accompanied by the sound of a beating gong. The tuai rumah’s father started the dance and two young ladies then joined him in. The beauty of the Ngajat dance is something that you must experience within the traditional longhouse setting.
  After the dance, the longhouse chief, tuai rumah served us Tuak, a traditional wine made from either rice or sugarcane, to us. The taste is uniquely different from the typical beer or liquor. We are then entertained with some stories.
  We were told of the significance of an Iban tattoo that decorated most of the resident’s bodies. Tattoo is like a marker for a person’s rite of passage. When a young man is newly married, a tattoo will be carved on his body before he leaves the community. It is a sign that the boy has reached maturity. Even until today, when a person is about to leave his longhouse, before he travelled, a tattoo will be carved on his body as a reminder on his roots. In the distant headhunting past, a tattoo on an Iban warrior’s knuckle signifies the number of enemies that he has slain.
  We also learnt about that evening was on how the next longhouse chief, tuai rumah is selected. The newtuai rumah is a male selected from the previous tuai rumah’s own bloodline based on his capabilities and maturity. If the tuai rumah has no sons, he will have to marry of his daughter and pass down the title to his future grandson. The tuai rumah may only decline appointment by resigning once he took office. The office of the tuai rumah is for the duration of five years.
  We then had a history lesson about Nanga Ukom longhouse Sarawak. It was founded 29 years ago by the tuai rumah’sgrandfather who moved from the jungles of Batang Ai to be close to the river. Several families subsequently joined him and settled here up to this day. The Nanga Ukom residents worked as farmers and fishermen. They would travel downriver toLubok Antu to sell their produce at the market.
  The tuai rumah then explained to us about customary Iban marriage in Sarawak. In the past girls were married off at the age of 15 or 16. Nowadays, they would be given the choice of getting married at 18 after finishing school to go on to look for employment. The couple wishing to get married must first seek out the tuai rumah and request for a marriage. The tuai rumah would normally consent. If a couple wishes to divorce, they will bring the matter up to the tuai rumah. They would have to explain to the tuai rumahabout the reason for the divorce.
  After the long story session, our first day ended. We kept ourselves warm by wearing long sleeved clothing as we slept in the cold longhouse.
 On the second day of our trip, we woke up at 7 am, had breakfast and readied ourselves for our journey back. We then walked back up the same trail that led us to Nanga Ukom to see how the locals make blowpipes.
  Dani and Ann, the Spanish couple, bought some beautifully made handicrafts. The intricately made and beautifully carved blowpipes and wooden shields on display here really fascinated me. The price was even cheaper here compared to downtown Kuching.
 The blowpipe that we saw was made out of high-grade quality ironwood. It can last for more than a hundred year. The blowpipe was around 10 inches long, about the same length as a British Musket.  If you want to use the blowpipe, you would have to insert one or two bamboo darts inside it. You will then blow through it to hit the target in front of you.
 These bamboo darts were lethal as they were usually coated with poison that can cause the victim to fall unconscious. In the past, the headhunters use the blowpipes before decapitating their target.
 When James Brooke landed in Borneo, he encouraged the locals to use guns. The blowpipe was supposed to be passed down from one generation to another. It is not meant be given away or sold. 
  Our tour guide and the Spanish tourists went in for a walk into the jungle for the next 45 minutes. They wanted to see various types of plantations and crops. As my sports shoes were in a bad condition, I had to wait for them from inside the boat. I took more pictures of the dangerous trail that the residents of NangaUkom have to go through daily.
  We learnt that what makes the Nanga Ukom culture so beautiful was than the unity that the Nanga Ukomresidents have as one family under one roof. They treated us with great warmth and welcomed us like family member. It felt really good and refreshing despite of the short time we spent there.
  You definitely must spend some time with the people of Nanga Ukom longhouse and get to know them better. They were eager for us to learn of their culture as well. It was an extremely amazing and fulfilling experience. Although we were tired and exhausted from the long journey, we all agreed that it was worth it. The visit to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, the pepper farm and the sharing of our time with the Nanga Ukom longhouse residents will leave us a long-lasting memory of the wonders and beauty of this land I call home.
Tags: lemanak longhouse | iban longhouse | nanga ukom longhouse | sarawak longhouse | bidayuh longhouse | |


All in a day's work to cook Bubur Pedas

Bubur pedas is the most difficult dish to make. It was not that hard actually, but to make this dish, you need to spare a lot of time. For most people, they need to prepare the powder mixture before cooking the real porridge. You can buy the powder mixture, but for my family, we will dedicate a day just to make the powder, since it will be for six families. This is one of the annual family gathering that we cannot miss. Plus, you will need all the help you can get if you need to prepare 15kg of bubur pedas powder.


Bubur pedas


We were supposed to meet up at my Udak’s home in Semariang at 10:00am. By the way, we Sarawakians called our aunts and uncles with names such as Wa for the eldest, Anjang, Ngah, Mok, Udak, Achik, Yak and Usu for the youngest. I believe there are others and in Peninsula Malaysia, they have different titles. I still did not manage to figure out how they arrange these titles according to their ranks, because one of my aunts is called Aunty, maybe because they ran out of titles, and since that aunt is an English teacher.


Anyway, at 10:30am my aunt started calling people up because nobody shows up at the allocated time. We were still at home, preparing to leave the house, so we arrived there at 11:00am. They already started the preparation process.


When we arrived, there were big plastic bowls on the table and people around the table were busy with slicing the ginger, onions, lemongrass and shallots while some others were peeling the lengkuas (galangal). Since I wanted to avoid dealing with the turmeric at all cost, I rushed to the only empty chair to slice the ginger. Everybody knows that turmeric equals disaster. In the end, my mother and sister were forced to peel them.


Slicing the ingredients for bubur pedas powder


“What’s wrong with the ginger? Can’t it be bigger?” my Aunty pointed out sarcastically when we were almost done with the slicing. Only then did I look at the humongous slices of ginger filling the big bowl. It was not my fault, is it? Since I am not the only one slicing the ginger, I cannot take all the blame.


So, when I was forced to slice the turmeric and risking four days of orange colour on my fingers, we decided to mince them to avoid my aunt’s sarcasm.


We stopped for lunch. While we were busy with slicing and mincing, my Udak was at the kitchen preparing lunch for us. This is one of the reasons I love about family gathering. All of my aunts are great cooks, including my mother. Even if they were not, I still love the atmosphere at these occasions.


We sat on the floor with the spread of food in front of us. There were plates of Ayam Pansoh (cooked in pot, not bamboo), cencaluk (fermented small shrimps), umbut masak lemak (coconut shoot cooked with coconut milk), ulam mangga and umai. The umai was made from ikan yu (small shark?) so it was less popular among my aunts and cousins but since umai is one of my favourite foods; I gobbled it down in no time.


Mixing all the ingredients before frying them in the wok


After lunch, we resumed working. The grated coconuts, spices and dried chillies were fried without oil separately. Two big woks were put on the portable stoves, and all the sliced ingredients were mixed together with uncooked rice. Then, a smaller portion of the mixture was fried without oil in the big woks. This was the most tiring stage in the whole process, because you need to stir the mixture continuously and endure the heat from the wok. This needed to be repeated until all the mixture was fried.


Frying the mixture in a big wok


All of the mixture needs to be mixed with the fried grated coconut. Then, a small accident happened when my Achik wanted to put the grated coconut into the giant pot. She sprained her leg while attempting to stand up from a crouch resulting in spilling quite a lot of the grated coconut.


Apart from that, the process went smoothly. We just need to put the mixture into the food processor. However, since there was only one blender, the process took about one hour to complete.


While saying our goodbyes, I looked at the big containers of bubur pedas powder and secretly feeling relieved as the trouble of making bubur pedas had ended for this year.

Tags: Bubur Pedas Sarawak | Sarawak Traditional Food | How to make Bubur Pedas | Ingredients to make bubur pedas |


Little known facts about Pulau Tiga and Layang-Layang Island in Sabah

Little known facts about Pulau Tiga and Layang-Layang Island in Sabah

Pulau Tiga



Have you ever watched Survivor, the popular U.S. TV Series? If yes, then you would know that Pulau Tiga was the first location of the recording. Pulau Tiga or Tiga Island is a low-lying island about 35 nautical southwest of Kota Kinabalu, and can be reached by road to Kuala Penyu, followed by a 15-minutes speedboat ride. Pulau Tiga is the largest of three islands within the Pulau Tiga Park (gazetted in 1978), the other islands being Kalampunian Damit and Kalampunian Besar (better known as Snake Island for the sea snakes which breed there).


The magnificent view of the sea from the shore of Pulau Tiga

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board

There is plenty to do here, whether snorkelling, kayaking or even doing something simple like spending the day swimming in the clear water. For the divers, this island is the ultimate location.

As Pulau Tiga is believed to have formed by the eruption of several mud volcanoes, the guests can enjoy the mud bath. The mud volcanoes are still emitting gaseous and periodical eruptions but are totally harmless; instead the mud contains minerals which are good for the skin.


Mud bath, one of the attractions in Pulau Tiga


There are mammals of various species including the ubiquitous macaque monkeys and reptiles such as the large monitor lizards. There is also a birdlife, such as hen-like megapode, which incubates its eggs in the hot sand, while there are numerous insects and wild orchids to be seen. It is not surprising that Pulau Tiga was chosen as the location for the first Survivor given its pristine environment.


Tabon Megapode, a type of bird in Pulau TIga

Image credit to Avian Vocalizations Center


Pulau Tiga has only two resorts to accommodate its guests. The original Pulau Tiga Resort, situated in the forests behind a sandy beach, offers PADI dive course and dive sites for both novice and experienced divers. The surrounding reefs are shallow, with healthy coral and visibility up to 20 m (less during the southwest monsoon). The rich variety of marine life includes nudibranch, a type of marine gastropod mollusks which shed their shell after their larval stage, bamboo sharks, cuttlefish and marbled stingray, with guaranteed sightings of banded sea snakes on Snake Island.

Another resort is the Borneo Survivor Resort, located on the eastern side of the island, which offers a range of beach games, boating, fish and snorkelling.


Layang-Layang Island



Layang-Layang, means kite and swallow in Malay, is the only atoll in all of Malaysia, Layang-Layang (Swallow) Reef rises 2,000 m from the sea floor of the South China Sea. A name fits with its environment, Layang-Layang Island has a numerous species of birds nesting and visiting the island such as Black-napped tern, Great crested tern, Sooty tern, Brown booby, Lesser frigatebird, Pacific golden plover, Plumed and Pacific-reef egrets, Ruddy tern and Yellow wagtails. Of course, there are lots of Barn swallows habitating the island.


Swallows at Layang-Layang Island

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board


Layang-Layang is located about 300 km northwest of Kota Kinabalu, offers total isolation and subsequently stunning visibility and pristine reefs with a rich pelagic marine life. Not surprisingly, the island has earned a reputation as one of the world’s top ten dive spots.

An island was created around the original reef as a base for the Malaysian Navy, and a single resort, Layang-Layang Island Resort, subsequently opened for divers, who reach the island on scheduled flights by small plane.


The man-made island at Layang-Layang Island

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board


There are frequent sightings of barracuda and big-eye trevally, as well as schools of scalloped hammered sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and the occasional thresher and silvertip sharks on the outer reefs. Rays are regular visitors, including huge manta rays, pygmy devil rays, marbled rays and eagle rays.

Special sightings over the last few years include whale sharks, orcas and melon-headed whales. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins frequently follow the dive boats and lucky divers have even dived among these creatures.


Hammerhead sharks swimming underwater at Layang-Layang Island

Image credit to Sabah Tourism Board


The walls of Layang-Layang’s reef are covered with healthy corals, with sea fans stretching more than 3m across filtering plankton from the passing currents. Green and hawksbill turtles are frequently seen on the reef, while the 20m deep lagoon includes macro creatures such as seahorses, cuttlefish and pipe fish. With its remarkable variety of pristine marine life, Layang-Layang is indeed worthy of its worldwide recognition.

In conclusion, if you plan to organise a trip to Kota Kinabalu, and if you love a bit of adventure, you may want to check out Pulau Tiga (Tiga Island) and Layang-Layang Island.

Tags: Island in Sabah | Pulau Tiga | Tiga Island | Layang-Layang Island |


Palawan's Jewel: The Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa in the Philippines is located in the western province of Palawan which some would describe as being the country's final ecological frontier. It is the least populate city in the Philippines with a population of around 210,000.


Puerto Princesa is an example of a multicultural melting pot in the Philippines. It has a diverse population of indigenous groups such as the Batak, Palawanos, Molbogs and Takbanwas living together in the city. They have a rich history of cultural legacy and folklore waiting to be explored. Filipinos migrants from other provinces also add to the potpourri of diversity in the city.  Palawan city is also known as a model city in terms of its environmental preservation efforts and cleanliness.

Not many have heard of Puerto Princesa. You might be wondering what is so special about this small Philippines city. If you travel 50 kilometers north of the city you will discover one of the most awe-inspiring natural attractions that you have ever seen in your entire life, and it is the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Since 1999, this river was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is the longest navigable underground river in the world. You can navigate up to 4 kilometers in this great river that flows directly into the South China Sea.

This magnificent river was also chosen as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature in early 2012. Ever since the Puerto Princesa Underground River was discovered, tourists began to flock into this small Palawan city to explore this special river. The number of tourists visiting Puerto Princesa Underground River has risen at an exponential rate, causing the city authority to limit the number of visitors at 780 per day. The tour of the underground river is so popular that visitors have to book their tour a few months in advance in order to secure a place.

With its magnificent cave system, it is not surprising that the Puerto Princesa Underground River is always attracting visitors, explorers and scientists from all over Philippines and abroad. These rising numbers flocking Puerto Princesa is a proof to the fact that the river has a lot of wonders to offer its visitors. You will be greeted with a breathtaking view of the caverns and rock formations when you navigate into the river. The 24 kilometers long St. Pauls Underground River Cave that contains the underground portion of Cabayugan River, stretching around 8.2 kilometers, is the main attraction within the Princesa Underground River system. You must see it by yourself in order to appreciate the magnitude of its beauty.

The Princesa Underground River has a complete mountain-to-sea ecosystem. It is indeed beyond the shadow of a doubt that the river rightly deserves the designation of both the UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature.


This hidden jewel of the Philippines has now begun to show its sparkling intensity to the whole world as Puerto Princesa is starting to be transformed into a major tourist destination. Perhaps it is now your turn to discover the glorious beauty of Puerto Princesa and its underground river.

Tags: Puerto Princesa | Palawan | Batak | Palawanos | Molbogs | Takbanwas | UNESCO Heritage | Underground River | Cabayugan River | |
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