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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017

A One Day Tour at Kuching

I recently went on a day tour in Kuching with a group of retirees from Johor Bahru to Sarawak Cultural Village, Cat Museum, Dayang Salhah Cake House and more. To me, it felt like going on a trip with my own grandparents. They were very friendly and nice to me even though they have never seen me before. Hence, I was able to enjoy spending time with them the whole trip.

 

Billy (the one with the blue backpack) giving a brief talk to the tour group

 

 

I arrived at 56 Hotel at 8.15am to meet the group and our tour guide, Billy, at the hotel lobby. The group came down to the lobby from their room at 8.40am and Billy gave a short briefing about the day trip. At 9am, we got on a coach, which was the transport for our trip, and took off to our first destination, the Sarawak Cultural Village.

It was a long trip to Sarawak Cultural Village, taking about a bit over an hour to reach there since it is located far from the city and also due to the traffic that day. I helped in distributing mineral drinks to each of the group members as so to keep them hydrated for the day.

Once arrived at the destination, I was the last person to leave the coach and made sure all of them got off the coach safely. Billy went to the reception counter to get our tickets while I kept an eye on the group. I also helped a family to take their photos at the Rainforest Music Festival statue.

Soon enough, we entered the ‘living museum’ led by Billy.

 

Signage at Sarawak Cultural Village

 

The bamboo bridge route to get to the Bidayuh Longhouse

 

Our first stop was the Bidayuh Longhouse. There was two routes to get there; the normal route and the bamboo bridge route. Everyone except only 2 or 3 of them did not go for the bridge because they had pain in their legs. So, they took the normal, longer route with Billy.

At the Bidayuh Longhouse, other than objects that are of the Bidayuh culture, there was a person playing a musical instrument, similar to a flute, to entertain the visitors. The group members looked around looking fascinated and some of them even took photos with the people who wore the traditional Bidayuh costumes in the house. They also bought some souvenirs from there.

Our next stop was the Iban Longhouse. I was assigned a task by Billy to collect the stamps at each stop as a proof of the visit, while also keeping an eye on the group. In the house, there was a lady who was frying an Iban traditional snack, known as Kuih Jala, to sell to the visitors. 3 of the members bought some and shared with the others. I also got my share of it because they were so nice. The snack was sweet and pleasant, perfect for a teatime snack, in my opinion. They took photos with the people wearing Iban costume in the house before leaving the house.

 

The view at Sarawak Cultural Village

 

Then we went to the Penan Hut. There were not much to see except for the musical instrument Sape and the tools that the Penan people used for daily survival. Billy explained that the Penan people live a nomadic life and that is why they lived in a hut instead of a house.

After that, we visited the Orang Ulu Longhouse and the Melanau Tall House. Both houses are built high above the ground with sturdy wood holding them up, so it was a long walk up and down the stairs for the visitors. Billy gave a short talk about the respective cultures while the group members looked around the house and enjoyed some Orang Ulu snacks sold in the house.

Lastly, we visited the Chinese Farmhouse. The group members paid respect at the praying area and walked around to see the tools and items inside the house which were used by the Chinese people living in a farmhouse some time ago.

After the cultural houses tour, Billy led the group to the hall for a cultural show performances. The show started at 11.45am sharp and ended at 12.20 in the afternoon. The group members enjoyed the show and went to have their lunch at the cafeteria next to the hall.

 

The view in front of a Melanau Tall House

 

Our next destination was the Cat Museum. It is the World’s first Cat Museum, devoted to all things feline, is in Petra Jaya in the Kuching City North City Hall. Cat lovers will find a range of exhibits, photos, feline art and cat souvenirs; over 4,000 of them. The group members bought small souvenirs from the souvenir shop inside the museum after walking around to see all the artefacts.

 

The entrance of the Cat Museum at Dewan Bandaraya Kuching Utara (DBKU)

 

Then, we went to Dayang Salhah’s Cake House. Billy and the group members all tried the tester prepared by the place’s owner, filling their tummy with the sweet delicacies. Some of the group members even bought the cakes they tasted.

Our last stop for the day was Sin Piao. The group members went on a shopping frenzy at the shop. They bought a lot of Borneo spices and snacks, some even bought in boxes, to bring home to their families and friends. They were clearly happy and satisfied with the last stop and we headed back to the hotel to end the day trip. The group members thanked Billy and me for the day before going back up to their rooms.

Tags: Kuching Day Trip | Sarawak Cultural Village | Kampung Budaya | Cat Museum |

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY21, 2012

Kuching city from the eyes of the Historical buff

 

 

Kuching city for history buffs,  is one town that will tickle their fancy with its rich history as well as monuments and buildings that has survived and standing  since the colonial days.Established sometime in 1841, it has changed with time and declared a city in 1986.

For those who wish to travel and encounter the wonders of  historical Kuching, I would suggest to the budding traveller to take lessons of history one at a time by walking around town, the Heritage Walk would be a good tour. Besides, most of the interesting places are located nearby the Kuching waterfront, and it’s all within easy walking distances.

From the Kuching Waterfront, it’s highly recommended to get across the river with a small wooden sampan, called “penambang”and drop off at the jetty near the Astana, a regal splendor built in 1870 commended by the Second Rajah, Charles Brooke as a bridal gift for his wife, Ranee Margaret. Later it was known as the Government House  and it now serves as the official residence of the Yang di-PertuaNegeri Sarawak (Governor of Sarawak) and the New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building located on the north bank of the river.

Another building left by the legacy of the Second Rajah is Fort Margherita, named after his wifeRanee Margaret; it is located to overlook the long stretch of river approaching Kuching and houses many canons and artillery ammunitions.

First stop would best be the Old Court House, built in 1874 which used to house all government office and venue for state ceremonies. The building was made from iron wood and decorated with beautiful engravings. High court proceedings and numerous state council meetings have taken place there from the 19th century till September 2000. In 2003, the building was converted into Sarawak Tourism Complex.

Brooke Memorial Monument, standing at six metres high at the entrance of the Court was made from granite, built to honour the second Rajah, Charles Brooke and commissioned in 1924. The monument had a bronze panel to represent the various races in Sarawak. The colonial baroque Clock Tower behind the memorial was added in 1883.

The next stop in this charming Kuching city would be the Square Tower which was originally built as a prison butwas later converted into a dancing hall for the colonial masters and quarters for the servants. This Square Towerwas built in 1879which was a fortress but is now a multimedia information centre and video theatre.

Sitting next to Square Tower is the Sarawak Steamship Building that was built in 1930 which served as the office and warehouse of the Sarawak Steamship Company. Now, after extensive restoration it now houses a restaurant and convenience store.

Kuching Post Office is located right across the road, a white colossal building with imposing pillars,striking neo-classical style architecture built in 1931, initially built as a police station and a horse stable. It is said that the Post Office is the only building constructed using the Corinthian columns in this part of the world.

One of the many unique buildings in Kuching would be the Pavillion which was built in 1909. It has a rather odd shaped building regarded as a architectural enigma with a mix of late English Renaissance and colonial architecture. It used to be the general hospital but was later converted into a textile museum.

The Sarawak Museum in Kuching is located further up the street with symbolic canons of the White Rajahs of Sarawak placed on its compound. Built during the era of the White Rajah in 1891, the museum is reputed for having the most comprehensive collection of artifacts including arts and crafts of the indigenous people of Borneo.

Come to Kuching and visit these historical places, and if you find these entire information handful, this is just the tip of the ice berg as we have more to offer.

Tags: kuching city | kuching tours | kuching holiday | kuching hotel | sarawak museum | cat museum | rajah brooke | kek lapis sarawak | sarawak cultural village | rajah brooke | |