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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017

Rainforest Garden Cafe, A Themed Cafe on the Rise in Kuching, Sarawak

Have you ever wonder what is it like to dine with nature? Enjoying your meal while being surrounded by the lush green and fresh nature, the singing of the birds and the sound of the water flowing… Wouldn’t that be great? Well, now you can!

  

 

There is a nature concept café in Kuching, called the Rainforest Garden Café, which is now a hot eatery spot for food-lovers as well nature-lovers. This is because, people are able to appreciate the nature that is around them while enjoying a delicious meal at this very café.

 

 

Rainforest Garden Café is located at Lot 774, Block 226, 5th Mile, Penrissen Road, 93250, Kuching, Sarawak and is also the first of its kind here in Kuching!

 

 

In the café, there are 7 kiosks selling different types of food for every type of mealtime; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and etc. The brand or kiosks include Lok Lok, Mom’s Kitchen, Claypot Box, and more. Here are the recommendations by the chef; Malicai Fried Beehoon, Popo Hakka Luicha, Kampung Fried Rice, Pattaya Fried Rice, Tomato Kueh Tiaw, Mee Mamak, Spice Fried Spaghetti and Tomato Fried Spaghetti.

 

 

For those who cannot eat pork meat, you don’t have to worry about that since this café serves no pork. It is also a self-service type of café.

The café is open on Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm and only closes on Monday, but opens if it is a public holiday as more patrons will drop by for a meal.

 

 

Furthermore, the café provides services such as outdoor seating, takeaways, and booking for parties. So, if you ever plan to host a birthday party or anything, you can just give them a call to book your date.

Contact them at 082-577963 or send them details on your event at dixonttk@gmail.com

Tags: Rainforest Garden Cafe | Themed Cafe | Kuching | Sarawak | Cafe | Food | Drinks | Party | Birthday Party | Friends | Family | Travel |

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 |

MONDAY, FEBRUARY29, 2016

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 |

THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015

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 |

WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2015

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 | |

THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014

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 |

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013

Pustaka Negeri Sarawak

Pustaka Library is the largest library in Sarawak and a place where you can gather and find lots of information. It is located in Kuching and is a popular place for students to study for their examination Pustaka Negeri Sarawak provides people with lots of information and also a nice and cozy environment that overlooks a lake.

 

 

The Pustaka Negeri was built to help spread more information to the people in the state in order for everyone to achieve a better understanding about what is going on around the world and also to help them to know more about their culture and history of what we have achieved in the past. Sarawak is a multi-cultural place with long history. People could also help more people to be involved and learn more about information technology with all the computers available there. This will help the state to grow into an information, communication and technology, country's vision of 2020.

 

Pustaka Negeri Sarawak has a nice interior with a two storey library divided into different sections. There is also a glass stairs at the middle of the lobby connecting to t first floor of the library. The library is also equipped with large windows facing the huge park outside the library. It gives a more calm and relaxing mood for those doing their research or studying in the library. There is also a cafeteria beside the library at ground floor for those who wish to have a meal for lunch or tea break.

 

There is a large park with jogging trails and a lake surrounding Pustaka Negeri Sarawak. It is an ideal place for people to do different kinds of activities like group aerobics. Take a leisure walk or go jogging on the jogging trail in the evenings. It is also located quite far from the main road therefore it is not noisy or dusty in the area. There are other areas around Pustaka Negeri Sarawak such as a futsal court at the side of the jogging trek near the entrance. The nice architecture and trees around the library attracts people to do wedding photo shoots at the area. 

 

 

Pustaka Negeri Sarawak is one of the interesting places that you should visit. It offers a wide range of activities that can be done there. If you want to go therw to study or to do your research, head over to the library room and find the books you need there. The library is also very quiet and there are meeting rooms for you to rent if you are interested. When you are done with studying, you can even head to the back of the library and have a nice relaxing walk around the lake and taking a break after all the hard work. 

Tags: sarawak | kuching | library |

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013

Kuching Parachute Jumping Competition

 Kuching Parachute Jumping Competition
 
Have you ever seen a parachute jumping competition in Kuching? For the first time ever, there will be a parachute jumping competition in Kuching and there are nine teams participating in the competition including one from Indonesia. The parachute jumping competition and other activities during the two days are organized as a fund raiser to help their less fortunate members of the armed forces.
Parachuting or popularly known as skydiving, is a sport where people board an aircraft into the sky and jumping off it. They will then be in a free fall state until the last part of the descent before releasing their parachute to slow down the speed of their descending.
Sky diving was actually a safety procedure for the military for saving their aircrews from emergencies during flight. It was then used to send soldiers into battlefield via the air and now, it has become an extreme sport and people who are unfit are not encouraged to try. This sport is also not encouraged to be done on bad weathers such as during thunderstorms and high winds. Parachuting is allowed at night however, there are a number of safety measures that needs to be taken in order to do a night jump.
Over the years, parachuting has gain popularity and many variations are made to make skydiving much extreme such as a formation jump where a group of skydivers jump together and make a formation in the sky. The formations for skydiving also has a wide variety such as the vertical formation where skydivers jump with their head facing the earth and also the canopy formation where the skydiver jump in groups and fly their parachutes near to each other and then docking on other jumpers parachutes. Skydiving requires a lot of concentration and discipline as if you are not mentally prepared, you might faint in the middle of free falling and that could be fatal.
There was never a parachuting competition held before in Kuching. However, on November 2nd and 3rd 2013, there will be the first parachuting competition at Padang Merdeka. The competition is also held in conjunction of Sarawak’s 50th independence ceremony. Nine teams are expected to be joining the competition with various security forces including the Royal Malaysian Navy Commando Unit, Royal Malaysian Air Force Commando Unit and also one team compromising civilians not forgetting another six parachutists representing Indonesia. It will surely be a lot of fun to watch them glide through the skies and landing at their drop zone which is Padang Merdeka.
During the event, there will also be other various activities going on such as a joggerthon and also the displaying of the country’s warships. The Scorpion submarine will also be brought over if the depth of the Sarawak River is enough to let it through.
Come and continue Sarawak’s 50th independence ceremony at Padang Merdeka, Kuching and watch as the nine teams parachute their way through the skies of Kuching. Don’t forget the joggerthon and also the warships that they are planning to display on the day. It would all make up to a beautiful site not to be missed.
Tags: parachute jumping competition | Kuching | first | parachute | competition |

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2013

Shopping mall attractions in Kuching, Sarawak for the Shopaholics

Kuching, Sarawak has been rapidly growing in the past few years and the opening of a large number of shopping malls in the city makes Kuching one of the ideal destinations for shoppers and window shoppers to fill their desire and spend their money.

 

Together with MASWings, we are taking you to the Cat City and look around a number of shopping malls in Kuching.

Sarawak Plaza Kuching

image courtesy of http://www.sedctourism.com/sp.asp

 

The first shopping mall in Kuching, Sarawak that we would like to introduce to you is Sarawak Plaza. Located in the city area, Sarawak plaza is a 4 floor mall next to Grand Margherita Hotel. In 2008, Sarawak Plaza had undergone an interior makeover for a couple of months giving it new life thus re inviting more customers back into the mall. Most of the tenants in the malls are selling clothes, shoes, toys and gift shops. 

Tun Jugah Shopping Mall Kuching

 

The second shopping mall, Tun Jugah, Kuching, is just across the street from Sarawak Plaza. Tun Jugah Mall is named after a national hero who was involved in the independence and formation of Malaysia. The shopping mall comprises of 3 Levels with the first made up mainly of food and beverages. The second floor compromise of electronics, clothes, optical stores, toys, and a hair design centre. The third floor is made up mostly of Popular Book Store with a food court situated at the back.

Plaza Merdeka Kuching

 

The third shopping mall that we would like you to keep in view is Plaza Merdeka, Kuching. Plaza Merdeka has a number of floors ranging from the lower ground to the fourth floor. It is one of the shopping mall that houses many tenants and thus making it easier to choose and find products that you would like to buy. Its tenants are mostly upmarket branded store.

The Spring Shopping Mall Kuching

 

The Spring Shopping Mall, the fourth mall that we will be introducing is located at Simpang Tiga, Kuching. The Spring shopping mall which was opened in 2008 is said to be one of the best lifestyle shopping mall in Kuching. The Spring shopping mall houses a number of branded products and various items from electronics to books and entertainment. Besides that, on the top level, it also houses MBO cinemas for movie goers to enjoy themselves.

CityOne Shopping Mall Kuching

 

The fifth shopping mall, CityOne, is located at Jalan Song, Kuching. It is designed after the Bird Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing and comprises of two sections. It is said to soon be the largest mall in Kuching upon completion. A shopping mall housing various different tenants, it has also recently open up Golden Screen Cinema at the top floor thus making more members of the public to stop by CityOne to watch movies.

 

OneJaya is another shopping mall located at Jalan Song, Kuching. It is a 4-story building and the management of OneJaya is dedicated in bringing people in the surrounding neighborhood to enjoy a different experience in shopping.

 

The next shopping mall introduced is Kuching Sentral which is located at 6th Mile near to Kuching International Airport. Also a bus terminal, Kuching Sentral is a stop for those wanting to travel to other parts of the state via buses or coaches. Although it is used as a bus terminal, you will be surprise at what kind of products that you can find in the mall.

Boulevard Shopping Mall Kuching

 

One of the popular shopping malls in Kuching is Boulevard Shopping Mall. Boulevard Mall, located just 5 minutes from Kuching International Airport is a perfect destination for those looking for a mid-range priced products. The shopping mall will be one of the main attractions in Kuching as it is still expanding and more entertainment in the shopping will be available in the near future.

The Summer Mall Kuching

 

Another shopping mall which was recently opened is The Summer Shopping Mall. Located at Kota Samarahan, Kuching, The Summer is a three-story landmark building looking to cater to the needs of the people in the area. The Summer Shopping Mall will also house the region’s largest Lotus Five Star Cineplex and also the Summer Lagoon Water Theme Park.

Eastern Mall Kuching

 

Eastern Mall, Siburan is one of the newest shopping mall in Kuching. Located at 17th Mile, Eastern Mall is a single story shopping mall and is fully air –conditioned. Eventhough it is a small one-story shopping mall, it houses a number of tenants and is worth checking out.

 

A well-known shopping mall has also branched out to Kuching which is the Giant Hypermarket. In Kuching alone, there are two branches of Giant Hypermarket which is at Tabuan Jaya and at Kota Padawan. Giant houses a number of tenants mainly in the food and beverage, fashion, and electronics department.

 

These are some of the shopping malls in Kuching and each has their own unique architectural build and selling various kinds of different things. It is worth visiting all of these malls and who knows you might find something that you are really searching for all this while. With MASWings, purchase your tickets at www.maswings.com.my to Kuching now and search for various kinds of products and entertainments available at each mall.

Tags: Kuching | MASwings | Best Kuching Hotels | The Spring | Sarawak Plaza | Tun Jugah Mall | Grand Margehrita Hotel | Boulevard Shopping Mall | MBO Cinema | City One | Golden Screen Cinema | Kuching International Airport | Giant Hypermarket | |

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

MASwings offer Discounts up to 85 percent for travel on July-Aug 2013

 

 

Book by: 25 June 2013

Travel between 9 July 2013- 18 August 2013

 

CLICK ->>>> www.MASwings.com.my

Tags: MAswings | Travel Offer | Ramadhan | Syawal | Kota Kinabalu | Miri | Kuching | Borneo special fare | Sibu | Bintulu | Tawau | Sandakan | all in fare | |

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

The Land of Wind - Bario, Sarawak

The town of Bario, located on the northern part of Sarawak, is not only the home of Kelabit and Penan tribes (both belonging to the Orang Ulu ethnic group) but also the source of  exotic food and crafts. Lying at an altitude of about 3,500 feet above sea level in the north-eastern corner of Sarawak is the famous Bario Highland. Bario is blessed with cool weather with temperatures that could go down as low as 11° Celsius. It has 14 villages with a population of 2,000 people.

Bario Sarawak

Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bario

 

The name Bario is a combination of the words ‘Ba’ and ‘Rio’. ‘Ba’ means paddy field, while ‘Rio’ means wind. The majority of residents in Bario is of Kelabit descendant, one of the minority Orang Ulu tribes of Sarawak, formerly known as headhunters and warriors in the past but now successful planters and farmers. Although the highlands are named after the Kelabits, it is actually home to many other groups such as the Penan and Lun Bawang. The Lun Bawang, who are the same group as the Lun Dayeh in Sabah, are the predominant people around Ba Kelalan in the northern part of the highlands. All of them are collectively known as the "Orang Ulu" or "People of the Highlands".

 

A gateway to Kelabit highlands is made possible by flying to Bario with MASWings from Miri.

 

Most of the area's accommodation is found in and around Bario, and it is the main starting point for treks throughout the area. You can go kayaking or immerse in the historical tales of the monoliths that dot the area. The place has incredible organic food such as the famous Bario rice and pineapple.

 

One of their annual events is the internationally known Bario Food Festival also known as 'Pesta Nukenen', held in July each year since year 2005. Nukenen means food in Kelabit. It was relatively small when it first began but now it has become larger, made popular with the fact that visitors could get the chance to savour the famous Bario rice and pineapple during the festival while taking in the wonderful highland setting.

The Land of Wind Bario Sarawak

 

The festival had grown larger in scale and included jungle-trekking packages, historical site visits and longhouse homestay experience. It attracted visitors not just from Malaysia but also as far Japan, England, Australia and Denmark. All visitors were pleasantly surprised to find that the local food that they savoured were not only cooked traditionally albeit using wooden stove, but also served on leaves and bamboos, making the entire experience refreshingly eco-friendly. Fish, venison and other hunted animals were also cooked in the mixture of various ingredients indigenous to Bario.During Nukenen Fest, various products – from crops to wild products to Orang Ulu crafts – were exhibited and sold at the E-Bario Telecentre.

 

It can get quite chilly in the evening so do bring a sweater. Daytimes are usually warm and humid, especially when struggling through thick forests while trekking. The rainy season is between October and February.

Pay a visit to Bario, Sarawak by flying with MASWings to visit the 'Pesta Nukenen'and experience the life of Sarawak inland.

Tags: Bario | Borneo Sarawak | Kelabit | Penan | Bario Highland. Orang Ulu | Best Kuching Hotels | MASwings | Lun Dayeh | Pesta Nukenen | E-Bario Telecentre |

SATURDAY, APRIL 13, 2013

Most Memorable Trip in Borneo- Day One (Part 2): Trip to the Pepper Farm and Nanga Ukom

  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!
 
Tags: Sarawak Pepper Farm | Sarawak Kuching Pepper Farm | Borneo Kuching Pepper Farm |

Most Memorable Trip in Borneo- Day One: Trip to Semenggoh Wild Life Centre, Kuching

  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.
Tags: Kuching Semenggoh Wildlife Center | Borneo Kuching Semenggoh Wildlife Center | Orang Utan Semenggoh Wildlife Center | Sarawak Semenggoh Wildlife Center |

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013

Let us Tee Off With MASwings Special Promo Fare

  Have you picked your travel dates yet or are you still planning your destination? Are you looking for that affordable flight tickets? Well folks here it is! It is time to Tee Off with MASwings promo fare!
Let’s Tee Off With MASwings promo fare price are from Kuching to Balikpapan at RM 99, Kuching to Pontianak at RM 160, and Kuching to Bandar Seri Begawan at RM 145!
.
You may start your booking now as seats are limited and travel any time before the end of July 2013!
 
 
 
 
 
 
MASwings - Let us Tee Off
 
 
 
 
 
Tags: Kuching | Best Kuching Hotels | Borneo Sarawak | Balikpapan | Pontianak | Brunei Darussalam | MASwings | Sibu | Miri | Bintulu |

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013

Kuching Cat Icon Monument Wears a New Hat

 

 

 Kuching City’s famous Cat Icon Statue recently received a new urban art makeover from a group of Kuching volunteering knitters. The new look of the Cat Statue, now has a new purple with cream and a white hat, as well as a golden yellow purplish scarf that makes it looks like a Boy Scouts team.

 

 This Kuching City Cat Statue iconic monument wears different costumes for different occasions. Before this, it was the Chinese New Year festival season. The Cat Statue was well decorated with Chinese costume in conjunction with the holiday festival season.

 

 The art makeover volunteered by the group of Kuching knitters, was led by Crafthub director, Heidi Munan. They stitched a nine metre strip of yarn into a hat and another three metre into a scarf. To ensure the hat is well placed on the Cat Statue, it was reinforced with metal wires making sure it will last long under the humid weather in Sarawak.

 

 Materials used were from recycle and unwanted items such as thrown away water bottles and pompoms.

 

 Miss Heidi Munan, the director and leader of the club for Crafthub, mentioned the idea to start out and decorated the Kuching Landmark Cat Statue was proposed by a group of non-government organisations since last year.

 

 It took the group 6 months to complete the costume. During that period of time, they met up once a week to do the stitches and some of them who were looking forward to it eventually decided to continue the job at home with the given materials.

 

 The only cost involved was labour as the beautifully produced yarn was made from recycled items or a half completed work and unwanted yarns.

 

 Heidi was inspired by the design from the latest urban street art called yarn bombing. Originally yarn bombing was used to decorate trees and benches made of colourful knitted and crotched yarn or fibre clothes.

 

 “It is hoped that this attempt on urban street art would not only promote the art but also entice city folks to take up this new interests and expand its use in the future as an embellishment to the cityscape and the promotion of the city’s culture and tourism” she said.

 

 Their hands are currently tight with charitable works at the Children Cancer’s ward of the Sarawak General Hospital, by knitting colourful patched blankets and hats. After that, they will move on to stitching soft toys.

 

 Those who are interested to learn stitching may drop by at the Sarawak Museum Café on Wednesday from 10 am to learn stitching from Heidi.

 

 Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Mayor Dato James Chan advised public not to touch or remove the hat or scarf.

 

 “You are welcomed to come and take photos but don’t disturb it. Do not take it away,” said Chan.

 

 As a show of support, the group also presented a hand-knitted blue, white and red coloured hat to Chan.

Tags: Kuching City | Kuching Cat Statue | Kuching Cat Statue Sarawak | Kuching Cat Statue Borneo |

TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013

7 Popular Things You Must Know About Sarawak

  Sabah and Sarawak is an archipelago island which combined both places and well known for its nick name as Borneo to outsiders. Its nick named Borneo, have been around since the time of James Brooke who was an explorer and the founder of Borneo Island. The captivating beauty of the inner parts of modern day Borneo Island still remains a mystery. And that is why; adventure awaits you deep in the hearts of Borneo Island itself. But then again it depends on where you are going.

 

  In short, it is an island that one will find it filled with so many exciting things to do and find it hard to decide on what will be next or where to go after this. So here is some guidance for you to get to know Borneo, especially Sarawak first and what makes it so popular that even tourist finds it so tempting!

 

1. Food.

 

  As always places like Sibu and Kuching has a lot of food varieties. Walk around and down a few blocks away you will see food to your left and right. In Kuching, popular foods among the locals consist of Kolo Mee, Kueh Chap, Laksa, Tomato Noodle, Kek Lapis, and not forgetting the well-known traditional food chicken bamboo.

 

  As for Sibu, it is definitely the simple Kampua noodle and its taste is more than what it looks, the black Canarium which is also known by the locals as Buah Dabai, and the local Sibu made burger known as Kompia stuffed with pork savoury which is a must try during your travel.

 

  A good reminder when it comes to food. You might find this impossible but it is possible in Sarawak. You will only need to bring at least RM10-12 (Malaysian Ringgit) for two person when it comes to meal. The average price for a bowl of noodle or a decent complete rice meal with meat will cost you at RM5.

 

Sarawak Laksa at its best and very popular. Not to be missed!

 

2. Tribal Dance

 

  Coming down to Sarawak for sightseeing will not be complete if you do not visit longhouse in Sarawak. From here, you will get the unique taste of rice and sugarcane wine also known as Tuak. Other than that, you will definitely get to learn a lot of new things such as blowpipe activity, and a must do is the tribal dance known as Ngajat.

 

  There are in fact several types of Ngajat dances, among them:

 

Ngajat Induk
Ngajat bebunoh
Ngajat Lesong
Ngajat Semain
Ngajat Berayah
Ngajat Ngemai antu pala

 

Ngajat, Tribal Dance. Your journey to Sarawak will only be complete after doing the Ngajat Dance.

 

  To see them performing  the Ngajat Dance depends on which Iban tribe you are staying with.

 


3. Bario

 

  If you travel slightly up north, there is a small town known as Bario. The best way to get there is to fly. It may not seem much other than experiencing the quiet and green environment but you will be surprise as to how much you can actually really do over here. You will get to see how salts are made traditionally.

 

  Best part of all; be sure not to miss out the collected Bario rice. The rice in Bario is unlike any other rice. It is small, thin and slightly long compared to normal local produce rice. Other than that, its compact size is what makes the rice not only unique in its shape but perfect for meal.

 

  Buying a packet of Bario rice from a local supermarket can be costly. A packet that weighs at least 3 to 5 kg is nearly at RM 40/- (Malaysian Ringgit). So be sure not to miss it out if you ever set your foot on Bario itself.

 

Bario Rice. The finest of all.

 

4. Water Taxi Ride in Kuching

 

  Another unique part in Sarawak is located in the Kuching city itself. As you stroll down the Waterfront Area, you will see a Taxi River. It is a small yellow boat with a Taxi signboard on its top just like a normal cab on land except that this one runs on the Sarawak River itself!

 

  If you are wondering “Are there anymore Rivers Taxi in Sarawak?” The answer is “Well, you are looking at one right now and only in Kuching”. But be sure to check on its operating hours. That is the most important part of all. Or if you would not want to miss a chance, book a ride with your local travel agents.

 

5.  Surrey Bike

 

  It is an addition to our latest culture in Kuching. Riding a Surrey Bike is a rare sight indeed. The Surrey Bicycle is unlike your typical two wheel type. It is with a roof top and runs on four wheels. Other than walking, visitors may now eventually rent a Surrey Bike to go around Kuching city area for one hour.

 

  Moreover, the Surrey Bicycle is the first of its kind to be both in Malaysia and Sarawak.

 

Kuching Surrey Bicycle. A new experience in town not to be missed.

 

6. Mulu Cave

 

  Mulu Cave still remains a mystery to a lot of people. We all do know Mulu Cave was declared as an UNESCO Heritage site long ago, but its depths and size still remains a mystery. In year 2011, one of the section in Mulu Cave was known as the Sarawak Chamber. It was declared as the biggest cave chamber in history.

 

  Even until today, part of the Mulu Cave section known as the Deer Cave is still known as the biggest cave in the world.

 

  Although Mulu Cave was declared as the biggest cave in the world still, no one knows how far and deep can this cave leads to. Studies and researching on the site is still currently on going, though some argue that Son Doong Cave in Vietnam is the largest in the world.

 

Mulu Cave. Excavation project is still under going. No one knows its full depth and heights yet.

 

7. Bujang Senang

 

  Was it a myth or a true story? Bujang Senang is a very well-known story among the Iban villagers residing along the river of Batang Lupar in Sri Aman. It was rumoured the crocodile, known as Bujang Senang was killed in year 1992. It had a very unique white stripe on its back and was roughly 20 feet long!

 

  Then again, although its skull was displayed in the Sarawak Museum Kuching, the locals believed its descendants and family line are still roaming around within the area.

 

  Rumours have that Bujang Senang was actually never caught and sometimes local villagers will tend to catch a glimpse of a huge mysterious white albino coloured crocodile.

 

  For the fishermen who resided in the village, if they caught a baby croc in their fishing net, they will let it go making sure no bad omen shall fall unto their family.

 

  Finally, the name Bujang Senang became so popular and it was used as a local football team name.

 

Bujang Senang or known as Happy Bachelor in English Skull. A crocodile that was killed in year 1992. Believed by the local residents in Batang Lupar, he is still roaming around freely until today. Picture courtesy from Museum Sarawak.

(Picture: Skull of Bujang Senang a.k.a Happy Bachelor credited to Sarawak Museum.)

Bujang Senang Football Club. Named after the popular crocodile.

 (Picture credited to Borneo Post: Football team Bujang Senang in action!)


   Those are the 7 unique local wonders about Sarawak that is worth to know. If you would like to know more, you can actually take a flight to Sarawak and find out by yourself what other wonders you can find! And if you do, do not forget to share it with us and your friends about Sarawak itself and how you define it! Hope to see you all coming down to Sarawak! Cheers!

 

  Come check out our tour Packages at https://www.sarawakborneotour.com/  and book with us now.

 

Tags: Kuching | Kuching Sarawak | Mulu Cave | Ngajat | Bario | Water Front | Surrey Bikes | Bujang Senang | River Taxi Sarawak |

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY2, 2013

Surrey Bike Tour for Greener Kuching

 

Kuching City, the capital of Sarawak is a beautiful city with varieties of secrets. One will never know not until landed in Kuching itself. Located at the Main Bazaar Street opposite Ghee Hoe Hin is a mysterious looking newly opened shop. This week in the beating heart of Kuching City itself, I had an exclusive interview with the Surrey Bike owner.

 

Melvin: Good afternoon sir.

 

Mr Gerald Loew: Good afternoon.

 

Melvin: My name is Melvin and I am from Kuching itself. I heard of your newly opened Surrey Bike shop so I would like to know more about it. But first may I know a little bit about you? 

 

Mr Gerald Loew: My name is Gerald Loew and you can call me Gerald. I am 48 years old and this is my lovely personal assistant. She is my wife. Her name is Mrs Maizan or you can call her Maizan age 38. So, what would you like to know?

 

Melvin: For starters, where are you from?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: I am from Austria itself and my wife here is from Kelantan. We moved to   Indonesia for about one and half years ago. We opened up a small clinic and decided to do it for free to help needy people. We used traditional medical methods to treat our patient.

 

Melvin: So what makes you and your family decided to come down to Kuching and take up the task?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: We heard that there are people in Kuching who needed our services so that was when we decided to get out of our comfort zone and do something new.

 

Melvin: What about the three lovely looking bicycles displayed outside? What are your concepts or ideas behind it?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: Our main idea for the bicycle is for health reasons in the first place. People in this world today, have been using motorbikes, cars and other means of public transports are not in a very good health condition. So, we started the idea with the thought of helping society, by giving them a healthier lifestyle to go around Kuching. What other better ways to view this beautiful city? Besides, we do believe by cycling it also helps to save the environment and creating a greener Kuching.

 

 

Melvin: When you first opened this shop, has it ever occurred to you that people here will mistook it as a rickshaw?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: It happened several numbers of times when we first opened it. It was normal   to us.

 

Melvin: Can you tell us a little bit more about the Surrey Bikes? For an example, its weight and how many people can sit in it?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: Sure! Would love to! These very popular trends of Surrey Bike originated from Austria, weighs at least 130 kilograms for the bigger size. The smaller size is at least 80 kilograms. The bicycle is unlike your ordinary two wheeled type. It comes with a roof, comfortable leather seats, brakes and steering wheel to go around. It is like driving a car.

 

 

Currently, Mr Gerald Loew owns only three of the Surrey Bikes in Kuching which comes in traffic light colours. The bigger size can carry up to four adults and two kids, while the smaller ones which weights at 80 kilos can carry 2 adults and 2 kids. Having a Surrey Bike is a good way for families or couples to go around.

 

Melvin: What is the cost like for one?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: The two smaller units cost RM 7000 while the bigger ones, like that red one over there is at least RM 8000.

 

Melvin: Do you have further plans for these three bikes of yours?

 

Mrs Maizan: My husband was suggesting to me that we can put up head lights on the bike. So that, tourists and public does not only ride it during the day but during the night as well. And perhaps a little bit in future, we have ideas on putting up a simple radio so that when they ride on it, at least they have some entertainment.

 

Melvin: Do you use it to fetch up your kids?

 

Mrs Maizan: Yes we do. Our children enjoy the ride a lot. Even when their classmates wanted to try it out. So we told them to just hop in and give them a short ride.

 

 

Melvin: How much is the rental for these three Surrey Bikes?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: The red Surrey Bike which is slightly bigger than the yellow and green is at RM 25 per hour while the other two is at RM 20                               per hour.

 

Melvin: Do you have any future plans for your Surrey Bike business?

 

Mr Gerald Loew: Yes we do. We are planning to expand the Surrey Bike culture and would like to do it at my wife’s hometown in Kelantan. It will be   interesting to see people in Malaysia trying something new.

 

Melvin: I see. Well, our interview comes to an end and I would to give my personal thanks to you for allowing me to interview you personally and see how does this Surrey Bike works.

 

Mr Gerald Loew: You’re welcome. Would you like to try it for yourself?

 

Melvin: Would love too!

 

When Mr Gerald Loew mentioned the Surrey Bike is not your typical bike he was not kidding at all. It was difficult and heavy. I tried the 80 kilograms. Even to reverse it was hard enough. The Surrey Bike really makes you sweat too. But it was a good experience to try out something new. So, be sure not to miss the spot at the Main Bazarr Kuching! For more information, do contact Mr Gerald Loew for bookings at 016-875 3721 or do contact us for more information at ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com

 

Tags: Kuching Bike Ride | Kuching Surrey Bike | Kuching Bike Adventures | Kuching Bike Tour | Sarawak Surrey Bike Tour | Sarawak Bike Ride | Sarawak Surrey Bike |

THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2013

Balikpapan-the hidden treasure of East Kalimantan

 

There's good news for everyone who is itching to go to fly off to a new exciting destination, Balikpapan in East Kallimantan! MasWings is now offering three weekly direct flights from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to Balikpapan’s Sepinggan International Airport, the second busiest airport in Borneo, starting from 1st February 2013. So hurry up and don’t miss this opportunity to fly and try out MasWings newest destination.

 

Balikpapan in Indonesia is in the country’s province of East Kalimantan. Balikpapan in Indonesia is well known for its booming oil industry. Several multinational oil companies use Balikpapan in Indonesia as their base of operation within the region. Apart from being known as the oil town of East Kalimantan, there are many interesting places and fun things you can you can do in Balikpapan, the second largest city in East Kalimantan.

 

The wonderful city of Balikpapan has a population of over 600, 000 people. With just the right size of population, Balikpapan is neither too big nor too small and thus you’ll never feel as if it’s either too crowded or too small. As a seaport city, Balikpapan Indonesia is very close to the sea. You’d really have to come here yourself to see the beautiful beaches that Balikpapan has to offer.

The warm and friendly inhabitants of Balikpapan, comprising of a mixture of natives and people from all over Indonesia coming here working in the oil industry is one compelling reason for you for you to discover the beauty and charm of Balikpapan.

 

 

 

Once you’ve here in Balikpapan you must be wondering what place you should be visiting in this East Kalimantan city? Well, Balikpapan boasts several interesting places that will surely captivate you during your visit here. For starters, you can visit several of the most well known markets in Balikpapan. To experience a slice of traditional life in Balikpapan you can pay a visit to Klandasan Market within the city. This government-organised traditional market is in Jalan Sudirman. You can browse through the various fresh produce such as fruits, crabs, fish and lobster on display here.

 

Are you interested in bringing back a souvenir as a memento of your visit here in Balikpapan? You can find lots of beautiful local handicrafts and jewelleries at the Garden Inpres Market, which is famous amongst the tourists visiting here. The gemstones on sale here are amongst the cheapest in Indonesia since Balikpapan is very close to where these gemstones are mined. What better way can you find to impress the folks back home than to bring some glittering gemstones back? The well-made handicraft from the local Dayak tribe also on sale here are also no less impressive. You’ll spend hours browsing through the arrays of impressive wares on offer at the Garden Inpres Market.

 

As Balikpapan is a seaport, it obvious that it has a beach where you can stroll along and watch the beautiful sunset and the waves crashing on the shore. Kemala Beach is in Jalan Sudirman right in the city. So, you don’t have to wander far away to get to the beach. How more convenient can you get from this?

As Balikpapan has a number of expats executives either working in the oil industries or flying in out of the city frequently, the range of hotel accommodations here are impressive. The oil industry in Balikpapan really does this city a lot of good when it comes to accommodation. Be rest assured you’ll definitely find your stay here a very comfortable one.

 

MasWings operates its flights weekly from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to Balikpapan on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. With these three new flights per-week commencing on 1st February, why don’t you try out Balikpapan and discover this unique hidden treasure of East Kalimantan soon? Who knows, you might even want to come back here for a repeat visit!

 

Tags: Maswings | Balikpapan | Klandasan Market | Garden Inpres Market | Kemala Beach | Jalan Sudirman | Kuching Sarawak | East Kalimantan | Kalimantan | Indonesia | Visit Balikpapan | Balikpapan Indonesia | Borneo |

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2012

Sarawak Kek Lapis or better known as Kek Lapis Sarawak

Sarawak Kek Lapis

 

 

Congratulations to a winner from Ipoh Perak for winning the 20 rolls of Sarawak Kek Lapis which co

 

mes in different colours and flavours. The winner was Cikgu Muhammad Izuddrin or also known as Nematodenz on Facebook.

The competition which lasted for a few weeks, gave him the opportunity to do something creative and funny. The competition theme was Kek Lapis Funniest Videos.  His video was a few minutes length featuring a few number of teachers did the chicken line dancing to humour his students. His video was voted to be the funniest among all.

 

The Sarawak Kek Lapis is a well-known traditional recipe. Most of the time, tourist would not hesitate to buy a pack bag. Kek Lapis got its name from its multiple layered taste and presentation.

 

History:

The Kek lapis was first introduced back in year 1988 from Indonesia. It was said during the Ducth Colonial Era, the secret recipe for Kek Lapis was revealed. Until today the Indonesian most iconic Kek Lapis is Lapis Legit and Lapis Surabaya.

From time to time, the well-known Kek Lapis tend to change recipe in Sarawak. New recipes and flavours are always in the market today. There are several flavours such as Horlick, Milo, Strawberry, Vanilla, Nestum, Chocolate, and so on.

In year 2011, a new innovation of Kek Lapis was introduced. It is known as the Kek Lapis Qalas which combines a mixture of modern techniques and traditional recipes from their ancestors.

The popular Kek Lapis Qalas is another modern taste and flavour touch created by Sarawak. Hence Sarawak Kek Lapis is to be categorized as the modern day Kek Lapis.

 

Preparation:

The recipe for Kek Lapis is never an easy one. It can be divided into two categories. First one is with motifs, shapes and colour while the second one is just plain and simple with two colours.

The requirement to make one is the chef must have a very strong hand or an electric mixer to batter the ingredients. Ingredients consist of eggs, vegetable oil, butter, and other flavours will be mixed together.

When it comes to baking it patience is needed. The strong texture of Kek Lapis is then stuck on together with jam so that it will not come off easily when serving. The battered flavour is then poured bit by bit to make one thin layer each. Once it is done, it will be then baked inside the electrical oven rather than using the gas oven. But of course the best result still comes from using traditional charcoal oven just as how the Dutch did.

The price of the cake depends on the size as well. In Sarawak, a standards size Kek Lapis is 8 inches by 3 inches. Price range is from RM 15 to RM 30/- for a roll.

 

All Occasion Kek  Lapis.

 Sarawak Kek Lapis alone is a perfect gift item for all occasion and celebration such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Gawai, Deepavali, and Christmas. It is also a perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.

The best of all, Sarawak Kek Lapis tastes better with the perfect aroma blend of a cup of tea or coffee when you shared with your love ones.

So come one down to Kuching or Sibu, Miri, Bintulu, and have a stroll around town for a slice of our delicious Sarawak Kek Lapis.

Check out our Sarawak Tour Packages at Sarawak Borneo Tour or join us at http://www.facebook.com/sarawakborneotour

Tags: Sarawak Kek Lapis Winner | Funniest Video Contest by SarawakBorneoTour.com | KuchingTour | Dayang Salhah Kek Lapis Sarawak | |

Exotic Fruits Buah Dabai

What is Buah DABAI?

Have you ever wonder what is that mysterious, shining looking seeds packed up in the boxes that come in red or yellow colour? The answer to your question is Buah Dabai also known as Canarium. In Sarawakian Hokkien Chinese it is called Or Kanna.

Many tend to get confused by the appearance of Dabai. Some call it as a type of vegetation and some will look at it as a fruit and wondering if it is edible. Some even think that it is a type of avocado. Then again it is none of the above.

Buah Dabai is a type of exotic fruits that grows in certain part of the region and consists of 75 types of species.

The fruit tree itself is so large and grows on thick green trees up to 40-50 meters height, with alternate, pinnate leaves.

Its furry leaves are thin and twigs covered with golden brown.

How do I prepare?

Now that you know what Buah Dabai is, so how are you going to eat it and how edible is it?

The Buah Dabai is very edible. No worry as it is safe for eating.

To eat it is simple. Even making it is just like making tea using ready-made tea sachets. Preparation will take a minute or two. Then you are good to go to eat it.

All what you need to do is just fill your Dabai inside a container mix it with hot water. Add a little bit of soy sauce and add either sugar or salt! Close the lid and go do other things while waiting.

Then again, the very fragrant of Dabai depends on your preparation, either sweet or salty.

Cooking is magical. You can even melt a man’s heart with it. As people said, the heart of a man is through his stomach. In Malaysia, the experience of cooking varieties of food is a walk to remember. Here is how you can do it!

As you know, Malaysia is a very well-known mix of culture. As a result we have the Traditional Nasi-Goreng (Fried Rice). Be it Tribal, Malay, Chinese, Indian and even the Free Style! The dish is so simple and flexible that it has no specific methods of preparing it.

As usual, dunk the Dabai inside the hot warm water and close the lid. Except that this it is just plain tasteless Dabai. Once it is ready, peel off everything and leaving only the seed. Both the seed and flesh are actually edible. Once your fried rice is already inside, you can mix it with your ready peeled off Dabai. Stir your fried rice well along with the Dabai inside it to get that perfect blend of taste and aroma.

In Sarawak, if you can find the right place, you will see, Nasi Goreng Dabai on the menu.

The seed is edible. You will have to cut it into half and dig out the flesh inside it using tooth pick. The Dabai inner seed flesh contains lots of calcium which is good for health!

Where to buy?

Dabais are like Durians and it is not your everyday fruit. You will only get it once a year. The price of Dabai ranges differently in kilograms and depends on the seller. But once it is towards the end of the fruit peak season, it gets cheaper as the exotic fruits cannot last for more than a week.

Normally, the best quality Dabai comes from places in Sarawak such as Kapit, Betong, Oya, Sibu, Sarikei, and Kanowit. The freshness of Dabai depends on how the packaging is doneand the soil quality. If you are a far traveller, and you want to try out the Dabai by bringing it back home, you need to pack it properly and make sure it is not exposed to heat. If you do, the Dabai will eventually cook even for a little.

It is a very sensitive fruit even with very little heat exposure; the fruits will be cook with direct sunlight! So do pack and wrap it well.

Why there is a yellow and red flesh Dabai?

The colour is not something for you to worry on. If it is yellow, the flesh is usually thicker than the red ones.

What are you waiting for?! Book your tickets now and come over to Sarawak and have a taste of it.

 

For more inquiries and information, do visit us at:

Tags: dabai sarawak | best kuching hotels | Buah Dabai | Fruit Sarawak | pinnate leaves | |

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2012

What is Funniest video contest all about?

 

Funniest video contest is a fun contest for you to WIN 20 ROLLS of DELICIOUS SWEET Kek Lapis Sarawak couriered all the way to your home. 

So do quickly submit a short video of you or your family members or friends or even your pet in action. Tickle us with laughter and get the most votes to win those yummy famous Sarawak Kek Lapis Sarawak. Contest runs from 14 Nov - 20 Nov 2012. So Hurry!

Just grab your smarphone or hp and take a short ORIGINAL VIDEO in less than 3 mins of either you/ your family/friends/ pets  in action.

Upload to YouTube.

Then copy the url and paste it here.

Share on your wall, Promote to your friends to vote for you. You get 1 extra points for every referral friend of yours who submit an entry.

The video with the highest VOTES win!

So go ahead and share the Cake with your friends!

Click here to join now!!!

Tags: Kek Lapis Sarawak | Funniest Home Video Contest | Cuti-Cuti Sarawak | Best Kuching Hotels | Sarawak Borneo |

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2012

Top 10 tips on How to Travel to Sabah on a Budget

 

Have you ever thought of travelling to Sabah with big family members? You might say it is too expensive to have a holiday in Sabah. Fear not, here are some tips you can use to maximise your travel to Sabah with the minimum of spending!
 
As you look around for a bargain tour package, make sure you do it when budget airlines are having their special promotions. Airlines such as Air Asia (www.AirAsia.com) and MasWings airline (www.MasWings.com.my) or www.MalaysiaAirlines.com do offer regular cheap tickets promotion for Sabah flights. Do keep an eye open for any special flights offer online. The savings are indeed worth it. However, AirAsia tend to have promotions 6 months to 1 year ahead of flight schedule. If you are 110% sure that you are flying on that specific date, do go ahead and book online but every changes done later will cost you money. I have also found out that sometimes, it is better to book your flights after the travel fair. The fare was actually cheaper which was what I found out recently.
 
You should read about Sabah from the various available tour guidebooks. Then you’ll have an idea of which wonderful but affordable places in Sabah you can travel to. You’ll learn which place offers you the most value for money in terms of food and accommodation. So, you’d better start reading up on guidebooks such as Lonely Planet, Frommers or Rough Guides before you start on your Sabah travel!
Another way to save money for your Sabah travel is by going there with a group of friends. As they say, the more the merrier. If you are travelling in a group of 10 or more you’ll be able to split the costs of transportations and accommodations among yourselves. For example, when you want to hire a van to go some place out of the main cities in Sabah you’ll be able to distribute the rental costs and thus each person would only have to pay a relatively small sum. A Nissan Urvan van can accommodate up to 10 persons and a coach could take up to 40 persons or 43 persons maximum.
 
 
When it comes to looking for accommodations in Sabah, you should firstly compare the hotel rates first. Some websites do have such facility to let you compare rates first before you book. Go to: www.BestKuchingHotels.com. There on right handside, you can see a box that says “Compare 30 sites of hotel rates before you book”. You may also go to book online at hotel booking sites such as agoda.com or booking.com as the rates advertised online are certainly much cheaper. If possible, you should try and look for a bed and breakfast type of accommodation since it is priced even lower than a conventional hotel. There are many such budget Inn in and around Kota Kinabalu city. Tune Hotel is fine except that it is not in centre of town or Kota Kinabalu waterfront area where all the happening places are but it is near 1Borneo shopping mall.
 
If you are a regular Facebook or Twitter user, perhaps it is worth your while to make friends with people living in Sabah on these social media before starting your Sabah travel. Try and get to know them better. When you come over to Sabah, you’ll already have local friends who can show you around town and guide you to which interesting place you should visit. You might even be lucky enough to have a generous friend who would let you stay over for the duration of your Sabah travel!
 
When you have finally arrived in Sabah, you can opt to walk as your primary means of transport if it is possible. Perhaps you are staying somewhere near all the major attractions. It definitely would save you some money and it is also good for your health. After all, being on holiday doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep fit.
 
Generally speaking, food in Sabah is rather expensive. Do skip all the overpriced fancy restaurants. Why don’t you try out the regular food stalls? In fact it is possible that these food stalls offer a more authentic sample of the delightful Sabahan cuisine. Then again, there are also the ever-present KFC or McDonald’s fast foods outlets for you to go to if you feel like having western foods.
 
Normally tourist hotspots tend to be more expensive as the retailers operating there will probably take advantage of this fact by increasing the price of the wares on offer. Instead, why don’t you go off the well-beaten tourist path? Apart from being cheaper it could also lead you to discover the authentic part of Sabah which most tourists might not even discover.
 
If you really have to use public transportations, always try to use buses instead of taxis. You won’t believe how unbelievably expensive the taxi fares are in Sabah. By using the bus to go around, you’d make a considerable saving during your Sabah travel.
 
Finally, you will definitely find it hard to resist the temptation to splurge and shop for lots of things that you don’t really need. If you really want to buy stuff, make sure you buy less and know where to get cheap items. At the end of the day, being on holiday is more than just about shopping. It’s about discovering new places and experiencing new environment.
 
If you follow these simple tips, you definitely won’t have to spend a fortune when you go on your Sabah travel. You’d be surprised at the affordable cost of having a good holiday in the beautiful state of Sabah. Hope the tips above will answer some of your questions before you go to visit Sabah
 
Tags: Sabah | Maswings | AirAsia | best kuching hotels | Sabah agoda | Sabah budget tour | Sabah Holiday | Sabah booking |

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12, 2012

Seven Reasons Why Kuching City Is Worth the Visit.

 

Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak , the largest state in Malaysia . Kuching, the largest city in East Malaysia, is home to around 600,000 of Sarawak ’s multi-ethnic population. Kuching is uniquely the only city in Malaysia to be divided into two administrative parts, Kuching South and Kuching North Back in the 19th century this city was known as Sarawak before it was renamed as Kuching.

This laid-back and colourful city will capture the hearts of those who visited here. In fact, some would even be reluctant to leave after spending some time in Kuching. There are so many reasons why it is worth your while to visit Kuching. Here are seven of them.

Meet the diverse and friendly people of Kuching

When you arrive in Kuching you will be amazed by the diversity of it population. In fact, Kuching is one of the most multicultural cities in Malaysia . In the streets of Kuching you will see the Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu and Malay people rub shoulders together as they go about their daily lives. The Chinese population is centred in Kuching South while the Malays live in Kuching North. The rest of the population is spread evenly throughout both part of the city. Indeed, you will be charmed by their warmth and friendliness to visitors to Kuching. Take the time to learn about the different cultures living together in Kuching and be amazed by the rich cultural heritage of this multicultural city.

 

 See the historical places in Kuching

When you walk around Kuching city, you will notice several buildings from the old colonial days with their unique 19th- early 20th century architectures. For example, the majestic-looking Kuching Post Office, with its impressive ornamental Corinthian columns and semi-circular arches was built in 1931. Who would imagine that a post office would look so majestic! Across the river in Kuching North, you will see the Astana, formerly known as the Government House, which was built by the 2nd Rajah of Sarawak in 1874. The regal look of the Astana definitely befits its status as the governor’s residence. Indeed there are many more historical buildings you can discover here apart from these two examples.

 

 Explore the Kuching Waterfront

 If you are in Kuching, you must not miss taking a walk along the scenic Kuching Waterfront with its beautiful view of the Sarawak River . You can see the Astana looming on the other side of the river. You could even take a short boat ride to Kuching North which is just across the river from here. This one kilometer pedestrian riverside walk also has many stalls selling tourist souvenirs and food. So you could enjoy a leisurely walk and browse through the wares and food on offer here.

 

 Go souvenir hunting in the Main Bazaar

 Looking for nice souvenirs from Kuching? Well, the nearby the Main Bazaar is the place for you to go. However, do remember to bargain for the right price to get a good deal! You can see a whole row of shops selling traditional handicrafts, antiques and many other interesting items here. The shops themselves, with their old colonial architecture, are also interesting to look at. You’ll spend hours here browsing through all the stuff.

 Stroll through India Street Mall

 Not far from the Main Bazaar, lies India Street Mall. This pedestrian walkway has been home to Indian traders in Kuching for countless of years. Here you can find shops selling fabrics, textiles, clothing, books and other every day items. Indeed, the unique sight and sounds of this street mall adds more colour to Kuching city.

 Visit the first cat museum in the world

Kuching is home to the first cat museum in the world, which is appropriate since the name Kuching means ‘cat’ in Malay. Located on a hill with a good view of Kuching, the Cat Museum is only 10 minutes drive away from the city centre. Here, you can see various items relating to cats, ranging from cat-themed statues, pendants, stamps to personal photo collections. This one of a kind museum in Malaysia will definitely delight all cat lovers.

 Experience the delicious Kuching food

Feeling hungry after doing all these explorations? Well, it’s time to try out the mouth-watering Kuching food. There are a variety of local cuisines such as the famous Kolok Mee, Laksa Sarawak, traditional Iban bamboo chicken, friend Midin vegetable and many more. By all means, try them out. If you plan to watch your weight while you are in Kuching, let’s just say you should do that after you finish your trip!

 The more you spend your time exploring Kuching; you will undoubtedly discover more reasons why this place is really worth the visit. And who knows, you might not even want to leave at all after experiencing the sights and sounds of this beautiful city.

Tags: kuching city | where to go in kuching | must visit places in kuching | kuching town | kuching city | kuching | sarawak | kuching borneo | kuching malaysia |

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2012

Find the best meals at Kubah Ria Baru

 

I would like to bring you guys to see what’s new at the Kubah Ria Baru, which is located not far from Satok area. It is just besides Satok Bridge within the Petra Jaya area. If we take the bridge from Satok we could see the place on our left.
 
As the name suggests, Kubah Ria Baru is considered new in which it was publicly opened in mid-2010. Kubah Ria Baru was built to replace the old Kubah Ria which is quite well known among the local townsfolk. Seeing that it was my first time here what I can say is the place looks beautiful from the outside.
 
The environment is clean and neat, maybe because the place is still new and well maintained by the cleaning staff. Parking lots are available for visitors but with a price of RM1.00 per hour. I you wish to avoid paying for parking fees you can park your car farther a bit and walk in.
 
 
Most of the current stalls are mostly from the previous Kubah Ria stall owner but there are some new ones as well. Pizza Ria is available for those who loves pizza but most of the stalls serve local delicacies such as satay, the infamous mee kolok, chicken rice and laksa Sarawak. There is even a stall that serves 'ayam panggang' or roasted chicken, which reminded me of Kenny Rogers seeing that the chicken was roasted on hot charcoal.
 
For those who would like to have something foreign there are also western and Japanese food available. There are a total of 45 stalls here in Kubah Ria Baru.
 
In terms of price, it is reasonable and quite worth it but you need to pick the right stall. You can choose to order your meal from any stall and sit anywhere you like. The best part of eating here is the view. Located just beside the Sarawak River, the outlook of the whole place is just gorgeous especially during dawn.
 
Be amongst the first to experience the totally new eating environment! If you would like to visit Kuching, Sarawak to see what the city of cats has to offer, you can check us out www.SarawakBorneoTour.com for the best deals or you can email us your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com. 
Tags: Kubah Ria Baru | Sarawak Borneo Food | Kuching Food court | Best kuching hotels | Kubah Ria Food Court |

TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2012

Magrina Awing George is crowned as Miss World Harvest Festival (WHF) 2012

Miss World Harvest Festival (WHF) 2012 Magrina Awing George poses with 1st runner-up Gracia Vicky Chua and 2nd runner-up Karissa Kara Simon after being crowned at the Sarawak Cultural Village on Saturday. 

 

Magrina Awing George is crowned as Miss World Harvest Festival (WHF) 2012 at the Sarawak Cultural Village here on 26 May, 2012 and the 19-year-old said to be always be proud of your native heritage, strive to be the best and never look down on yourself.
Of mixed Kayan-Iban parentage, Magrina from Miri gave these words of encouragement particularly to the Orang Ulu people in the hope that her native community would go all out to achieve success and embrace development to be on par with advanced societies in the country.
Making her first foray into a beauty pageant, she beat 13 other finalists for the coveted crown, and walked away with a cash prize of RM3,000, a sponsored Diploma in Tourism Management course courtesy of UCSI University and a complimentary stay at Grand Margherita Hotel among others.
“I am very happy and excited. I have never expected this. With this win, I will continue my studies. The winnings will be used to help my family,” she told the press after the event.
The second of five children, Magrina who aspires to become a successful television personality cited her mother as her biggest influence. Apart from winning the Miss WHF 2012 crown, she also won third place in the Miss Talent subsidiary title through her rendition of Jessie J’s hit song ‘Price Tag’ earlier in the evening, pocketing a cash prize of RM500.
Coming in second in the Miss WHF 2012 pageant was 18-year-old Gracia Vicky Chua who is of mixed Iban-Chinese parentage from Kota Samarahan. The school leaver who aspires to become a teacher won a cash prize of RM2,000 apart from a sash, trophy and flower bouquet for the top three winners.
 
 
Gracia also spotted a lovely voice when rendering the late Datuk Sudirman Arshad’s ‘Salam Terakhir’ at the Miss Talent competition.
Karissa Kara Simon, 23, of Iban parentage, was third and got herself a cash prize of RM1,000. She also won RM700 for winning the Miss Photogenic subsidiary title.
As for other subsidiary titles, Miss Beautiful Eyesight went to 21-year-old Bidayuh Farahana Zita Joes. She also came second in the Miss Talent category after entertaining the crowd with her ‘Dangdut’ dance move to the tune of ‘Goyang Dangdut’. In total, she won RM1,400 for her achievements in both categories.
Twenty-year-old Stephanie Yiap Ai Nee who is of mixed Chinese-Bidayuh-Filipino-Japanese parentage was Miss Congeniality, and walked away with a cash prize of RM800, courtesy of 360 Hotel. The hotel also announced that all finalists would each receive a complimentary stay package.
Yiap, who is currently pursuing a Degree course in Business, also took first place in the Miss Talent title. Her lively performance of ‘Let’s Get Loud’ by Jennifer Lopez won her RM1,000. She also pocketed a further RM500 by winning the Miss SMS Favourite title with a total of 4,410 votes.
Miss Versatile subsidiary title went to 23-year-old Kayan-Canadian Rebekah Livan Balan. She won a cash prize of RM700 and a hamper. Rebekah who loves to play the ‘sape’ rendered Tuku Kame’s ‘Lan E’ instrumental and sang Misha Omar’s ‘Pulangkan’ as she opened the night’s Miss Talent competition.
Best Traditional Costumes title went to 19-year-old Iban from Sri Aman – Annie Salang. She pocketed RM500 while 24-year-old Helina Sarani Saba, an Iban from Bintulu, took home RM300 for winning Miss Best Catwalk.
All subsidiary title winners also received a bouquet of flowers and sash.
Prior to the announcement of the Miss WHF 2012, the audience was entertained by cultural troupes such as ‘Giring-Giring Bamboo’ from Sumatera, Indonesia, Sungai Asap (Belaga) Orang Ulu Cultural Group and the Orang Asli Jo’oh Mah Meri from Kampung Bumbun Selangor.
A theme play – The adventure of Kumang and Keling based on Iban folklore – was performed before the start of the Miss WHF 2012 programme.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg was the guest-of-honour at the event. Also present were Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik who is chairman of WHF 2012 and Sarawak Cultural Village general manager Jane Lian Labang who is also organising chairperson of WHF 2012.
Tags: WHF 2012 | World Harvest Festival 2012 | World Harvest Festival | Sarawak Cultural Village | Dayak | Dayak Culture | Gawai | Borneo | Kuching | SCV |

FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2012

Gawai Special Package Launching on 18 May 2012 in Sarawak Cultural Village

 

 
The Gawai Special Package is for those who wish to experience authentic Gawai celebration; where you must venture to a Dayak longhouse and join in the festival activities of the people. This is the most common advice to all those who are new to Sarawak’s Gawai celebration which falls on 1st & 2nd June annually here. Gawai is actually a social and religious festival of the Dayaks, comprising mainly of Iban and Bidayuh native tribes as Thanksgiving Day marking bountiful rice harvest and for plans and activities for the next planting season.
 
 
Jointly organized by Ministry of Tourism Sarawak, Tourism Malaysia, Sarawak Tourism Board and Sarawak Cultural Village, the package is one unique experience for all participants in a unique and conducive environment. Living in the Sarawak Cultural Village is itself a memorable experience as the village is a representative collection of Sarawak’s various ethnic groups’ traditional homes. Located at the foothills of Mount Santubong, the award winning village is surrounded by forest, river and just a short drive from the capital city, Kuching.
The package was launched by Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg on 18 of May 2012, and said in his speech that the package will be available from now until 30 June 2012. He added that the package will be an invaluable experience for tourists.
About 40 members of the media and travel agents from Sabah and East Malaysia, were present during the launching and they had the chance to visit Kubah National Park, Matang Wildlife National Park, Semonggoh Wildlife Nature Reserve. They had a pleasure of cycling around the city too organised by Tourism Malaysia to have a feel prior to the Kuching Bike Ride event on 27th of May, 2012. They spent a night in Sarawak Cultural Village to experience what the package is all about and to join the celebration of the event on Friday. Then they spent two nights at 360 Urban Resort and went home on Monday.
Datin Amar Ju’maini Tun Bujang was also present including Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board state director Ahmad Johanif, Sarawak Cultural Village General Manager Jane Lian Labang, and Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip, and members of the media and invited guests. 
Aband Johari is confident that the package would help increase foreign tourists arrivals even if Sarawak was facing some flight route issues. He added that this month was the busiest for Sarawak Cultural Village as many visitors wanted to experience Gawai for themselves, and join in on the World Harvest Festival later this month.
Upon arrival at Sarawak Cultural Village, guests and participants will join in the ‘Pun Ramyai’, ‘Miring’ led by a ‘Lemambang’ and a toast of ‘Ai Pengayu’. Pun Ramyai is a Tree of Fortune which signifies the fortune of the people for the upcoming celebration and Miring is a customary offering ceremony to mark many activities of the villagers. Lemambang refers to the poem chanter prior to the start of many activities and Ai Pengayu is the rice wine served during the ceremony to signify long life. All these activities are carried out in a merry making celebration participated by the villagers and so guests will also be invited to join in.
Following a host of other interesting activities, all the Special Gawai Package participants will go on a short jungle trekking at the Mount Santubong foothills where they have the opportunity to catch sight of monkeys, lizards, and fascinating pitcher plants to tall imposing trees. That short outdoor excursion served the best reason for a relaxing session in the Sarawak Cultural Village theater where cultural performances featuring various ethnic dances will be held.
The evening dinner is an eagerly anticipated affair as participants assigned to different groups will be preparing dishes for the dinner. This ‘Do-it-yourself’ collective effort is called “Berapi Kitai” and participants learn first-hand the preparation and cooking of traditional recipes of the ethnic groups. Following dinner, the most interesting event then unfolds, “Makai Begulai” where participants watch and learn from the traditional dance experts the intricate steps of the dances. The merry dancing is always a challenge to visitors as they try to imitate their hosts’ nimble steps and body twists as well as learning to strike the gongs at the rhythmic paces. Before retiring for the night, participants will all symbolically roll up the mats on the floor to symbolise the end of the night’s celebration. Known as “Ngling Tikai” it provides a fitting end to a wonderful sharing of cultures and traditions between the people.
Breakfast the next morning is an interesting selection of Orang Ulu fares. “Mirup Lekadchang” or breakfast will be an opportunity for the participants to sample some Orang Ulu food in the village. On a later part of the morning, the participants will once again get their hands into making traditional Iban biscuits using local ingredients. Commonly referred to as “Ngadu Penganan” the biscuit making experience gives guests an insight into the simple exercise of making tasty biscuits. Lunch comes next and it will feature Bidayuh food selections. Expertly prepared by the senior Bidayuh mothers, “Netas Pun Ranyai” also marks the end of the wonderful experience of the participants in the Special Gawai Package at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Depending on the choice, the special package is priced at RM399.00 per pax for 2-days 1 night stay while the RM499.00 (3-days 2 nights) and RM599.00 (4-days 3 nights) are also available. This inaugural launch of the special package is certainly going to attract record number of participants so book early to avoid disappointment. Any inquiries that you have regarding the package you can e-mail to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com or browse through at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com.
Tags: Gawai | Gawai Special Package | Sarawak Cultural Village | SCV | Kuching | Dayak | Iban | Bidayuh | Longhouse | Celebration |

World Harvest Festival

 

The World Harvest Festival 2012 is one of the highlights of the Gawai Dayak celebrations which is an ethnic festival. This will be its eighth year and is organised at the Sarawak Cultural Village from 26th to 27th May 2012, it also helps to bring both locals and foreigners together to experience the true Sarawak culture. World Harvest Festival 2012 is not only synonymous with the festivities of the Dayak, but has come to encompass other ethnic groups in Sarawak as well as the tourists, to help reflect the true Malaysian spirit of the people.

The World Harvest Festival 2012 was introduced in line with Ministry of Tourism Sarawak’s objective to position it as an international event on its tourism calendar. The World Harvest Festival 2012 provides the opportunity for the non–Dayak to understand the cultures, traditions and aspirations of the Dayak community. The awareness and interest created by the festival promises to benefit both the public sector and tourism industry.

Among the many highlights of the World Harvest Festival 2012 cultural event is the theme play held on May 26th, 2012. “Selanting Kuning & the Dragon King”, based on the Bidayuh legend was featured last year and this year it will be on the Iban legend entitled “The Adventures of Keling & Kumang”. What is unique about this theme play is that the whole Village becomes the stage, and the entire play promises to overwhelm the guests in audio and visual splendour.

Another highlight to capture the festival and mood of the guests is the ethnic beauty pageant “Miss World Harvest Festival 2012”. This beauty pageant revolves around the Iban community theme. Fifteen beauties will vie for the coveted title this year, which never fails to add colour and vibrancy to the festival. The proud winner last year was Miss Suljirina Lucas, 27 years old Berawan lass.

As always the Harvest Festival or Gawai is celebrated on a grander scale with the participation of cultural troupes from other countries. This is evident in the International Cultural Extravaganza, with day time workshops. This year our friends from Indonesia and Selangor will be joining the festivities. A series of joint workshop by the locals and the invited troupes will be held during the 2 days festival. This is the ideal time for the visitors to have the opportunity to learn about each community’s traditions, foods and handicrafts.

For those who want to prove their manly prowess, there is the Ironman World Harvest Festival 2012 competition. This is another highlight in the festival that involves 15 finalists who exhibit ‘superhuman’ strength in tackling the traditional based activities like blowpipe shooting, coconut dehusking, 50kg gunny rice lifting, wood chopping and mountain climbing. Last year, Encik Amir Hanafi emerged as the champion.

The WHF promises to be the fun-filled event for the young and old. Bring along your loved ones and make this an affair to remember. What awaits you is a cultural extravaganza like no other. Tickets are on sale for RM60.00 per person (adults) and RM30.00 for children (age 6 - 12 years old) at the Sarawak Cultural Village. Any inquiries that you have regarding the event you can e-mail to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com or browse through our interesting packages at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Tags: WHF 2012 | World Harvest Festival 2012 | World Harvest Festival | Sarawak Cultural Village | Dayak | Dayak Culture | Gawai | Borneo | Kuching | SCV |

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012

Ritchie - The Semenggoh Orang Utan's Idol

Ritchie - The Orang Utan's idol

 

The most famous orang utan in Sarawak, Borneo will be Ritchie. Ritchie is the oldest living male orang utan in Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation here in Sarawak, Borneo. Born in 1981, Ritchie is now 31 years-old and weighs about 31 kilos.

Orang utans are a species of great ape found only in South East Asia on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, although evidence of their existence has been found in Java, Vietnam and China. The gentle red ape demonstrates significant intelligence, with ability to reason and think and is one of our closest relatives, sharing 97% of the same DNA as humans.

Ritchie is the dominant alpha male of the pack, and he is like the king of the jungle here at the Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation. He rarely makes an appearance in front of tourists who come and visit the centre, so it is sometime really hard that we get to see him around.

He's very active among the orang utans in the centre, and said to have very strong arms where he swings from tree to tree.

Ritchie is said to be very smart where he was seen to open a coconut by himself, drinking the coconut juice first before opening up the coconut shell to eat the pulp. His favourite foods are fruits and coconuts.

Every time when Ritchie makes an appearance, the orang utans will keep their distance from him, as Ritchie is known to be aggressive against other orang utans. It was said that he once got into a fight with a fellow male orang utan named George in the centre. George was moved out from Semenggoh and was placed at Matang Wildlife Centre.

So if you guys are interested in seeing orang utans in their natural surroundings, Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation will be a good choice.

Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is undoubtedly one of the best attractions in the Kuching area. It offers the opportunity of getting close to some highly mischievous, semi-wild Orang Utan. Semenggoh became the first forest reserve in Sarawak in 1920. It was turned into a wild life rehabilitation centre for monkeys, Orang Utans, honey bears and hornbills in 1975.

The aim is to reintroduce as many of the animals as possible to their natural habitat, as many had been orphaned by logging or were being illegally kept as pets. There is more to see in the morning as the young monkeys and Orang Utans are put back in their cages at 3pm. The best time to visit Semenggoh is during feeding time, which takes place between 8.30-9am and 3-3.30 pm.

Go to www.SarawakBorneoTour.com for more info or e-mail us at Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for any inquiries.

Tags: ritchie orang utan | borneo sarawak | best kuching hotels | Semenggoh Ritchie | Ritchie orang hutan | Kuching Semenggoh. |

TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2012

Come And Celebrate Gawai With Us At Sarawak Cultural Village

Gawai Festival is celebrated all over Sarawak, Borneo but the best choice to personally experience the celebration as a traveller will be the capital city of Kuching. Come to Sarawak Cultural Village - which is the same venue used annually for the Rainforest Music Festival - is a popular and convenient place for tourists to learn more about Sarawak's indigenous cultures.
 
Sarawak Cultural Village has the reputation of being the finest ‘living museum’ in Southeast Asia, which combines history, tradition, the lifestyle and architecture with a dash of education and portion of the theatre to create a unique multi-cultural extravaganza.
 
Now Sarawak Cultural Village is offering Special Gawai Packages for tourists who wish to celebrate Gawai Festival and get up close and personal with the Dayak people. Sarawak Cultural Village is offering tourist the Gawai Special Package. Held from 18th of May until 30th of June, tourist will get up close and intimate with the Dayak people, mainly Iban and Bidayuh and celebrate Gawai Festival while experiencing their culture and traditions. There are also various activities for a tourist to participate in learning the cultures of the Dayak people. For those who are curious on what Gawai is all about and want to experience it for themselves check out www.SarawakBorneoTour.com on what we have to offer.
 
Gawai Dayak Festival in Kuching is great fun; Iban and Bidayuh families’ offer guest with gallons of rice wine and real longhouse-style home cooking. Gawai Special Packge is a chance to get the feel of celebrating the festive Dayak season up-country, in the village and longhouses. This is a chance of spending your holiday in Iban Longhouses and Bidayuh villages, and has a great time in both, while experiencing something different and plus you get to get close with nature.
 
Gawai Festival is a celebration of good harvest. The Dayak communities celebrate this festival to give thanks to the gods for the good monsoon resulting in a plentiful harvest. This festival brings along all the members of these communities who eat, drink and dance together.
 
The festivities start right from the end of May and continue till the middle of July. Clothed in the traditional dress, everyone takes part in the various cultural functions. The elders however perform the traditional rituals. There are ample food and drink on offer for everybody. Tuak, wine (made from rice) and a wide variety of other food items are served.
Don’t forget to click on to www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and you can e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.
Tags: Sarawak Cultural Village | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | living museum | Rainforest Music Festival | Gawai Celebration | Iban people celebration | harvest festival | rice harvest festival | Selamat Hari Gawai |

What Is Gawai Festival All ABout?

Every year the Dayaks of Borneo, Sarawak celebrates the Gawai Festival where the word Gawai means a ritual or festival on June 1 every year. Dayak is a collective name for the native ethnic groups which consists of the Iban and the Bidayuh people. Gawai Festival is celebrated as both religious and social occasion where the Dayaks normally visit (also commonly known as 'ngabang' to the native tongue) friends and family on this day.

The manner of festivity varies from place to place. But usually the necessary preparation starts early. Tuak (rice wine) is brewed (at least one month before the celebration) and rather traditional delicacies like penganan (cakes from rice flour, sugar and coconut milk) are prepared. As the big day approaches, everyone will be busy with general cleaning and preparing food and cakes. On Gawai Festival Eve, glutinous rice is steamed in bamboo (ngelulun pulut). In the longhouse, new mats will be set in place out on the ruai (an open walkway which runs through the entire length of the longhouse). The walls of most bilik (rooms) and the ruai are ornamented with Pua Kumbu (traditional blankets). A visit to clean the graveyard is also conducted and offerings offered to the dead. After the visit it is important to bathe before entering the longhouse to ward off bad luck.

The celebration usually begins on the evening of May 31st. In most Iban longhouses, it starts with a ceremonial rite called Muai Antu Rua (to cast away the spirit of greed), signifying the non-interference of the spirit of bad luck in the festivity. Two children or men each dragging a chapan (winnowing basket) will pass each family's room. Every family will throw some unwanted article into the basket. The unwanted articles will be tossed to the ground from the end of the longhouse for the spirit of bad luck.

Around 6 pm or as the sun sets, offering (known as miring) rite will take place. Before the ceremony, ritual music (gendang rayah) is performed. The Feast Chief thanks the gods for the good harvest, and asks for guidance, blessings and long life as he waves a cockerel over the offerings. He then sacrifices the cockerel and a little blood is used together with the offerings.

Once the offering ceremony is done, dinner is then served at the ruai. Just before midnight, a procession up and down the ruai seven times called Ngalu Petara (welcoming the spirit god) is performed. During this procession, a beauty pageant to choose the festival's queen and king (Kumang & Keling Gawai) is sometimes conducted. Meanwhile, drinks, traditional cakes and delicacies are served.

At midnight, the gong is beaten to call the celebrants to attention. The longhouse Chief (tuai rumah) or Gawai Festival Chief will lead everyone to drink the Ai Pengayu (normally tuak for long life) and at the same time wish each other "gayu-guru, gerai-nyamai" (long life, health and prosperity). The celebration now turns merrier and less formal. Some will dance to the traditional music played; others will sing the pantun (poems). In urban areas, Dayaks will organise gatherings at community centres or restaurants to celebrate the evening.

Other activities that may follow the next few days include: cock-fighting matches, and blowpipe and ngajat competitions. On this day, 1 June, homes of the Dayaks are open to visitors and guests.

Traditionally, when guests arrive at a longhouse, they are given the ai tiki as a welcome. From time to time, guests are served tuak. This would be called nyibur temuai which literally means "watering of guests".

Christian Dayaks normally attend a church mass service to thank God for the good harvest.

Gawai Dayak celebrations may last for several days folks, so check us out on www.SarawakBorneoTour.com to come and celebrate Gawai with us. We have various packages including homestay programmes so your Gawai Festival experience would be an exciting one. Any inquiries you can e-mail us on Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Tags: Tuak | Gawai Festival | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | Gawai Dayak | longhouse |

Looking Forward To Gawai

The Gawai Festival is celebrated with excitement across Sarawak, Borneo in both cities and rural villages, Gawai Festival is a multi-day cultural festival to honour the native people of the Dayak community which consists mainly of Iban and Bidayuh.
 
They celebrate Gawai Festival on the first and second of June every year. Gawai Dayak is an up-to-date version of Gawai Padi, the rice harvest festival traditionally celebrated by both the Iban and Bidayuh people, to give thanks for a successful harvest.
 
More than just a touristy demonstration of indigenous culture for tourists, Gawai Dayak is celebrated with genuine joy and enthusiasm. Weddings take place, singing and toasts fill the air, and families are reunited with one another after being separated all year.
 
The traditions celebrated during Gawai Dayak are ancient, but the holiday is not. The first Gawai Dayak festival took place in 1965 after several years of renewed cultural pride within the oppressed Dayak community. When first asked to create a public holiday in celebration of the Dayak people in Sarawak, the colonial government refused; they were afraid that other minority groups would make similar demands. Instead, the government declared June 1 as "Sarawak Day". Eventually, once Sarawak was awarded independence, the holiday was officially changed to Gawai Dayak.
 
More than just a demonstration of indigenous culture for tourists, Gawai Dayak is celebrated with genuine joy and enthusiasm. Gawai is an occasion for parties, fun and games, processions and ‘open houses’. At rural dwellings, especially in roadside villages and remote villages, guests are expected to taste tuak and eat at each household. Thus in a 30 door Iban longhouse with a family living behind each door, it means partaking in festivities over and over again. Music and dancing usually follow to liven up the mood.
 
In Kuching, celebrations start a week before with colourful street parades and cultural activities. On the eve of the Gawai, a grand state dinner is held at the Civic Centre with singing, dancing and a beauty pageant which culminates in the crowning of several Gawai Queens, one each for Iban and Bidayuh communities.
 
Obviously, Gawai Dayak is the best and the most interesting time to visit Sarawak as you can see and sample the lifestyle and its festivities. All visitors are warmly received and accepted as new friends even if they happen to be strangers. It is a happy time for all concerned.
 

For those who are curious on what Gawai celebrations is all about and want to experience it for themselves come and check out www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and see what we have to offer. You can e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for more information or book online directly.

Tags: Tuak | Gawai Festival | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | Gawai Dayak | longhouse | celebration |

Meaning Of Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai

You must hear a lot of the local people say Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai during the jovial season of Gawai but what does it means? It actually means long life, health and prosperity in the Iban language The Ibans has many festivals called ‘Gawai’ but the most popular celebration would be the ‘Gawai Dayak’ (harvesting festival). During such festival, besides the customary observance of ritual, there is usually a lot of drinking of the locally brewed rice wine called tuak, much merriment and dancing called ngajat and displays of elaborate traditional costumes.

“Gawai” or festivals are often held at the end of the Rice Harvest throughout most parts of Sarawak, Borneo and this is a celebration of unity, aspiration and hope for the Dayak which mark the end of the rice harvest and usher in another year of bountiful goodness. During this festival, almost everyone dresses in traditional costumes while the elders perform traditional rites.

First celebrated on 1st June 1965, it is the feast for the eyes with its colourful rituals, traditional music, cock fighting, feasting and games. It is simply a time for merrymaking.

Tuak (rice wine) and an array of traditional food are generously served. Widespread celebrations are held not only in the main cities and towns but also in the interior settlements. Gawai is an occasion for parties, fun and games, processions and open houses.

In remote villages, guests are expected to taste tuak and eat at each household. Another popular alcoholic beverage being served during Gawai is langkau. Langkau is made from fermented rice wine (tuak) and cooked in a barrel with a little hose hanging off the top of the barrel. The alcoholic levels in langkau is much stronger and is said to be the Sarawakian version of vodka. Music and dancing usually follow suit (which consists of mostly joget or dangdut hits).

In Kuching, for instance, celebrations start a week before with colourful street parades and cultural activities. On the eve of the Gawai, a grand state dinner is usually held with singing, dancing and a beauty pageant, which culminates in the crowning of several Gawai Queens, one each for Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities.


Obviously, Gawai Dayak is the best and the most interesting time to visit Sarawak as you can see and sample the lifestyle and its festivities of other various Dayak communities. So if all this interest you, come and check us out at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and see what we have to offer to bring the experience of the Gawai Celebrations to you. You can e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for more info.

Tags: Tuak | Langkau | Gawai Festival | Sarawak | Borneo | Dayak | Gawai | Iban | Gawai Dayak | Bidayuh | Kuching City | Gawai Dayak | longhouse |

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012

Sarawak Baleh River Raft Safari

The Sarawak Baleh River Raft Safari is an electrifying river safari race that begins with a night-long of merrymaking, showcasing the Iban hospitality before the race is launched the next day. Spectators will witness top rafters from all over pitting their physical and mental skills against the dangerous rapids of a 50 km stretch of the Sarawak Baleh River. The Baleh River Raft Safari is an accomplishment that needs accuracy and is very challenging indeed.
Visitors can witness rafters navigating their man-made natural rafts down rapid streams of Malaysia’s longest river; Rejang river Sarawak, to Sarawak’s last frontier town of Kapit. The time and venue are:

Date: 5 - 8 April 2012
Event: Baleh Kapit Safari 2012
Venue: RH Salang Pulau Sibau Mujong, RH Bangkong Ng Banyau Mujong, Kapit River Front and Kapit Town

The Sarawak Baleh River Raft Safari started in 1996 and normally takes place in the month of April. The sport is very challenging. Participants need to steer their rafts through treacherous rapids.

The best part of the Baleh River Raft Safari is that, participants will get the chance to see various cultural multiplicity and ethnic heritage of the native riverine communities. An overnight stay in a local longhouse provides competitors a once-in-a-lifetime insight into the lifestyle of the tribes that call the wild river their life-source and untamed rainforest their home.

The Sarawak Baleh River Raft Safari is an extremely demanding and exciting two-day rafting race, which sees top rafters pit their physical and mental skills against numerous rapids at the 50 km stretch Baleh River. The rafting for the Men's Bamboo Raft Open Category will start from Rumah Minggat, Sungai Oyan, Mujong and stop for a night at Rumah Naong, Batu Bansu, Baleh on the first day.

The participants will resume their rafting from Rumah Naong, Batu Bansu, Baleh and end at Kapit Wharf, Kapit on the second day. On the same day, all other rafts in the Men's Bamboo Raft Closed, Men's Freestyle Raft, Women and Tourists Categories will begin their journey from Rumah Naong, Batu Bansu, Baleh and end at Kapit Wharf, Kapit.

This event is open to international participants so do not miss this thrilling ride of a lifetime. Check out details of the event at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com or e-mail us at Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for information.

 
Tags: Sarawak Baleh River Raft Safari | Baleh | raft | river safari | Sarawak | Rejang | Kapit | Baleh Kapit Safari 2012 | Baleh River | Sarawak water sport | Kuching | Borneo |

Benak Festival famously known as Tidal Bore Carnival in Sarawak


River Surfing Fun yo!


Sri Aman is a market town and port, and the capital of Sri Aman District and Sri Aman Division in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Sri Aman is also called Bandar Sri Aman, and was formerly known as Simanggang and has a population of 26,100. Sri Aman in the Malay language means "town of peace ." Sri Aman is located on the Lupar River, it is 193 kilometers, a three hour drive, from Kuching the capital city of Sarawak. It is a trade center for the timber, oil palm, rubber, and pepper of its mostly agricultural district.

Benak is the native tongue for tidal bore, and Benak happens everyday. During spring tide, tidal bore with a high magnitude, it can be observed clearly from distance. The 'Benak' continues its journey for another 30km inland, ending near the small village of Engkili in the same division.

Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range (typically more than 6 metres (20 ft) between high and low water) and where incoming tides are funneled into a shallow, narrowing river or lake via a broad bay.
 
Tidal Bore Surfer in Sarawak
Tidal Bore Surfer in Sarawak

The funnel-like shape not only increases the tidal range, but it can also decrease the duration of the flood tide, down to a point where the flood appears as a sudden increase in the water level. A tidal bore takes place during the flood tide and never during the ebb tide. A tidal bore may take on various forms, ranging from a single breaking wavefront with a roller — somewhat like a hydraulic jump — to "undular bores", comprising a smooth wavefront followed by a train of secondary waves (whelps). Large bores can be particularly unsafe for shipping but also present opportunities for river surfing!

There are only five spots in Asia where this unusual phenomena occurs and Sri Aman is sure to provide the excitement and fun to see for ourselves of one of the best waves in the world.
It has become an annual event and held every year. The festival is set to be one of the most exciting tourism destination.

I recommend to all to come over to Sri Aman to feel and experience Benak Festival that will promise only fun and excitement for you.
 
The red circle marks the location of the event.

Book your tours through www.SarawakBorneoTour.com to come and celebrate Benak Festival wih us or you may e-mail your inquiries to Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Date: 6 - 8 April 2012
Event: Tidal Bore Carnival (Benak Festival)
Venue: Tebingan Batang Lupar, Sri Aman
Tags: Benak | Benak Festival | Sri Aman | Sarawak | Sarawak Borneo | river surfing | surf | tidal bore | tidal bore carnival | Kuching | Kuching City | Sarawak river sport |

TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012

Experience Bidayuh Culture at Kampung Benuk Homestay Programme

If you want to learn and experience the different cultures existing in Sarawak, the best way is to live or stay with the local people. There are 19 kampongs and longhouses of various ethnic groups in Sarawak, and Kampung Benuk is one of them. Be prepared to be fascinated and enchanted by their culture, festivals and traditions.

Kampung Benuk is located 34km from Kuching City and is the nearest homestay for visitors or tourists who wish to experience life in a native longhouses. The homestay is an ideal transit for those who are going to and from the Borneo Highlands (Annah Rais) and the city. The Bidayuh culture is sacredly preserved amid rapid development taking place in the village, and their daily activities are mainly traditional farming (planting paddy, rubber, pepper and vegetables). It has a population of 3000 with some living in traditional longhouses while the rest lives in a typical modern Bidayuh Village.

Kampung Benuk Homestay programme offers visitors with an excellent exotic culture, warmth and friendly hospitality along with nature at its finest. Benuk Homestay is one of the very few surviving Bidayuh Longhouse in Borneo, Sarawak. Benuk Homestay is one of the best opportunities to truly enjoy the experience of living among rich traditional lifestyle of a Bidayuh community.

Enjoy Bidayuh traditional dishes here in Kampung Benuk
Be ready to receive a warm welcome from us! :)
Among the attractions available at Kampung Benuk Homestay is a mini museum which houses various historic Bidayuh relics, Panggah (where skulls are kept), river crossing on bamboo bridge, the Skuh Gung mini cave, the Legendary Batuh Junk (Junk Stone) and not forgetting the Bidayuh traditional longhouse.
Bamboo bridge crossing at Kampung Benuk Homestay

Various activities are also offered here and among them are; jungle/ mountain tracking: paddy farm cultivation (traditional farm), rubber garden (rubber tapping demonstration), and pepper gardening (briefing on pepper). For nature lovers, Kampung Benuk homestay offers unique flora and fauna with the village surrounded by dense jungle plus the Semenggoh Nature Reserve (Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre) being only a few kilometers away from the village.

You can check out Kampung Benuk Homestay packages only at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com for the best deals, or you can send us your inquiries at Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com.

Tags: Benuk | Kuching homestay | homestay in Kuching | kuching village homestay | Bidayuh homestay | Benuk Homestay | Sarawak | Kampung Benuk | Semenggoh | Kuching longhouse | Sarawak longhouse | sarawak culture | bidayuh culture | bidayuh traditions | Kuching City |

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012

Things to Prepare if you are going to Bako National Park for an unforgettable adventure

 

With its rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches, panoramic rocky shoreline, bizarre rock formations and extensive network of trekking trails, Bako National Park Sarawak offers visitors an excellent introduction to the rainforest and coastline of Borneo.

Bako may not have an instantly recognisable star attraction, but there can be very few places in the world that pack so much natural beauty into such a limited area, all just 37 km from Kuching. Its accessibility - and its sheer range of attractions and activities - have made Bako National Park Sarawak one of the most popular nature parks in Sarawak.

Bako National Park Sarawak contains an incredible variety of plant species and vegetation types, and this is one of the park’s great attractions it is also probably the best place in Sarawak for wildlife experiences. Visit www.SarawakBorneoTour.com and check out our full-day tour package to Bako National Park Sarawak to experience the nature and see the wildlife of Sarawak's tropical rainforests.
 
 
If you are going for the trip here are a few suggestions on what to pack for the eco-journey. It is recommended that visitors prepare their own checklist for apparel or equipment before embarking on their trek which may be useful or necessary, depending on their plans. In terms of clothing, it is ideal for a visitor to dress in short's and T-shirts when going on trails in the forest, but for extra protection against sunburn on the plateau and against insects in the evening it is highly recommended for visitors to bring along slacks and long-sleeve shirts.

Be prepared for muddy trails in the forest if after rain so it is best for visitors to wear training shoes or comfortable boots with good soles. Take note that it can get very hot on the plateau, so a hat, re-hydration salts and sun lotion may be needed on longer walks.

Water bottles are essential in making the trip, and necessity item on longer walks. To bring enough water for the entire trip may be a challenge for the long trek, therefore it is a good idea to bring water purifying tablets or a water filter since even in the dry season, there are nearly always some flowing freshwater streams encountered along the long trails.
 

A small torch is useful for overnight journeys and rucksack to carry your extra clothes. Bring along a packed lunch and some chocolate, raisins to maintain sugar levels.  Bottled water can be bought at the canteen at the Park Headquarters.

So be sure that you prepare your list of things to bring for the trip, so your Borneo eco-journey would be an enjoyable and hassle-free nature-loving excursion.
So come check out www.SarawakBorneoTour.com for more details for the trip. Email us at Ask@SarawakBorneoTour.com for inquiry and we will get back to you soon.
Tags: bako national park | sarawak | rainforest | kuching | proboscis monkey | mangrove | borneo | sarawak river cruise | bako | sea stack | kampong bako | gunung santubong |

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

Bako National Park, the smallest national park in whole Sarawak

 

Bako National Park

 

Dry season is the best time to plan your trip to Bako National Park Sarawak, which is from the month of April to October. Boat journey to Bako National Park Sarawak between the month of November to March may be too rough during the monsoon season.

A day trip to Bako National Park Sarawak can be very rewarding, and it is recommended that the journey to Bako National Park Sarawak should begin early in the morning. To fully enjoy the breathtaking experiences that Bako National Park Sarawak offers, an overnight stay or longer should be considered before making the trip.

SarawakBorneoTour.com offers trip to Bako National Park Sarawak, where we can guide you on a day trip, and arrange transport and permit. From Kuching, Bako National Park Sarawak can be reached in two stages-about 45 minutes’ drive on a new sealed road to the park terminal at Kampung Bako, followed by a 30-minute boat ride to the Bako National Park Sarawak Headquarters at Teluk Asam. Taxi fares from Kuching are reasonable and an inexpensive bus service is also available.
 
 
A permit for entering Bako National Park Sarawak and accommodation bookings can be obtained at www.SarawakBorneoTour.com.

The water at the Bako Park National Sarawak Headquarter is too shallow for boats to reach the jetty at low tide. To avoid waiting at Kampung Bako boat terminal, it is advisable to time your arrival during high tide. From the jetty, boats are operated by the villagers at reasonable fares. The boat ride to  Bako National Park Headquarters provide a good view of the mangrove forest that lines the river mouth and bay.

When heading out, the visitor has a splendid view of Gunung Santubong, the mountain on the west side of the bay. The cliffs and bay of Bako Peninsula are on the right. A spectacular sea stack can be seen along the coastal cliffs beyond Park Headquarters. The sandstone forming the stack was modeled by the incessant beating of the waves as well as the chemical weathering in the hot and wet tropical climate.

So click on to www.SarawakBorneoTour.com for more details. Look for Bako National Park Sarawak trip package for the best deals in town.
Tags: Bako | Bako National Park | World Heritage | Sarawak Borneo | Sarawak | Kuching City | Kuching | nature | Proboscis Monkey |

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 | |

Memorable Time Travel at Kuching Waterfront, Sarawak

 

A walk along the Kuching Waterfront was like taking a journey into time. The history and heritage of Kuching, Sarawak, were laid in full colour the whole 1 kilometre stretch. Also called “The People Place”, Kuching Waterfront was a kaleidoscope of the past, the present and the future, with a harmonious blend of the new and modern with the old and traditional. From being a small settlement and river port during the days of the English adventurer, James Brooke, in the 19th century, Kuching Waterfront had developed into a picturesque landscaped esplanade, and even powered with environmentally-friendly solar energy in the extension phase.

The Kuching Waterfront ran parallel to the Sarawak River, and was basically like a middle child sandwiched between the Sarawak River and Main Bazaar, a place packed with shops selling souvenirs, food, and arts and crafts. But unlike most middle child, Kuching Waterfront was full of charm and unique characteristics. Its wide and long walkway was tiled with eye-catching ethnic designs and motifs, perfect for abstract close-up shots of the contrasting swirls and whorls. Also spread along the pavement were numerous carts displaying local handicrafts and souvenir items and kiosks selling local food and beverages, in case you got hungry or thirsty from walking.

My walk on Kuching Watefront began from the Kathulistiwa Café, which meant “equator”, located opposite the Riverside Shopping Complex. Sauntering along, under the cooling shades provided by the cluster of trees and shrubs and welcoming the light breeze of the afternoon, I was letting any tension or stress fall away from my shoulders. There were locals and visitors enjoying the Waterfront: some loitering about, some sitting on benches, chatting or just people-watching. I could see more traders setting up their carts or stalls, preparing their food and wares for the growing crowds in the evening. They were friendly, a few bestowing warm smiles and calling out greetings of “hello” or “good afternoon”.

There were a couple of gazebos built on the edge of the Kuching Waterfront and the Sarawak River, where you could sit and gaze upon the line of speed boats bobbing up and down, berthed along the Waterfront side. Or you could look further out to watch with fascination the tambangs (small boats), gliding noiselessly as they ferry passengers across the river, for less than RM1.00 per person one way. Boarding the tambang took some dexterity due to the lightness of the small narrow boat, which would naturally sway and wobble according to the moving tides or waves. But being able to view the Sarawak River up close was worth the fleeting heart-thumping situation.

Another heart-thumping sensation would be watching multi-ethnic and traditional musical and cultural performances at the mini amphitheatre, which used to be a godown or warehouse by the dockside in the old days; hence its name – Godown Amphitheatre at the Kuching Waterfront. Capable of seating up to 200 people easily, the amphitheatre with its funnel-like membrane roofing exuded a cosy and vibrant atmosphere during night performances, while functioning as a sheltered area for rest and relaxation during the day or in between performances.

Nearing the last leg of the Kuching Waterfront, other historical buildings and structures of times gone by began emerging: the red Chinese Pavilion with its intricate designs of Chinese deities and floral motifs; the white Square Tower, small yet stately that had transformed from being a prison to a fortress, then a dance hall and now a multi-media information centre; the Sarawak Steamship Company Building, which used to be an office and warehouse but was presently the Waterfront Bazaar housing a food and beverage outlet, a convenience store and a variety of shops selling souvenirs and crafts; and the Chinese History Museum, steeped with historical facts and figures, images and exhibits about Chinese cultures, traditions, pioneers, leaders, languages and dialects in Sarawak. It was indeed a feast for the eyes.

Nonetheless, the feasting of Kuching Waterfront would not be complete without mentioning the musical fountains on the Waterfront Square, creating spectacular night views with fast streams and jets of splashing, tinkling water, dancing to the rhythms of piped music, and highlighted by a rainbow of colourful lights; and in the shadowy background, stood the Square Tower, modest yet regal in its stature.

A peek across the Kuching Waterfront revealed additional breathtaking sights, with bright lights illuminating their distinctive architectures, shining like beacons on the banks of the Sarawak River; they were Fort Margherita, built in 1879 on a knoll as a defence line against pirates; followed by the Astana (palace), the official residence of the Governor of Sarawak; and next to it was the latest addition to the spacious river landscape, the new State Legislative Assembly complex completed in 2009, arising with imposing majesty, and distinguished by its iconic payung (umbrella) roof design.

After the thoroughly pleasant walk, it was time to feed my growling stomach and what better place to sit back, have some snacks and chill out than the James Brooke Bistro on the Kuching Waterfront, where the ambience was great, service was good, food was okay, and drinks as well as beers were reasonably priced. What a fantastic way to end the evening and my memorable time travelling, spanning more than 130 years, on the Kuching Waterfront.

Tags: travel to Kuching | trips to Kuching | Sarawak river | waterfront Kuching | the waterfront lodge | lodge Kuching | Kuching hotels |

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY19, 2012

Semenggoh Orang Utans in Sarawak, our Distance Cousins

 

The orangutan or great ape and humans had held a close connection with each other since time immemorial.  We even shared 96.4% of our genetics make-up with the orangutans.  That was the reason why orangutans had held such strong fascination for us, at times to their detriment.  Young orangutans that were illegally kept as pets for a long time became “no-hopers” because it would be extremely difficult for them to live and survive in the wild on their own.

It was at sanctuaries such as the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Kuching, Sarawak, that rescued and orphaned orangutans could find a safe haven and be rehabilitated to live in the wild once more.  Established in 1975, Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is one of the must-see attractions in KuchingSemenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is located 20 kilometres away from Kuching City and situated within the lovely 740 hectares Semenggoh Nature Reserve, reaching the Centre just took a 30-minutes drive.

My friends and I arrived at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the afternoon feeding time between 3.00pm-3.30pm.  The morning feeding time was from 8.30am-9.00am.  These were the best times to visit the Centre as the semi-wild orangutans would come out of the forest reserve and descent from the trees to the feeding platform to get their food from the Rangers.  Visitors could watch the great apes in action from a safe distance, of course.

Before we headed off to the feeding area at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a briefing was given by the Rangers on what to do and not do when the orangutans appear.  The main idea was to keep still and stay quiet.  A 10-minute walk into the forest trail brought us to the feeding platform area.  The Rangers began placing bananas, bottles of milk, boiled beans and sunflower seeds on the platform, before calling out the names of the orangutans.  In a few minutes, soft rustlings in trees could be heard and we waited in anticipation and a quickening of our heartbeats.

We were delighted when a female orangutan cradling a baby on its side came into sight.  Due of their size, the orangutans do not swing from tree to tree but move with a steady but slow and graceful pace.  The female orangutan ignored us and went straight to the feeding platform and began to peel a banana to eat.  Not long after, a few more orangutans arrived and soon the food was slowly, but surely, consumed.  The Rangers at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre informed us that the fully rehabilitated orangutans would not return to the feeding platform until there was scarcity of fruits in the forest.  There were also several orangutans, especially kept as pets from young, that would not go back to the forest as they had become too used to human interactions.

the younger orangutans would linger around the area after their meals, playing with each other.  Sometimes, one or two more mischievous or curious orangutans would climb down to the ground and teasingly charge at visitors but their antics were usually harmless.  However, it is advisable not to go too close to, play with or touch the orangutans as they are semi-wild and have powerful arms, and if they should grab your camera or bag, you can basically say goodbye to your belongings.  Once they were full and finished with their playing, which lasted around an hour or so, the orangutans would head back into the forest.

The Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre also housed other species of endangered wildlife from hornbills to sun bears and gibbons besides orang utans.  Facilities at the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre included a Visitor Information Centre, bird-breeding enclosure, small mammals breeding site, a large orangutan enclosure, two large bird enclosures, ten large mammal enclosures, and quarantine areas, which were closed to the public.   For us, it had been an interesting and eye-opening trip to the Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.  We learnt about the wildlife in the Centre, particularly the orangutans and were very happy to be able to see and watch the orangutans live in action.  Check it out for yourselves!

Tags: orangutan | orang utans | orang utan Sarawak | orang utan Kuching | wildlife Kuching | Kuching forest | Semenggoh |

Double the Pleasure at Annah Rais Hot Springs

 

One incredible way to enjoy the contradicting twin elements of nature would be a visit to the new upgraded Annah Rais Hot Springs in Kuching, Sarawak. At this little spot in Sarawak, Borneo, I experienced the wonderful sensation of soaking myself in the hot spring pools with the coolness of clear rushing river water right next to these rock pools and set amidst beautiful natural flora and fauna. It was close to paradise on earth!

My friends and I had heard about the upgrading works that had been completed for the hot spring in early 2011 and decided to check the hot spot out. The Annah Rais Hot Spring was located about 70 kilometres from Kuching City, and the countryside drive took nearly two hours where we bypassed the quaint Annah Rais Longhouse, a small native Bidayuh village. Found by early Bidayuh settlers 250 years ago, the hot springs had been guarded and preserved by the villagers since then. It was their belief that the hot spring was a sacred place for them to seek blessings and cures for various illnesses.

Set along a narrow hilly road, the Annah Rais Hot Spring was another ten minutes drive from the Annah Rais Longhouse. Entrance fees to the hot springs were RM5 per adult; and RM3 per child aged 7 and below. The new upgraded facilities of the hot spring included a concrete walkway, steps to the river, and changing rooms and showers, which were important as these would make the hot spring area more comfortable and enjoyable for visitors, like me.

The other significant improvement was the nice circular rock or granite pools, one big and one smaller, which were built to contain the hot water and to provide proper sitting areas for the enjoyment of the hot springs and its lovely surrounding landscape of bamboo trees and tropical rainforest. We changed into our swimming attire and headed to the bigger rock pool. We had to be careful while navigating our way along the rock pool due to the slippery moss-strewn surface.

Dipping our feet into the water made us realize why it was called a hot spring. The water was hot! Even the sands and stones felt hot. It took a while for me to adjust and get used to the steaming hot water. Temperatures could get as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This natural phenomenon was caused by underground water being heated by geothermal forces and then brought up to the surface to create hot springs. At times, we could also see hot water bubbling up from the bottom of the pool. And when the wind blows, we could smell the sulfur in the air.

Since we went on a weekday afternoon, there were not many people at the Annah Rais Hot Springs and most of them were local visitors, sitting around the rock pools and dangling their legs into the hot springs. The chirping of birds combined with the rippling sounds of the river, enveloped by a lush green forest canopy, created a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere as we infused ourselves with the heat of the hot springs. Watching the drifting white clouds in the crystal blue sky was calming and in that moment, the hectic city life ceased to exist.

As I had mentioned earlier, there were twin elements to the hot springs… the cool flowing river besides the steaming rock pools were an exciting and stimulating contrast. I have heard that alternating hot with cold temperatures could assist to dilate and constrict blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation. Additionally, a good soak in hot or warm water would go a long way to help relax tense muscles, soothe the body and in turn reduce stress. Doctors had acknowledged that immersing in hot water could speed up the healing process or relieve pain caused by arthritis or minor injuries. It was believed to be therapeutic for insomnia and psoriasis too.

After about an hour of relaxation and fun at the rock pool and river, we decided to call it a day and headed to shower and change. It had been a great trip for us. Annah Rais Hot Springs was still relatively unknown as a tourism destination but this yet to be discovered gem has something simple to offer that to me was most desirable… a place to restore the tired body and rejuvenate the weary mind. So, take a trip to the Annah Rais Hot Springs and pamper yourself to the hilt.

Tags: annah rais | annah rais longhouse | annah rais homestay | hot springs Sarawak | hot springs Kuching | Kuching homestay |

MONDAY, FEBRUARY6, 2012

Sarawak Laksa, Most Popular Food in Kuching City

If you love hot and spicy food, then on your next trip to Sarawak, especially to the capital city of Kuching, you must not miss the famous Sarawak Laksa. what food is it actually?

 

Well, it is actually rice vermicelli mixed with prawn or shrimp paste, topped with fried eggs that are cut into thin slices, blanched bean sprouts, steamed soft chicken slices and juicy tender prawns. Once all the ingredients are mixed together with thick Laksa gravy poured over it and ready to be served, you may want to squeeze a little lime over it and garnished with coriander leaves. You may also want to add in some “belachan” (spicy shrimp paste) before you consume it.

Belachan is a popular ingredient in South East Asia. It is commonly used in South East Asia and Southern Chinese cuisines as a shrimp paste or shrimp sauce. In Indonesia, belachan is known as terasi, ngapi in Burma, kapi in Thailand and mam tom in Vietnam.

A bowl of Sarawak laksa depending on whether it is a large bowl or a small bowl costs around rm4 to rm6 . (rm3.6=usd1). This Laksa is so delicious that after eating it, it may even send you licking the bowl too. You may even order a second bowl thereafter. This dish will definitely warms up your stomach for the whole day.

When you are in Kuching, you can easily find Laksa being sold in many coffee shops. However, the well known coffee shops that sent people waiting and queuing up for hours are the coffee shops at Tabuan Laru, another stall at Bormill third mile and in the city centre located beside Grand Continental hotel. My favourite Sarawak Laksa stall is at Foody Goody coffee shop at Tabuan Laru vicinity. I would patiently wait for at least half an hour on Sundays as there were just too many customers waiting for their bowl of Laksa.

The Sarawak Laksa is available only on mornings as they would be sold out by lunch time. The best and most delicious Sarawak Laksa in the whole region of Sarawak is still in Kuching city.

You should go check it out if you are in Kuching for work, business or leisure.

Tags: laksa Sarawak | laksa recipe | curry laksa | laksa soup | laksa Kuching | laksa Sarawak recipe | Sarawak food |