Pine Garden Hotel, your choice for affordable stay at strategic location in Kuching

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under General, Hotel Reviews, Sarawak

Pine Garden Hotel is among the newest hotel that opened up in Kuching recently. You cannot miss it because of its unique, bright colour in the heart of Kuching as you breeze through the flyover from airport to the city. The hotel is a 3-star boutique concept hotel.

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

The hotel is located at Lorong Seladah 1H, Taman Phoning, Kuching, which is within 3 km or 10 minutes drive from Kuching International Airport and Kuching Sentral. It is located just next to CityONE Megamall. In case of any emergency, Borneo Medical Centre is just 2km away from the hotel, or less than a 5 minutes’ drive away.

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

There are a total of 104 rooms in the hotel and are furnished with wooden or parquet flooring. The rooms are sufficiently bright, spacious, clean and comfortable. It is well equipped with basic amenities to meet every traveller’s needs, which includes a high speed Internet access, a writing desk and a tea and coffee making facility.

Here are some of the hotel facilities provided by Pine Garden Hotel:

  • Free Wireless Internet
  • Parking Space in hotel area / handicapped parking space
  • Coffee / Tea making facilities
  • Free mineral water
  • Bathroom amenities
  • Satellite TV
  • In-Room Safe Box
  • Minibar Fridge
  • Air conditioning
  • Luggage storage area
  • 24-hour reception
  • Hairdryer (on request)
  • Prayer Mat / Sejadah (on request)
  • Iron & Ironing Board (on request)
  • Hotel Shuttle Service (chargeable)

The free Wi-Fi is accessible in all public areas as well and the shuttle services are available daily upon your request for a fee.

Here are the types of room that the hotel offers:

  1. Deluxe King or Queen Room
Deluxe King or Queen Room (Pine Garden Hotel)

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

The room is designed slightly larger than the usual deluxe room with the goal to satisfy your need of comfort. Go ahead and read a book, or if you are a business traveler, get some work done at the writing desk as they provide you with an ergonomic chair and free high speed internet access.

  1. Deluxe Triple Room with 3 Super Single Bed
Deluxe Triple Room with 3 Super Single Bed (Pine Garden Hotel)

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

Deluxe triple room comes with three super single beds.

  1. Double Deluxe Room with 1 Queen Bed + 1 Single Bed

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

Double deluxe room is furnished with one Queen bed and one super single bed. This room is undeniably perfect for families with children!

  1. Superior Twin Room

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

Twin room comes with two super single beds and are nicely arranged in the room. The room is a bit smaller than the others.

Other than that, you can take your time in the spacious bathroom, complete with a rainforest shower head to give you full body shower experience. After your shower, sink into the comfort of the bed, which are the King and Queen sized beds while you enjoy your favourite TV show on the wall-mounted 32-inch flat screen LCD TV.

Image courtesy to Pine Garden Hotel

Due to the strategic location of Pine Garden Hotel, it is easy for you to move around. For example if you are to attend an appointment to go see the doctor at Borneo Medical Centre, it would only take about 10 minutes’ drive from the hotel. If you need to register at Swinburne University, this is a good hotel for you.

Besides that, you could also go for shopping trip as there are about 3 different shopping malls near to where the hotel is located, which are The Spring Shopping Mall, Vivacity Megamall and CityONE Megamall. Even MYDIN Supermarket is located inside CityONE Megamall! Then, you could maybe have a meal at Premier 101, where there are over 80 hawker stalls to choose from, which might just fit your taste bud. The stalls are usually open in the evenings.

For more information, visit their website at Pine Garden Hotel Kuching or contact them at 082-532789 for quick response.

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Jangkar Waterfall, the Hidden Gem in Lundu, Sarawak

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Sarawak

If you think you have lived long enough to discover everything about Sarawak through your own experience or through National Geographic, well, think again. There is a hidden gem in Lundu that is yet to be popularised – the Jangkar Waterfall.

Lundu is a town located in the Northwest of Kuching Division of Sarawak and borders with Indonesian Province of West Kalimantan. Lundu is known as a place that has many rural areas.

Jangkar Waterfall has been chosen as a travel destination because it has the potential to increase the volume of tourists visiting the area with a bright future for tourism development.

This waterfall is known locally as Jangkar Waterfall. It is accessible via Kampung Jantan, a small village near the coastal town of Sematan. You can go by car from Lundu, taking about 30 minutes to reach the destination.

Long ago, this place was known as Kampung Jangkar before the area was split into two different villages, which are Kampung Jantan and Kampung Jangkar. The waterfall having to be in Kampung Jantan area, but it is still called as Jangkar Waterfall.

Jangkar Waterfall was founded and had been managed by Jantan-Jangkar Cooperation (Koperasi Jangkar Jantan Lundu Bhd) since 2012. The members of Jantan-Jangkar Cooperation are from the local villagers of both Kampung Jantan and Kampung Jangkar. The cooperative team provide parking space and experienced local guides for jungle trekking to the waterfall.

If you want to visit the waterfall, you must first register at the reception counter at entrance to the hiking trail. They will then assign a local guide to each group who will lead the way to the waterfall.

In past cases, there were some visitors who would go to the lower part of the waterfall, have a picnic or a barbeque and leave all their trash there before leaving. This is one of the reasons why every visitor is now required to register themselves before proceeding to the waterfall with a local guide.

The increase in the number of visitors to the area has helped to generate income for the locals and stimulate the local economy. Now, you can be rest assured that the trail to the waterfall and the surroundings are much cleaner and well maintained.

The guide’s fee is based on the size of the group. For groups of 5 and above, they collect RM10 from each person while for groups of fewer than 5, they collect a single sum of RM50. They get visitors from all over the world and they come here either with a tour agent or as independent traveller. On average, they get about 100 visitors per month and they have seen an increase in the number of visitors coming here over the past four years.

Based on my own experience, it took about 50 minutes to get to the waterfalls and about 40 minutes journey back down the mountain. My trip to the waterfalls was guided by Mr. Lebi, a local guide at Jangkar Waterfall. I managed to reach the waterfalls safely with his help and was able to experience the hidden natural treasure of Lundu.

 

A shot with Mr. Lebi (tour guide)

 

When you read a book, you only experience one page, when you travel, you experience an adventure right here at Jangkar Waterfall. So go check it out now!

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Kuching, the First City in Malaysia to Host the Asia Pacific Orchid Conference (APOC) in 2019

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under General, Sarawak

Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) won a bid to host the 13th Asia Pacific Orchid Conference (APOC) which will be held in 2019.

Kuching is the first state in Malaysia to host the APOC. This shows the capability of Kuching as an international destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).

The Pre-APOC was held from August 23 2017 to August 27 2017 at the Sarawak State Library (Pustaka Negeri) in Petra Jaya. It was held to create the opportunity to share ideas and techniques on orchid cultivation as well as to promote collaboration between countries in an effort to strengthen the orchid industry. It also gave an insight of what this city has to offer to the delegates before the big event.

The APOC is an internationally acclaimed event that is held once every three years with previous host nations including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand.

Sarawak won the ‘Best for Nature’ Award in Travel Journal’s Travel Awards 2017 and three national parks were singled out for being exemplary travel spots for nature lovers, namely Gunung Mulu, Batang Ai and Bako National Park.

DBKU commissioner, Datuk Wee Hong Seng, said that orchids are the most highly desired among the ornamental plants. Their delicate, exotic and graceful features represent love, luxury, beauty and strength. In fact it was associated with strength or manliness from the times of ancient Greece. Later on, in Victorian times, orchids symbolised luxury. Today, orchids represents rare and delicate beauty.

Orchids have a special meaning to Sarawak. According to Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, many of the orchid species available in this region are part of the state’s natural heritage and tourist attraction. Thus, research on these species is vital to ensure that they would remain endemic. He noted that out of an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 orchid species found in this region, about 40 per cent is endemic to Sarawak.

The DBKU Orchid Garden houses a total collection of 75,000 plants. The garden is located across the river from Kuching Waterfront in the vicinity of the historical Astana and Fort Margherita. At the Orchid Garden, visitors will find Sarawak’s very own state flower, the Normah Orchid (Phalaenopsis Bellina) amongst the wide collection of Bornean orchids.

Delegates of the Pre-APOC 2017 came all the way from Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and of course, Malaysia.

Interesting events during the Pre-APOC included an International Orchid Landscape Photography Competition, Individual Orchid and Orchid Flower Arrangement Competition, Horticulture and Agriculture Bazaar, and Orchid Photography Competition.

The people in Kuching were very supportive of the event as the venue was packed and the parking spaces were insufficient for all the cars that came that day.

The selection of Sarawak as the venue for the Pre-Asia Pacific Orchid Conference (APOC) is the right decision as Sarawak is rich in flora and fauna and at the same time, is blessed with rare and unique orchid species.

You can see the beauty of Sarawak with your own eyes and experience the beauty of our nature while you are traveling here in Borneo. Come and check out our website for the best packages, the best deals and the best traveling experience! Click here.

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Marathon Run Kuching, the Latest Sports Tourism Product in Kuching, Sarawak

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Kuching Gallery, Sarawak

What is Sports Tourism?

Sports tourism refers to travel which involves either observing or participating in a sporting event staying apart from their usual environment, and marathon run is an example of a sports tourism.

Every year, millions of tourists visit the ‘Land of the Hornbill’ to discover and explore the state. According to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak, there were 3.27 million tourists both foreign and domestic who visited the state back then in 2010. The number steadily rose to 4.86 million visitors in 2014. It is reported that over 8,000 local and international runners took part in the race last year. With the encouraging figures and trend, the state is on track to attract even more tourists arrival this year.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017 starting line at Padang Merdeka

Kuching Marathon 2017 starting line at Padang Merdeka

 

Kuching Marathon must be looked at as an event beyond just running, for it has attracted professional runners from all over the world. Around 10,000 are expected to take part in the fourth edition of the annual Kuching Marathon (KM2017) on 13 August 2017 at?Padang Merdeka. Runners from outside the country such as Singapore, Africa, Brunei, and Indonesia are also joining our Malaysian runners for this marathon. This is all part of the efforts to not only make Sarawak a sports destination, but also to add more variety to the tourism industry.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017

Kuching Marathon 2017

 

 

Here are a few benefits that brings tourism in Sarawak to the next level.:

The first one is to increase the level of local interests in the activities associated with the event. As mentioned before, the event is not only joined by local people but also people from outside of Malaysia. Thus, it would attract the local people to come over and check out the event. Some of them might even open up a small, temporary business to gain side-income from the event, and some will contribute to the event by joining the activities associated with the marathon, for example the current ongoing event in Kuching, Kuching Food Festival.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017

Kuching Marathon 2017

 

The second benefit is gaining pleasure from experiencing the event. Through running in the marathon, runners can improve their health, metabolism and stamina. Other than that, upon finishing the marathon, the participants will feel a sense of pride and achievement and they will feel good about themselves. This will also boost their confidence and would make them wanting to join the marathon again for next year.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017

Kuching Marathon 2017

 

Next, the benefit includes giving influence on community pride and increased involvement of individuals in community activities.

Upon receiving a good response to the events, with many people joining, it gives a sense of pride to the local community as they host an event as big as the Marathon Run Kuching. A lot of local runners and entertainers are able to show their ability and credibility as well as proudly representing the state as they perform for the state and country.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017

Kuching Marathon 2017

 

Then, there will also be an improvement of regional identity that is seen as being closely related to urban renewal. This means that, Kuching and also other parts in Sarawak are able to improve their identity. For example, in Kuching, there has been a lot of events being held this year and also more to come in the upcoming months. International and domestic event such as these would definitely contribute to the improvement of identity and make Kuching and Sarawak better known in the eyes of the world.

Other than that, the event can also provide entertainment and social opportunities for local residents. As there are over 8,000 participants in the event, this is like a chance where they can come up to the international runners and build a friendly relationship whilst sharing the same interests in running in the marathon. Through this, both parties are able to get to know more about each other’s cultural differences and learn about them.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017

Kuching Marathon 2017

 

Furthermore, it also strengthens cultural values and traditions. During the officiating day of Kuching Food Festival, there were performances from local entertainers from both Sarawak and other parts of Malaysia, and also entertainers from outside of Malaysia such as Korea. The performers were able to proudly represent their countries as they showcase the cultural values and traditions through their performances.

 

Kuching Marathon 2017

Kuching Marathon 2017

 

Lastly, the event can build the national identity of Sarawak. Other than being held in Kuching, the marathon was also being held in Miri, back in March 2017. The marathon run event can contribute to the sporting identity of Sarawak as part of tourism as this event is being held annually and is actively joined by people from all over the world.

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Bung Jagoi Day, a day to celebrate the Bidayuh old culture

July 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Bung Jagoi Day is a celebration to preserve the tradition and culture of local communities while promoting the area as an ecotourism attraction for the people in Kuching and tourists. ‘Ondu Bung Jagoi’ or Bung Jagoi Celebration Day was organised by Jagoi Area Development Committee (JADC) on July 22, 2017 and started at 8am. Entrance tickets are available at the foothill at RM7 each.

 

Image credit to Bung Jagoi Facebook Page

 

Bung Jagoi is a sandstone hill which measures to about 360 meters high. It is located in a hilly area of the district of Bau, Kuching, called Jagoi, and it is commonly known for its gold mining activities since the last century. Kampung Jagoi is a Bidayuh village situated on top the hill, similarly like those in fairytale where a village is surrounded by forests. ‘Bidayuh’ is one of the larger indigenous ethnic group of Sarawak. In Bidayuh language ‘Bung’ means summit, hence Bung Jagoi refers to the summit of Jagoi.

The highlight of the celebration includes a fun run up the 7km long trail from Duyoh village to the village of Bung Jagoi. The fun run is intended to promote healthy activities and get visitors to explore the mountain. There were four categories, namely Bijagoi area primary schools, Bijagoi area secondary schools, Bijagoi area Local Open category at RM10 each and an Open category for runners from elsewhere at RM50 each, in which the top five winners from each category were awarded prizes.

 

   

Image credit to Bung Jagoi Facebook Page

 

Those who enjoyed leisure trekking were given the chance to go trekking up the mountain at 8am before the start of the fun run. They would pass through herbal gardens, a spring well and a WWII historical site.

Visitors there were also entertained by Bidayuh cultural performances, handicraft-making demonstrations and served with scrumptious traditional Bidayuh cuisine for lunch to complete their visit.

 

Image credit to Bung Jagoi Facebook Page

 

At present, only one family is living at Bung Jagoi village and is the caretaker of the village. This legendary mountain has provided settlement to the community for over a hundred years. The villagers go here to hunt and collect forest products as well as practise shifting agriculture. The 600 hectares forests, however, still remain intact.

Sarawak today still has many green lungs for its people to hunt and plant for their daily needs. If you are ever in Sarawak, do drop by our Bung Jagoi Celebration to join in the fun and get to know us and our culture.

For tour inquiry, please go to www.sarawakborneotour.com to see our packages.

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From Courthouse to ChinaHouse Kuching, with style

Kuching Old Courthouse was one of the colonial-era buildings built during the White Rajahs’ era. Before it was converted to ChinaHouse, the building used to be home to Sarawak Tourism Board and National Park Booking Office in Kuching (now temporarily moved to Sama Jaya Nature Reserve until a permanent location at the Urban Transformation Centre Sarawak is completed), Sabati’s Women’s Museum and Little Lebanon Restaurant (now closed permanently).

The idea of the historical colonial building turned to restaurant, cafe and cultural complex was originally brought to Georgetown when one talented Australian named Narelle McMurtrie had recognised the city’s tourism potential. McMurtrie, along with Christopher Ong; an expatriate Australian, had helped transformed Georgetown’s ramshackle shophouses into boutique accommodation, cafes, restaurants, shops and cultural centres.

One of the corridors at the Old Court House at Kuching

One of the corridors at the Old Court House at Kuching

Image credit to The Borneo Post

With her eyes set on Kuching, Narelle McMurtrie had once again worked her magic and transformed Kuching Old Courthouse into one of the coolest place to hang out in Kuching.

ChinaHouse was opened around March 2016. It houses crafts & art space, library, café & wine bar, gift shop, reading room, performance space, restaurant and auditorium.

The most popular spot at ChinaHouse would be Kopi C Café. With over 30 cakes displayed on a long table and in a glass-fronted fridge, tourists and locals had been visiting the café to check out their cake assortments such as Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Passionfruit Coconut Buttermilk Cake, Lemon Meringue Tart, Vietnamese Coffee Tart, Chocolate Coconut Meringue Pie, Banana Mocha Frost Cake, Ginger Cake and many more! For Halloween night, they even have specially decorated cakes in Halloween theme such as Chocolate Decadence, Chocolate Devil, Chocolate Tissimo, Mocha Tart, and Fleur de Se.

Cakes are not the only attraction of this café. Guests can also try their daily bento special, Chopped Crunchy Salad, Ginger Bud Pesto Spaghetti and others. There are mahjong papers covering the tables so that the guests can doodle on it using the crayons on the table. Recently, they even give Cash Voucher worth RM50 to the best doodle of the week. Guests can also play board games while waiting for their food.

Another famous section of ChinaHouse Kuching is the performance space called The Canteen. Visitors get to enjoy live music performance from local and international bands for free and sometimes for a fee. Among the bands that have performed at the Canteen were Cermin, Tornado Eye, Drasska, Bencana, The Warm, Inspired The Bee, Eleven 51, The Farrah and others. Sometimes, there will were events held there such as Tamiya Mini 4WD competition, Art Galleria’ exhibition and the occasional Quiz Night and Open Mic Night.

Recent quiz night at the Old Courthouse

Recent quiz night at the Old Courthouse

Image credit to Borneo Post

Jazzin it up with Jolynn Under the Stars’ at the courtyard of ChinaHouse

Jazzin it up with Jolynn Under the Stars’ at the courtyard of ChinaHouse

Image credit to Borneo Post

For those who wish for a romantic dinner, they can go to BTB Restaurant. The restaurant is opened daily from 6:00pm to 11:00pm. They serve modern western style dishes influenced by a mix of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines.

The relaxing atmosphere of ChinaHouse, along with the cool and artistic decorations and friendly staffs make the place a cosy hang out spot for tourists and locals.

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The biggest Sarawak Laksa, the backfire and the positive publicity via negative publicity

November 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Unlike any other laksa from West Malaysia where the noodle are thick, rice vercemili or beehoon is used for Sarawak Laksa. The paste for Sarawak Laksa can be bought at most shops. It usually contains shallots, garlic, chillies, galangal, peanuts, candlenuts, lemon grass and a mix of spices. This paste will be cooked with coconut milk to make the gravy. This laksa will be served in a bowl topped with omelette strips, chicken strips, peeled boiled prawns, freshly chopped coriander leaves and optionally lime and sambal belacan.

Sarawak Laksa had been given so many positive reviews; that even world-renowned chef Anthony Bourdain had listed this dish in his Top 10 wish list of his food market in New York.

Just recently, an attempt for a record in Malaysia Book of Records for the biggest bowl of Sarawak Laksa was held at Plaza Merdeka shopping mall. A total of 15 cooks, a giant bowl with chopsticks, over 500 kg of ingredients and 18 hours of hard work had produced a giant bowl of Laksa Sarawak.

Giant Sarawak Laksa at Plaza Merdeka

Giant Sarawak Laksa at Plaza Merdeka

Image credit to The Borneo Post

 

The main purpose of this event was actually to promote Kuching as a tourism destination not only for international tourists but also for locals and other Malaysians. It was also an effort to promote the local delicacy.

Nobody had expected this event to not go as planned when about 100kg of Sarawak Laksa paste, 225kg of beehoon, 90kg of prawns, 1,008 eggs, 90kg of bean sprouts, and 80kg of chicken were wasted.

The dish was cooked on Friday morning. It was actually inevitable to throw away this huge amount of laksa because of the use of coconut milk in the gravy. It needs constant heating for it to maintain its quality but to heat up a giant bowl of laksa of 3.1 metre wide would require several stoves. Furthermore, the bowl was not made in a way for it to absorb heat.

In their Facebook account, the shopping mall management had apologised for the oversight and misjudgement. The original plan was to serve this giant bowl to the public. However, after collective reconsideration, they decided against it as the bowl was not covered in the middle of the atrium where it was prone to catch some undesirable elements during the event that made it unhygienic. Instead, they served a fresh batch of an equivalent 1500 bowls of laksa the following day.

Even though this event had some negative feedbacks, the shopping mall management agreed that food wastage is a huge concern in Malaysia. As part of their effort to minimise wastage, they will provide containers at their food court ‘Food Plaza’ until the end of the year so that the customers can bring home the food that they purchased from the food court that they could not finish. The containers can be collected at the redemption counter at Level 3.

A negative publicity is always a good publicity as well.

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Sarai Minang, the hidden Indonesian restaurant in Kuching

July 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries, Sarawak

Most would not know there is an Indonesian restaurant behind Wisma Prudential, Jalan Abell, Kuching.  We also did not know there is a restaurant there until Meen, the owner of Riung Kuring, told us about her other restaurant there.

So, we decided to check out the restaurant. We used Waze to guide our way, and it brought us right to the restaurant’s door step. We took the long way, entering the junction near HSBC Bank, then turn to the first junction on the left. Then, drive along the one-way road. You will have to pass Great Eastern building, then make a U-turn at the left junction.  There will be a junction on the right. If you enter from the junction at Prudential, you only need turn left once, and then drive about a hundred metres ahead to reach the restaurant.

Sarai Minang

Sarai Minang

Our first impression when we were first seated was the place was a bit warm despite having an open space. There were several ceiling fans but since there were not many people when we arrived, most fans were switched off.

We ordered a glass of iced tea and a glass of Jagung Susu. Since we are not that familiar with Padang dishes, we asked the employee to recommend us some dish. With the help of the owner and the waiter, we ordered Dendeng Balado (deep fried beef with sambal on top), Ikan Bawal Bakar (grilled pomfret fish), Gado-Gado (vegetable with peanut sauce), Tauhu Goreng (deep fried tofu), and plain white rice.

Iced tea and Jagung Susu

Iced tea and Jagung Susu

When the Dendeng Balado was served, we thought it would be quite spicy, judging the amount of crushed red chillies on top of it. The meat actually looked like beef jerky with chillies. Surprisingly, it does not taste spicy at all to the point we could not taste the spiciness.

Dendeng Balado

Dendeng Balado

The grilled fish was also quite mediocre, but it tasted like a normal grilled fish from other restaurant; nothing special about it. Same goes with the ayam penyet.

Ikan Bawal Bakar

Ikan Bawal Bakar

Ayam Penyet

Ayam Penyet

We liked the gado-gado, as they were quite generous with the peanut sauce. The gado-gado is a mix of long beans, cabbage, fried tofu and crackers. The crackers tasted a bit different than what we have at our local store, and I remember tasting a similar keropok at my friend’s house which she bought from nearby town, Serikin; near Indonesia border.

Gado-Gado

Gado-Gado

The fried tofu was served with some green sambal. The sambal looked spicy but when we bite into it, the sambal was not spicy.

Fried tofu

Fried tofu

Our verdict:

Taste: 6/10

Price: 6/10

Ambience: 5/10

So, if you wish to try out their dishes, head over to their restaurant at Jalan Abell, Kuching. They are closed on Sundays.

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Rare Fruits that can be found in Sarawak

November 2, 2014 by  
Filed under General, Sarawak

Sarawak has many types of rare and exotic fruits that you may never heard of. Below are the types of fruits for you.

1. Dabai

Dabai is a type of fruit that can be eaten after being soaked in warm water with a pinch of salt. Locals usually eat this fruit by itself or it can be eaten as a side dish for rice. Furthermore, you can easily find Dabai Fried Rice at local restaurants when this fruit is in season.  Dabai’s skin is black while the flesh is yellowish.

Dabai

Dabai

Dabai Seed

Dabai Seed

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


2. Tampoi

Although you can find tampoi in Peninsula Malaysia, the fruit are mostly found in Borneo. The locals have many different names for this fruit. Some called it Larah, Terai, Rambai Hutan or Setei. The Ibans called it Kejira. The outer appearance of this fruit is round with brown colour, and the flesh is usually white or yellow.

Tampoi

Tampoi

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


3. Uchung

This fruit is also called belimbing hutan (wild starfruit) by the locals. It was shaped like a teardrop, with ridged surface. Peel the fruit to taste the white pearly pulp. In rural areas, you can find jeruk uchung (uchung pickle) sold at the village grocery store.

Uchung

Uchung

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


4. Asam payak

Asam payak is a fruit that can be found in the jungle of Sarawak. It has a sour taste, and can be bitter when eaten unripe. The skin is red and scaly, and you need to remove the skin to get the juicy and sour fruit inside. This fruit is usually used to make umai and sambal belacan. Because of its sour taste, the locals make pickles out of this fruit.

Asam payak

Asam payak

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


5. Terap

Terap is closely related to jackfruit and breadfruit.  It has scent that smelt similar to durian, and the fruit pulps taste creamy. You can even eat the seeds when it was fried.

Terap

Terap

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


6. Engkalak

The ripen fruit has pink colour. Soak the fruit in warm water for a few minutes before eating. The creamy taste of the fruit is perfect to be eaten with rice.

Engkalak

Engkalak

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


7. Salak

The most famous fruit when you visit Serikin. You can easily find this fruit there, since this fruit is not seasonal. Some even called this ‘snake fruit’, as the skin bears a resemblance with snake’s skin.

Salak

Salak

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


8. Terung dayak

This is actually a type of vegetable, and you cannot eat it raw. Usually, it is cooked in simple broth or stir-fried with sambal.

Terung dayak

Terung dayak


9. Mawang

This fruit is actually a type of mango. There are also other names for this fruit such as Embang and Embawang. The fruit can be either round or oval.

Mawang

Mawang

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


10. Kechala

Most people use the flower buds (known as bunga kantan) in their cooking, especially laksa. It tastes a bit sour.

11. Senggang

Mainly found in Sarawak rainforest, this fruit is a type of ginger which actually tastes a bit sweet and sour.

12. Kasai

This fruit is a bit like longan, but bigger in size. It tastes sweet, and the flesh is clear white. The skin of this fruit is hard, so to crack it open, you need to crash it to something hard. A tip from the local vendor, you can squeeze two of this fruit together in your fist to crack it open.

13. Serait

Some called it mujau, buah redan or buah putit. It was actually more like a hairless rambutan. The taste is almost the same with rambutan and some even taste sourer than the other.

Serait

Serait

Image credit to MalaysianVegetarianFood.com


You may find these rare fruit at Pasar Tamu at Kubah Ria on weekends. Some of them are hard to find, and some can only be found at rural areas, but you had to try them when you find them.

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The Summer Shopping Mall, the first ever shopping mall in Kota Samarahan, Sarawak

September 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Sarawak, Shopping

Kota Samarahan has been recognized by many as “Town of Knowledge”. The town has several institutions of higher learning in the area. They includes Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Universiti Teknologi MARA Kota Samarahan Campus and Tun Abdul Razak Institute of Teacher. Now, students at the institutions can easily spend their free time at this new mall without having to go to Kuching as the city is quite far from town.

Sunset view

Sunset view

One of the must visit place at the mall is the food court. In my opinion, the food court is decorated to look like picnic spots, fit for its name since it is called Verano Picnic. Several of plush looking benches adorned the tables along with colourful chairs, and the sizes are as big as a 3-seater sofa. You can even lie down on these benches while enjoying your meals. There are also tables with colourful chairs around them. Lots of local and international delicacies can be found here. For those who like Italian food, there is a section for pizza and pasta, where the price is cheaper than the usual price. There are also sections for local cuisine, hot plate, Middle East food, BBQ and many others.

Verano Picnic

Verano Picnic

Moreover, various exciting events had been held at The Summer Shopping Mall. Since its opening, several events such as The Summer Ground Control, Summer Photo Contest, Summer Halloween 2013, Festival Kesenian Islam 2013, Chinese New Year Carnival 2014, the recently held Miss World Harvest Festival 2014, and many more had been held here.

One of the events held at Summer Mall

One of the events held at Summer Mall

Apparel outlets such as Vunfa, Kitschen, Esprit, Shibuya, Hari-Hari and Factory Outlet Store had taken spots at this mall. There are also many food and beverages lots such as My Pretzel, Baskin Robbins, Big Apple Donuts & Coffee, Sushi King, Tutti Frutti, Starbucks, Lof Bakery, TwinklePan and many more.

Furthermore, the recently opened Lotus Five Star Cinema had visitors coming in every day, since the day that they offered free movie screening to early birds. Famous movies, which had been shown on theatres before, were being screened again for this free movie screening. Rise of an Empire, Frozen, Police Story 2013, Tom Yum Goong 2, Robocop and three others were screened for free all week. This cinema has 12 comfortable halls consisting of 9 elegant Cinema halls, two 3D Movie Hall and one classy theatre room. This Lotus Five Star cinema is said to be the largest cineplex in East Malaysia.

Animal rides

Animal rides

The mall also has skating rink, big enough to accommodate 50 to 80 skaters. The SkatePark will be the first ever skating rink within a shopping mall in Sarawak, and has been operating since December last year. Everyone from age five onwards is welcomed to try the ice-rink, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Different kind of promotions had been offered to encourage people to come during weekdays. Gentlemen’s Day is on Monday, 2 for 1 Promotion on Tuesday, Group Offer on Thursday, Happy Hour and Ladies Hour on Friday. Admission rates are RM12 per adult and RM8 per child for the first hour on weekdays; and RM15 per adult and RM10 per child during weekends and public holidays.

Moreover, with Summer Lagoon Water Theme Park scheduled to open later this year, the mall is going to be swarmed by the locals, as it is going to be the first water-park in the area. Make sure you visit the latest shopping attraction in Kota Samarahan when you are in town!

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Rainforest World Music Festival 2014

June 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 promises to be another exciting event this year. With local and international performers giving their best on this stage, this is the one event that you cannot miss.

One of Sarawak’s representatives is Nading Rhapsody, the famous Iban band, which performance mainly shows the Iban ethnic’s mythical story of Nading, the legendary god of a place called “Panggau Libau”. Nading Rhapsody is an Avant-Garde Borneo Ethnic Music band with young musicians. The members of this band are Boy Keevin (Composer / Bass Guitar), RaWa (Ruding / Acoustic Guitar/ Sape’), Yen (Tribal Percussion), Roy (Lyrics / Vocal / Chants), Christ (Lyrics / Vocal / Dance) and Opah (Vocal / Chants).

Nading Rhapsody from Sarawak

Nading Rhapsody, an awesome local group from Sarawak

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Another Sarawak’s groups are Sape & Warrior, a sape and warrior dance performance; Bisayah Gong Orchestra, which group members come from a village called Kampung Pengkala Madang in Limbang, Sarawak, performing their infamous unique and soulful music; Lan E Tuyang, leads by Mathew Ngau Jau, who has been playing the sape (boat shaped lute of Sarawak) since he was little; and Bedok Ensemble, which performance consist of playing bedok drums.

Geng Wak Long, the Kelantanese expertise in traditional art genres such as Wayang Kulit (Shadow Play), Dikir Barat, Kelantanese Silat, Makyung, Tari Inai and other north-east Malaysia arts is one of two representatives from Peninsula Malaysia. Geng Wak Long is made up mostly of family members, trained by the late Pak Awang Hamzah. Another group is Yayasan Warisan Johor Zapin Group that will perform the zapin dance, a traditional dance from Johor.

Geng Wak Long, the Kelantan representative

Geng Wak Long, the Kelantan representative

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Representative from our neighbouring country of Singapore is Ding Yi Music Company, which was formerly known as Arts Sphere Chamber Ensemble. Their captivating performance will charm the audiences with their vast repertoire that ranges from traditional Chinese music to contemporary avant-garde interpretations and cross-genre works.

Ding Yi

Representing Singapore is Ding Yi Music Company

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Talago Buni from Indonesia is a group that portrays the Minangkabau traditional music. There are three types of Minangkabau music which is the melancholic and mystical music from the highlands, music from the west-coast and music connected to the religious culture of Islam. These three types of music make Talago Buni special.

Then, enjoy the Japanese folk music performance from three splendid musicians from Japan who called themselves Ryuz. The members are Shigeri Kitsu, who performs folk singing while playing the folk drum; Nobuto Yamanaka, a superb tsugaru-shamisen (traditional string instrument) player; and Kazuki Kunihiro who compose the unique music for the group besides playing the drum.

Ryuz, the three talented musicians from Japan

Ryuz, the three talented musicians from Japan

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Look forward to an exciting performance from Canada by Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys. Their performance will surely give you an unforgettable experience. Watch Gordie MacKeeman’s thrilling dance style mixed with his great bluegrass vocals, Peter Cann’s powerful guitar solos, and the energetic multi-instrumental talents of Thomas Webb and Mark Geddes.

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys

Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Furthermore, dance along with Blackbeard’s Tea Party from England as they dazzled you with their unforgettable folk-rock extravaganza. The sound created from the combination of fiddles and squeezeboxes, guitar noise and synth bass, and a feast of international percussion will mesmerize you.

Blackbeards Tea Party from England

Blackbeards Tea Party from England

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino is an Italy’s representative, consists of a group of young performers re-inventing Southern Italy’s Pizzica musical and dance traditions for today’s global audience. Dakha Brakha is world-music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine create a world of unexpected new music with their sound and soul element.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, a group of young performers from Italy

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, a group of young performers from Italy

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Debademba is a duo formed by Abdoulaye Traore´ and Mohamed Diaby. The former is an exceptional acoustic and electric guitar performer that has mastered a wide range of African musical genres, while the latter has an extraordinary vocal capacity. Horomona Horo is a solo act from New Zealand. He has fused the traditional instruments of the Maori, taongapuoro (singing treasures) to create musical forms depicting their culture.

A group of street musicians from Tanzania who called themselves Jagwa Music surely captivate you with their music from the traditional and makeshift percussion and a battered vintage Casio. The two breathtakingly remarkable dancers and a lead vocalist are the front persons in the group. Their songs are mainly about survival in the urban maze, unfaithful lovers and voodoo.

Jagwa Music, a group of remarkable street musicians from Tanzania

Jagwa Music, a group of remarkable street musicians from Tanzania

Image credit to Rainforest World Music Festival Official Website

Other performers that you should look forward to are Jamie Smith’s Mabon from Wales, Kalakan from Spain, Karinthalakoottam from South India, Lo Còr de la plana from France, Stephan Micus from Germany and Son Yambu from Cuba.

Below is the showtimes taken from Rainforest World Music Festival website.

FRIDAY   20th June

TIME

THEATRE STAGE

JUNGLE STAGE

TREE STAGE

2.00 – 2.45 pm

TALAGO BUNI
(Indonesia)

3.30 – 4.15 pm

HOROMONA HORO
(New Zealand)

7.30 – 7.40 pm

SAPE & WARRIOR
(Sarawak)

7.40 – 8.15 pm

BISAYAH GONG ORCHESTRA
(Sarawak)

8.15 – 9.15 pm

KALAKAN
(Basque Country)

9.15 – 10.15 pm

SON YAMBU
(Cuba / UK)

10.15 – 11.15 pm

KARINTHALAKOOTTAM
(India)

11.15 pm  – 00.20 am

BLACKBEARD’S TEA PARTY
(England)

SATURDAY 21st June

TIME

THEATRE STAGE

JUNGLE STAGE

TREE STAGE

2.00 – 2.45 pm

DING YI MUSIC COMPANY
(Singapore)

3.30 – 4.15 pm

STEPHAN MICUS
(Germany)

7.30 – 8.30 pm

DAKHA BRAKHA
(Ukraine)

8.30 – 9.00  pm

YAYASAN WARISAN JOHOR ZAPIN GROUP
(Malaysia)

9.00 – 10.00 pm

JAMIE SMITH’S MABON
(Wales)

10.00 – 11. 00 pm

CANZONIERE GRECANICO SALENTINO
(Italy)

11.00 – 11.30 pm

NADING RHAPSODY (Sarawak)

11. 30 pm – 00.30 am

DEBADEMBA
(Burkina Faso/Ivory Coast/ France)

SUNDAY 22nd June

TIME

THEATRE STAGE

JUNGLE STAGE

TREE STAGE

2.00 – 2.45 pm

LAN E TUYANG
(Sarawak)

3.30 – 4.15 pm

RYUZ
(Japan)

7.30 – 8.15 pm

GENG WAK LONG
(Malaysia)

8.15 – 9.15 pm

LO COR DE LA PLANA
(France)

9.15 – 9.45 pm

BEDOK ENSEMBLE
(Sarawak)

9.45 – 10.45 pm

GORDIE MACKEEMAN & HIS RHYTHM BOYS
(Canada)

10.45 – 11.45 pm

JAGWA MUSIC
(Tanzania)

11.45 – 00.15 pm

FINALE
(The World)

Rainforest World Music Festival will be held at Sarawak Cultural Village on 20th to 22nd June 2014. Reserve a seat and we will see you there!

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The Fascinating Niah Caves in Miri, Sarawak

May 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Miri Sarawak, Sarawak

Niah Caves in Miri Sarawak

Most people had known about Niah as one of the birthplace of civilization. Modern human remains had been discovered in Niah, and it had become one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. There are plenty of human settlements found in the area such as cooking utensils and ornament made from bones, stone or clay. In 1958, it was gazetted as a National Historic Monument. A team led by Tom Harrisson, a curator of the Sarawak Museum at the time had unearthed a skull which was estimated to be 40,000 years old, and it was the evidence of human settlements there. Another discovery is the large burial site further into the cave that had been used from Palaeolithic times up to the year 1400 AD.

Main entrance of Niah Caves

Main entrance of Niah Caves

Image credit to Wikipedia.org


These archaeological findings were found in The Great Cave. While most of the early settlements were found here, The Painted Cave also holds great treasure. It houses detailed wall-paintings portraying the boat journey of the dead into the afterlife. These paintings were interpreted by the “death-ships” (boat-shaped coffins) on the cave floor.

The Great Cave can be reached by walking for about 3.5 km via the plank walk, and you get to view the dense rainforests from the ground. You may see some of the park’s wildlife, such as birds, squirrels, lizards, butterflies and uncommon insects. The first section of the cave that you will encounter is the Trader’s Cave, which is in fact an extended protruding rock, and not the actual cave. The cave got its name when the birds nest and guano traders conducted their business there in the past. Walking a few minutes later, you will be awed by the view of the West Mouth of The Great Cave, at over 60 metres high and 250 metres wide. The archaeological excavations can be seen clearly on the left side of the cave entrance.

The interior view of Niah Caves

The interior view of Niah Caves

Image credit to Sarawak Tourism Board

Voices of the guano collectors can be heard when you proceed into the cave. Moreover, you get to see local people collecting birds nest, or just the evidence of birds nest collecting which can be seen by the strategically placed bamboo poles and ironwood ladders. Although colleting the nest is a dangerous job, the risk is very rewarding, as the price for the best quality raw bird’s nests are worth over USD1,000 per kilogramme.

Walking through the passage at the back of The Great Cave, you will reach a large chamber known as Padang. Illuminated by the sunlight streaming down the large holes in the cave roof, you can see the bizarre rock formations in the Burnt Cave (Lubang Hangus). Another few minutes’ walk will take you to the dark passage of Gan Kira (Moon Cave), where you need to use the flashlight to see the extraordinary rock shapes and weathering effects.

After that, the plank walk leads to a short pathway under the sun which leads to the Painted Cave. You can see the painting of spread-eagle human figures, some of the animals and the longboats carrying the souls of the deceased with the help of dim light.

The archaeological site at The Painted Cave

The archaeological site at The Painted Cave

Image credit to Wikipedia.org

Niah Caves is just 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive from Miri or 2 hours’ drive from Bintulu. From Batu Niah, you can go to the Park Headquarters by car, motorised longboat or a stroll for about 45 minutes along the riverbank as it was just 3 km from Batu Niah.

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