Meritin Hotel, your Perfect Abode in Kuching

December 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Hotel Reviews

If you are planning to discover Kuching and staying at the heart of the city, Meritin Hotel is the place for you!

Photo credit to Agoda

The newly constructed Meritin Hotel is located within the “Golden Triangle” on Padungan Street. You could not miss it as it is the only tall building there and it clearly outshines the other buildings at either side of it. Its architectural design weaves together Asian elegance with modern layout.

The hotel is located right smack in the centre of the city for business, leisure or shopping.

The hotel logo is symbolic of the Chinese character “??” which means “People”. They intend to deliver the best experience to every person, every reservation, every time.

You could spend a day cycling around the city along Padungan Street, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and The Main Bazaar just to take in the daily life of Kuching city and the people in Kuching. You could also opt to take a sampan across the Sarawak River to visit the State Legislative Assembly (DUN Complex), Fort Margherita, The Astana, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk around traditional villages and colonial shops dating as far back as 1900s.

The hotel is just steps away from supermarkets, currency exchange and popular eateries. The popular eateries serve a wide selection of seafood and local delicacies such as Top Spot Seafood Centre, Pork Noodles (Noodle Descendants), Dim Sum (Hong Kong Noodle House) and traditional coffee shops that brew local coffee. There are also hawker stalls that serve local specialties such as Laksa, Ayam Penyet, Nasi Lemak, Mee Jawa, and more good food.

If you feel like having Western gourmet instead, there is a Western restaurant called Tom’s Steak House that is ready to serve you with menus like steaks and wine as well as providing local gracious hospitality, while cafes such as Bing! Café and Life Café, can serve you freshly brewed coffee, delightful sandwiches and light meals.

There is a total of 65 rooms in the hotel and are furnished with fine 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.

Meritin Hotel Cafeteria

Meritin Hotel Cafeteria

Meritin Hotel Cafeteria

Here are some of the facilities provided by Meritin Hotel:

  • Free high speed internet WIFI
  • 32? and 40? LED flat-screen TV
  • 1 IDD enabled LCD telephone
  • Satellite/cable channels
  • Complimentary drinking water
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Mini fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Safety deposit box
  • Room slippers

The free Wi-Fi is accessible in all public areas. Transport is easily available via GrabCar mobile apps.

Here are the types of room that the hotel offers:

  1. Standard Room

Standard Room

There are only 4 Standard Rooms in the hotel and it is the most popular among backpackers. The standard room is 20 sq. metres wide and comes with 1 queen bed without windows.

  1. Studio Room

Studio Room

This room is highly picked by solo traveller and there are 8 Studio Rooms available as of now. The rooms are 15 sq. metres wide, come with 1 queen bed and face either the street or the rear of the building. The soundproof floor-to-ceiling-windows ensure a good night’s sleep after a long day exploring the vibrant atmosphere of Kuching.

  1. Superior Room

Superior Room

There are 40 Superior Rooms and this room is a target for people who are travelling in groups. The superior rooms are 23 sq. metres wide and come in two types; 1 queen bed or twin single beds. The rooms are all inspired by classical elegance and are more spacious than Studio rooms. The combination of extra space and modern facilities ensure a perfect stay, no matter if you are on holiday or a weekend break. Almost all the rooms face the city centre and are soundproof from the floor-to-ceiling-windows.

  1. Premier Room

Premier Room

There are 10 Premier Rooms in the hotel. The rooms are 23 sq. metres wide. There two types of beds for the rooms; King bed or Queen bed. You get nice city view from the windows.

  1. Family Room

Family Room

The rooms are 23 sq. metres wide and come with twin double beds, as well as a view of the city from the windows. Perfect for travellers with families.

  1. Executive Suite

Executive Suite or Meritin Suite

There are only 2 suites in the hotel. The rooms are 38 sq. metres and 50 sq. metres respectively and have a sofa as well as big LCD TVs being provided. You can sleep comfortably on the King beds and enjoy the city view from the window.

All of the rooms are non-smoking rooms. The hotel support local talented artists and photographers as you could see the paintings or photographs framed up tastefully in each room.

Transport services are within easy reach of phone call or just mobile apps; taxi, Uber and GrabCar.

The hotel is also in the process of upgrading their service and facilities, so expect a gym and a mini bar being provided to the guests soon.

Mini gym coming soon!

For more information, visit their website at The Meritin Hotel or contact them at 082-550 800 for bookings.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Pine Garden Hotel, your choice for affordable stay in Kuching

November 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Hotel Reviews

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.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

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

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under 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.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Kembayau fruit, Cousin of Dabai found only in Borneo

March 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

Kembayau Fruit

Kembayau Fruit

Kembayau is a fruit found in Borneo and are cousins to dabai-local olives found mostly in Borneo Sarawak.
Although the colour of the skin of both fruits are black, there is a subtle difference between these two fruits-whereby the dabai’s flesh is thicker, more milky and delicious in taste. As for Kembayaus, the flesh is much thinner and sour in taste and they are less popular. In fact, I have never heard of it until recently.

In Sarawak, Kembayaus are less popular because they seldom appear in market as their supply is scarce and are quickly grabbed by customers, if sold in market. Kembayaus are sold cheaper compared to Dabai’s due to the latter’s popularity and good taste.

Dabais are more expensive and are sold between RM18 to RM20 per kilogramme while Kembayaus are sold between RM8 to RM10 per kilogramme.

Usually Kembayaus are the last fruit to appear and is an indication that the season for dabai and other local seasonal fruits are over. With the existence of Kembayaus sold in markets, it would meant that dabai would not be around until the next season.

The method to prepare them is simple, after we have cleaned the fruit, it will be soaked in a container of warm water until it is soft. Water is then poured away and it will be mixed with salt or soya bean sauce and ready to eat.
  • Share/Save/Bookmark

An Italian’s 21 Days Adventure in Borneo on Motorcross

August 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Road Less Travelled

In line with the launch of cheap, affordable MASwings Adventure Packages, one of the largest travel agency in Italy, AVVENTURE NEL MONDO has organised their first motor cross riding in Borneo on 10 August 2009. The group comprises of 16 persons, with 10 riders and the other 6 persons being from the media in Italy. Their 21 days tour aptly named “Borneo Raid 2009” started from Kuching, Sarawak into the heart of Borneo and will end in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Avventure Nel Mondo Group in Miri Marriott Hotel

Avventure Nel Mondo Group in Miri Marriott Hotel

The tour leader, Mr Vittorio Kulczycki, who is also the Managing Director of the Italian tour company stated that even though this is his first trip to Sarawak, but he knows very well about Sarawak as all tour leaders who had led a trip to Malaysia were required to write a detailed report of how their trip went. Their company even has a library and various departments to stock information about various places around the world.

This group belongs to a club where members go motorbike crossing the world. Even as the group is on motorbike crossing in Borneo island with the distance covered being around 4000km, there are 2 other groups doing motorbike crossing in South Africa and another 2 such adventure groups in South America with the distance covered being 6000-7000 kms.

The group’s destinations are:

10th Aug – From Kuching city to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Park to see the feeding of the wild orang utans. Then proceed to Lemanak Iban Longhouse. The bike will reach across the river of the Longhouse. Traditional dances and gong music were performed during the evening and the group stayed overnight there.

11th Aug – Head off to Sibu. In the evening, visit the night market and the Pagoda temple, Pulau Babi wharf etc.

12th Aug – Flag off to Bintulu before proceeding to Similijau National park. Overnight at the Park Chalet and BBQ with camp fire at the beach.

13th Aug – From Sibu enroute to Long Bedian Kayan longhouse. Stop at Long Lama town for lunch. Then continue journey to Long Bedian and overnight at the longhouse and be entertained by Kayan traditional dances.

14th Aug – Head towards Tenjok Rimba Forest Reserve. Checked in at the chalet and go trekking . There is a nice river, “Tenyok river ” beside the chalet and 7 waterfalls. Then night walk to look for nocturnal animals.

15th Aug – Flag off to Long Seang Penan settlement which would take 2 hours of riding through the logging road. The group would then trek with the Penan guide into the forest looking for the nomadic tribe ” The Penan” and return late in the afternoon to Tenyok Rimba Forest Reserve.

16th Aug- Trek to Bukit Song and ended up at Hornbill waterfall where the group would be able to see many hornbills and return late in the afternoon to Tenyok Rimba Forest Reserve.

17th Aug – Flag off to Long Terawan longhouse to catch the longboat to Mulu National Park. Then take the plankwalk to visit Deer and Lang’s Cave and wait for the evening bat flight and return late in the afternoon to Park HQ

18th Aug: Go by boat to the source of the clearwater River. Visit Wind and Clearwater Cave Then return to park HQ and take the canopy walk (the longest in the world)

19th Aug – By boat to Long Terawan and then by bike to Miri.

20st Aug -Drive to Brunei for city tour in the afternoon by motorbike. Then head off to Limbang.

21nd Aug – Ride to Kota Kinabalu ( 7-8 hrs) and stop at Beaufort. Then overnight at Kota Kinabalu.

22rd Aug – Head to Kinabalu Park and take the nature trail and in the afternoon. Visit Poring Hot Spring.

23th Aug – Head to Sandakan to visit Sepilok Orang Utan centre to see the feeding of the wild orang utans in the afternoon and stayed overnight at Sepilok Jungle Resort.

24th Aug – Depart to Sukau and check in at Bilit lodge and go for cruise in the evening to see the Proboscis monkey and other wildlife animals.

25th Aug – Head to Semporna and overnight there.

26th Aug – Proceed to Mabul island.

27th Aug – Return to Semporna and head off to Maliau base camp and overnight there.

Observation Tower at Maliau Basin

Observation Tower at Maliau Basin

28th Aug – Head back to Kota Kinabalu stopping at Keningau for lunch. Proceed to Kota Kinabalu.

29th Aug – Free leisure .

30th Aug – Group depart to Kuala Lumpur at 6.50 pm.

This trip will expose the group to the various culture of Sarawak and Sabah as well as the uniqueness of Borneo island and the various flora and fauna, caves and mountain that can only be found here. Once they have completed their 21 days journey, they will depart back to Italy on 30 August 2009 and ship back their motorbikes by cargo. This will be the first of many future motorcross riding from Sarawak to Sabah.

I am sure they will bring back with them many exciting, adventurous and fond memories of Borneo Island.

Check out their article report in their Italian Motorcross magazine here:

Read here >>

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Amazing Mulu Caves, Sarawak

August 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Road Less Travelled

Below is an Honest Unbiased view of Mulu Caves

These magnificent caves are the main attraction in northern Sarawak, a Malaysian state in Borneo. The caves, nestled deep in the thick tropical jungle, were discovered by chance in the 1970’s by a local hunter. They boast the world’s largest cave passage, the world’s largest natural chamber and the longest cave in Southeast Asia. With its rich diversity of flora and fauna and the world famous caves, the Mulu National Park offers visitors an exhilarating jungle and cave experience that is unrivalled.

Four caves are open to the public. The walk from the park headquarters takes visitors over elevated planks through the jungle, allowing visitors a fantastic view of this dark green world. The first cave is Lang’s Cave, a breathtaking cave with amazing stalactite formations. Then there’s the Wind Cave, known for its cool breeze and strange calcite formations. A short distance away is the Clearwater Cave, an impressive cave that is reputed to be Southeast Asia’s longest (with 107 kilometers of passages). The cave derives its name from the crystal-clear water of the river that runs through it; with a diameter of up to 30 meters, this is one of the largest underground river passages known. The most awesome of the four caves is undoubtedly Deer Cave. The immense dimensions of this cave is difficult to describe or to film. With a length of 2 kilometers, a width of 170 meters and a height of 120 meters, this is the largest cave passage in the world. It is an awe-inspiring experience to walk through the cave from one end to another. The cave is so enormous, it houses its own little eco-system replete with hills, valleys, creeks, forests and swamps. The cave is also home to millions of bats who fly out in a single stream each day at 6pm in search of food; a spectacular sight that lasts about an hour from head to tail!

If you do plan a visit to this park, the easiest way to get there is a short 20-minute flight from the town of Miri. The best part about the flight is if weather permits, the pilot obliges the passengers with a low swoop over the stunning Pinnacles, a series of jagged limestone spikes, some 45 meters tall, that protrude majestically from the flanks of Mount Api. A truly amazing sight!

http://velvetescape.com/

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Unforgettable Journey into Mystical Borneo on RV Orient Pandaw Cruise

July 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Other Cities

I recently had the priviledge to go on board of RV Orient Pandaw, a cruising boutique hotel even before the launching of its maiden journey on 1 July 2009. I was given a tour of the cruise ship by its Hotel Director, Mr Alexander Scheible. The RV Orient Pandaw is the newest addition to the Pandaw fleet family. It is now based in Borneo on the Rajang River. Like its other siblings, it exudes a traditional colonial style perfect for tropical locations.

RV orient Pandaw Cruise docking in Sibu

RV orient Pandaw Cruise docking in Sibu

Irrawaddy Flotilla Company was founded in 1865. By 1920s, it was the largest privately owned fleet of ships in the world. In 1942, over 650 vessels were sunk in an act of denial and protest when the Japanese invaded Burma. Its largest vessel was licensed to carry 4000 deck passengers.

In 1995, the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company was revived by Mr Paul Strachan. He acquired the Pandaw cruise ship which is over 50 years old and re-fitted her. They tried to conserve as many original features as they could. Later, they built larger vessels with better design and efficiency. The newest addition being the RV Orient Pandaw is now cruising along the Sarawak river.

Its 28 guestrooms are also known as staterooms of 170 swq ft. They are finished in hardwood with brass fittings. All accomodation is air-conditioned. Its bathrooms are fitted with shower and toilet with wooden cover. Each room has a mini safe for guests safe-keeping. All staterooms open out on to a promenade deck with private outside seating.

Like the staterooms, the public areas are beautifully designed with their almost Somerset Maughan quality. A small spa and fitness area are available too. Other facilities include a mini-safe, minibar, DVD on demand, room service and wifi.

Chefs prepare a fusion of spicy Asian and Western food on board and produce is sourced locally including tropical fruits like pineapple from Sarikei, vegetables from the Sibu market and the fresh river fishes from Rajang River. Breakfasts and lunches are a simple buffet. Dinner is a sit down dining. The single sitting dining room offers a mix of European and Asian influences. There is a cocktail bar on the large observation deck and a sitting room with a lecture theatre on the lower deck.

The Cruise

What differentiates this cruise ship from others is their services. There are 30 crews on board and each crew takes care of 2 passengers. The maximum passengers allowed on board are 60 passengers. So that ensures that each passenger is very well taken care of. This cruise ship is different in that its main focus is to allow its passengers to relax, and enjoy the surrounding scenery as the ship cruise along the Rajang River.

They do not focus on giving their passengers occupied with many activities. There are no karaoke sessions, no swimming pool and no activities on board. The ship’s main aim is to let the passengers relax on board, read a book and enjoy the sun. There are complimentary coffee, tea and mineral water available all day. In addition, there is a free bar throughout the cruise offering local spirits and cocktails free of charge.

What the Borneo river cruise focus on is to let the passengers explore the jungle and see all the wild animals and plants that grew deep inland.

Passengers are welcomed to join the escorted shore excursions, do their own thing or just stay on board, relax and read a book. Though there is space for those who seek silence, a Pandaw cruise can also be a convivial experience with a group of like-minded travellers exploring a little known country in the charming and historic atmosphere of a Pandaw. Schedules for at least once, if not twice a day, there are excursions into timeless villages and small towns and return home relaxed with an unforgettable experience on board RV Pandaw Cruise of Sarawak.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Colin’s Honest View on Borneo

June 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Road Less Travelled

Here is Colin from London, England being interviewed by me at Simuti Longhouse, Borneo Highland, Sarawak.

  • Share/Save/Bookmark

Ms Talent of World Harvest Festival 2009

May 18, 2009 by  
Filed under General

15 Finalists of Ethnic Beauty Pageant Ms Fair and Lovely World Harvest Festival 2009 vied for the subsidiary title Ms Talent World Harvest Festival 2009 held at Sarawak Tourism Complex on the 2 May 2009. The title went to Ms Atiqah Nur Fatma Nor. Ms. Atiqah won rm1,000 cash, a sash, a trophy and a bouquet. She is 18 years old and is a part time sales girl. She is finalist no. 12 in the webpage below.

Tickets to the 2009 Ms Fair and Lovely World Harvest Festival to be held on 23rd and 24th May 2009 are already on sale and can be obtained from Sarawak Cultural Village. Go check them out and vote your favoured ethnic Beauty Queen.

Check out their PHOTOS here >>

  • Share/Save/Bookmark