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.

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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.

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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 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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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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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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Nasi Lemak oh Nasi Lemak! Teh Tarik satu lagi

November 18, 2015 by  
Filed under Best Kuching Eateries

I have always loved Nasi Lemak ever since I went to College to study in West Malaysia. It has always been most Malaysians staple morning breakfasts. Not only was it cheap back then but it was also very filling, with its sambal ( prawn paste), egg, anchovies, peanuts , cucumber and coconut rice of course all wrapped up in coconut leaves. Of course there are those pick and pay where you can have the choice of adding on curry chicken, or even fried chicken. We would eat our Nasi Lemak with a glass of Teh Tarik.

Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik

Sometimes, when nasi lemak sellers tried to cut corners then you know as then the taste is not original anymore.

Someone recommended a new food stall right here in Kuching at Top 10 Café, Jalan Song, Kuching, as being the best in town, and so I did not hesitate to go check it out, and here below is my review of their Nasi Lemak.

Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak

The Nasi Lemak was RM6.50 . It comes with prawn paste, coconut rice of course, peanuts, split and cleaned anchovies, cucumber, hard boiled egg and some curry chicken pieces.

Anchovies: Initially I was of course impressed with the anchovies, and I thought, Hey! No stalls or restaurants have ever used this smaller size anchovies and it is even split and cleaned. This smaller size anchovies actually cost more compared to the larger size anchovies. On top of that, it was also split and cleaned.

Egg: They only have hard boiled egg and not the fried eggs which may be to the preference of some people.

Prawn Paste: At first glance of the prawn paste ( sambal) , I instantly knew that the chillies had been blended using a machine instead of the traditional method of pounding the chillies which would take more time to prepare. As they used a blender to grind it, so the chillies became more refined, which means that you actually needed more chillies to make the same amount of prawn paste.  This is of course not to their advantage, as chillies are rather costly these days, but if time is of essence, then they could consider preparing the chillies ahead of time. Pounding it is still the best.

The taste of the prawn paste needs to be a bit sweet, spicy and salty. I am pleased to say that they fulfilled this criteria. Some nasi lemak seller put too much belacan ( dried prawn paste) into the mix causing it to be a bit salty. They must put some Tamarind juice and sugar into the prawn paste to give it that soury kick In your tongue and also an added sweetness for that oomph!

Curry Chicken: They gave a few pieces of cut chicken. It was all right, not too spicy, or else it would be fighting with the sambal prawn paste for your attention.

Verdict:

Portion: 7/10

Taste: 7/10

Value: 8.5 / 10

In conclusion, kudos to the owner for selling all Malaysians beloved Nasi Lemak, and I do hope they take notice of my review above. Keep going and let folks in Kuching have more variety of food for breakfasts.

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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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Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching

March 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Hotel Reviews, Sarawak

Grand Margherita Hotel, formerly known as Holiday Inn is the only riverfront hotel in Kuching with a view of the Sarawak River and the colourful villages across the river. It is situated at Golden Triangle of Kuching, with Tun Jugah Shopping Center, Sarawak Plaza, Hills Shopping Mall and Parkson Riverside Complex that are within walking distance. Walking down the external hotel steps, you can see the Cat Family Statue, the symbol of Kuching, across the road and the first McDonald restaurant in Kuching is also a plus.

Grand Margherita Hotel Map

Grand Margherita Hotel Map

Along the Waterfront, 2-minutes walk from the hotel, you get to see sampans in the river for people to get across the river to the other side. However, you can see the Astana and Fort Margherita from Waterfront without the need to hop on the boats. You can also walk to the Main Bazaar, where you can find most souvenirs sold with cheap prices. A five minutes’ walk south from the hotel, you can find Topspot Food Court located on the top level of a multi-level car park, a famous local seafood eatery and many restaurants can be found there.

Poolside at Grand Margherita Hotel overlooking the Sarawak River (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

Poolside at Grand Margherita Hotel overlooking the Sarawak River (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

The hotel has an outdoor pool, a health club and a children’s pool. The hotel also provides 24 hour room service, meeting rooms and playground. The hotel has a tour desk and if you want to visit the local beach and Sarawak Cultural Village, shuttle services to Damai and Santubong are available. Airport transfer service is also available, and for your information, the distance from the airport to the hotel takes about 20 to 30 minutes car ride.

Health room, one of the facilies available at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

Health room, one of the facilies available at Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

The hotel also features valet laundry, wedding service, banquet room, first aid assistance, safe deposit box, wakeup call service, currency exchange, dry cleaning service, security and walking area.

The Grand Margherita Hotel has several restaurants. Mei San Restaurant serves chinese cuisine for lunch and dinner, while Orchid Garden Coffee House, the hotel’s main restaurant for all-day dining, serves continental and local delicacies. All the food served at both restaurants are halal.


Delicious food served at one of Grand Margherita Hotel restaurant (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita facebook page)

Delicious food served at one of Grand Margherita Hotel restaurant (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita facebook page)

There are 288 guestrooms at Grand Margherita Hotel to offer you a comfortable stay. The features include complimentary high speed internet access, television with satellite channels, coffee/tea maker, complimentary bottle drinking water, mini bar, IDD telephone, private bathroom, in-room safe, iron and ironing board and many others. This hotel also offers special facilities for disabled person too.

Scenery of Sarawak River from the Riverview rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

Scenery of Sarawak River from the Riverview rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

For The Executive Club guestrooms, which is ideal for business traveller, the hotel provides complimentary high speed internet access, dedicated Club Services Assistant, executive lounge, conference room, computer with high speed internet access, complimentary buffet breakfast at Executive Club Lounge, complimentary coffee/tea and complimentary evening hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from 5pm to 7pm.

One of the Superior Deluxe rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

One of the Superior Deluxe rooms (photo courtesy of Grand Margherita Hotel)

With a choice of twin double beds or a King sized bed, guests can choose to have Deluxe, Superior, Executive or Junior Suite, of course with different prices.

If you are looking for a hotel to stay in Kuching, do not hesitate to book a room from this 4 star hotel and you will not be disappointed.

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Kuching, The Cat City – It is not just about cats

February 7, 2014 by  
Filed under General

Kuching is the capital of Sarawak. While it is a famous tourists destination, it also has a unique name. When Malaysians hear the name, the first thing that pops to their mind is cat. “Kucing” means cat and “Kuching” is the old spelling for it. Cat statues can be seen in the city mostly in the Golden Triangle of Kuching. Contrary to the belief that the city got its name from felines straying around the city, it is not how it got its name.

The Great White Cat Statue in Kuching dressed for Chinese New Year

The Great White Cat Statue in Kuching dressed for Chinese New Year

The city was called Kuching since James Brooke arrived and nobody knew when it started to be called that name. Some said that it was supposed to be “CoChin”, which means “harbor” in India. Merchants from India used to stay in Kuching on the way to China or on their way back home.

Other theory states that it was named after a tree, “pokok mata kucing” or “dragon’s eye fruit” (Euphoria longan) that could be seen on the riverside of Sungai Kuching. Another source said that the name Kuching was taken from the name of the river, Sungai Kuching, that used to exist between Chinese Museum and Tua Pek Kong. However, the river is no longer there as they have built the roads.

Sarawak was ruled by the Brookes or widely known as the Rajahs from 1841 to 1941. Throughout the years, lots of colonial building had been established.

Astana viewed from the Kuching Waterfront

Astana viewed from the Kuching Waterfront

Kuching has many interesting heritage for people to see. Historical buildings, built mostly along Sarawak River, have been revived by the Sarawak Heritage and Tourism Ministry. As most of them are popular tourists’ destinations, the buildings are well maintained. The Astana, once home for the White Rajahs of Sarawak is situated across from Kuching Waterfront. It can be viewed from Waterfront or you can hop on the sampan to take a close up view of Astana. Fort Margherita is also across the river and to go there from The Astana, you can walk there by passing the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building.

Brooke Memorial, situated in front of Old Kuching Courthouse

Brooke Memorial, situated in front of Old Kuching Courthouse

At the Waterfront, you can see the Square Tower, near the grand stand. Water fountains are situated in front of the tower and colourful lights illuminate the fountains at night emphasizing the features of the tower. From the tower, Brooke Memorial that is in front of the Old Kuching Courthouse can be seen across the road. It displays the silhouette of Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah of Sarawak. The Old Courthouse is now known as Sarawak Tourism Complex. It also houses Magenta Restaurant, the winner of The Most Innovative Fusion Restaurant by Tourism Malaysia in 2010. You can reach The Round Tower after a short walk north of the courthouse. Near the tower is the General Post Office building and The Pavilion which houses the Textile Museum.

General Post Office Building that was built in Kuching in 1931

General Post Office Building that was built in Kuching in 1931

Nowadays, Kuching is a popular tourists destination in Malaysia. People from Peninsula Malaysia often visit this city for holiday. Apart from shopping, places like Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Sarawak Cultural Village and Jong’s Crocodile Farm may be another few favourite stop for these tourists.

Having said that, after the city tour of Kuching, if you are into nature and adventure, your main stop would be Bako National Park. If you are into culture, your favourite stop would be Sarawak Cultural Village.

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Santubong Homestay Hari Raya Gathering, an upcoming signature product for Sarawak

September 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Sarawak

Perfomers

Perfomers

The State and Federal Ministry of Tourism together with Santubong Homestay, had organized a Hari Raya Gathering to bring together homestay operators and tourism agencies on the 24 August 2013.  The gathering was also organized to allow homestay operators to promote their products and also to forge a network together with tourism companies and agencies that were present together in that time.
The organization of Sarawak Homestay Operators was officially launched on 25 August 2012 and the objective of the founding was to guide the homestay operators to increase their quality, quantity and also their exposure. Up to now, there are more than 30 villages and longhouses in Sarawak that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism.
time schedule

event time schedule

During the Hari Raya Gathering, other than the handicrafts which were displayed at the entrance, there are also various performances such as a comedy skit, a skit on the Malay wedding ceremony, a ceremony on the cutting of Hari Raya pulut, and other performance art such as dances, singing and Sarawakian Malay Gendang. The main objective of the gathering was to promote the organization and the event will be broadcast on the internet ie YouTube, Facebook and various other social media platform, and also in different languages. The product will be made a signature product for the homestay organization.
Malay wedding gown red

Malay wedding gown red

wedding gown Malay

white Malay wedding gown

Malay wedding gown black

Malay wedding gown black

Malay wedding gown red top

Malay wedding gown red

This year, the operators of Homestay in Sarawak are expected to have an increase in income. This is following the federal government allocation of RM5.6 million into the upgrading of homestay facilities in the state.
One of the emphases made during the event was the security and hygiene of each homestay to prevent unwanted incidents. Besides that, homestay operators are also encouraged to keep records of their guest to make things easier for the homestay operator and the guest. This is to allow tourists who plan to stay at the homestay to feel safe and secure thus allowing the homestay to be rated and gain more customers in the future. Tourists of various nationalities attended the event. They are from Africa, Korean, Australian, UK, Canada, Philippines, Bangladesh etc.
Homestay operators in Sarawak are expected to do better this year. With an income amounting to 1 million by 28 homestays last year, the income generated this year would hopefully be bigger with the help of the federal government in funding the upgrading of their facilities.
Malay wedding ceremony

Malay wedding ceremony

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Let’s Tee Off With MASwings Special Promo Fare

April 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Offer

Let’s 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!

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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!

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You may start your booking now as seats are limited and travel any time before the end of July 2013!

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maswings-let-us-tee-off-1

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