Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Trip to Kuching, Sarawak

As the saying goes "Taking a break is for accomplishing a longer journey."  In conjunction with the promotion of 2 ways ticket offered by Airasia at only RM100++, we decided to have a week of holiday to Sarawak after working hard for several months. This MUST-WATCH-VIDEO summarizes 80% of our Sarawak journey (done by my boyfie so of course you can't see his face inside haiya!...but because of this video, I'm so surprise, motivated & exciting to update my blog without further ado. Please watch at the best quality 720HD if possible :)

Seriously, please take a tour package if you want to be introduced or recommended to the highlighted foods and places there. You wouldn't get to find some nice foods if you don't find Sarawakian. We enjoyed the trip arranged by Kuching Tour Buddy very much. Thanks to our very nice homestay, Planet Borneo Lodge too!

At the opposite of old street Kuching, Riverside is considered a place bustling with the noise of visitors and local people. We took one-hour-journey-boat to see the sunset and the scenery there. To be honest, Melaka river has more things to see as compared to this riverside but overall it is not a bad choice though since we, or perhaps you have not much time to visit ALL the places when you step there for trip.

At a point of Riverside, there is a Chinese History Museum. All the Sarawak museums are free entrance. This Museum is well invested and maintained, I would say it is the best Chinese museum so far. You shall pay a visit there, it wouldn't take you a long time. The popular and the most Chinese dialect there is Teochew (潮州), followed by Hokkien (福建) & Hakka (客家). Other small groups are Hokchew (福州), Hinghwa (兴化), Chaoan/Hainan (海南), Cantonese (广东), etc. 

Most of the Teochew-ian are engaged in mini market and spices business; most Hakka-ian are in traditional/chinese medication business; most Chaoan/Hainan-ian are in kopitiam business, most Hinghwa are in repair service line such as bicycle, motor vehicle and ship; (Hokkien I forget already); Cantonese is consider a very small group in Sarawak, most of them are teachers or engaged in cookies or baking business line.

Thanks to 万豪 brother & his wife, 世林 sister for bringing us around the old street and telling us the stories behind. It was indeed a rare opportunities to have people like them introducing the old street to us. For our knowledge, the size of the shops there are different even though they're attached side by side. You may find a shop very long in size however the shop beside is few feet long only! As you can see at the photo below, the white square building is actually a government general hospital. The old people there don't say "hospital", instead they call it "square building" (四房楼). If they mention that they want to go square building, you should know where you need to bring them to! :)

For your information, we can hardly find Indian there. Their population does not exceed 5,000 people in the whole Sarawak. Can you imagine how little is that (since Sarawak is the biggest state in Malaysia)? India street (印度街) is where you can see most of the Indian.

I know what most of us concern the most is the must-eat-food-there haha! We ate 85% of the food recommended by the Sarawak Food Guide brochure. Let me introduce to you some of the foods that you must try if you visit Sawarak:
1. Kueh Chap. It looks like the kuey-teow here but it is thinner and bigger. The stall selling Kueh Chap that you must try is located at the Carpenter Street (亚达街). It is the most popular Kueh Chap stall that people would go.

2. Kolok Mee. Kolok Mee is originally from Cantonese people, kon-lou-mee (干捞面). It looks like the white wantan mee. The kolok mee stall that you must visit is Kim Joo (裕锦) situated at old street. Please do not go at around the lunch time as you would find a lot of people queuing for the kolok mee.

3. The Sarawak layer cake, aka kek lapis Sarawak. There are a lot of patterns of layer cake you can get over there. We bought our layer cake at the famous Mira House (also the layer cake supplier of many small businesses) @ RM10 each. If you are interested, this is the address : No 44A, Kampung Boyan, 93050, Petra Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

4. Manok Pansoh. In other words, chicken in bamboo. It is the Iban dish. I do not know where else you can find this dish but we ate the Manok Pansoh inside the Sarawak Cultural Village.

5. Some other recommended foods include : Kampua (I like it better than kolok mee), belacan meehoon (strong in belacan, we don't quite like it), sio-bi (shaomai 烧卖, quite different taste from here), tomato kuey teow (recommended but we couldn't find), mee Jawa (taste like mee rebus here), gubak mee (beef noodles, we didn't try), Sarawak laksa (not bad).

6. Lastly, the biscuit that you MUST try is the Kompyang (光饼) at Song Kheng Hai hawker centre. Sorry to the Muslims, the fillings inside is the char-siew. Noooooo mann finger licking!! I would have taken at least two pieces if I weren't full at that time.

Just a little reminder, if you like the oyster omelette (蚝煎) here, try not to order the oyster omelette there. Very different taste, thick in corn starch (粟粉) with little egg. All of us don't like it.

Usually the tour package wouldn't bring you to the Fairy Cave, instead they introduce the visitors to Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Due to the very long distance, we didn't pay a visit there. Fairy Cave is named due to the fairy stone found inside the cave. Bring your partner to climb any cave or hill if you want to know whether he can take care of you or whether he minds about the dirty he gets or you get after exploring. This is true trust me haha.

Sarawak Cultural Village (aka Kampung Budaya Sarawak) is my most favourite visit place in Sarawak. It is situated at Damai, near the Santubong hill. The entrance fee is quite pricey but very worth (I don't know how much because I didn't pay haha!), but please bring along your student ID card if you are still a student as it costs only half of the adult price. All of the visitors will be introduced to the 7 nations of Sarawak with the real life demonstration of houses as well as the performances shown in the theatre room. The 7 nations are : Bidayuh, Iban, Melanau, Ulu, Penan, Malay and Chinese.
Like what you can see on the wood board, Rainforest World Music Festival is a 3-day musical festival that celebrates the diversity of world music in the rainforest of Sarawak Cultural Village. The performers and the fans flock around the world to participate in this musical workshops and evening concerts. It will be held in August every year and the ticket is fast selling. So, August is the bustle month of Sarawak.

In front of the theatre attaching a poster showing the greeting language of the 7 nations :
Bidayuh — Anih Agah?
Iban — Nama Berita?
Melanau — Inou Dengah?
Ulu — Nu Denge?
Penan — Enou Rengeh?
Malay — Apa Khabar?
Chinese — Ni Hao Ma?

The cultural performance is the first spot of the cultural village. There are only 2 showtimes daily, ie. 10.30am and 4.00pm (or 4.30pm I forget). The timing is just so nice as by the time we reached there, the show was about to start. At the right hand side of the photo, the dancer is an Ulu nation (aka Orang Ulu) who is also a real professional performer. We kept looking at his bottom part, it is not about pervert or what but all of the audiences were wondering whether or not he wore any pant! To our findings, the Ulu nation in the early years doesn't wear underwear but the cloth can just cover the part so perfectly (only front and back) that we couldn't see his private part. Claps!! :)
The performance is about 40mins long. This is the show that you must not miss out before visiting around the village. At the end of the show, we were invited up to the stage dancing together with the performers.
Most of the long houses are built in high level. 

Among the 7 nations, Ulu nation is the smallest group while Iban nation claims the largest population. Just for your extra knowledge, there is a cloth of Iban nation called Pua Kumbu. It is a traditional patterned cotton cloth woven by the Iban women. The Iban girls have to learn to weave the Pua Kumbu from their mother since small. Until the time when they are able to weave the Pua Kumbu completely & successfully without any guide from the mother, it means that they are ready to marry. The mother will only then find a partner for their daughter.

However, same for the Iban men. Before they can marry, they must go out to hunt & chop a head of other nation and bring back the head. This signifies that they have grown up and be a hero. This is also a way to reduce the population of other nations in the early years. The Pua Kumbu will then be used to wrap the head chopped by the Iban men. Also, Pua Kumbu is considered as a sacred object of Iban, it will be used for life-cycle rituals and special events including the birth of a child and the coming of age celebrations. Not to terrify you, but this is the real skull after few centuries (the head chopped by the Ibans).
Back to the Ulu nations, they are well known for its detailed art (including music and the musical instruments). The background music in the video above is played by Sape, a traditional musical instrument of Ulu nation (as illustrated on the left side of the photo, costs around RM500 each). The music is very different from the Bali style. Very peaceful :)

I'm very satisfy with this trip and I would recommend people to visit Sarawak if they wish to travel in Malaysia. With this, I end my post with the photos of us.

My all time guardian


Mr Lonely said...

well, i'm looking forward to go sarawak one day too~ hehe
the bone was quite scary~

Pei Qin said...

Yesterday tv recommended fish porridge in Carpenter Street (same stall as Kueh Chap). Happy enjoying your holiday! :)

Mrs said...

Look forward to visiting kuching too... But I guess I am way too chicken, scared to leave west Malaysia

Pazuzu said...

Kuching is a beautiful place. Hope you will come again for more nature adventure.


Pei Qin said...

Mrs, travel with a group of people! Kuching is a nice place to visit and explore! :D

Pazuzu, sure, I will go again if I were given the chance :)