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Tuesday 29 May 2012

BORNEO-BOUND : Lush natural wonders. Rich culture. Warm locals. The allure of Borneo is endless.


Beautiful sunset at the
Kuching Waterfront
The cleanest city in Malaysia, Kuching impresses with wonderful sights, sounds, sips and savouries from museums to forts, eateries to cultural centres. It’s a pleasant city to walk about and soak in all the sights. Pay special attention to the colonial buildings, some of which are the legacy of the Brooke family, for instance the Fort Margherita and The Astana which is currently the residence of the head of state. The city’s newest five-star brand, Pullman Kuching which stands proud atop a hill at Jalan Mathies, makes for a wonderful stay in the city. Last but not least, don’t forget to watch the spectacular sunset from the Kuching Waterfront.

With evidence that the cave was used for burial between 1,500 and 3,000 years ago, the razor-edged Mulu mountain embraces one of the largest limestone caves in the world.  The Gunung Mulu National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a great place to explore the caves, jungles, rivers and waterfalls. The Sarawak Chamber is the world’s largest cave at 700 metres long, 400 metres wide and 70 metres high, while the Clearwater Cave is over 100 kilometres long with one of the world’s largest underground river systems. Another must-see is the great bat exodus when millions of the winged creatures leave the caves en masse at dusk.

Sarawak Longhouse
The grounds of the Sarawak Cultural Village transforms into a festival site every July when the Rainforest World Music Festival happens.  Since 1997, the three-day music fest of performances and workshops brings together international and indigenous musicians as well as music lovers from every corner of the world. Tickets are often booked way in advance because this is a truly unique festival that has received rave reviews from the international media. Here at the cultural village, you too will be able to experience and see the lifestyle of local ethnic tribes such as the Iban, Penan, Bidayuh, Melanau and Orang Ulu.

The famous Laksa Sarawak
Sarawak, being a multi-ethnic state, has plenty of good grub to offer. While the popularity of Laksa Sarawak cannot be denied, there are other foodstuffs from the land of the hornbills that will impress with their unique flavours.  Umai, the raw fish salad with chilli loved by most Sarawakians can usually be found at mixed rice eateries. Other much-loved dishes are the Nasi Aruk, Kolo Mee and Kek Lapis
Sarawak. The dizzying tuak, a type of homebrewed local wine made from rice or sago, also deserves a mention as a must-try alongside the Iban whisky or langkau.

Lamin Dana, the Melanau
traditional tall house in Mukah

Experience authentic Melanau living at Lamin Dana in Mukah, a unique cultural homestay resort and living museum managed by Diana Rose who is very passionate about her Melanau roots. Dedicated to the preservation of Melanau culture, music, handicraft, dance and food, Lamin Dana offers a lovely experience of staying in an authentic Melanau tall house, meeting the locals, understanding the importance of sago to the Melanau and witnessing how this palm product is obtained.  And by the way, if you’ve ever wanted to go on a mangrove safari, this would be the spot.

As published in The Well | TRAVEL May 2012

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Rantau Kemiding Homestay Program, Kanowit

Rh Benjamin Angki, Rantau Kemiding was built in 1936 and located 4km from Kanowit town. Accessible by road and river transport. There are 64 doors or families stay in this longhouse which 53 make up the longhouse proper. Population in this longhouse is 409 people which 216 are females. This longhouse is the 2nd Homestay Program operator approved by Ministry of Tourism Malaysia. There are 14 trained homestay operators from this longhouse.

The Homestay Program offers comfortable and clean accommodations,  daily “longhouse style” breakfast and email access for international visitors and their families. This longhouse is located at the riverbank of Kanowit river and it has all public facilities, which include internet facilities.

How to get there
Located 118km from Sibu town area. Visitors have few choices to go to Kanowit; either by bus (RM8 per person one way) / Taxi (RM50 per taxi one way) or by expressboat (RM8 per person  for one way). From Kanowit town to Rh Benjamin Angki you can hop on the local van.

Indoor activities at this longhouse are very much similar with other longhouses where tourist will be invited to join their “family” routine activities such as go to the farm, repair the fishing net, etc. Other than that you will also have the opportunity to try making your own rice wine, cook the traditional food in bamboo (manok pansuh), fried your own “kuih jala” or “penyaram”. They will also offer you the traditional Iban dance, Ngajat session. Don’t be surprise that your instructors would be the primary school students….
Fishing is one of the activities at the homestay program. If you enjoy fishing, then you can ask for the fishing rod from your “family”.  They will teach you how to use the tradition fishing rod.  Else you join the jungle trekking. Wear a proper attire like cap, long sleeve shirt, shoes and bring your own drinking water. The trekking will take you at least 45 minute to 1 hour.
Staying at the Trang Lodge
Visitors can choose to stay at the one and only chalet they have, located just in front of the longhouse, with 2 rooms and air-cond facility.

Fort Emma
Located in Kanowit town and only 5 minute drive from the longhouse. Fort Emma was built by the White Rajah and is one of the historical place in Kanowit. For more information on Kanowit, visit Historical Gallery which located on the ground floor of the building. For those who want to check their email they can do so at the 1st floor.

St Francis Xavier Church
The oldest Church in Kanowit. Located along the way from the longhouse to Kanowit town.

Tut-Tut Boat tour
Famous water transport from Kanowit town to SMK Sedaya for the local. It cost you less than RM2 per person for the short trip.

Kampung Sg Bedil
Located 10 minute away by boat from Kanowit town. Bedil means Canon. This Canon is given by the white Rajah to remark the peacemaking among the local community during Rajah era. You still can see the canon in this village.

Daily Package
  • Welcoming drinks
  • Cultural dance
  • Foods and drinks
  • Longhouse tour & story sharing session
  • Entrance fees.
Package 2 DAYS 1 NIGHT
Day 1
  • Welcoming drinks
  • Cultural dance
  • Accommodation
  • Foods and drinks
  • Longhouse tour & story sharing session
  • Trekking
  • Entrance fees
Day 2
  • Blowpipe demonstration
  • Handicraft making
  • Indoor traditional games
Optional Activities
(Can be arranged upon request)
  • Fishing safari
  • Rubber tapping & processing the rubber
  • River cruise by local boat
  • Ranyai and betaboh session
  • Try yourself Iban traditional costume
For more information please contact:
Tuai Rumah Benjamin Angki
C/O Rh Benjamin Angki, Rantau Kemiding, 96700 Kanowit
Tel/Fax : 084 -753576 / 013-8823076