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Tuesday 17 December 2013

Popular local food outlets in downtown Kuching | Padungan Road

You will read about the 'famous' Kuching street foods as well as modern ones, all within walking distance of the inner city where most visitors would be staying.

Thanis Lim, a well-known food blogger from Brunei has produced this comprehensive guide, useful for even locals who are fresh out of ideas of where to eat. And he has even inserted a location map for each outlet. Howzat for the flash-packer in you!? Very friendly!

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo Local food sarawak laksa
The iconic Sarawak Laksa

Sarawak mee kolok served with slivers of beef
The iconic Sarawak 'kolok mee' - available halal and non-halal version

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo... where adventures lives

Friday 29 November 2013

A day trip to Sri Aman for Tidal Bore Festival 2013 (Pesta Benak)

There were four of us in a group attending this annual festival in Sri Aman. The tidal bore is one of Sarawak's natural phenomenon which the locals call it 'Benak'.

We started our journey from Kuching at around 8.30am, stopped over at Serian for breakfast. From there, we travelled another 150 km on sealed road with beautiful countryside and longhouses along the way to reach 'Pekan' (bazaar) Lachau.  'Pekan' Lachau is known locally as a 'Cowboy Bazaar'.  Lachau Bazaar Market is always interesting as you can find fresh jungle produce sold by the Iban women, as well as local crafts and fresh river fish.  We had lunch at one of the Chinese coffee shops located next to the market. Great food we might add!

Picture combo of local native market scenes at Lachau Bazaar | Kuching Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

Moving further toward Sri Aman Town, we visited the Mount Hosanna Chapel or they called it the healing church.  There are 100 over steps up that you need to climb to reach the chapel. Mount Hosanna Chapel is eye-catching with its unique architecture of three large white candles on top of a hill.

Combo picture of the Mount Hosanna Chapel | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

From Mount Hosanna Chapel, we traveled another 45 minutes to reach Sri Aman town where the Tidal Bore Festival were held.  It is a very special experience for us to witness this rare phenomenon.  

Pesta Benak is one of Sarawak's iconic events and celebrated on a grand scale.  Activities such as longboat paddling competition; tidal bore surfing; water sports, food and trade fair were held during the festival.  A strategic place to view the Tidal Bore is at 'Taman Panaroma Benak' (Tidal Bore Panaromic Garden). Below the view point deck is an exhibition gallery on... you guess it... tidal bore.

The Tidal Bore reached the jetty point at 5.15pm, this was the highlight of the event.  

Massive crowd gathered to watch the last tidal bore of the day at Sri Aman  | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo
Locals riding the Sri Aman's tidal bore in longboats  | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo 

A bumper crowd that lined up the waterfront of Sri Aman | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo
 Before we wrapped up this trip, we grabbed some souvenirs as part of our special remembrance.

Video: Riding the 'Benak' - tidal bore - at Sri Aman, Sarawak 

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo...where adventure lives

Written by: Angela & Erivina

Thursday 7 November 2013

Sarawak Tourism Board wins PATA Gold Award 2013

The Marketing Media – Print Advertisement category was awarded to the Board for our re-imaging campaign. You can sample some of it in this blog’s masthead above. 

Sarawak Tourism Board wins PATA Gold Award 2013
Our CEO, Dato Rashid Khan (2nd-R) accepted the award the day before the annual PATA Travel Mart 2013 held in Macau from Sept 16-17. 
Sarawak Tourism Board wins PATA Gold Award 2013
Incidentally, Malaysia bagged another award - the Eco-Walk and Training at the Frangipani under the Environment – Educational Programme category rounding off a successful outing for our country.  This award was received by the owner of the Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, Anthony Wong. 

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo... where adventure lives

Thursday 31 October 2013

Santubong Nature Festival 2013 Programme

The festival will consist of talks, walks, workshops, outdoor activities and entertainment to keep nature lovers occupied and children captive. Held from 9th to 10 November 2013, each activity will either be led or presented by an authority of the subject matter.

So, if you are into natural and historical heritage of significant regional and global value, this activity-packed festival has something for you. Admission is free for all except the firefly night tour which costs RM50 per person. Registration is required for some of the activities.

Here are the programmes for the two days. You may want to zoom your page display for better clarity.

Saturday, 9th November 2013
Sarawak Malaysia Borneo Santubong Nature Festival Programme 2013 Day 1
Sunday 10th November 2013
Sarawak Malaysia Borneo Santubong Nature Festival Programme 2013 Day 2

source: MNS Kuching Branch

The Santubong Nature Festival, an annual event, takes place in the scenic peninsula of historical Santubong. The skyline is dominated by the legendary Mt. Santubong with the South China sea washing its shoreline. The festival will be centered in the Permai Rainforest Resort It is organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNSKB) Kuching Branch.

The peninsular has plenty of wildlife, rustic villages, resorts and the award-winning Sarawak Cultural Village. Historically, the peninsula is where the famous 19th century British naturalist, Sir Alfred Russel Wallace wrote 'Sarawak Law' paper, the precursor to the theory of evolution.

To register for some of the events, this is the email contact.

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo... where adventure lives

Monday 28 October 2013

Food and rafting and adventure in Padawan, Kuching

The Padawan sub-region is fast becoming a new destination in Kuching for its varied tourism experiences. The clean rivers found there are popular with day-trippers for kayaking and rafting. This video gives a good insight of the unique dining and river experiences one can have. Heard of a floating buffet? Watch the video!

The longhouse at Annah Rais has long been a popular tourism attraction. There are a few village-stays and home-stays that give visitors a close-up experience with the Bidayuh community found in this region. 

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Asia Music Festival 2013 Line-Up | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

Here is a musical genre brief of the thirteen (13) bands and artistes who will perform at Asia Music Festival.

The style of music is essentially fusion; combining elements of tradition into main stream.

Anthony Dassan 
Chennai, India
Contemporary Tamil Folk songs and dances

Bob Yusof
Malay Pop

Boy Thai Band 
Bangkok, Thailand 
Classical Thai with modern sounds

Fakhrul Razi
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

Foxy Girls
Jakarta Indonesia
R & B Malay Pop

Sarawak Malaysia
Iban Rock

Melissa Francis
Sarawak Malaysia
Iban Pop and Ballad

Soesah Tidoer
Yogyakarta Indonesia
Fusion of dangdut – keroncong – rock

The Starlets Band
Sarawak Malaysia
Modern, Pop, Rock and Ballad
The Mountain Wind Band 
Sarawak Malaysia
Country music with Sarawak Highland roots


Kolkata, India
Hindustan trip-hop, mixing traditional and contemporary sounds
V. Star featuring Kamal Musallam
Seoul, Korea
Traditional-Fusion with a K-POP twist

Here are the festival key details:
Asia Music Festival 2013 | Miri Sarawak Malaysia Borneo | Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club


Day 1 – 4 October 2013 (Friday)

4.00 pm to 5.00 pm                 -           Starlets Band (Malaysia)
5.15 pm to 6.15 pm                 -           Hevance (Malaysia)
6.15 pm to 7.15 pm                 -           Bob Yusof (Malaysia)
7.30 pm to 8.30 p.m                -           Soesah Tidoer (Indonesia)
8.45 pm to 9.45 pm                 -           Tritha (India)
10.00 pm to 11.00 pm             -           Bembol Rocker (Philippines)
11.15 p.m. to 12.15 pm          -           V. Star Band (Korea)

Day 2 – 5 October 2013 (Saturday)

4.00 pm to 5.00 pm                 -           The Mountain Wind Band (Malaysia)
5.15 pm to 6.15 pm                 -           Melissa Francis (Malaysia)
6.15 pm to 7.15 pm                 -           Starlets Band (Malaysia) 
7.30 pm to 8.30 p.m                -           Fakhrul Razi featuring the Camouflage (Brunei Darussalam)
8.45 pm to 9.45 pm                 -           Boy Thai Band (Thailand)
10.00 pm to 11.00 pm             -           Antoney Dassan Yen Party (India)
11.15 p.m. to 12.15 pm          -           Foxy Girls (Indonesia)

RM30 (Adults)
RM15 (Child or Student (aged 3 to 18))

Tickets are available for sale at:

  • Sarawak Tourism Board, 5th Floor, Bangunan Yayasan,  Kuching, Sarawak
  • Visitors’ Information Centre Kuching
  • Visitors’ Information Centre Sibu
  • Visitors’ Information Centre Miri
  • Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club
Brunei (Period of sale valid until 26th September 2013)

Want to know more? Please visit Asia Music Festival website.

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo... where adventure lives

Thursday 19 September 2013

Sarawak Shines at the 2013 Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) Awards

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) overcame strong challenges to become a finalist in the prestigious Travel Trade Gazette Awards within the Destination of the Year category.

Joining some of the travel industry’s biggest players, our destination - Sarawak - was celebrated for its significant achievements in the trade at the winners’ ceremony on 10th September.

2013 marked Sarawak Tourism Board’s first year at the awards and the first year to be named – a clear indication of the Board's consistent presence in the UK market. The arrival statistics indicated a double digit growth of 11.89% from 2011 to 2012, and the results from January to July this year, shows a healthy 19,526 arrivals from the UK.

Sarawak Tourism Board stood alongside other leading destinations including Brand USA, Tourism Australia, Barbados Tourism Authority and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in the final round of selection.

Receiving the Travel Trade Gazette Awards within the Destination of the Year | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo
TTG’s editor and Brand Director Daniel Pearce presenting STB Regional Marketing Manager, Maurice Balang, with the finalist certificate. 

The evening was held in the heart of the city of London at the Odeon in Leicester Square.

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo... where adventure lives

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Colours and Fireworks at the Kuching Waterfront | Malaysia Day 2013

The Kuching Waterfront will be a sight to behold come 15th September when a parade of gaily decorated boats will take place on this eve of Malaysia Day.

Watch the iconic river taxis - the 'penambang' - dressed up for the occasion. Kids will be mesmerised by the myriad colours and the spectacle of multi-coloured water vessels in one area will be attractive to anyone. And shutterbugs will be busy with their settings to capture the killer night scenery. 

With the new Kuching Waterfront extension that has been extended past the Grand Margherita hotel, you will have a another view of this auspicious event.

The parade is held in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of Sarawak's Independence in Malaysia. On 16th September 1963, Sarawak together with North Borneo (Sabah), Singapore and Malaya came together to form Malaysia, a day that was finally recognised nationally in 2009 and a national public holiday declared the following year. This means that Malaysia has two celebrations related to independence; the other one being the National Day, celebrated on Aug 31st each year.

So be there at the Kuching Waterfront from 7.30pm onwards.

The Parade of Floats Kuching Waterfront 2011 | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

Fireworks above the State Legislative Assembly | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

The Parade of Floats Kuching Waterfront 2011 | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

Sarawak Malaysia Borneo... where adventure lives

Thursday 5 September 2013

Harvesting edible bird's nests at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak

The Niah National Park's caves is important for the local communities, with edible bird's nest and guano collection providing valuable employment and income. Archaeologically, it was a major centre of human settlement as early as 40,000 years ago, and features one of the world’s largest cave entrances. Palaeolithic and Neolithic burial sites, and iron-age cave paintings.

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
The cavernous entrance of Niah Cave at Niah National Park
Recently, a Gala TV Taiwan crew with their well-known host, Lin Chia Pei visited 'Gua Perintah' a swiftlet breeding cave located within the Niah Cave system. The trip was part of Sarawak Tourism Board's visiting journalist programme (VJP).

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
Lin Chia Pei, the TV host pointing the way to 'Gua Perintah'

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
The trail to Gua Perintah

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
The steep step to Gua Perintah entrance  
The trekking leads to 'gua perintah' (takes about 20 mins – 30 mins) passes through beautiful primary rainforest before moving into at the foot of the hill. The step is steep but once you reach the top, it will be worth the effort for it offers a sweeping panorama of the rainforest canopy.

'Gua Perintah' is a project managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation to showcase, create awareness and enhance knowledge on the importance of sustainable swiftlet conservation n Sarawak.

Edible bird's nest collecting is a skilled and dangerous work, done high up at the ceilings of the caves which abound in Niah National Park. The intrepid collector shins barefooted up bamboo scaffolding, often without harnesses, tapping his way up to make sure the bamboo is sound. He lights his way in the black caves with a torch light and uses a special bamboo tool to harvest the nests. 

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
How to climb a bamboo pole; explained and shown (below) - by the TV host

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
Wrapping a strap round both feet increases the foot grip

Harvesting bird's nest at Niah National Park, Miri Sarawak
A unprocessed edible nest
The nests themselves are tiny translucent cups about the size of a small egg. They are made by the male swiftlet from glutinous threads of its own saliva, which it weaves into a cup that dries to become thin and translucent like fine porcelain.  Recent research has indeed shown that the nests, which taste rather like noodles, contain a water-soluble glycoprotein that may promote cell division in the immune system.

Edible bird's nest are prepared for consumption by just stewing the processed nest with water and rock sugar; preferably in a double-boiler

At the park one can also visit the Niah National Park museum where the replica of the oldest human skull in South East Asia (40,000 years old), found in the Great Cave, can be seen.

Getting To Niah National Park
The most convenient way to get to Niah National Park is by taxi which takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to reach from Miri city. Cost of a one-way fare is about RM150.00

Take Bus No.33A from city centre  to Pujut Corner Bus Terminal. From here, one can take any bus that goes to either Bintulu, Sibu or Kuching. Get off at the Niah Rest Stop. Bus fare is RM15.00 per person. From the here, take private taxi (about RM30 one-way) to reach Niah National Park HQ.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

SuperStar Aquarius making Bintulu, Sarawak a regular port of call

The cruise ship will make her maiden port of call at Bintulu Port on November, 12, 2013 10am. Bintulu, Sarwak is one of the three stops for Star Cruises' first ever 4D/3N cruise off the western coastline of Borneo. The other two ports of call are Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Brunei's Bandar Seri Begawan.

SuperStar Aquarius Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

We are excited that travellers to this region of Borneo will enjoy a different destination experience; cruising the western coastline of  Borneo island. Visitors to Sarawak can combine their fly/cruise holiday using Bintulu either as a gateway to Miri, Sibu and Kuching OR an exit-way for travel to either Bandar Seri Begawan or Kota Kinabalu.

But of course, the main attractions of cruise travel are the on-board experiences offered by cruise ships as as the SuperStar Aquarius. For starter, there is the world class entertainment performed by a cast of European and Asian artistes and acrobats; and grand illusion shows by renowned magicians. If shopping is what tickles your fancy, and who isn't?... the 409-square-metre upscale duty-free shopping gallery featuring China Duty Free, upmarket wrist watches and jewellery boutique should do just that.

SuperStar Aquarius Presidential Suite | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

SuperStar Aquarius Ocean View State room with balcony | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

The SuperStar Aquarius’ six restaurants, led by executive chef Harold Mark, present an appealing array of mouth-watering international, Southeast Asia and Chinese cuisines. There is an outdoor pool bar and an indoor wine bar to keep your spirit up or for your nightcap.The on-board recreational facilities should keep the guilt at bay. Swim, jog, play ball games or cleanse your tired souls away in the spa and sauna.

SuperStar Aquarius Swimming Pool | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

SuperStar Aquarius jogging track | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

SuperStar Aquarius Tea Corner | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

SuperStar Aquarius Skyline Karaoke | Sarawak Malaysia Borneo

Shore excursions include visits to Bintulu's native and wet market to sample a glimpse of local lifestyle and food. The Similajau National Park showcases the unique geographical features of the Sarawak coastline north of Bintulu - a chain of golden sandy beaches, punctuated by small rocky headlands and jungle streams, and bordered by dense green forest. If you are lucky, you may spot the dolphins froclicking just off the shoreline of the national park. Some of the wildlife that can be spotted include; crocodiles, horseshoe crabs, birds and green turtles.

The SuperStar Aquarius is a 51,309 gross ton ship with 756 cabins and is operated by Star Cruises under the Genting Hong Kong Limited Group. It departs Kota Kinabalu every Sunday and it offers SuperStar Aquarius’ daily 1-night high sea experience from Wednesday to Saturday ex-Kota Kinabalu.

This is... Sarawak... where adventure lives