Sarawak aka Land of the Hornbills
Jalan Tabuan 24
May’s Borneo B&B +60145823100 email@example.com
Basic double room with air-con for MYR 30.- or US$ 8.40 per night, good wifi free of charge.
Laundry: MYR 6.- per kg.
Listening for two days to excellent ethnic/fusion music (our stars: the two Malaysian bands Asika and AkashA as well as Moana and the Tribe from New Zealand) during the open-air Rainforest World Music Festival (one-day pass for MYR 90.- or US$ 25.- per person) in the Sarawak Cultural Village +6082846411, an excellent living museum situated on the mountainous Santubong Peninsula (and a unique venue for both the workshops and the stage performances of the festival which took part both inside and in-between the traditional dwellings built by different peoples of Sarawak - in this case the longhouses of the Orang Ulu, Bidayuh and Iban, the Melanau tall house as well as the Malay stilted house, the Penan hut and the Chinese farm house - and in front of the tall trees of the rain forest as a majestic natural stage setting).
Visiting a bouquet of diverse places of worship in Kuching which comes across as a multi-racial and multi-cultural city of "great unity and harmony”, so far and according to the Sarawak Tourism Board: (i) the ornate Taoist/Chinese Tua Pek Kong Temple, Hong San Si Temple and Hiang Thian Siang Temple, (ii) the 1950s CE Anglican St. Thomas Cathedral, (iii) the rather modern Sikh temple Gurdwara Sahib, (iv) the Hindu Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman Temple and (v) the Masjid Negeri (Kuching's divisional mosque) with its golden domes; later reading, whilst indulging in earthly and most delicious Sarawak laksa, in the touristy James Brooke Bistro, Alfred Russel Wallace's characterisation of his financial backer, Sir James Brooke: “Rajah Brooke was a great, a wise, and a good ruler - a true and faithful friend - a man to be admired for its talents, respected for his honesty and courage, and loved for his genuine hospitality, his kindness of disposition, and his tenderness of heart...”; amen.
Crossing the Sungai Sarawak from its urban, predominantly Malaysian-Chinese south bank to its rural, predominantly ethnic Malay north bank, a parallel universe, by means of motorised sampan (“tambang”) for just MYR 0.50 per person, one way, and entering a very relaxed kampung atmosphere with (i) laid-back Muslim locals, (ii) cheap and tasty home-made food (one bowl of excellent Sarawak laksa for only MYR 2.-) and (iii) unknown jungle fruits such as Borneo’s unique tarap (Artocarpus odoratissima) which has a greenish-brown colour, an outer coat comprised of hundreds of tiny scale-like bristles and sweet flesh with a strong fragrance, which looks like a cross between rambutans and durians and is easily opened with one’s bare hands, the icky white stuff inside being the sweet yummy part.
Taking the Sarawak Transport Company bus no. 3A (return ticket MYR 10.- per person) to the small Bidayuh town of Serian (about 65 km southeast of Kuching), visiting its bustling fresh-produce market (where local Bidayuh and Iban people from nearby longhouses come to sell jungle fruits and herbs, e.g. swamp fruit, yellow eggplant, tapioca leaf, tipu shoots, paku and midin) and touring a nearby pepper plantation at Kampung Seroban where the ex-headhunting Iban owner told us about the cultivation, the processing (including the water retting of black pepper into white pepper) and the marketing (his sales price for 1 kg of dry black pepper: MYR 8.- or US$ 2.25) of pepper (Piper nigrum), one of the most common spices in the European cuisine.
Leaving our backpacks in the Borneo B&B guesthouse and taking Sarawak Transport Company bus no. EP07 (one-way ticket for MYR 10.- per person) from Kuching’s Express Bus Terminal at 3½-Mile to Lundu, about 85 km west of Kuching, and walking c. 3 km from Lundu to the gate of the scenic Gunung Gading National Park (entry fee for senior citizens: MYR 5.- per person).
Click below for more blog posts about Kuching
11 Jul - 01 Sep 2013 Kuching
24 Jul - 27 Jul 2009 Kuching
30 Jun - 07 Jul 2009 Kuching
Click below for more blog posts about Serian
01 Sep - 03 Sep 2014 Serian
Click below for more blog posts about pepper
13 May - 19 May 2010 Kampot
17 Feb - 05 Mar 2008 Goa
Click below for a summary of this year's travels
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