Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sarawak Cultural Village

One of the must see places for any visitor is the Sarawak Cultural Village. And that was in my 'must do' list when I went to Sarawak.

So, what does one do in this village? House hopping of the many tribes! We started off with the unique coned shaped like Rumah Bidayuh (the Bidayuh house).

Met with this lady... she was just all smiles, and so welcoming to 'here house'. She tells me that she is Christian, and that she lives in Kuching (a good 45 minutes away) - and takes the bus to work daily.

Next up the long house of the Rumah Iban.

This was an interesting house with many people inside showcasing their culture. This lady is making a cloth, which designs are sometimes based on dreams... and that can take up to months to make.

There were some snacks being cooked on the spot.

When it is cooked - this is the pandan flavoured one.

There's also another cake - the kuih jala, cooked by another lady - who was also very friendly.

Next up, there is the Rumah Orang Ulu - which to me, was the most beautiful of them all. See its long decorated pilliars, with carvings of local motifs.

Up there, a guy played the local musical instrument.

It really caught my attention - for that a local instrument can play even the modern pop song! Isn't it nice? :)

Moving on, we were welcomed by the Orang Penan... "Hello, welcome to my office" the guys says without a blink, and smiled when we got his joke.

His station was quite unique as he allows one to do blow pipe - 3 tries for RM1.00.

The house hopping continues to another big house - the Rumah Orang Melanau, which has some colourful flags in the front.... giving one an impression that this house is one of the more grand ones.

And true - even the inside of the house has more items including antiques.

There is also this big bed, which is so well carved - again, all so grand.

A view of the lake - from the window of the Rumah Melanau.

There were a few more houses to see like the Malay house & also the Chinese house, but we had to rush to watch the daily performance.

This is where the many different tribes come together for a cultural show. And it is here that one can see the different costumes of all them, and to further understand the many races living in harmonious Sarawak.

I've been informed that there are close to 40 different tribes/ races in Sarawak. Maybe being a lil ignorant... for I didn't know that the major race in Sarawak is actually the Ibans, followed by the Chinese.

So coming to this village sure was good, as I now understand the multi racial aspects of East Malaysia, especially Sarawak better.

No wonder, there is the saying that East Malaysia is so multi racial - way more than what we experience in West Malaysia! I agree on this.

And I also think that this leads to the good thing about Sarawak - where everyone seems to bond so much better & are so friendly - be it from Kuching city or the outskirts... relating very closely to the tagline we have - 'the Malaysian warmth & Malaysian smile'... I personally think it's all here in Kuching - from my experience, at least! :)

*The Sarawak Cultural Village is about 45 minutes from Kuching city centre. One can take the busses (arranged with hotels) or like me, take a private tour.

*The Entrance Fee:
RM 60.00 (Adult)
RM 30.00 (Child : 6-12 years old)
Free for Children aged under 6.
Local Sarawakians get a discount.

It is advised that you bring enough cash, as if not wrong, they only accept certain credit cards.

There are two must watch, Cultural Shows per day:
1130am - 1215pm
1600pm - 1645pm

I'd advise an early start, if you want to really see all - but then again, the journey up is just so enjoyable too!

*One can opt to stay overnight at the Cultural Village - with rather affordable rates too (RM91 inclusive of F&B!) - Accomodation details.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Kuching Kampung

kuching kampung siputThe journey to the Sarwak Cultural Village continued. From the first kampung (village), we passed by this stall selling siput (snails) - for cooking. This is quite a unique dish, and I think also quite common in other parts of Malaysia - have you tried this?

Btw, the youth at this stall were so friendly - and full of smiles.

kuching kampung road From the stall, we moved on... passing by roads with shady trees.

kuching kampung vegetableIt was interesting to see this somewhat curly vegetables... I've not seen this back in West Malaysia. (Anyone know its name?)

kuching mt santubongWe also passed by Mount Santubong, known for the legend of Puteri Santubong.

kuching kampung buntal marketNot long later, we arrived at our destination... another kampung - Kampung Buntal. This is the market - selling non other than seafood.

kuching kampung buntal prawanThis seems like a pasar borong (wholesale market). So many big prawns!

kuching kampung buntal seafoodMore seafood!

kuching kampung buntal stall treeBeside the market, more seafood... sold under the big shady tree.

kuching kampung buntal chinese houseAlign LeftNot far off - behind the tree in fact, is this Chinese house. I thought the house colours were quite vibrant... and with these porcelains in front just add to the whole atmosphere & feel.

kuching kampung buntalWanting to explore a lil more, the driver drove inside the kampung... and towards the sea.

kuchingA view of the jetty is always pleasant... and soothing!

Going through kampungs in Kuching is definitely not a usual journey/ route a traveler would take. But I'm glad I went through this as it allowed me to see & explore both parts of Kuching - its main city centre and also the rural side of it... and though we finally arrived the destination much later, but it's well worth it!

*Apparently, this kampung has one restaurant that is quite popular for seafood.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kuching Fisherman Kampung

I am fortunate to meet a local Sarawkian, who does part time travel tour. He agreed to bring me to the Sarawak Cultural Village, near Mt Santubong... Along the way, he stopped at some kampung along the way.

kuching kampung fisherman boatThe first kampung we stopped is this fishing village - Kampung Pasir Pandak.

kuching fisherman kampung fishActually just as we entered this village, we could know that it is a fishing village.... with the people separating the fish from the net.

kuching dry fishThere were more fishing activities around the village - like these fishes which are being dried under the sun.

kuching fisherman kampungThe trees by the sea.

kuching fisherman kampung fishermanWhat an interesting way to carry the catch of the day.

kuching kampung boy3 school kids passed by, and were so ready for the camera! It's been a long while since I've seen such care-free & friendliness!

Walking further down, I noticed a group of fishermen... all lined up by the river.

kuching fisherman kampung"Where are you from?" the pakcik (uncle) asked. He then talked to me about his work, which is a part time for him - as he is now retired. This is a family business, to pass time - says this uncle who used to work with a local MNC.

He together with the makciks (aunties) were such a friendly bunch - and that is the people of Kuching... always so friendly & nice!

kuching kampung fisherman puffer fishAnd before leaving, he showed me his interesting catch - again, the puffer fish!

Then, it was time to head off to the next destination... passing by some good rural views. And that's next up!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kuching Chinatown & Kuching Little India

My travel in Kuching city continued from the Waterfront to the Chinatown & beyond... However with rather limited time, I had to breeze through these places.

Nevertheless, I managed to see a fair bit of the heart of the city.

Kuching Chinatown

kuching chinatown carpenter streetOne of the places not to be missed is to walk along the Kuching Chinatown.... which is at Carpenter Street and its other lanes.

kuching chinatownThe road is quite bustling in the day, with many types of shops & businesses. For tourists, there are quite a lot of good food here (more of that to come).

kuching chinatownSome of the lanes are quite unique - very narrow, yet the buildings well taken care... not something most people would associate with small lanes.

kuching chinatownThe place is quite nice for photography as it captures the heart of Kuching.

kuching chinatown, hiang thian siang ti templeOne of the temples along Carpenter Street is the Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple.

kuching chinatown, hiang thian siang ti templeI was lucky to have taken this near the Chinese New Year period as the temple was decorated with beautiful lanterns.

kuching old courthouseNot far off is the Kuching's old courthouse. The place here is serene, with its shady trees.

kuching old courthouseThe courthouse currently houses the Sarawak Tourism Board Information Centre (btw, do u think it feels a bit like an old school? :) ).

The courthouse seems to be like the border - as beyond it is the Little India.

Kuching Little India

kuching little indiaGantry to Little India.

kuching little indiaThis is a colourful street, catered to both locals & tourists. Tourists would enjoy the tshirt shops here with its unique designs. Despite my rush, I did have a look hehe!

kuching little indiaAnd interestingly, there is this passage. Curious, I walked through it.

kuching jalan gambirIt lead to the Jalan Gambir, the road by the waterfront. I find the shophouses here quite unique. Btw, there was a mosque in the lane.

kuching jalan gambir orangeIf Chinatown is bustling, so is this area... with many fruit stalls, grocery shops and some stalls selling spices & herbs.

kuching jalan gambir sotongI thought this seller selling squids (sotong) was quite unique. They are quite large!

My time was soon up, as I had to rush to catch the flight. If given more time, I would have loved to spent more time - seeing the daily lives of the city folk.

But my little time there was good enough - seeing some parts of the multi-racial Kuching/ Sarawak.... And I mean some parts, because I found out that there's so much more to multi-racial in Kuching just the day prior. And that's up next :)