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A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

As a frequent traveler, and especially all over Sarawak in the last 10 years, I have to admit that I have never been to the popular Annah Rais Longhouse. This is one of the most popular longhouses that a majority of travellers would visit and is sold by local travel agents.

I have been to traditional longhouses deep in the interiors of Sarawak, at places like Lemanak and Batang Ai, which are easily five to seven hours traveling, but not to Annah Rais in the main Padawan area. In October 2017, I finally managed to visit this Bidayuh Longhouse which is just an hours drive from Kuching city.

A Visit to the Annah Rais Longhouse

Everyday life at Annah Rais longhouse in Padawan

Some people claim that Annah Rais is on a more commercial side, due to the proximity being close to Kuching city, hence the dwellers here are more modern and up to date. This was one of the reasons that over the last decade, I choose to visit other longhouses in the remote areas.

Annah Rais village is predominantly Bidayuh, with an exception of cross marriages to other races. The village is estimated to be over a hundred years old, and has expanded in all directions throughout the century.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA local Bidayuh man goes about his daily chores at the longhouse

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseA wooden bridge connecting the main longhouse to the communal hall and football field

Ever since the tourism boom in Sarawak, the Bidayuh community here had turned this traditional home into one of the most popular tourist attraction just out of Kuching. Visitors from the world over are seen doing day trips here whole for those who want to experience staying here, there are 9 registered local homestay programs available.

Driving about an hour from Kuching, I made my inaugural step into this fascinating culture where you actually get to walk around and see the Bidayuh people going about their daily lives.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseSkulls on display in a cage of the Skull House at Annah Rais

The massive longhouse is interconnected by a wooden or bamboo walkway, which is the main common area where families would sit around and talk and kids play. Annah Rais is so huge that it seems like one entire village is connected together with home run restaurants, grocery shops and the local homegrown products.

The first unique feature I came across was a headman’s house or skull house where I was intrigued by a collection of traditional skulls that were in a cylinder wire cage. I believe these were the invaders of the longhouse where the Bidayuh people caught and beheaded.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of three murals that Ernest Zacharevic painted at Annah Rais

Walking along the main route, two wall murals from world famous Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic is spotted on the walls of certain homes. He was invited to paint some of his murals here at Annah Rais in 2014.

At the far end of the longhouse, there is one unit called a Bidayuh Show House where I saw what a traditional Bidayuh home looked like back in the day. It displays simplicity and basic living by using natural resources.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseLocal Sarawak black and white pepper sold here

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseFor those wanting to sample the local rice wine or Tuak, they are also available here

Souvenirs can be found sold by a number of homes, which are usually traditional Bidayuh items such as beads or woven baskets or mats. For fans of the world famous black gold or black pepper, you can buy the Sarawak black and white pepper in packets here.

And for those wanting to sample the famous local brewed rice wine or Tuak, this can be done here too. I also noticed that bottles are also for sale from some of the homes here at very reasonable prices.

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseOne of the older wooden houses at Annah Rais

A Visit to the Annah Rais LonghouseAt the entrance, a glass of Tuak is served after purchasing your entrance ticket

Annah Rais is one of the most popular tour packages that can be booked from any of the travel agents in Kuching. Alternatively, many also use private taxi services to get here by them selves or even rent a car to self drive here.

For tickets, there is a RM8.00 entrance fee before entering the longhouse and I recommend you go before 10.00 AM. A glass of rice wine or Tuak is also served to non Muslims when you purchase your ticket.

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Photos by David Hogan Jr

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Sarawak’s Great Success At WOMEX

Sarawak’s Great Success At WOMEX

Kuching, Tuesday – Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and their representatives attended this year’s World Music Expo (WOMEX) in Poland with great success on October 25 to 29 to promote Sarawak’s trademark event, the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

Attending this 23rd edition of WOMEX were STB Director of Events Angelina Bateman, Event Manager Sarren Michael and the RWMF Artistic Director Jun Lin Yeoh, promoting the RWMF among the international crowd.

“Sarawak’s unique culture and music truly shone during WOMEX, supporting the fact that there is no better destination for an event celebrating the uniqueness of world music from many different lands than Sarawak and the Rainforest World Music Festival,” said Angelina.

Also attending the Expo local musician and artist Alena Murang and musician Eldrick Udos or ‘Bob’ from the band At Adau, both of whom have performed at the RWMF and are impassioned supporters of maintaining and passing on the Bornean cultural heritage.

They participated in WOMEX with the objective of promoting Sarawak’s cultural music as well as their own brand, while networking with the attending key players in the World Music industry.

“This is a big step that has been given to us from At Adau and mainly Sarawak to build the bridge across the world to help achieve our objective of enlightening the world about the beauty and uniqueness of Sarawakian music, arts and culture,” Bob expressed after participating in the Expo.

Bob also expressed excitement over his opportunity to discuss strategies and future prospects with some big names in world music such as Derek Andrews, Artistic Director of Mundial Montreal and Indigenous Music, Canada,  Kaushik Dutta, CEO/Artistic Director of Song of Soul Festival in Kolkata, India and Mr Alejandro Orellana, Programmer and Coordinator of WOMAD The World’s Festival, Chile.

During this Expo, Angelina Bateman alongside Alena and Bob were interviewed by Drago Vovk of Radio Sraka, one of the most popular radio station broadcasting from Novo Mesto, Slovenia.

The 21st edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival will take place next year on July 13 to 15, at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

Womex 2017

From the right, Angelina Bateman, Bob, Alena Murang and Drago of Radio Sraka during the interview at the booth.

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM BOARD
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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Serikin Town Border Market

Serikin Town Border Market

Serikin Town Border MarketHaving been around for almost 20 years, the Serikin town border market is truly one of Kuching’s local hidden gems. My first visit here was back in 2010 and as a local, I was quite surprised that a market of this calibre existed just our of Kuching city.

A recent trip back to the Serikin Border Market in October 2017 was even more exciting as I had looked forward to coming back once again, to see if there had been any changes, and to my surprise, there were. The market grew larger, in terms of more vendors.

If you did not already know, the Serikin Border Market is mainly operated by the locals of Kalimantan, from across the border and also the local Sarawakians. Items sold are mainly catered to the local Sarawakians and the occasional tourist from Malaysia.

Serikin Town Border Market

The Serikin border market can get really hot in the afternoons

This rustic and very localized market caters mainly to the local Sarawakians, where products are brought in from Indonesia and sold at the border market which stretches about a kilometer long. From Kuching, it takes about one and a half hours drive through some of the local villages and towns.

What can you find here? Generally, a good combination of household items ranging from kitchen utensils, comforters, curtains and rattan furniture is spotted all over the market. Apparels for kids, men and women are also in abundance, but do not expect high street fashion.

Serikin Town Border Market

Some of the home decorations available at the border market

A number of Muslim religious prayer items are also sold by some while the local traditional medicine men can also be spotted selling some oils and cream. Costume jewellery for the budget savvy consumer can also be found here. A couple of stalls were seen selling local traditional Dayak handicraft and accessories.

Serikin is a border town that is located very close to the earth’s equator, hence over here, it can be extremely hot and humid. When I was walking here, I felt as if I was in an open air sauna, perspiring every step of the way. I would advise for visitors here to bring an umbrella and drink lots of water to avoid being dehydrated.

Serikin Town Border Market

Dayak and some other ethnic clothing and accessories being sold here

For the international tourist, this place is worth a visit if you love all things markets, probably just to walk around and see how a border market operates. Who knows as you may even pick up a souvenir or two here.

Best is to go early, before the mid day sun or late in the evenings before they close around six. There are some tour companies that offer local tours here, but I would recommend you rent a car and self drive here as it is quite easy.

Serikin Town Border Market

Rattan furniture is one of the great buys at the Serikin border market

Overall, it is an experience worth doing if you have the extra time in Kuching. You will not see the common tourist, but more locals, Singaporeans and Malaysians coming here for the great prices being offered.

Serikin border market only opens on the weekends and does get crowded especially during the school holidays and festive seasons. There are only local Indonesian restaurants found here and very casual type restaurants or coffee shops.

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Photos by David Hogan Jr

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ITB ASIA, Another Successful Outing For Sarawak Partners

ITB ASIA, Another Successful Outing For Sarawak Partners

Singapore, Thursday – Sarawak tourism team presently in Singapore for a destination promotion scored another business success today, the second day of the ITB Asia outing held at the Marina Bay Sands Exhibition centre here.

Business appointments set earlier by the fair organiser has made Sarawak travel partners on their feet for the past two days with back-to-back meetings with  their international partners who showed interest in emerging destinations like Sarawak.

Yvonne Saman of the Marian Boutique Lodging House, a first timer for the business outing was excited and expressed satisfaction with the buyers’ quality she met during the business meetings.

‘We received positive feedback from buyers from India, China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia about the destination and our latest property in Kuching has been a hit for these buyers, she said.

Ahsweein Narayanan of Amogha Tours Travel Sdn Bhd, Kuching, also a new kid on the block, is pushing religious packages featuring Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist temples tours in Kuching besides promoting medical and corporate tours for Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Hannah Choo, Director of Sales of CPH Travel has kind words for the fair which she has attended over the years and adding that that they will return to participate next year.

Sarawak Tourism Board’s booth was a hive of business activity today and hoping that the final day tomorrow will see good return for the 11 industry partners attending the fair.

The Sarawak travel industry were represented by seven travel agents and two hotels, a venue provider – Borneo Convention Centre Kuching and Sarawak Convention Bureau.

From January to August this year, the Singapore arrivals has increased by 1.53% with arrivals totalling 25,922 visitors.

ITB Asia Singapore

Picture shows the happy faces of the Sarawak team led by Benedict Jimbau, Director of Marketing (eighth from left).

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM BOARD
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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Enhancing Tourist Maps In Collaboration With Local Institutions

Enhancing Tourist Maps In Collaboration With Local Institutions

Kuching, Thursday – Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is in collaboration with Kuching Polytechnic Sarawak (PKS) to enhance the tourist maps for Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri through the Kenyalang Creative Map Competition (KCMC).

KCMC jointly organised by Land Surveyors Board Sarawak (LSBS), HERE Malaysia Sdn Bhd, The Association of Consulting Licensed Land Surveyors Sarawak (ACLS) and Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RSIM) aimed at giving students to be creative in producing maps.

KCMC was organised from August 1 to 31 and was opened to students from Polytechnics, universities and colleges in Malaysia. 73 maps submission were received from students of Ungku Omar Polytechnic (PUO), Ipoh; Geomatika College, Kuala Lumpur (IPTS); Tuanku Sultanah Bahiyah Polytechnic (PTSB), Kulim; Merlimau Polytechnic (PMM), Melaka; Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Kuala Lumpur Branch and two Sarawak’s Polytechnics – Kuching Polytechnic Sarawak (PKS) and Metro Betong Polytechnic, Sarawak.

Out of 73 maps received, 21 were Kuching maps, 10 Sibu, 13 Bintulu and 29 Miri maps.

A pre-selection was done last week by the panel of judges before the final round which was held last Wednesday.

Kuching Polytechnic Sarawak (PKS) won all the four categories for the Kuching, Sibu,  Bintulu and Miri maps. Each winning team took home RM600.00 in cash, plaque and certificate for each participant in the team.

The prizes were presented by Lt. Kol. Bersekutu (PA) Kamaludin Daud, Director of Kuching Polytechnic Sarawak (PKS).

The collaboration with PKS has given good opportunities for participating students to gain more knowledge about tourism products in Sarawak specifically in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

Map Judging

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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