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Visiting Merarap Hot Spring Lodge in Lawas

Visiting Merarap Hot Spring Lodge in Lawas

Merarap HotspringFor the adventurer, there is a hot spring lodge located deep in the Lawas district in northern Sarawak. Operated by a local Sarawakian, this very rustic and basic lodge can only be accessed via 4WD. From the town of Lawas, it is around 70 kilometers drive through old logging roads and thick secondary rainforest.

Once here, the warm Lun Bawang hospitality is seen as the owner is very passionate about his place. The natural hot spring water is pumped into his man made pools from a source about 100 meters away.

Merarap Hotspring

The owner poses in front of the Merarap Hot Springs

Lodging is as basic as can get, a homestay style accommodation with traditional local food served. Visitors can also request for trekking or hiking around the hilly area here.

A class four or five rapid runs along the Merarap hot spring lodge, but there are no water activities allowed as it is quite dangerous on the Trusan River. However, the natural landscape Is just beautiful, especially in the mornings.

Merarap Hotspring

Entrance to Merarap Hot Springs

Merarap Hotspring

Basic accommodations at the lodge

Merarap Hotspring

Merarap Hot Springs in Lawas

For travelers heading to Bakelalan in the highlands using the original way by road, this hot spring is one of the recommended places to make a stop and spend the night. Your experience here would surely be something out of the ordinary.

This place is also popular among the 4WD and biker clubs from around the region, especially those traveling in convoys. Bruneians also love to visit here for the weekends.

For inquiries or bookings, head over to the Merarap Hot Springs Facebook Page (link: https://www.facebook.com/meraraphotspring/)

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Photos by David Hogan Jr

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Reasons why you should move to Malacca

Buying Property Malacca


Real estate has become among the top investments in the world today. Among the places to look out for are in Southeast Asia, where you can buy a house in Malaysia. Malacca is a quick fix to all those who love traveling since it has been described as a tourist destination. It provides an experience travelers cannot get anywhere else.

==Rich History==

The Malacca museums have been a tourist attraction site for the longest time. They vary from Peranakan heritage to colonial and unique museums. A close look at the archives gives visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the Malacca history as well as enjoy the sites the museums have to offer. Apart from the history and the sites, one can also look at the extensive collections of artifacts lined up at the Aborigines, Maritime, Kite, Baba Nyonya, Straits Chinese Jewellery, Malaysia Prison, Heritage, People’s, Toy and the Submarine Museum, all in Malacca.

Other than enjoying the beautiful sites, Malacca is about sharing the Malaysia history. Malacca, described as the home of historical heritage, has played a vital role in the Malaysia history in that it was the first entry point for colonialists during the old war and has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Among the primary historical sites are the Peranakan and the colonial heritage sites.


A variety of places worth exploring is the Christ Church Melaka, Famosa Fort, and St Peter’s Church, built in 1710 by Portuguese Catholics, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the Dutch Square, Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain, The Stadthuys and St Paul’s Hills.

St Peter’s Church is the oldest in the country and was completed during the Dutch administration. Old as it may be, services are still conducted in the church halls. A bell at St Peter’s is evidence it was built in the 17th century as well as a Christ alabaster statue.

Other historical buildings in Malacca include the Syed Al Attas Mansion, which reminds one of the Malacca Muslim rules. It is reflective of the Muslim lifestyle as practiced during that era.

==Chinatown Street in Malacca==

There are other places worth visiting in Malacca, such as the Jonker Street. It may be equated to the Chinatown Street, also called by locals ‘Jalan Jang Hebat’. What stands out at Jonker is the Malacca River, which makes the scene even more vibrant. The Heeren Street near Jonker Street has been listed among the top must-see destinations in Malacca.

Visitors are mostly attracted by the buildings that have today been transformed into old joints and famous restaurants. These are places that were once occupied by rich Malacca families and was therefore referred to as the Millionaires’ Row. The street that was once only covered by the rich is now open for everyone, rich or not.

The street is full of shop houses on either side, which gives travelers a feel of the 17th Century. The shop houses are sometimes used as textile shops, food courts, souvenir outlets and antique kiosks. During the weekends, visitors are encouraged to taste the local food and join the bargain battle with the vendors out to make profits against the visitors’ wishes to fetch the lowest prices.

==Affordable Hotel with Quality Service==

Your visit will not be memorable (for all the right reasons) if your stay is almost uncomfortable. Ensure you book the best Malacca hotel that exhibits the classic themes of the region. Such hotels are readily available, and the cost varies from low-budget to high-profile expenses. They include Casa del Rio Melaka and The Majestic Malacca in the high-end category.

The budget options are such as Layang-Layang Guest House, Gingerflower Boutique Hotel, Hotel Da Som Inn and Imperial Heritage Melaka. The hotels are keen on keeping a good reputation seeing as the business depends on word on the street from the travelers.

What is more attractive about Malacca is the people and their rich ethnicity. The communities have blended into one rich culture full of diversity. Visitors are welcome to be part of the diversification and live in peaceful co-existence with the Malacca people. The river cuts through Malacca to the Malacca Straits. There are motorboats in the river that give an opportunity for sightseeing.

The Malacca River Cruise, for instance, lasts about 45 minutes, giving riders the chance to take in all the fantastic views Malacca has to offer, at a fee of RM10 for adults and RM5 for children, especially holders of Mycard. For foreigners, the charges will attract an additional RM5. Visitors need not worry about missing the cruise as it is open from 9am-12am. The night cruise is far more enjoyable because of the riverside punctuated by the lights.

==Preferred Destination For Foodies==

Malacca is not only about the history and the buildings, but it is also about quality food served in top-notch restaurants. Located on Jonker Street, Nancy’s Kitchen offers the delicious Nyonya cuisine. The interior design has a feel of a home or the familiar neighborhood that reminds you of your kitchen. It is mostly preferred because it serves hot dishes. The only problem is that the food is not Halal, which means Muslims are locked out.

The other restaurant worth exploring is the Capitol, which is not only affordable but also ranked among the best in Malacca. This explains why it is always flooded with customers. There is a variety of almost 80 vegetables and seafood dishes, which explains the long queues that are a constant feature of Capitol.

Meanwhile, The Baboon House keeps visitors enjoying their food while sitting in an open courtyard. This arrangement takes advantage of the vast space that is brought to life by the modern furniture. What makes it feel more at home is the presence of the owner’s cat and dog. Baboon House serves American dishes.

==The Malacca Nightlife==

Malacca’s GoGo KTV Lounge is famous because of its jetty shape. It is located between Mahkota Melaka and the Holiday Inn Melaka. Although it is small, it has a variety of punch flavors that are bound to keep guests entertained, if not the punch, then the number of TV on the walls will.

Related Article: Top 20 things to do in Malacca

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Best motorbike routes in Malaysia

By Vishnu Krishnan

Throttle heads, gun your engines because we’re taking you across the best and most scenic bike routes in Malaysia.

Malaysia, despite being a small country, has thousands of kilometers of paved roads that meander and criss-cross through small towns, cities, rural areas, coastal roads and majestic mountainous and forested regions.

Let’s Go!

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A useful map for plotting the first leg!

(Source: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/6040239)

 Starting in Kuala Lumpur, head north on the Gombak MRR2 highway and cut off at the Genting Highlands exit. You will know you are on the right path if you bypass the large golden statue of Murugan on your left at Batu Caves. If you’d like to make a pit stop here and check out the marvellous Batu Caves Hindu temple, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

As you ride up the Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway towards the foothills of the highlands, this is where the fun really begins. Once you pass the Genting Sempah checkpoint (they have lovely local food to sample and is the last major gas station for the stretch) the gradient will get serious and the temperature drops.

Near the summit of Genting, make sure you check out the Chin Swee Caves Temple filled with pagodas and Taoist motifs that is best seen at night when the red lanterns are lit.

At the peak you will reach the Hotel-Casino complexes. From here you, cruise back down to the Bentong exit. Beware of the winding roads, slippery gravel and mist. The Bentong trail is a beautiful mountain road surrounded by lush forests and wildlife. One major attraction here is the Sungai Chilling waterfall.

Follow the gorgeous mountain road all the way up to Fraser’s Hill which is known for its scenic, rolling green hills and chilly weather. If you aren’t done with the climbing yet, jump on the Ringlet — Sungai Koyan Highway or Route 102 for another 186km to the even more beautiful

Cameron Highlands. Strawberries and tea anyone?

Next, move further north to one of the most scenic routes in the country, the Gerik or East-West Highway. Starting at exit A171 or the town of Gerik, this 128km pilgrimage is a must for all avid bikers. Along the way to the small town of Jeli, you will go through a mountain trail with soft gradients and smooth curves. If you are lucky, you may spot wild elephants.

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Our pachyderm friends can sometimes be seen on the Gerik Highway!

(Source: http://chongtaofatt.blogspot.my/2006_05_01_archive.html)

From Jeli, travel on Route 4 via the East West Highway to Kota Bharu to commence the longest stretch of the journey, the Kota Bharu to Rompin coastal road.

While you are in Kota Bharu be sure to sample some of the scrumptious local delights such as Nasi Kerabu.

From Kota Bharu, ride 490km south along the E8 via the East Coast Expressway to Rompin. Along this path, you’ll see dozens of fishing villages, small coastal Kampongs, paddy fields and of course the South China Sea. Be mindful of rainy season as the East coast can be treacherous between October and March.

The ride itself is generally tame and relaxing, but there’s much to see and check out along the way, especially through the Terengganu coast which is full of seafood stops.

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The scenery along the coast is amazing on E8!

(Source: http://bikingmalaysia.blogspot.my/)

Once you reach the forested region of Rompin and stay the night on the beach, we’ll end the journey with a 292km cruise back to KL via Route 11. These roads are well maintained and provide a smooth journey returning home.

Do you know of other scenic roads and beautiful stretches of highway? Let us know on Facebook @malaysia.travel.my

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A festival like no other

SINGING IN THE RAIN..FOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL

Let’s just say that there was absolutely no way we were going into our Taming Borneo adventure and miss the highly anticipated Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF). If you’re a music enthusiast there’s no doubt you’ve heard about it. But if you haven’t, trust us, you’re going to want to read the rest of this entry, seriously.

Truth be told, we really didn’t know what to expect. Okay, we kinda did, but only from second hand experiences; reading travel blogs or hearing stories from our friends.

The only 3 things we were sure of were;

  • It’s an annual 3-day music festival, hosted by the Sarawak Tourism Board, at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching.
  • It brings international acts together with local indigenous acts to celebrate the diversity of music in the heart of the Bornean jungle.
  • It’s a totally awesome festival you have to go to #YOLO

To sum it up in a nutshell, RWMF, gives you a perfect blend of cultural and contemporary musical performances, chilled festival vibes, good local food, an all-around great crowd and ambiance to party away the weekend. But we’ll delve further into the details below.

Putting the full extent of our experience into words is just not possible, you’ll have to watch our video series to find out how lit this festival really is!

THE DEETS OF THE BEATS

The RWMF is usually held annually in the mid months of June, July or August (this year August) in the Sarawak Cultural Village, at the base of Mount Santubong, Kuching, Sarawak.

At its’ inception, RWMF was established in 1998 and drew a crowd of only 300 people. But now, it draws an annual crowd of about 20,000 a year, making RWMF a front runner in local and international music calendars!

The festival usually features approximately 20 local and international bands over the course of the weekend. The performances range from traditional, world fusion and contemporary music. Invited performers are specially curated by organizers to give audiences the musical ambiance in accordance to the creative direction of the festival.

RWMF has a format of afternoon workshops; promoting engagement between performers and attendees, while the main concerts are held at night, under the star speckled sky of the Bornean Rainforest.

Go crazy, no one will judge you!

Go crazy, no one will judge you!

Lastly, fun fact, if you’re an environmentalist, the RWMF also has a record for raising environmental awareness with its recycling initiatives, tree planting campaigns, and providing shuttle buses for festival goers to reduce carbon emission in the air. #winning

TRACES OF THE TRANCE

The festival runs on a world class level of operation, operating on tight scheduling and strict regulations, it still manages to hold energetic performances and engaging afternoon workshops. It was really easy for us to warm up to the energy of the music and the crowd.

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The afternoon workshops have got to be the highlight of our experience. We participated in a drum circle and enjoyed a workshop called “The Breath of Life” showcasing delicate sounds of wind instruments in music. When the festival promises a “smashing weekend in the Bornean rainforest”, they deliver.

Besides the eargasmic performances, we had the pleasure to explore the village with vendors scattered around selling local dishes, art and traditional handicrafts. Of course, being the foodies we are, we treated ourselves to a variety of food and beverages sold at the festival grounds.

You won’t believe who we met at the Sapeh booth!

You won’t believe who we met at the Sapeh booth!

Overall, the festival definitely lives up to the hype and definitely sets the bar high for other festivals around!

A night to remember

A night to remember

THE OTHER FESTIVALS AROUND

If your schedule prohibits you from attending RWMF, don’t worry there are plenty of other great events that travellers look out for throughout the year in Sarawak. Here’s a few we find interesting:

The Borneo International Kite Festival

Borneo International Kite Festival is held in the town of Bintulu.  The huge windy open space of the Old Bintulu Airport that faces the South China Sea provides ideal conditions for consistent flight of a vast selection of colourful kites. The sky would be colourfully lit as thousands of colourful kites are flown at the festival, with the latest number being 2,500 diamond kites. The festival also holds a record in the Malaysia Book of Records for forming the longest arch kite tunnel of 500 metres.

You can expect 400 kiters from 25 countries participating in this festival with cultural and artiste performances being held in the evening.

Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta

This event is participated by nearly 70 countries around the world with over 50 million participants in Asia alone, particularly from China and Southeast Asia.  It was also adopted as part of the ASEAN Games 2010 in Guangzhou, China.

The Dragon Boat Race continues to be an important event in the tourism calendar of countries involved in dragon boat races around the world.  The event in Sarawak attracts global participation and promotes local tourism, thereby increasing tourist arrivals.

Borneo Jazz

Another highly anticipated music festival, the Borneo Jazz Festival is one of the longest running Jazz festivals in the region. There will be two nights of four performances each by regionally and internationally recognised jazz musicians.


If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Also do follow along our adventure on our social media platforms:

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo  

Catch up on the latest episodes by clicking on the thumbnails below:

Sarawak : EP1

Sarawak : EP1

Episode

Sarawak : EP2

Episode 3

Sarawak : EP3

Sarawak : EP4

Sarawak : EP4

Sarawak : EP5

Sarawak : EP5

Sarawak : EP6

Sarawak : EP6

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Visiting Sarawak As A Japanese Intern | All Time Favorites Local Food

Visiting Sarawak As A Japanese Intern | All Time Favorites Local Food

Throughout my stay as an intern in Sarawak, I have enjoyed various Local dishes.  Here are some of my all time favorites!

Manok Pansoh – Bamboo chicken

This is one of the famous traditional dish, it is well known to all ethnic groups in Sarawak. “Manok” means chicken in the Iban language, while “Pansoh” means something cooked in bamboo.  What is so special about this dish? Well, besides the delighting aroma the bamboo releases from the heat, the bamboo also gives the chicken is soft and tender texture.  This dish is usually eaten with plain rice.

Ayamはチキン、Pansohは竹の中で調理をすることを意味しています!イバン民族が伝統とするこの調理方法は、サラワク州の方々には大人気!竹の中で焼くことによって、ショウガやニンニクの香りがひきたち、食感も柔らかくなります!ビールとの相性も抜群です!!

japanese-intern-ayam-pansoh

Kolo Mee

Kolo Mee is a well-known dish for its simplicity and relatively cheap pricing. Each dish would cost around 3-5RM depending on the extra topping of prawn and fish. Kolo-Mee consists of BBQ pork, minced pork, fish balls, and a sprinkle of garlic on top. The mixture of chili vinegar sauce and the boiled noodle gives an addictive flavor into the dish. The dish can be considered as an all-time favorite for locals in and can be seen in every corner of Sarawak, especially in Kuching.

チャーシューやそぼろが入っており、この料理は何といっても日本人の口には絶対に合う料理だと思います。 中華の文化的影響を受けた料理でお箸と蓮華を使って食べるのが一般的です。

japanese-intern-kolo-mee

Sarawak Laksa

A must try for visitors to Sarawak. Sarawak Laksa normally uses beehoon noodles and the a shrimp based soup with more than 30 spices being involved. Sounds spicy? Well don’t worry because the soup is thickened with coconut milk mellowing the spiciness of each bite. It is recommended for breakfast.

For additional spices, if it is too spicy, use the lime to ease up the spice. If not spicy enough then add the spice paste for the tingle on your tongue.

サラワクといえばこの料理、サラワク・ラクサです!ラクサ自体は何種類もあり、地域によって味が異なりますが、サラワク・ラクサはサラワク州でしか食べられない絶品グルメです!
スパイシーなココナッツミルクベースのスープが癖になって何杯でも食べられます!
値段はなんと4-5RM (120-150円)!
ローカルフードの中でも大人気の一品です!

japanese-intern-laksa

Midin

Midin is a type of jungle ferns that can be found in tropical jungles like Sarawak.  Midin is a familiar vegetable dish served in restaurants here.  It is usually stir-fried with shrimp paste, garlic or anchovies for an astonishing taste.  A great side-dish that can compliment other dishes, most commonly with seafood.

マレーシアではよく見かけるこの野菜はミディンという名物です!見た目はワラビのようなのですが、柔らかく粘りのある日本ではあまり経験のできないような食感です!

サラワクでしか取れない山菜の一種でオイスターソースやガーリックなど調理方法は様々です!

japanese-intern-midin8

Kek Lapis

Kek Lapis, also known as Kueh Lapis is a light, layered cake available in various flavors.  This traditional cake can be seen in religious or cultural celebrations along with other local food. Outside of celebration days, it is commonly served during coffee breaks and tea times.

マレー語でKekはケーキのこと、Lapisとは層のことです。インドネシア発祥のこのレイヤーケーキはカステラとバームクーヘンを合わせたようなデザートです!

生地が何層にも重なっていることでレイヤーケーキと呼ばれています!サラワク州ではコーヒーと一緒に食べる大人気スイーツ!

値段はひとつ10RMほどです!是非、豊富なフレーバーを是非楽しんでください!

Written by: Kenta Kojima

japanese-intern-kek-lapis

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