Categories
Tourism Malaysia

LEMBAH BUJANG

Not as gigantic as Giza’s Pyramid or Acropolis’
Parthenon, or popular as neighbouring Angkor Wat, not many people realize that
Malaysia also offers something not less captivating than above. Nestled between
forests, mountain and rivers in northern state of Kedah, archaeological wonder Lembah
Bujang is a remaining proof of ‘existence
of a trade and Hindu/Buddhism propagation center in Southeast Asia from the
third to the 12th century A.D.

Lembah Bujang was a central port which served as a trade
center for traders dominating the trading routes between the eastern and
western countries especially the Chinese, Indian and Arab traders as well as
Malay traders in the Malay archipelago who monopolized spice and exotic jungle
goods trade for Middle East export.

Lembah Bujang’s significance as Southeast Asia’s central port
was evident in archaeological finds and writings of Chinese and Arab seamen as
well as in Indian literatures. These chronicles, dated between the 2nd and 14th
century AD, told of the existence of a prosperous and bustling kingdom in
Lembah Bujang that was known as the “seat of all felicities”.

Besides being the Nusantara’s ultimate trading center, it was
also the focal point of Hindu/Buddha propagation in Southeast Asia during the
3rd to the 12th century, which proved of the existence of Buddhisme with Pala
Mahayana influences from southern India. This faith was brought and practiced
by Hindu/Buddhist Indian traders who came trading at Lembah Bujang, as stated
by Museum Department.

Long time ago, for traders and sailors, the 1,217
metre Gunung Jerai was a landmark which could be seen from far. A bustling port
and prosperous kingdom, the place keeps a 1500-year-old history of old Malay
Kingdom which a mixture of traditions with many names – Kalagam, Qalha,
Katahanagara or Langkasuka. The history was so old, much earlier than emergence
of Malacca in 15th century A.D.

Today, some precious archaeological wonders left
include Candi or Temples, scattered around the area – with much more need to be
unearth. Among the great ones is the Candi Bukit Batu Pahat, which is the
biggest and most significant. It was excavated and reconstructed in the late
1950s, and believe to be built in 11th century A.D.

Candi Pendiat, found in the left bank of Bujang River
was excavated in 1974, and believed to be built in 9th century A.D.
The main building was made of laterite blocks, granite and bricks.

Other notable temples ARE Candi Bendang Dalam and
Candi Pangkalan Bujang. Both were built in 12th century A.D and 11
centry AD respectively, much to the influence of Hindduism and Buddhism.

Interestingly, some artefacts found in those temples
include ceramic shards, Middle Eastern glass and gemstones, charcoal, resin,
statuettes, gold ring, iron nails, Chinese porcelain, Indian tridents – fits
explanation that Lembah Bujang was a centre port which attracted all corners of
the world to trade here.

For historical enthusiasts, visitors may opt to visit
The Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum, to understand more about the background.
It is the only museum in Malaysia
which exhibits archaeological collections excavated from the sites. 

Bujang Valley, State of Kedah

The Bujang Valley Archaeological Museum

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Kuching Caving | Gua Sireh & Broken Jar

Located in Serian, Kota Samarahan Division near Bantang Village, Kuching, Serian road.

Gua Sireh is an important archaeological site in South Western Sarawak.  Excavation works have recovered pottery shreds and food debris as animal bones and shellfish.  The cave could have been occupied as early as 20.000 years ago.  Pottery was produced around 4.000 years ago.  At the same time domesticated animals (dogs and pigs) and plants (rice) were introduced.  One shred with rice temper was dated to around 3500 BP, which is a comparatively early found for rice cultivation in island Southeast Asia.

According to our guide Mr. James and supported by local guide from Bantang Village, Mr. Ekol, human burials with heads and iron objects were placed in the cave about 2.000 years ago.  The cave was used as refuge site and for birds nesting activities in recent time where birds nest collecting tools still can be seen.  Ancient charcoal drawing which is mostly found at the cave entrance, depicting human and animal motifs were drawn on 36 lineal meters of the interior walls.

The cave entrance are also used as place to cremated the warrior bodies, that why the above part of the cave entrance are blackish color (singed of burning activities).

The excavation area and cave painting at the cave entrance is blocked (fencing) and locked by Museum Department.  According to Mr. James, the key need to be retained from them because the padlock has been changed.

ITINERARY :

0840hrs – Pick up from STB headquarter lobby by KISTours Sdn Bhd. Using 2 4X4 vehicle to the caving venue. Along the way, Mr. James telling us brief history about Jalan Keretapi which is now known as Jalan Tun Zaidi Adruce. He’s also pointing to us some potential caving area that need to be explore along the way, starting from 12th miles to 10th miles Kuching – Serian road.

0915hrs – Stop for briefing at KISTours Sdn Bhd office at 10th miles bazaar.

Kuching Caving1 Kuching Caving2

Kuching Caving3

You will need the right equipment, trousers, boots, towels and shirts.

1030hrs – Depart 10th miles bazaar. On the way to caving location, our guide sharing with on the potential caving area.

1115hrs – Making a quick stop to purchase our ration (snacks drinks) at Taiee Bazaar.

Kuching Caving4

1130hrs – Reached caving location near Bantang Village.

Kuching Caving5

1140hrs – Moving in to the jungle path leading to the Gua Sireh.  It takes about 5 minutes walk from jungle path starting point to the wooden plank staircase, than 15 minutes to claim the staircase up to Gua Sireh entrance.

Kuching Caving

Kuching Caving7

Plants found along the path.

 

Staircase leading to cave entrance

Staircase leading to cave entrance.

1200hrs – Journey to darkness begin…going into the cave.

About 20.000 years old painting

About 20.000 years old painting.

Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh1
Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh2
Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh4

Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh3Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh5

Cave Swiftlet

Cave Swiftlet

There are difference kind of creatures living in the cave, such as snake – Cave Racer Snake, bats, insects, catfish and etc.

Batu Raja

Batu Raja

The White Princess

The White Princess

Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh7

1425hrs – Our caving stop at “The Rapid”, which take us 2 hours 25 minutes to reached there.  We had our snack break here, before turn back to cave entrance.

Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh8
Kuching Caving-Gua Sireh9

1450hrs – Depart The Rapid for cave entrance.

1540hrs – Reached cave entrance (going back is faster).

1600hrs2nd Cave – “Broken Jar”

The cave is relatively smaller chamber than the Gua Sireh.  This is where we were required to submerge ourselves in the water.  At some point, the water level was higher than my height and can be difficult even for good swimmer, but James and Mr. Ekol were very encouraging. They were really determined to provide us with an unforgettable caving experience hence despite acquiring Noise-induced hearing loss from my loud screaming, they still helped us go deeper into the cave.  James literally had to bring/carry us in to “inner room”.  The Chamber was short, only about 250 meters.  After seeing the inner room, we an option to either take the dry route to come out, or to go back using the same way we came in.

Kuching Caving-Broken jar1

Walking to the ‘Broken Jar’ cave.

Kuching Caving-Broken jar2

Entrance to thr ‘Broken Jar’

1745hrs – Depart to Kpg Bantang.  We return the equipment to our base (KISTours Sdn Bhd) at 10th Mile Bazaar after caving and finish with dinner at the local restaurant nearby (served no pork).

The attractiveness level of Gua Sireh caving is beyond expectation. The product have a very high potential to market as a adventure tourism product and because of close proximity to Kuching city, highly recommended for short adventure holiday destination seekers.

The overall organizing is good and the efforts concerning safety such as providing helmet, socks, boots and rope by the service provider are excellent.  The safety and comfort of land transport to the location was good too.  The involvement of local people is good, because the tours will bring us closer to the local community and the product nature.  This what the eco-tourism all about… giving back to the local community in the area and preserving the nature.

Prepared by:

Deckson Bundak
Tourist Coordinator, VIC Kuching, Sarawak Tourism Board

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/