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Malaysia Travel Guide

Why Kuching should be on the radar of every digital nomad

As a digital nomad in Southeast Asia, there’s a good chance you’re used to doing things the unconventional way. If that’s the case, you ought to read on and learn about the place dubbed the next Chiang Mai.

We’re talking about Kuching, Sarawak. 

Source: appc2019.ifm.org.my

Located in the Malaysian part of Borneo, Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak, a founding partner in the nation of Malaysia. Modern yet laid back, Kuching has outstanding infrastructure yet remains very much in touch with nature. 

Modern Kuching can be traced back to 1841, when James Brooke, the son of an English judge in the East India Company who happened to be sailing the Malay Archipelago, helped the King of Brunei crush a rebellion in southern Borneo.

Source: Culture Trip

As a reward, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II of Brunei gave him Sarawak, a swampy and mostly jungle-covered land inhabited by notorious and very dangerous headhunting indigenous tribes.

And that’s how James Brooke became the first White Rajah and the Kingdom of Sarawak was born. With the exception of the second world war period from 1941 – 1945 when it was occupied by the Japanese, Sarawak was a standalone kingdom under the White Rajahs until 1946.

At the end of the occupation of Sarawak, on 11 September 1945, the British military took over Sarawak for 7 months before handing it back to Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke. 

Seeing the damage done by the Japanese, Rajah Brooke realised he no longer had the resources to develop Sarawak. He hoped that with the cession of Sarawak as a British crown colony, the British would be able to rebuild Sarawak’s infrastructure and develop its postwar economy.

So Sarawak became a British colony from 1946-1963 before becoming equal partners along with Peninsular Malaya, Sabah and Singapore to form Malaysia. (Singapore later withdrew itself and became an independent nation in 1965).

Source: blogspot.com

The White Rajahs played an important role in uniting the multiple races in Sarawak. With multiple ethnicities such as Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Chinese and Indians residing harmoniously, Kuching has become a true melting pot of cultures and is seen by many as a role model for cultural and religious harmony. 

Kuching is called ‘The City of Cats’. You will find cat murals and statues everywhere in the town centre. The city’s obsession really stems from its name. The word ‘Kucing’ means cat in the Malay language. 

How Kuching got its name is a mystery. Some say that when the first Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke, arrived around 1839, he pointed to the settlement and asked a local what it was called. The local, mistakenly thought he was pointing at a passing cat and said ‘Kucing’ (pronounced Coo-ching). 

A descendant of the passing cat that James Brooke mistakenly pointed at. Or so we like to think. 😉 Source: Aish Mann

Others claim the city was named after trees that once grew throughout the area, bearing small fruit called mata kucing, or ‘cat’s eye fruit’, which is similar to lychee. The last theory is that the name was chosen when residents discovered short-tailed cats living along the banks of the mighty Sarawak River which flows through the city.   

As you walk around the streets of Kuching, you’ll feel the soul of the city in its historic buildings, vibrant street art, and warm, friendly people. 

‘The Early Mercers’ at India Street. Source: Aish Mann

With lush rainforests and the South China Sea in close proximity, a chilled authentic vibe with all the luxuries of a modern city, Kuching is the perfect haven for digital nomads who want an idyllic environment in which to work.

So, why should digital nomads base themselves in Kuching?

We asked a few who have made the move to Kuching and here’s what one said: 

After visiting a lot of tourist places, I found a peaceful and quiet place in Kuching to focus on my work. iCube is very comfortable and convenient. I can find everything I need in the nearby mall Icom Square with lots of food places and a gym. People here are very calm, kind and respectful. Everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to connect with locals. It’s not the case everywhere in Asia and this is a very appreciable point for me.” –Virginie Sarachman, France.

The sky puts on a spectacular show almost every day at Waterfront, Kuching. 

We also spoke to Melvin Liew the ‘go to’ guy for digital nomads in Kuching. Here’s what he had to say about the gradually growing digital nomad community in Kuching. 

We saw the trend (of digital nomad arrivals) increasing when the tourism sector in Sarawak started to grow. It is essential to have a solid community and the constant improvement of infrastructure for Digital Nomads in Sarawak.” – Melvin Liew, Director, iCube Innovation

Another reason for digital nomads to live in Kuching 

If you’re from Europe or North America, you get a 90-day visa on arrival, compared to a 30-day visa for Indonesia and a 2-week visa for Thailand.

Source: tour-borneo-malaysia.com

That means you have plenty of time to get settled in and every time you leave the country, you get a 3-month visa on your return.

Now, it may seem like Kuching is in some faraway, inaccessible land, but the truth is, you could be sipping a cold beer in the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, Singapore in a mere 3 hours. 

Singapore too sterile for you? Then you can be in downtown Kuala Lumpur in 3 hours too. The beautiful beaches of Kota Kinabalu are just 2 hours away.

Fancy something laidback? Then the city of Bandar Seri Begawan would be up your alley with direct flights from Kuching that will get you there in less than 2 hours. And the cherry on the cake is that flights to all these destinations start from just US$20! 

Now, where should you stay in Kuching?

Kuching has accommodation for all budgets. Airbnb works pretty well here and you have an array of apartments/condominiums to choose from. 

James from locationindependent.co.uk suggests placing yourself as close to the Waterfront area as possible. He says there really isn’t an expat neighborhood but Waterfront is the most central part of Kuching and almost all the main spots are walkable from there. 

Another main area is Padungan Street. It’s a bit further away from the town centre but it is a lively street with some of the best food options. 

If you prefer a short-term rental, we suggest you come and stay in a hotel to personally view places before renting, just to be on the safe side. 

How do you move around town?

Kuching is the most pedestrian-friendly city in Malaysia, especially if you live around the town centre.

Carpenter Street. 

Car or motorbike rentals are available but we recommend Grab (equivalent of Uber) and Maxim. Both apps work flawlessly around Kuching and each ride costs between US$2 – 4 if you’re in the town area.

Where to stuff your face 

Now that you’re mobile, it’s time to get some delicious food into that hungry tummy!

Lucky for you, Kuching is full of gastronomical marvels. 

With numerous influences from indigenous tribes as well as Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures, you’ll never run out of new things to appease your hunger. 

One of the most famous dishes you absolutely have to try is Sarawak Laksa. This typical Sarawakian breakfast dish is made of a special prawn-based broth thickened with coconut milk.

A perfect, mouth-watering bowl of Sarawak laksa. 

Served with a generous portion of omelette strips, crunchy bean sprouts, chicken shreds, and plump prawns as well as a squeeze of calamansi lime for extra zest and thick sambal paste on the side. 

The late Anthony Bourdain called Sarawak Laksa, ‘The breakfast of the Gods’. 

#Laksa #Kuching Breakfast of the Gods

A post shared by anthonybourdain (@anthonybourdain) on May 28, 2015 at 6:57pm PDT

 

One of the best places to find a fiiine bowl of Laksa is at Chong Choon Cafe. Remember, Sarawak laksa is a breakfast dish, so it sells out by around 10 am.

Other must-try dishes in Kuching include Kolo Mee at Annie Kolo Mee or Oriental Park Cafe and authentic Sarawakian tribal food at Tribal Stove the Dyak

A beautiful bowl of Kolo Mee. 

One meal with a drink in a traditional Kuching restaurant or coffee shop should cost you no more than US$2-5. Here’s a more comprehensive food guide with tips on where to find cheap eats in Kuching.

How do you pay for stuff?

You can’t use US dollars to pay like in Cambodia. The currency used in Kuching is Ringgit Malaysia (RM). Although some places only accept cash, most places accept credit cards or E-Wallets. 

Some of the E-Wallets you can use are GrabPay, SarawakPay, FavePay, and Boost E-wallet

What’s the internet like?

Ah yes, internet: the lifeline of a digital nomad. 

Connectivity issues can be quite scary if your livelihood depends on the internet. And the Bornean rainforest doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of place you can do seamless Video calls. Buut…

Don’t worry, Kuching has all-around 4G coverage and you can find wifi at almost every cafe. 

The 3 main service providers in Sarawak with solid coverage are Celcom, Maxis and Digi. 

You can pick up a sim card at the airport for as low as US$8 and this will last you a whole month with constant coverage!

Here’s a price comparison between the service providers. 

Where the magic happens… 

Now that you’re settled in and well connected, it’s time to look for a place to work. 

There are a number of co-working spaces available but the main curator of the digital nomad community is iCube Innovation

Source: coworker.imgix.net

They have the most up-to-date facilities if all you want to do is put your head down and get some work done. 

Their packages start from as low as US$36 per month for a hot desk which is substantially lower than co-working spaces in Bali and Chiang Mai where average monthly packages cost US$100 and US$120. 

Other than iCube, other interesting co-working spaces are MaGIC Sarawak and The 381 Hub

If you’d rather work from a new location every day, we’ve got you covered! There are plenty of cafes around town where you can set up shop. Here’s a list of some of the most aesthetically pleasing and work-friendly cafes in and around the city centre: 

  1. Tease by Jase’s Tea House
  2. Commons at The Old Courthouse
  3. The Coffee Clinic
  4. Kai Joo Cafe 
  5. Coffee Obsession

After-work shenanigans

We’re going to give it to you straight. If you’re a party animal, Kuching isn’t for you. [Pro tip: You can always head to Kuala Lumpur and paint the town red there!] 

Drinks and Art. What better way to relax after a long day of work? Source: Aish Mann

However, if you like to unwind and chill with a cold beer and good ambiance, there are a number of places you can try. Note, a bucket of four beers in Kuching usually costs around US$8. 

  1. Bear Garden
  2. Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar
  3. The Wayang
  4. Monkee Bar Bistro
  5. Borneo Rednecks  

A stay in Sarawak isn’t complete without Tuak. Tuak is a Sarawakian rice wine. You can usually find it at bars around Kuching. Try it, but be careful…

What else is there to do?

After working diligently and finishing a few months’ work in a few days, you’re bound to want to do some touring. 

Other than a promising, laid back, and focused environment, there are plenty of activities to help you get close to nature. 

When you’re looking to get out of the city, you can head to sites around Kuching. Check out our articles on the magnificent caves and peculiar wildlife found in Sarawak. You can be soaking in a natural hot spring or exploring millennia-old caves in a matter of hours!

Miri is an interesting destination, more lively than Kuching, it also has the best dive sites in Malaysia. Subscribe to our newsletter to get content like this sent straight into your inbox! 

All in all, Kuching is a perfect destination for digital nomads because of how gentle it is. If you’re a digital nomad looking for an affordable, tranquil place to get some work done, Kuching should definitely be on your radar. 

 

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Tourism Malaysia

20 Awesome and True Malaysian Breakfasts!

Breakfast is not called the most important meal of the day for nothing. With good breakfast, your day can be full of energy to get ready for challenges ahead.
Being a multicultural society comes with some gastronomical benefits – Malaysians are incredibly fortunate to have the luxury of eating a wide variety of food for breakfast each day, from delectable Chinese dim sum to a more spicy Malay food.
What is your favourite Malaysian breakfast food? In no particular order, here are 20 Malaysian breakfasts you must try during your stay here and where you can find them.
It is definitely worth reading!

Nasi Lemak

Nasi lemak is a favourite breakfast among all races in Malaysia. The fragrant rice dish is infused with coconut milk, and served with fried anchovies, sambal (spicy shrimp paste), boiled or fried egg, and sometimes cucumber as well as peanuts. Nasi Lemak has even been listed as one of 10 most healthy international breakfasts by TIME Magazine. The price ranges between RM2 and RM20 for a plate of nasi lemak, mainly depend on where you buy it. Nothing beats getting up early on a weekend than eating Village Park’s famous nasi lemak at Damansara Uptown for a true Malaysian breakfast!

Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is a unique Malay rice dish with the rice in blue colour, a type of nasi ulam. It is quite popular as a breakfast dish for Kelantanese. It is eaten with various mixture of Ulam (traditional local salad), crackers, fish or fried chicken, pickles, hard-boiled salted egg. The blue colour comes from flower’s petals used in cooking it. Try out nasi kerabu at Kesom Café, Petaling Jaya for your stay as it is packed with a good amount of flavour, various ingredients for texture and a price you simply can’t resist! But, in Kelantan, one of the best places to sample this dish is Kak Ma Nasi Kerabu in Kota Bahru.

Classic Combination (Kaya toast + Half-boiled egg + Coffee)

This is a classic combination as all walks of life love to eat it. A sweet start to your day with kaya toast, normally filled with coconut jam or peanut butter.
This is usually paired with a cup of coffee or tea, and sometimes complemented by a couple of soft-boiled eggs. The combination of this meal could be found at any kopitiam (cofffee shop). It is also one of the best sellers in some retail outlets such as Old Town White Coffee and Toast Box.
Tips: Popular kopitiam with this classic combination include Yut Kee Kopitiam, one of the oldest kopitiams in KL (Established in 1928) and Transfer Road Roti Bakar in Penang.

Tosai

No Malaysian breakfast list is complete without Thosai! This long, crepe-like meal may look huge when served, but you’ll soon see that it takes up a small room in your stomach. This is typically served with yogurt or curry on the side.
Charred to a mellow crisp on the edges, warm and a tad tart from fermentation, it’s hard to believe that something so simple and humble can turn into one scrumptious dish.

Famous restaurant to sample tosai: Chat Masala Restaurant in Brickfieds, Kuala Lumpur. (Specializing in authentic Indian cuisine)

Roti Canai

If there’s only one roti you’ll try in Malaysia, this should be it. Roti Canai, a type of flatbread influenced by the Indian ethnicity and it is usually served with dal (lentil-based soup) or kari ikan (fish curry) and is best eaten with bare hands.
Roti Canai is commonly sold in our local Indian tea stalls, famously known to the locals as Mamak stall. Mamak stall is also our locals favorite not only for food but also as a hang out place! Roti canai is variable from original, to the locals – Roti kosong, which means no fillings to choices of fillings with eggs, banana, chicken, lamb, tuna, etc, served with chicken curry, fish curry, dhal or combination of any curry of your preferences. Watching it being prepared itself is a spectacular as the roti is flung into the air like a pizza base.

Dim Sum

If you prefer snacks to breakfasts, or snacks for breakfast, this bite-sized style of cuisine will suit your palate and your gastronomic fashion. Fresh, flavourful and steaming food is typically served in bamboo steamer baskets and Chinese tea.
There are loads of variations to choose from, although some of the more popular ones are the Xiao Long Bao, Har Gow (Shrimp dumpling), Siu Mai (Steamed dumplings with pork and prawns) and Loh Bak Gao (steamed turnip cake).
Some of the famous outlets for your breakfast selection include Foo Hing Dim Sum in Puchong, Jin Xuan Hong Kong Restauratnt, Dragon-i Restaurant and etc. If your preference is halal, Malaysia has plenty of halal dim sum restaurants to choose from, with one of the popular brands in town being Dolly Dim Sum.

Yong Tau Foo

This Hakka dish is a mix of fish, meat, vegetables and tofu. Traditionally, only tofu cubes were stuffed with a paste of fish and pork, and then deep fried or braised. Vendors later got creative and started stuffing vegetables like bitter gourd, ladies’ fingers, chillies and brinjals. Along with the stuffed ingredients are fish and meat balls, and also fried tofu skin. The dry version of the dish is enjoyed with chilli and sweet sauces, but the ingredients are also served in a clear soup. Side dishes such as chee cheong fun and rice are optional. Some of the famous stalls for this dish include Foong Foong restaurant at Ampang and a Yong Tau Foo at Puchong Batu 14 in front of a Chinese vernacular school.

Bah Kut Teh

The name literally translated as “meat bone tea” where various parts of pork is slow-cooked in a complex broth of herbs and spices. Bak Kut Teh is one of the local Chinese favorite breakfast for a nutritious meal, a calorie dense breakfast where it is said that this dish was once created for the hard labour. It comes in various forms as it could be strong and intense, or light and soupy; it could come in a humble bowl with only pork, or it could come in a claypot of goodies.
Klang is regarded as the city of Bak Kut Teh as there are more than one hundred Bak Kut Teh restaurants in the city itself. Under The Bridge Bak Kut Teh is one of the first to come to mind when the question of best Bak Kut Teh arises. This restaurant in Klang dates back to 1979, but the recipe has over 70 years of history.

Noodles soup

If you like your noodles, why not have it for breakfast? Some of the exciting choices here include curry noodles, soto, wan tan noodles, fish soup noodles, shredded chicken noodles and asam laksa.

Noodle soup is another preferred local breakfast, where lots of variation is widely available across Malaysia. From a bowl of delicate curry noodles, soto, fish soup noodles, shredded chicken noodles and lots more exciting choices.
Noodle soup is an excellent pick for breakfast as the soup is highly nutritious especially when the soup is done right.

Laksa Perlis

Many may not familiar about dishes or cuisines from Perlis. However, you should not miss out Laksa Perlis.

At first glance, the dish looks just like the Malay laksa you find in the other northern states of Kedah and Penang. But if you’re looking for traditional Perlis laksa, head to the Laksa Kak Su at Jalan Siakap 1, Kuala Perlis.
Fresh house-made thick rice noodles are served in a fishy gravy along with “ulam” such as julienned cucumber, onion, chillies and daun selom.
Interestingly, Laksa Perlis, or known as “Laksa Kola” locally, is always eaten with pulut udang or kuih spera (like a curry puff but with a savoury grated coconut filling). It makes the gravy thicker and more delicious.

Big Breakfast

A huge plate of Big Breakfast for a breakfast or brunch with family or friends is the best way to kick off the first episode of the day.
With the mushrooming of fancy cafes in KL, most Malaysians have taken a strong liking for the western style hearty breakfast sets.
These usually come with a large portion of well-arranged sausages, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, toast and eggs.
Places to check out if you love a good brunch or Big Breakfast include FEEKA Coffee Roasters @ Bukit Bintang (pork-free), Plan b, Merchant’s Lane @ Petaling Street (pork-free), Acme Bar Coffee @ The Troika (pork-free) and many more!

Stir-fried noodles/Char Kuey Teow, Mee Goreng….

Stir-fried noodles or Char Kuey Teow or Mee Goreng and etc. are always the favourite dishes for Malaysians. It can be enjoyed as your breakfast, lunch or dinner as it is quite easy to find it on the streets.

Mee Goreng literally translated as fried noodle or commonly known as “chow mein” in Cantonese is another widely favoured choice of breakfast. It is fried with high temperature to create a strong aromatic plate of delicacy.
Char Keow Teow, which is basically flat rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, bloody cockles, Chinese lap cheong has won the heart of diners from all over the world. It is a must-try dish when travelling to Penang. You have not visited Penang if you have not check it out.

Lontong

Lontong is an Asian dish that is commonly served with nasi impit (compressed rice) which is cut into cubes. It is drenched with a coconut milk and turmeric-based broth cooked with a variety of vegetables along with condiments such as fried tempeh, fried tofu and boiled eggs. You can add to the mix with sambal. An addition that’s highly recommended is the fried beef lung. It’s sliced thinly and fried until very crisp so that even in the broth, the pieces remain crunchy. Famous spot to try out Lontong is Chawan in Bangsar, whereby many white and blue-collared men and women will gather there in the morning to take this dish to kick start the day.

Teh Tarik, Milo, Cham, Hoi Nam Cha, etc.

You haven’t been to Malaysia until you’ve tasted Teh Tarik, or “pulled tea”. It got its name from the way the tea is poured from cup to cup to achieve that frothy surface. It pairs well with any breakfast meal.

Apart from Teh Tarik, the locals love a cup of coffee, better known as “kopi” (Local Malay word). A mixture of coffee and tea and you will get a cup of “cham” which means “mixture” in Cantonese. Malaysians basically love a dose of caffeine in the morning. Not to forget that Milo, a malt chocolate drink that Malaysian children raved over.

Most people choose to dip their cream crackers or biscuits into a nice, warm cup of this yummy drink. Be sure to have a cup of our local beverages and you can be considered as truly visiting this country.

Buns, pastry and kuih

It is not to difficult to look for a bun stall in most of the local breakfast places especially the morning market. Some of the bun with good demand include sweet coconut jam (kaya) bun, dried meat bun, hot dog bun, minced meat bun, tuna bun, peanut bun and etc. Besides, some of these stalls also selling pastry and kuih – local desserts. Nyonya kuih, for example, is a proud invention that most Malaysians choose to surrender their sweet tooth upon.

Chee Cheong Fun

Chee Cheong Fun is a steamed flat rice noodle rolls and taken with sauce, either sweet or savoury. In Penang, the rolls are cut into short cylinders and served with condiments such as thnee cheo (a sweet dark-red sauce), hae ko (black, prawn paste sauce), chilli sauce, oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Some people prefer the Chee Cheong Fun lightly tossed in curry sauce as well. People in Penang all have their favourite but you can’t go wrong with the stall outside Seow Fong Lye Cafe on Macalister Lane. Be prepared to wait for your order.

Yau Char Kwai

Yau Char Kway (Cantonese) literally means “oil-fried devil” a name in accordance to the Chinese culture. The traditional deep-fried snack has been a breakfast staple for the Chinese for as long as any of us could remember. Here in Malaysia, it has been always served for breakfast with rice congee or dipped in soy milk, the long golden-brown snack is also eaten with bak kut teh or a cup of brewed coffee. You can also just simply munch on it.

Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang

Nasi dagang is one of the most popular breakfast dishes in Terengganu. Nasi dagang is a mixture of white fragrant rice and white glutinous rice. Here, most of the people prefer to eat it together with a curry made with ikan tongkol, a tuna species fished off the coast, and simple side dishes of acar timun and a hard-boiled egg.
Some of the top picks to check out this dish include a stall called Mak Ngah located at Kampung Bukit, Kuala Terengganu and also Kak Pah’s stall at the Batu Buruk food court.

Fish Noodles

 As most of the breakfast dishes introduced here are famous in peninsular, let’s take a look on a common dish for Sabahans called fish noodles.
Fish noodles at Jong Fa Pai restaurant in Kota Kinabalu served with meaty chunks of fish in a fish-based broth (clear or with milk) along with tofu, preserved vegetables and tomatoes. A halal version can be found at Wan Wan outlets.
Ngiu chap (In Hakka dialect), which means “mixed cow”, is another favorite breakfast noodle among Sabahans. Eaters can expect every single part of the cow in this dish, including beef balls, tripe, tongue and tendons. Some people even add in liver and other innards.

Sarawak Laksa

 For Sarawakian, Sarawak Laksa makes for an amazing breakfast. The late Anthony Bourdain, who featured Sarawak laksa in his TV shows once called Sarawak Laksa “Breakfast of the Gods”.
Significantly different from the many other types of laksa available in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak Laksa consists of rice vermicelli, shredded omelette, cooked prawns and strips of chicken in an aromatic broth, with sambal and lime served on the side.
This dish is beloved by all Sarawakians and is enjoyed by families and friends no matter what time of the day. Highly recommended Kuching restaurants that serve Sarawak laksa are Mom’s Laksa @ Gita (halal) and Golden Arch Cafe.

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Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

SARAWAK SPREADS HER “PROMOTIONAL WINGS” TO ASIA

Kuching – August 13th: The Sarawak Tourism Board (‘STB’) has added another milestone in her efforts to boost Sarawak’s tourism through a collaborative effort with AirAsia and Laduni Services Sdn Bhd. to ensure that Sarawak’s brand will be widely seen on selected aircrafts flying in the region.

Minister thumb up sarawak tourism board air asia cabin ad panel

YB Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak giving thumbs up to one of Sarawak Ad Panel on AirAsia aircraft witness by Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor, CEO of STB and Dato Aziz Bakar, AirAsia Board of Director.

Through this collaboration, the overhead cabin compartments of 5 AirAsia planes will be prominently adorned with visuals depicting Sarawak as a destination full of life, vibrancy and excitement, showcasing various attractions of Sarawak’s culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals.

The collaboration was officiated by the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, YB Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at a signing ceremony held at the Kuching International Airport today.

This promotional effort on the 5 aircrafts involves AirAsia Malaysia and AirAsia Thailand, reaching out to 6 countries around Asian countries for duration of one year. Some of the key destinations include Kuala Lumpur, Miri, Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi, Johor Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Alor Setar, Penang and Kuching in Malaysia, Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai in Thailand, Chennai, Kochi and Kolkata in India, Ho Chi Min City, Danang, Hanoi in Vietnam, Medan and Jakarta in Indonesia, Phnom Penh and Siam Rep in Cambodia, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Kunming and Shenzhen in China, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Singapore.

In addition, Sarawak will also be featured in the coveted 360 inflight magazine and other digital platforms at KLIA2.

YB Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said: “We hope that this promotional initiative will be able to give Sarawak greater brand visibility in the region targeting the correct audience among travellers. It serves to convey not only our promotional messages but a chance to showcase our State’s iconic visuals including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Mulu National Park, Sarawak Laksa, Tusan beach, Rainforest World Music Festivals and the Rafflesia flower amongst others.”

Flight connectivity has always been a key structural challenge for the State. It is hoped that promotional efforts such as this will enhance visibility in prime catchment areas within the region.

Echoing the Minister, STB’s CEO Sharzede Datu Salleh Askor said, “Sarawak tourism sees this private-public sector collaboration as a good synergy and consolidated initiative to promote Sarawak to its key target markets. Sarawak has many hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered and aircrafts are certainly one of the best platforms to boost visibility and capture tourists travelling around the Asian countries mentioned.”

Sharzede added that STB is also going strongly on promotions in the digital media realm to capture air travellers who are IT savvy, many of whom tend to use Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), for their travels.

This latest collaboration follows the earlier ‘Visit Sarawak Campaign’ AirAsia aircraft livery, which was launched on February 2, this year. These are among STB’s promotional strategy to create visibility for Sarawak in the domestic and International markets.

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

New Year Resolutions the Malaysian Style

Right after midnight, people from northern to southern hemispheres will celebrate the first glimpse of the New Year with lively concerts, spectacular fireworks, as well as a public holiday. Of course everything new is exciting but the beginning of a new year seems to be a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come and where we hope to go next.

And every time a New Year rolls in, people around the world will have one thing in common, which is making a New Year’s resolution. It is actually a 4,000 year-old tradition and dates back to the Babylonians. So what are our goals for the New Year? Mostly, our New Year’s resolution involved topic such as health, love, career, finance and education, right?

So far, I think many people have failed to keep their resolutions but come to think of it, I believe that it will be much easier if we keep a resolution that is tied to the things that we love. For travel aficionados, creating a New Year’s travel resolution list is the perfect way to start dreaming about where and how they want to wander in the coming year. It can also be about starting a healthy travel lifestyle or trying more outdoor activities, searching for the best local food or learning new skills or volunteering.

So, whether you live here or are simply on holiday in Malaysia, here are some 2018 resolutions to consider. Here goes nothing!

GET FIT

I think numero uno in most people’s minds every time the New Year comes is to exercise more and have a healthy lifestyle. There are lots and lots of gymnasiums in Malaysia either in shopping malls or provided by hotels or resorts for you to exercise, but if your new resolution is to engage in more outdoor activities, you don’t have to worry because we have plenty of that too.

The easiest and cheapest way to get fit and enjoy the outdoor activities at the same time, as well as savouring the beauty of nature is by doing the running, hiking and climbing circuit. And Malaysia definitely has places and events for that in abundance and here is the list for some of the popular activities that you can do in 2018:

Broga Hill in Semenyih, Selangor

The best way to see the sun rise above both the rainforest and the city is by climbing the Broga Hill as early as 5 am. It will take at least 40 minutes to reach the peak but the view is so magnificent that you will forget about your sore muscles. There are four peaks on Broga Hill and additional jungle trail from the summit to the peak of Gunung Tok Wan, which will take another two hours to reach. You have to overcome a series of ascending and descending hilly terrains to reach the top, which is simply a perfect workout in nature.

Broga Hill in Semenyih takes about 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. It sits on the edge of the Titiwangsa Range and is frequented by casual hikers. It is approximately 400m in altitude and takes its name from the local river, Buragas.

Mt Kinabalu Via Ferrata

Via ferrata (or iron road in Italian), is a mountain path consisting of a series of rungs, rails and cables embracing the rock face. There are more than 300 via ferrata routes around the world and the world’s highest via ferrata can now be found on Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia, whereby the highest point starts at 3,400 m and ends at 3,800 m. This is the first time that the sport of via ferrata climbing is being introduced in Asia.

An activity for everyone, the via ferrata is devised to give people with little or no climbing experience access to rock faces normally reached by mountaineers and rock climbers. There are several requirements for one to take part in the via ferrata activity, including having an average fitness level, being able to hike up to 3,200 m in 6 hours, being at least 10 years of age, being at least 1.3 metres tall; and, especially, not fear heights (or willing to conquer their fear of heights).

This is a challenging adventure, and those interested to experience via ferrata on Mount Kinabalu should note that the beginner’s route will let the climber take their first experience along the granite walls of Mount Kinabalu (a journey of about 2–3 hours).

The intermediate route will let the climber experience a 4- to 5-hour journey, which will reward the climber with a breathtaking view of the heights and sights.

Marathon Fun Run

The easiest way to get fit is through running and there are lots of public parks and gardens equipped with jogging tracks all over the country. However, I believe that it will be much more meaningful if you can get fit but at the same time doing it for charity. Here in Malaysia, come rain or shine, there is not a month that goes by without a half or full marathon or fun run being organised by various organisations for myriad of reasons.

Among the interesting marathons that you can participate in Malaysia this year include:

  • The iHero Charity Run 2018 involves a 7 km and 12 km marathon, a 3 km fun run and a 1 km wheelathon for participants with mobility issues. This run is a nationwide call for action to help make a meaningful change in the lives of people with disabilities. (21 January 2018, Menara DBKL).
  • KL World Urban Run 2018, an event by PERSADA and Urbanice Malaysia in conjunction with the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum. This session in Kuala Lumpur will be the second session hosted in Asia after 10 years. The categories comprise 5 km, 10 km and 15 km run (11 February 2018, Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur).
  • International Orangutan Run 2018 is held to create awareness on the plight of the critically endangered orangutan in Borneo and Sumatran Islands, as well as commemorate and celebrate the “World Wildlife Day 2018”. It will be a 30 km run for the heavyweights while the beginners can run for 8 km. (24 March 2018, Sandakan, Sabah).
  • Route 68 Challenge is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Now into its fourth year, the race will see participants run for 168 km (two loops) and 84 km through the beautiful and scenic landscape of remote Gombak. The route will start and end at an orang asli settlement, winding through hilly roads surrounded by lush green forests. It will give participants some of the most unique ultramarathon race experience. (28-29 April 2018, Orang Asli Community Multi Purpose Hall at Km. 24 Gombak, Selangor).
  • Penang Eco 100 was the first ever ultra trail event in West Malaysia with a 50 km and 100 km category before an additional category of 160 km and 30 km were added. Held in Bukit Mertajam (Penang, Malaysia), the 30 km, 50 km and 100 km categories start from the eco village of Sungai Lembu, taking runners through oil palm plantations, rubber plantations, pineapple plantations, several Malay kampungs, Chinese new villages, and Indian temples, paddy fields, the challenging hills of Seraya, Mengkuang, and the by now iconic Tokun Hills. This race showcases the typical Malaysian geographical, social and cultural heritage where the runners will meet and see ordinary Malaysian people and wildlife, flora and fauna in the rural settings with a distinct small town feel. During the race, the runners will be sampling the local cuisines in the food and drinks provided at the aid stations along the course of the race. (12-13 May 2018, Bukit Mertajam, Penang).

For more info on other marathons and fun run, please visit www.runsociety.com.

WATCH YOUR DIET

Come New Year, you may plan to drop 10 kg, lower your cholesterol or simply to create a clean eating habit. Is it possible to watch your diet when you are travelling to a country that is well-known as food paradise? Wouldn’t you want to try the delicious food that the locals consume day in and day out?
I might as well recommend a list of the best local food for you to try and you can worry about your diet later, much, much later. Here are some of the local dishes that any sane human should try when they are in Malaysia:

Nasi Lemak

No visitors will leave Malaysia without tasting our very own Nasi Lemak. Hot cooked rice with pandan aroma steamed with coconut cream goes heavenly well with sizzling spicy sauce or “sambal”. Generous sprinklings of roasted peanuts and salty dried anchovies with a hard boiled egg perfect this dish. A platter of everything good all wrapped up in banana leaves to further enhance its unique taste. Nasi Lemak is truly a national heritage of Malaysia. (Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa in Kg. Baru, Kuala Lumpur).

‘Char Kway Teow’

‘Char Kway Teow’ or ‘stir-fried ricecake strips’ is arguably one of the most popular dishes among Malaysians of all races. The name is derived from the Hokkien term for ‘fried’ which is ‘char, while ‘kway teow’ refers to the ‘flat rice noodles’, which is the main ingredient. The latter is stir-fried over very high heat with light or dark soy sauce, chili, prawns, de-shelled cockles, bean sprouts, chinese chives and eggs.

‘Char kway teow’ was said to have its origins in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei) but the common consensus is that the Penang version tops the list when it comes to taste and originality. (Sisters Fried Kway Teow, Penang).

Laksa

Laksa is a famous noodle soup from Peranakan culture with coconut soup as a base to which are added tofu puffs, fish sticks, shrimps, cockles and others. It is served with a spoonful of chilli paste or “sambal” and traditionally garnished with Vietnamese coriander, or laksa leaf. There are many varieties of delicious Laksa in Malaysia such as Sarawak Laksa, Johor Laksa, Kelantan Laksa, Penang Laksa and many others. Try out as many as you can. (Restaurant Puteri, Kuala Lumpur).

Banana Leaf Rice

It’s a traditional method of serving rice dishes on banana leaves instead of plates that was brought over to Malaysia during the migration of South Indians. A unique dining experience, it will tickle your taste buds with all kinds of flavours, while filling your tummy with contentment. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to banana leaf rice. No two restaurants are alike, with each having their own specialties. Indian restaurants are aplenty at Brickfields, home of Little India in Kuala Lumpur and it’s easily accessible by public transport.

Satay

Satay is a Malay food made up of meats that are marinated, skewered and grilled on sticks and served with delicious peanut sauce. In Malaysia, the more popular type of skewered meat would be the chicken and beef served with a sauce dip, and slivers of cucumbers and onions. (Sate Kajang Hj Samuri, all over the Klang Valley).

LEARN NEW SKILLS

Experts say you’re never too old to learn to play the guitar, dance the waltz or cook a delicious dinner. Mastering new skills offers many benefits for the mind, body and soul. So, let’s make 2018 our year to learn new skills and here are some new skills that we can acquire here in Malaysia:

Hands-On Pewtersmithing Workshops

Founded in 1885, Royal Selangor is the world’s foremost name in quality pewter, a brand synonymous with design and craftsmanship. In the hands of its skilled craftspeople, this versatile alloy of tin, copper and antimony is transformed into an endless variety of homeware and gifts, sold today in more than 20 countries around the world.

Its Visitor Centre is located in Setapak Jaya, just 20 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur city centre. A modern glass-clad foyer set within a scenic lush landscape, greets visitors upon arrival at the Visitor Centre. You certainly won’t miss it as there is a giant-sized Royal Selangor tankard fronting the entrance.

Visitors with a little more time on their hands may not want to miss out on making their own pewter products. For a nominal fee, visitors may participate in Royal Selangor’s School of Hard Knocks pewtersmithing workshop where the participants create their very own pewter dish, or The Foundry where they get to make pewter accessories from scratch.

Royal Selangor

General Line: +603 4145 6000

Art of Shoemaking

What better way to channel your “inner Jimmy Choo” than learning the art of shoemaking at the place where the world renowned shoe designer Jimmy Choo learned his craft. Hong Kong shoe store, located in George Town, Penang, was where 15-year-old Choo started his apprenticeship under Master Wong, a famous shoe maker in Penang.

Today, Master Wong Jr has created a 4-hour Introduction to Shoemaking course for anyone who wants learn the art of shoemaking using traditional methods.

Hong Kong Shoe Store
Address: 20 Kimberley Street, 10100, George Town, Penang
Telephone / Fax: +604 261 4695
Hotline: 019-409 4663

A Chef In the Making

Malaysia is a melting pot of culinary delights. Being at the crossroads of so many cultural influences has made Malaysia a gastronomic heaven which promises a potpourri of wonderful food to please and enchant every palate from all four corners of the world.

So, grab the opportunity to learn how to cook an authentic taste of the Malaysian cuisines by joining the LaZat Malaysian Cooking Class. Each day of the week, the instructor will teach a different ethnic menu and provide detailed explanations of ingredients and cooking methods. Students will individually prepare their own 4-course lunch, usually consisting of an appetizer, main course, side dish and dessert.

For more details on LaZat Malaysian Cooking Class, please visit http://malaysia-klcookingclass.com.

VOLUNTEER MORE

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but at the same time we as volunteers get the benefits too. This is because volunteering and helping others can help us reduce stress, combat depression, keep us mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.

In tourism, we called it voluntourism, which is a combination of volunteering and tourism. It is a popular form of international travel that allows you to contribute to sustainable development while exploring a new country and culture. Among the voluntourism activities that we can participate in include:

Heart2Heart with Orangutan

The Heart2Heart with Orangutan programme is a unique conservation initiative run by Sarawak Forestry in collaboration with the Sarawak Convention Bureau. It is a one-day programme, which allows participants to actively participate in orangutan rehabilitation at the Matang Wildlife Centre and Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. It aims to showcase the orangutan conservation efforts in Sarawak to the global community and to raise awareness on the importance of saving the orangutan from the brink of extinction.

The Heart2Heart with Orangutan and Adoption programmes will definitely give its participants a renewed sense of purpose and fulfilment. No matter how small your contributions are for the rehabilitation and preservation of the orangutans, I’d like to believe that your tiny efforts will bring in big benefits in the larger scheme of things.

SARAWAK FORESTRY Corporation Sdn. Bhd.
Tel: +6082 610088   Fax: +6082 610099
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.sarawakforestry.com

Juara Turtle Project

TAT (Tengku Arif Temenggong) Turtle Sanctuary is a turtle hatchery facility located in Kampung Juara, on the eastern coast of Tioman Island, Malaysia. It is operated and maintained by a small group of dedicated individuals with the help of local and international volunteers. The Juara hatchery was established in 2006 when Juara’s Riverview Resort adopted a local government-run turtle hatchery at the end of its five year contract. Over the last few years the project has grown steadily as a “minimal interference, strictly conservation-aimed” hatchery.

The facility looks forward to and will appreciate working with anyone who supports similar perspectives on conservation efforts, through funding, environmental education, or physical participation.

Juara Turtle Project
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  +6 09 419 3244
Mobile: +6 017 438 3038
Website:http://www.juaraturtleproject.com

 

Teach Refugee Children in Malaysia

While most refugee children would like to go to school, there is only one problem – their education expenses and needs are not met. According to UNHCR, the foremost refugee agency in Malaysia, there are over 11,000 displaced children of school going age yet less than 40% of them have access to any formal education. To fill this need, many communities and NGOs have set up their own education centers.

Come “voluntour” at the local refugee school which has about 60 students mostly from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Voluntourists help teach English, History, Geography, Mathematics and Physical Education. The school is open year round but closed on Malaysian school holidays.

For more details, please visit http://volunteeringinmalaysia.org.

MANAGE STRESS

Come New Year, do the thing you need the most to take care of yourself so that you can start the year stress-free. The most pleasant way to do that is by visiting spas, which can be found all over Malaysia. A good dose of pampering can truly revive the mind, body and spirit, I promise!

In Malaysia, influences from various ancient therapies have been infused with modern spa therapies in a designer ambience, offering you a delightful experience. Here, one can find age-old Javanese beauty and wellness regimens, ancient Ayurvedic treatments from India, and reflexology, acupressure and Shiatsu practices founded in China, among others. Masseurs are well-trained and have a deep understanding of the human body, dispensing herbal recipes for baths, massage oils and scrubs.

Set against lush tropical backdrops, and presented with nutritious and detoxifying fresh fruits and herbal drinks, most of these luxury spas are also equipped with Jacuzzis, steam rooms, saunas, swimming pools and double baths. While there has recently been an influx of designer spas in the capital of Kuala Lumpur, most spas are tucked away in resorts, nestled in lush rainforests or overlooking the lapping seashore.

Spa Village

The award-winning Spa Village brand is the epitome of a luxury spa retreat. Located in all YTL properties in Kuala Lumpur, Pangkor Laut, Tanjong Jara, Cameron Highlands, Gaya Island and Melaka, it uses unique Asian healing rituals and natural resources to give you the most amazing rejuvenating experience.

For more information on Spa Village, please visit http://www.spavillage.com.

Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Tambun, Perak

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is nestled in a 22.7-acre valley, cradled by 260 million-year old towering Paleozoic limestone hills, verdant rainforest, rejuvenating geothermal hot springs, natural caves and cascading waterfalls. Your getaway to regain balance and rediscover your sense of true self, this unique hideaway is designed to luxuriate in, with therapeutic value in mind.

Restore what life takes from your body and soul as you dip into the Geothermal Hot Springs Dipping Pools, or stare and be overwhelmed by the near-vertical rock formations around the retreat. Perhaps take a relaxing stroll through the jungle to breathe in the sights of rarity. Otherwise, simply immerse in a state of enlightenment and inner peace in the Meditation Cave.

This sanctuary of bespoke holistic wellness in the northern state of Perak is only 15 minutes drive from Ipoh city and 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.

For more information on Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, please visit

https://www.thebanjaran.com.

The Chateau Spa Organic Wellness Resort, Bukit Tinggi, Pahang

Rising majestically amidst a lush rainforest in Malaysia, The Chateau is an organic spa and wellness resort, modeled after a 12th-century ‘Haut Koenigsbourg’ castle in Alsace, France. La Sante, the jewel in The Chateau’s crown, is the first destination spa in Asia that ingeniously blends European spa expertise with renowned Asian hospitality.

The Chateau offers a complete organic experience and advocates a lifestyle approach to personal wellness in a non-regimented way. The Chateau is not only a retreat that embraces holistic ideas and relaxing principles but one that defines the eminent journey towards wellness.

For more information on The Chateau Spa Organic Wellness Resort, please visit http://www.thechateau.com.my.

The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur Iridium Spa, Kuala Lumpur

The spa suites are a standout at this St. Regis relaxation haven: each comes equipped with a private Jacuzzi and sauna room. The spa uses ESPA products and technology from Endermologie to achieve lasting results.

Consult with your therapist for a massage that’s tailored to you, with a de-stresser, jet-lag reviver, immune booster, Balinese and hot stone massage as options. In addition to scrubs and wraps, the spa offers signature rituals like the 210-minute Heritage Tea Aficionado inspired by the classic St. Regis Afternoon tea. Begin with a rice and green tea exfoliation, followed by a red chai tea bathing ritual designed to improve circulation.

For more details on The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur Iridium Spa, please visit http://www.stregiskualalumpur.com/spa.

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

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

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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