Friendship Garden

The reason that our host put us up at Jinhold Service Apartment is the proximity to the Taman Sahabat. At least, we could just walk over for a short visit and also, the service apartment is quite near amenities such as One Jaya supermarket and local eats. But I still prefer to stay in Grand Continental – walking distance to the waterfront, Grappa (to club!), temples and food along Jalan Carpenter.

Taman Sabahat was built in 2004 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China. Here, you get to visit a small man made garden with magnificent statue of Zheng He, the great Admiral who did 7 voyages from Asia to Africa. Here, there’s a zig zag bridge, a koi pond (there weren’t many fishes, though), a building resembling a Chinese house, temple arch, and many beautiful willow trees which added colors to the already vibrant place.

Many locals come here for morning walk and exercise. They were a few children playing football around the area too. It’s nice to take a leisurely walk here. Some came to feed the fish in the pond. Here are some pictures of the place.

A magnificent statue of Zheng He

The zig zag bridge

The gate to the friendship garden

After the short visit, we satisfied our hunger pangs at the nearby shop, opposite the church at Jalan Song. Finally, I had the Sarawak Laksa. It’s still rather bland in taste, but it was tasty.

Sarawak laksa

Another round of kolo mee!

We ended our Kuching trip by going to Kota Sentosa for some food. Our host took us to the hawker centre nearby the 7th mile, Penrissen camp. They have delicious oily rice with steamed chicken, sausages, roast pork and char siew. The rojak is rather special too, they have quail meat!

Assortment of meats

We also tried the local delicacy – the cerokot? It’s made of gula melaka. Not too sweet. It’s good as dessert.


We wish to thank our gracious hosts for accompanying us the three days and made our trip a memorable one.

Going Cultural

Mee Pok at Kim Joo

We started the day late for breakfast. We went to Kim Joo along Jalan Carpenter for breakfast of kolo mee and mee pok. Our host said, this place is good for kolo mee. But the other nice one is at Sin Min Joo. In order to see if the noodles made is nice, you have to see of the person preparing. Usually, heavy set people would have prepared a better tasting noodle because a lot of energy is required to knead the dough. So, my mom said, then I should change career to be a noodle maker since I am so large in size. Very funny!

Kolo mee earlier yesterday at Padungan food court

Our host’s nephew came along with us for kolo mee. He’s half French, ¼ Chinese and ¼ Bidayuh. And yes, he’s a very handsome little boy. He was on vacation for two months in Kuching. He eats kolo mee 3 meals a day- everyday! He is leaving the same weekend as us, so, he prayed to God that, 10,000 kolo mee will fall on him before he leaves. LOL! So, kolo mee must be a damn big deal! He joined us – all Hokkien speaking aunties and happily tucked in his bowl of kolo mee.

A very pissed worker at Aladin Cafe

We went around Jalan Carpenter for a look see. We were introduced to Teo Chew temple, Hokkien Temple and the Tua Pek Kong Temple aka Banjir (Flood) Temple. Why is it called Banjir Temple? It’s because during the days before the temple was built, the area was flooded all the time. Once the temple was built, there is no longer flooding. So, many people are very grateful to the deity, Tua Pek Kong for stopping the flood which affects many livelihood. Am not too sure how true this is lah. He could be right because he’s being born and bred in Kuching and lives in Kuching all his life! Even if he decided to bullshit us, we will never know. One thing for sure, his stories are super entertaining!

It’s a hot, hot day!

Air drying some paddy

A very friendly uncle welcoming us by spinning the gasing

After that, we went to Kg Annah Rias, a Bidayuh longhouse somewhere in Padawan. This is a real long housing area. It sure looks like some normal kampong in West Malaysia- just that, instead of houses built on stilts only, they have elaborate flooring made of bamboo all over the area. It reminds me of the kampong orang asli in Gombak – just that this one is more elaborate. We were greeted by a welcome drink, tuak. Entrance fee is RM8 per person. Here, we could see how real Bidayuh people live. Actually, the place is already modernized. We had a peek at one of the good auntie’s house when we asked for permission to use her toilet. This auntie also provided lodging here in the longhouse. For those who are interested to see how the natives live, probably it’s a good idea to do a homestay here. I guess they also provide for nature adventures such as picnic to hot spring, river rafting, jungle trekking, etc. For further information, please click here.

The very entertaining orang Ulu

When we left the longhouse, it was already 2 pm. We made our way to Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong. Had a short walkabout before we went to watch the cultural show at 4 pm. The cultural shows are performed daily at 2 pm and 4 pm only. So, I guess it’s advisable to go to Cultural Village early to have a walkabout before attending the cultural show at 2 pm or 4 pm. The place is closed by the time the cultural show is over, so be early. SCV is easily accessible from most hotels or hostels in Kuching. They have a pick up time in vans for most hotels and only cost RM10 for two-way journey.

The entrance fee for SCV is RM60 for adults and RM30 for children above 6 years old. For senior citizens, it’s half priced as well at RM30. We enjoyed the cultural show a lot. I think when I was there 6 years ago, I enjoyed it as much as I do now! 6 years ago, I paid RM45 only for entrance.😦

The walkway towards the beach front at Damai

The Damai beach, just opposite SCV is now visible from SCV itself. I remember the last time I came here, we had to use the backlane going towards the beach! Now, you can see the entire beach in its splendor from a man-built waterfront. The giant hornbill is still in the process of installation. I guess this place would be splendid in no time! We took a stroll to the beach but didn’t go down to the sands because of the coming torrential rains.

Fish porridge and kueh chap – remember to pile on the chilli for the spicy and sour goodness!

We made our way back to Kuching town for dinner of fish porridge, prawn porridge and kueh chap (opposite the Teo Chew temple along Jalan Carpenter) before heading to Kuching Food Festival for another session of pigging out. Kuching Food Festival is organized every year from 31 July to 31 August to commemorate the Merdeka day. I wish that this festival would serve more native food though. It is more inclined towards Taiwanese street food – like the ones I saw in my trip to Taipei.

I Heart Kuching

I first visited Kuching in 2005. That trip was a rather haphazard one (the not so golden MAS holiday and dim wits arranging it for us) but I guess we managed to make the most of it. Heck, I even think the photos I took back in 2005, using my old ixus 3.2 is even better than the pictures I take now!

Check out this photo compared to the old blog’s Reflection of the Square Tower

So much have changed over the period of six short years! I always remember Kuching as a rather clean place – it certainly still is. When we reached the Waterfront, a new building perch on the opposite side of the river – the much controversial Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak. It was a sight to behold though, in its golden splendor! Hats off to its engineers and architects!

The Dewan Undangan Negeri standing majestically across the river

The old Fort Margherita that I used to love is no more in sight. It seems, the place is still there but our friend told us, we could no longer visit the place. A quick check on the internet seemed to say the contrary. We could still visit the place! I guess perhaps, they sealed off the road to Fort Margherita because of its proximity to DUN – am not too sure though. Kuching people, what say you? Anyhow, I am glad I got the chance to visit the place before it’s being closed to public. You know how “good” our government is when it comes to handling heritage buildings. *Roll eyes*

A woman hitching a 50-sen ride on sampan

Our friend warned us that, Kuching is not as safe as it used to be. Just a month ago, an Australian tourist was hurt when he tried to prevent his belongings from being robbed. So, he was hospitalized. So she told us to be careful with our belongings while we are walking. Yet, we see her in her gold necklaces and bracelets. She should be more careful! I guess this is the general rule – you just have to be careful everywhere that you go.

Main Bazaar

We went about the Main Bazaar for some window shopping before we went back to Jinhold Service Apartment to freshen up. Then we head to Top Spot – the ever popular place for seafood in Kuching for some scrumptious meal. Our host decided to take us to stall no. 33. He ordered some midin, powdery butter prawns, lalas, bamboo clams, mani chai (pucuk manis – the vege used for pan mein) with eggs (a must order) and the special styled oyster pancake – crispy and delicious!

The oyster pancake, Kuching style!

After the scrumptious dinner, we were chauffeured around to take a look at Kuching’s night life, and being filled with historical information from our gracious host.

Makanthon, Miri

9th October 2010, Saturday

Miri brings back a lot of old memories. Many, many years ago, I got to know a guy from Piasau Garden. He was having his gig in one of the watering holes in Miri. So, he decided to fly me to Miri to watch him play. Of course I declined. Flight tickets prices were really steep then. Thanks to Air Asia, we are now able to fly to Miri, paying less than RM200.

We woke up early to catch the earliest flight to Miri. The flight was pleasant, aside from moments of turbulence upon reaching Miri due to thick clouds.

Getting out from Miri airport was such a breeze. Here, you can also fly to Mulu Caves for an adventure via MASwings. Miri Airport was like a smaller version of KLIA. It has so much nicer layout and design compared to LCCT! If you are  a West Malaysian using IC to get into Miri, or Sarawak for the matter, they will issue you an entry slip. You should not lose the slip lah. It’s just like an entry slip whenever you go overseas. And I thought we are all Malaysians.. sigh. If you like, you can use your passport instead – they will put a stamp on it, instead of issuing you a slip.

We were greeted by JS at the airport. She lives just 20 minutes away from the airport. There were not many cars at the airport, so traffic was smooth. The air indeed is much cleaner. I am not stereotyping, but seriously, I didn’t have the urge of digging my nostrils for the 3 days I was in Miri-Brunei. Haha!

First, we made a stop at Hopoh Canteen for its famous kueh chap. I don’t really like eating innards of any animals but this was an exception. We also tried the Zhao Cai meehoon. It came with some pork balls and the soup tasted like ham choy with vinegar. Quite an appetizing meal!

Kueh Chap!

They have English name for a hakka dish as well.. Louis Cha!

The more “English” version of Lui cha – Louis Cha

Since it was raining on and off since we arrived, we couldn’t really walk anywhere. So, we drove around Miri. We passed by Piasau Camp, where Shell built homes for the expats working for them. This place reminds me of Taiping as well. The gateless semi-wooden bungalows surrounded by vast gardens.

I remember staying in one of those houses back in Taiping, where my mom’s friend was the care taker for an expat. When the expat left, she stayed on the house with her family and I was invited to stay with them for school holidays. I really looked forward to my stay in the bungalow, despite a little creepy sometimes at night, with creaking of the wooden floors as if someone was walking when everyone was already sleeping!

At the bridge connecting to Piasau Camp, we saw a sign board saying, beware of the crocodiles. It was a huge Miri River! I am sure, we couldn’t find the crocodiles unless we are very, very unlucky!

Bridge connecting Piasau Camp to town

Before we even make a trip to Miri, Datin already heard from friends of the many choices of imported goods, well stocked in supermarkets around Miri. Since Miri was a place of dwellings of the westerners back then because of oil, it’s no surprise that, even when there were no longer many expatriates around Miri, the locals had assimilate tastes for imported goods. We made a stop at Ng Sian Hap, which is just beside the bridge connecting to Piasau Camp for a look-see.

Many, many brands!

It was still raining, so we decided to make another stop at another supermarket – GK. Here, we found Pringles in many other flavors, not found here in KL! They have soft shell crabs, blueberry and hazel nuts and lemon!

Safe sex, the local way!

We laughed when we saw a local brand condom as well. Long house for long men? Haha!

After some shopping, we went to a restaurant nearby and tried their specialty – marudi kueh teow and cha chu noodles. They were awesome!

Marudi kueh teow

Stuffing our faces is the order of the day! I had to surrender because I could feel my jeans tightening, so, JS took us back to her home to rest. Mind you! Most Mirians live in bungalows or semi-detached houses and not on trees! Js kept emphasizing that, there are some ignorant people who still think Sarawak is such an ulu place. It’s not! Miri is an upcoming young city! It was nice to be meeting JS’ parents. They were very, very warm people. Speaking of which, Miri was indeed really a warm and hospitable place because the locals are never short of offering their warm smiles whenever our eyes met.

After resting, we went again for another round of makan. We had rojak at Sin Wan restaurant. I simply love the rojak sauce – it’s different from the ones in KL or Taiping. It’s so damn good that we had to re-order a second plate of fried yam, potato, cucur udang and tofu! It’s simply out of this world!

Rojak at Sin Wan

Special Ais Kacang with jagung and sago

Since JS had to attend a wedding dinner, she dropped us at Bintang shopping mall. We went to Super Save. It was a really good place to get really cheap things! We managed to buy some nail cutter at only Rm1.20.  Even the pasar malam in KL is selling almost the same brand of nail cutter for Rm4 each! So, being si-lais, we stock up nail cutters, pill cutter, tongue brush, combs, landyards, etc. They even have Andy Lau endorsing their brand!

Cheapest socks advertisement

Then, we had our dinner at Sugarbun. After our bad experience in KK – the Sugarbun at Gaya Street is always running out of things, we were a little apprehensive. However, we tried the fish burger as well as their fried chicken set this time, and they were good and cheap to boot!

We visited Tg Lobang but unfortunately, the Medan Selera was closed due to development nearby. Since it was a long day, we called it a night and went home to prepare for the next day in Brunei.