Tuesday, August 27, 2019

4D3N Kuching Itinerary For The First-Timer

Kuching is one of the cities in Malaysia that I went pretty often. Mainly because part of my family members are staying there and that's explain why I always go back Kuching like every 1-2 months. Another reason is because I'm a Sarawakian too, though I wasn't born there. Since I've been there many times, hence I thought why not create a post for those who are interested to go Kuching for the very first time? Plus, quite number of my friends actually asked me - what to do and see in Kuching, so here's the post as your reference to plan your trip there. 


Besides being the capital city of Sarawak state, Kuching is the largest city of East Malaysia as well as the largest city on the island of Borneo. The name of the city, Kuching is thought to derive from the Malay word "kucing" indicates cat. To date, cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Bahru of West Malaysia do have direct flight to Kuching without any stop.

Sarawak need passport? The most common question I always came across. Oh well, it's up to you; either just bring along your identification card (IC) and you will receive a temporary visitor slip which need to return when exiting the state (do not lose it or else, you need to lodge police report) OR you can even show your passport and you will get a stamp. Yes, a stamp on your passport even you are a Malaysian. This applies to a Sabahan too when visiting Sarawak. However for Sarawakian who is going to Sabah, there will be no temporary visitor slip given or even stamp on the passport. That's shows how powerful Sarawak status is.


Another question I got is, what's the currency for Sarawak? Dude, Sarawak is part of Malaysia and therefore, Sarawakian is also using Ringgit Malaysia (RM/MYR).

Now here is my recommended 4D3N Kuching itinerary if you are visiting for the very first time:

DAY 1

Begin your Kuching trip by going to Padungan Street Area for photo opportunity with various cat statues and savouring local food at Song Kheng Hai Food Court. Do try local food and snacks such as Belacan bihun, kompia, fruit rojak and cococane juice there.

Opening Hours: 11am to 5pm. Closed on every Monday. 
Kuching Song Kheng Hai Food Court

Continue by heading to Padang Merdeka as this is where abundant of attractions situated; ranging from historical museums such as Sarawak Museum, Sarawak Art Museum and Islamic Heritage Museum to creative and colourful murals depicting Kuching's rich history and culture stretching along the street nearby Electra House, Open Air Market to Indian Street Pedestrian Mall. 
Kuching Art Murals

Kuching India Street Pedestrian Mall

DAY 2

Kicking-off your day by having Sarawak Laksa for breakfast at Choon Hui Cafe. Even the late Anthony Bourdain, the world-renowned travelling & celebrity chef came here twice just for the laksa. Don't forget to saviour the popiah and kaya toast too.
Kuching Choon Hui Cafe

Visit the Sarawak Cultural Village. Since it is situated 45 minutes away from the Kuching city center, hence you might either need to rent a car or take a Grab for a single-trip between RM30 or more. Also known as the "Living Museum", Sarawak Cultural Village is an ideal place for those who want to discover and learn more about the local culture, heritage and lifestyles of the various ethnic groups and tribes. Here, you get to see different kind of traditional houses, cultural dance and performances.  

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Entrance Fee: RM54 for adult and RM27 for children if you purchase online here
Kuching Sarawak Cultural Village

Take a stroll at Damai Beach, which located opposite of Sarawak Cultural Village. It's a nice beach with a stunning view over Santubong mountain. However, the beach is not suitable for those who intend to go for swimming. You can grab some snacks and drinks before heading back to the city center. 
Kuching Damai Beach

Dropby at Cats Museum while on the way back to the city center. Housed on the ground level on the Kuching North City Hall Building, this cat-themed museum contains more than 4,000 artifacts including paintings, photos, art, souvenirs and memoriable related to the feline family. 

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Entrance Fee: RM3 for adult and RM2 for children.
Kuching Cats Museum

If you happen to be in Kuching during the weekend, why not end your night by going to Siniawan Night Market. This night market only opens on weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Approaching to 30 minutes drive away from the city, this small and charming heritage town is an amazing place to spend the evening by hunting for local delicacies on the street lined with two rows of wooden shophouses, and Chinese lanterns light the street below.

Opening Hours: 6pm to 11pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.
Kuching Siniawan Night Market

DAY 3

A trip to Kuching is absolutely incomplete without having kolo mee. So far the best kolo mee I ever had is Sin Lian Shin at Green Road. You can either opt for plain or seasoned with red sauce (basically it's the char siew sauce which makes the noodle taste slightly sweeter).
Kuching Sin Lian Shin Green Road Kolo Mee

If you are looking forward for something close to the nature and also wildlife, probably you can consider either going to the Bako National Park or Semenggoh Nature Reserve. However, you can only pick one as it impossible to do both in a day. I haven't been the latter one but it will definitely on my wishlist for my next visit.

During my recent trip to Kuching May this year, we drove to Bako National Park which is about 30 minutes drive from the city. We reach there as early as 8am in order to catch the boat from the terminal to the jetty of the national park. I personally think it's best one need to be physically fit and tough to get through the trekking trail cause there are few trails were pretty tough and steep. We're grateful we managed to sight few Proboscis monkeys (the main star of the national park), silver-leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaque monkeys as well as wild board running free around the park during our visit.

Two type of fees:
1) National Park Entrance Fee: RM10 for adult and RM3 for children.
2) Boat Ride Fee (Return): RM30 for adult and RM20 for chiclren. The last boat ride back to the terminal is 3pm
Kuching Bako National Park

After a full-day of jungle trekking, quench your thirst by having Kuching's best ice-kacang (shaved ice) at Swee Kang Ice Kacang. Besides a bowl of standard ice kacang, don't leave the shop without trying the "White Lady" drink which is pretty popular and only can be found in Kuching.

Opening Hours: 12pm to 6.30pm. Closed on every Thursday. 
Kuching Swee Kang Ice Kacang

On your last night in Kuching, take a walk and enjoy sunset at Darul Hanal Bridge, the latest additional of Kuching's attraction. Built with "S-shaped", it is a pedestrian bridge that connects both north and south side of Kuching river. 
Kuching Waterfront

DAY 4

Before bidding goodbye to Kuching, why not bringing back some kek lapis (traditional layer cake) as souvenirs for your friends and family? It's best to go on your last day of your trip in order to maintain the freshness of the cake. There are two shops highly recommended for selling the best kek lapis; Kek Lapis Dayang Salhah and Mira Cake House. Generally, each cost RM10 and if you bought 10, you will get 1 for free.  

How To Get These Two Kek Lapis Shops:
Take a boat across from the Waterfront 7-Eleven and turn right until spot a green mosque. Kek Lapis Dayang Salhah is just behind the mosque while Mira on the left side. There are signboards for both. 
Kuching Kek Lapis Layer Cake

And in the case you are searching for tourist memento and tribal handicrafts, venture and wander a very long row of shophouses along Waterfront Main Bazaar Street. Besides getting some typical knick-knack stuff, you might find local items such as the famous Sarawak black pepper, Sarawak laksa paste, instant kolo mee and more. 

Last but not least, enjoy a hot cup of coffee pairing with cake at a cafe of Kuching Old Courthouse before depart to Kuching International Airport.
Kuching Old Courthouse

Where To Stay In Kuching
The best area I would suggest when comes to picking accommodation in Kuching are those in between Padungan Street Area to Kuching Riverfront for its ideal and convenient location. Most of the hostels and budget hotels are located along Padungan Street Area whereas for 5-stars international hotels such as Pullman and Hilton are situated in the heart of Kuching.

For a long-list of food you should try and have when in Kuching, do read my post here.
Food Must Have When Visit Kuching-2

Extra Info
To make your trip to Kuching more interesting and fun-filling one, schedule your trip to visit during Rainforest World Musical Festival or Kuching Food Festival Fair that held annually, most probably in the month of July every year.

Rainforest World Music Festival 13
Rainforest World Musical Festival, a three-day music festival celebrating the diversity of world music that held annually at Sarawak Cultural Village. Next year will held on 10-12 July. So save the date!

Kuching Food Festival Fair
Kuching Festival Fair, a month-long food fair houses hundreds of mouth-watering local and international cuisines. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Things We Do, See & Eat For 3D2N Sandakan Trip


Sandakan is one of the cities in Sabah state that I always looking back for more. For your information, Sandakan is the former capital of British North Borneo (now known as Sabah) before it moved to Jesselton, currently well-known as Kota Kinabalu. It's the second largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu. Normally for us who live in Kota Kinabalu, we either do self-drive road trip which takes about 6 hours, or probably by taking the long distance bus from Inanam Bus Terminal but in the case you run out of time and want to get there in the faster way, of course you can opt by taking plane as the flight duration only takes 45 minutes. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur To Tokyo Narita for RM446

Few years back AirAsia X did commence direct flight to Tokyo-Narita  before they suspended. And guess what, now they are back again with this route and look at their fare, it's incredibly cheap considering November and December are school holiday period. 


So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and check out from AirAsia website.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Taiwan For The 5th Time (Sneak Peek)

I just came back from Taiwan last year and little did I know, I will be going there again. It's not like that I don't like Taiwan, I love it actually and it's one of my favourite countries after Japan and Thailand but travelling to the same place over and over again in less than a year, it will make the place seems to be uninteresting cause I might be repeating the same things I did from the previous visit. 

2019 Taiwan Taipei AirAsia X
#1: Flying to Taiwan with AirAsia X

But since Taiwan is calling me again, well it's no harm for returning and check out what other things Taiwan has to offer.

Our trip didn't start well when our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Taiwan Taoyuan delayed for more than 8 hours due to Typhoon Lekima and all our initial plan was kinda screwed up. Now I'm in the midst of claiming my travel insurance. Wondering how much will be my claim? I will share about this in future. 

2019 Taiwan Chiayi
#2: Welcome to Chiayi

Once we arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, immediately we took bus to Taichung and overnight there before heading to Chiayi on the following day. I've been both Taipei and Taichung several times but never Chiayi. Chiayi serves as a stopover/transit before proceed to Alishan National Scenic Area

2019 Taiwan Alishan Forest Railway 01
#3: Alishan Forest Railway ride

But again due to Typhoon Lekima aftermath, the rain poured without a stop in Alishan and we can't do much activities, except riding on Alishan Forest Railway. We even missed out watching the sunrise which is one of the things must do when in Alishan. 

2019 Taiwan Taipei Ningxia Night Market
#4: Ningxia Night Market, less than 10 minutes walk from Taipei Main Station

We then went back to Taipei and cracking our head thinking what should we do, where should we go since both the boyfriend and I have been like so many times - I've been like 5 times whereas the boyfriend has been like almost or even more than 10 times, I guess. But of course the one and only thing I must include in my itinerary when comes to Taiwan is by visiting any of their night markets. A trip to Taiwan is definitely incomplete without a visit to any of their night markets, which is believed there are more than three hundred of them.

Other than night market, these are the things we did and places we went throughout our trip; some we went for the very first time and some we repeat again: 

2019 Taiwan Taipei Huashan 1914 Creative Park
#5: Huashan 1914 Creative Park - it's my first time here but for me, nothing to shout about.

2019 Taiwan Mr J French Italian Restaurant
#7: Mr J French-Italian Restaurant - a restaurant inspired by a multitalented Taiwanese pop star, Jay Chou but kinda disappointed cause they removed the grand piano which appeared in "The Secret" movie.

2019 Taiwan Taipei Steamboat Buffet
#8: Ximending Mala Hot Pot for second time to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary

2019 Taiwan Taipei Din Tai Fung
#9: Din Tai Fung - a prestige Taiwanese restaurant specialising in xiaolongbao. It's my first time cause I was so lazy to join the super insanely long queue previously but lucky this time we got seat in less than 30 minutes. 

2019 Taiwan Taipei Elephant Mountain for 101
#10: Hike up Elephant Mountain for the best view of Taipei city.

2019 Taiwan Taipei Line Store
#11: We're cool for the summer.

Will I return Taiwan for the 6th time? Maybe yes, but not in the nearest future cause I prefer to discover and explore more new country as there are quite number of countries in Asia I haven't been yet such as India, Pakistan, Mongolia and etc. 

Do you love Taiwan and how many times have you been there? What things of Taiwan make you love this nation even more? Do share with me by comment below. Cheers 💓 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Summary of My 2018 Autumn in United Kingdom & Europe Trip

Finally my long and never-ending travelogue has comes to an end. I can't believe it took almost 4 months for me to blog and complete My 2018 Autumn in United Kingdom & Europe posts where I covered 4 amazing countries - United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and Italy and also cities such as London, Porto, Lisbon, Barcelona, Madrid and Milan. 



Summary of My Trip Itinerary

Day
Destination
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
Kota Kinabalu → Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur → Muscat → London
London
London
London → Porto
Porto
Porto → Lisbon
Lisbon + Sintra
Lisbon → Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona → Madrid
Madrid + Segovia
Madrid + Seville
Madrid
Madrid → Milan
Milan → Muscat
Muscat → Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur → Kota Kinabalu

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Last Stop: Milan of Italy

After travelling in Europe for 16 days, we then proceed to the next country which is Italy - the fourth country we intended to visit after United Kingdom (London), Portugal and Spain. Italy is our final stop before going back to Malaysia. Talking about Italy, actually I've been there 11 years ago and covered few cities like Florence, Rome, Orvieto, Verona, Venice and Pisa but surprisingly not Milan. Therefore for this round, I intentionally to include Milan as part of my itinerary. 

FROM MADRID AIRPORT (SPAIN) TO MILAN-BERGAMO AIRPORT (ITALY)
Madrid Airport is not far away from the city center. The best way to get to the Madrid-Barajas Airport is by taking metro. However, I decided to call for Uber cause it's a hassle for both of my mom and cousin to carry their heavy luggage up and down if we travel via metro/subway. For flight to Madrid, we took Ryanair due to its incredibly cheap fares. 

2018 Italy Milan RyanAir to Bergamo Flight
#1: With RyanAir from Madrid to Milan Bergamo

As for Milan, there are four different airports; Malpensa, Linate, Bergamo and Parma. RyanAir will be flying into Bergamo Airport, which is about 45km away from Milan city center. In order to reach Milano Centrale Station, the ideal option is by taking bus which can be found immediately outside the arrivals section of the airport. A single-trip costs €5 per person and the bus generally run every half an hour during the day but less often during night, sometimes might taken an hour or more.