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Panau, the Dayak chief behind this historical photograph

Margaret de Windt or better known as Ranee Margaret married the second Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke in 1869.

At the young age of 19, she became the first Queen of the Kingdom of Sarawak back then.

During her husband’s reign, the Ranee showed many interests in her multiracial subjects’ cultures and traditions.

From Malay gold-embroidered fabrics called keringkam to painting the beautiful landscape of Sarawak, Margaret also enjoyed taking photographs.

She even published some of her photos that she took in her 1913 autobiography My Life in Sarawak.

There was one photo that stood out; a photo of Sea Dayak Chief in full warrior attire.

“Let those who look upon my picture tremble with fear!” – Panau, Iban warrior chief

Panau the Dayak chief behind this historical photograph
Are you trembling in fear yet?

Panau is the man who stood before the Ranees’ camera in this photograph. Margaret wrote that he was an Iban chief who often visited the Rajah and Ranee at their bungalow in Simanggang (now known as Sri Aman).

As a warrior, Panau and his tribe accompanied the Rajah Muda, Vyner on many expeditions up the Batang Lupar river.

The Ranee described him as humble, kind, loyal and talkative. Panau was described as a funny fellow (although Margaret admitted she didn’t get his sense of humour).

The Iban chief had showed interest in her camera, amazed by the miracle that a photo could came out of a box.

So one day, Margaret decided to take Panau’s picture. While he was posing for the camera, Panau said: “Let those who look upon my picture tremble with fear!”

Panau’s reaction to his own photo

After the picture-taking session, the Ranee was kind enough to take Panau into the dark room to watch her develop the picture.

Margaret wrote, “He looked over my shoulder as I moved the acid over the plate, when he saw his likeness appear, he gave a yell, screamed out “Antu (Ghost!)” tore open the door, and rushed out, slamming the door behind him.

Mind you, this photoshoot took place around 1896 when photography was rare. Plus, when Panau was glancing over to look at the photo, his picture was still somewhat foggy.

Thankfully, the Iban chief eventually got over his fear and even accepted one of the prints.

Maybe somewhere out there, in one of the longhouses in Sri Aman, Panau’s descendants have that copy of this Iban warrior holding a shield in one hand and a spear in the other.

Besides Margaret’s My Life in Sarawak, Panau’s photo can also be found on display at ‘The Ranee: Margaret of Sarawak’ exhibition at the Old Courthouse.

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Panau’s photo is one of the many photographs showcased at the newly opened The Ranee: Margaret of Sarawak’ exhibition at the Old Courthouse.

5 things to do at Buntal Esplanade, Kuching

Located about 30km from Kuching city, Buntal Esplanade is a hidden gem waiting to be explored more by the locals and tourists alike.

Buntal Esplanade
The road into Kampung Buntal, a local fishing village located between Kuching city and Santubong.

The esplanade is inside Kampung Buntal, a traditional Malay fishing village situated at the mouth of Sarawak river leading to South China Sea.

The village is named after ikan buntal or the puffer fish which commonly found near the area.

If you are looking for fresh air on a Saturday afternoon, here are five things to do at Buntal Esplanade:

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Welcome to Buntal Esplanade!
1.Enjoy the beach view

First of all, just enjoy the view of South China Sea at Buntal Esplanade. Do you know that Buntal beach offers a mesmerising scenic view of the sunrise? (Just make sure you’re there before 6 am).

Plus, the best part is that the walkway of Buntal Esplanade is wheelchair-friendly.

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The esplanade was designed to be wheelchair-friendly.
2.Buy some seafood

Being a fishing village right next to the ocean, it is no surprise that Buntal provides a variety of fresh marine resources at its market.

Some of their seafood on offer are seasonal catch, so you only get to buy them during certain periods of the year.

These include jelly fish (March-April), swimmer crab (July-August), eng-ngoyang (October-February), sea anemone (December-January) and ambal (December-January).

Additionally, the non-seasonal catches are hard clams, mangrove clams, cockles, mud crabs and obtuse horn shell.

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Support the local communities by buying their products.
3. Do some bird-watching activities
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The observation point of Buntal Esplanade.

Did you know that Bako Buntal Bay is the wandering site for 27 migratory bird species in their annual migration between Southeast Asia and Australasia?

Completed on March 2015, Buntal Esplanade was designed as a walkaway with an observation point for bird-watching activities.

According to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, the Bako Buntal Bay area welcomes more 25,000 migratory birds between October and April every year.

Most of them are threatened species such as Nordmann’s Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher and Far Eastern Curlew.

Meanwhile in 2009, two rare birds – the Pied Avocet and Eurasian Oystercatcher were caught  on sight near the bay.

The habitat in the coastal area is mud and mangrove forest, making it attractive for migratory birds in search of food.

If you notice unique wooden structure near the beach while bird-watching, it could be an engian. It is a traditional trapping method used by the local fishermen to catch anchovies and small shrimps.

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Take an evening walk at the esplanade to escape the hustle and bustle of Kuching city.
4.Taste the local food
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Try some of these local delicacies such as pais.

Visitors should not miss the chance to buy local delicacies. These include kuih keria (fried dough similar to doughnuts but covered in palm sugar or gula apong), pais ikan (grilled smashed fish) and bahulu.

Other local favourite are belacan (shrimp paste), madu kelulut (stingless bee honey), jeruk buah (pickled fruits) and cencaluk (preserved shrimp).

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Kuih Keria.
5.Eat some seafood

Kampung Buntal is one of the favourite local places for Kuchingites to go to enjoy some seafood.

While visiting Buntal Esplanade, why not drop by one of the seafood restaurants like Teo Seafood?

Besides Kampung Buntal, other famous local seafood cuisine spots are at Telaga Air and Muara Tebas.

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Kampung Buntal is one of the popular places for local people to enjoy seafood cuisine.
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The view of Mount Santubong from Kampung Buntal.

World Press Photo Exhibition shows in Kuching, Sarawak for the first time

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The exhibition showcased the winners of the annual World Press Photo Contest.

In 1955, a group of Dutch photographers organised an international contest to showcase their works to the world. They called it ‘World Press Photo’ and now it has become one of the most esteemed photography competitions in the world.

Fast forward to today, the exhibition has toured more than 100 cities in 45 countries, including Kuching.

For the first time ever, the exhibition is being held in Kuching in conjunction with What About Kuching (WAK) 2018, showcasing the winners of the annual World Press Photo Contest of which 4,548 photographers from 125 countries sent in a total 73,044 entries.

True to its name, the winning photos gave fair and compelling insights about what happening in and around the world.

Apart from the winning photos, the exhibition also showed stories from six Southeast Asia and Oceania Talents of the World Press Photo Foundation.

Installed on the ground of Padang Merdeka, the exhibition is open for the public from Sept 29 to Oct 27.

World Press Photo Exhibition: Giving glimpses to the outside world

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A series of nature-themed photos on display.

The series of photos displayed were featured various themes such as environment, nature, people, sports and world issues.

Some of the photos were explicit and powerful, showcasing serious human rights issues such as sex workers in Russia.

For those who are avid fans of National Geographic, some of the photographers might be familiar such as Ami Vitale who is widely known for her work capturing photos of wild pandas and rhinos.

This exhibition also allowed visitors who follow prominent photographers like Vitale on social media the opportunity to appreciate their images in sizes larger than cellphones’ screens.

In addition to that, there were also well-known photos which have been circulated on international news.

The most famous one displayed was the image of 28-year-old student Victor Salazar whose clothes caught on fire after a motorcycle exploded during a street protest in Venezuela against its president Nicolas Maduro.

The exhibition also managed to open up any visitors’ eyes to world issues such as the stateless case of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the deforestation in Brazilian Amazon.

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A man vapes thoughtfully as he studies a panel of photos in a set which also features an image of Victor Salazar caught on fire during street protests in (right).
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A series of photos featuring two sisters living in a bioenergy village in Austria.
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Some of the works by Italian photographer Fausto Podavini.
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A man viewing the images by National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale.
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The exhibition is also part of an effort to reactivate spaces in Kuching such as Padang Merdeka.
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World Press Photo exhibition has toured to more than 100 cities in 45 countries and now is in Kuching.

About WAK World Press Photo exhibition

What About Kuching (WAK) city festival together with Sarawak Museum Department co-organised the exhibition sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy and Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak. The Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology Kuching supported the event through its design and installation.

Where to buy your beading supplies in Kuching?

Searching for beading supplies in Kuching can be a headache especially when you do not know where to start.

When it comes to beading, there are so many things that crafters need and it is not just beads alone.

Even for its stringing, beaders need to decide to use beading thread, wire, leather or elastic cords.

Plus, there are other supplies such as headpins, split rings, clasps, earring findings and many more.

Fret not because here at KajoMag we narrowed it down for you where to stock up your beading supplies in Kuching, Sarawak.

1.Beads Story By Xing Ya Enterprise

This is the Mecca for all the beading supplies in Kuching. Located at Kota Sentosa, it is the best place in town to buy Toho and Miyuki beads. Both brands are high quality Japan-made glass seed beads.

There are other types of bead being sold there too including tube, acrylic, wooden, faux pearls and many more.
Even for other supplies such as stringing materials, pliers, beading boards and even accessories displays are readily available.

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Beads Story by Xing Ya also offers semi-precious beads such as amethyst, quartz and agate.
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This store is the best place all the beading supplies one go in Kuching.
2. F.A.H

Fabric Accessories House or commonly known as FAH is the place to be to buy fabric in Kuching.
However, the store also has a good selection of beads for sell.

On top of the beads and fabric, the choices of ribbons, laces and rhinestones would give any crafters a glimpse of heaven. It is the best place for crafters to get buy their fabric and beading supplies in one place.

The store has few outlets all over the city but perhaps the most-visited one is at Gambier Street.

Where to buy your beading supplies in Kuching
The FAH branch located at Gambier Street has two floors; the ground floor is dedicated to all the fabric while the first floor is all about beading and sewing supplies.
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The variety of laces and ribbons at FAH.
3. Jing Lee Travel Souvenier Wholesale

Located at Ewe Hai Street, it is also selling souvenirs to tourists apart from beading supplies. The best part of this store, sometimes you can find old Orang Ulu beads in its collection. You might be feeling the pinch but it is definitely worth it.

4. Satex at Kuching Sentral

Similar to F.A.H., Satex at Kuching Sentral is also selling beading supplies on top of its fabrics. But, their beading collection is limited to seed beads only.

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If you are running out seed beads, Satex is another option for you to restock your supply.
5. SL FLowers and Handicraft Shop
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Fancy anything from SL FLowers and Handicraft Shop?

Every year during Chinese New Year, Kenyalang Park Commercial Centre would come alive with people busy looking for house decoration.

The whole commercial area is known for affordable food and beauty supplies. But at SL FLowers and Handicraft Shop, crafters can also stock up their beading as well as embroidery and crochet supplies.


Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts and her relationship with James Brooke

Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts might be an unfamiliar name today, but about a hundred years ago she was the “richest heiress in England”.

King Edward VII even reportedly described her as “the most remarkable woman in the kingdom”, only second to his mother, Queen Victoria.

Born on April 21, 1814, Burdett-Coutts became one of the wealthiest women in England in 1837 when she inherited her grandfather’s fortune of around £1.8 million (approximately £196 mln in 2018).

Burdett-Coutts was in love with James Brooke

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Burdett-Coutts (left) allegedly was in love with James Brooke (right). Credits: CCO.

Many historians believe Burdett-Coutts was in love with the first White Rajah of Sarawak.

When James Brooke first established the Kingdom of Sarawak, he needed money to develop it. He considered many options, including selling the country to Belgium.

At the same time, Brooke also wanted his kingdom to be protected. Even when he was in England, the White Rajah constantly worked on making connections with powerful people in the country.

His networking efforts landed him in a levee at the palace as a guest of Queen Victoria.

According to writer Robert Payne in The White Rajahs of Sarawak, this was when Brooke caught the attention of Burdett-Coutts. He wrote:

“Born to great wealth, she was determined to use her money as a weapon to advance her humanitarian ideas, and when the Rajah spoke to her about the Dyaks and Malays plagued by their feudal Sultans and by Ilanun pirates, still living in the Middle Ages, her heart went out to them.”

According to Payne, Brooke skipped out the fact that the Dayaks were headhunters back then.

It seemed to work. In 1859, Burdett-Coutts and Brooke exchanged many letters. These letters were later published in a book in 1935.

In Brooke’s letter to Burdett-Coutts, he asked about her health and how she took care of herself. As he knew the baroness loved riddles, he made riddles for her in his letters.

Their correspondence lasted almost nine years till Brooke died.

Burdett-Coutts and Sarawak

Thanks to Burdett-Coutts, Sarawak had money to spend. One of the kingdom’s expenditures included a ship which Brooke named ‘Rainbow’ after the baroness.

This was, according to Payne, to “honour the beauty of Miss Burdett-Coutts, the goddess of the Dayaks, and the calm following a storm”.

Brooke trusted her so much that he willed Sarawak to Burdett-Coutts at one point. He wrote in his will:

“I do hereby nominate and appoint her to be my true and lawful successor in the dignity and office of the Rajah of Sarawak now vested in me, to be held by her, the said Angela Burdett-Coutts, as a public trust for the good of the people.”

But Brooke long lived long enough to change his will.

Nevertheless, there is a fort in Mukah called Fort Burdett, which was named after her.

What happened to Burdett-Coutts and James Brooke

With all those letters and evenings spent together, why didn’t they get married?

According to British historian Owen Rutter this was because Brooke was sexually incapacitated.

British journalist Henry Nevinson pointed it out in an article published in The Spectator on April 5, 1935.

“He (Rutter) tells us that in storming Burmese stockade in 1825 James Brooke received a wound that rendered him incapable of marriage in the physical sense, and so he carefully avoided any approach to the subject.”

Of course, many claimed that this was not true.

Nonetheless she did everything she possibly could to help Brooke and his Sarawak, a country she herself never set foot on.

As Nevinson wrote:

“She forwarded all his schemes; she advanced vast loans for his people, she presented him with ships to cruise among the islands and stamp out rebellion among the Dayak headhunters and other savages.

“Whatever the mese, she did not marry till late in life, many years after her Rajah had died. She is to be regarded, I think, as a final sacrifice to the idol of Victorian prudery, and it was the Rajah who sacrificed her.”

3 things you need to know about the Melanau tall house

Unlike other traditional houses in Sarawak, the Melanau tall house was built distinctively higher.

However similar to longhouses of other ethnic groups such as Iban and Kayan, this Melanau traditional house can accommodate up to 50 families.

Melanau Tall House
The Melanau tall house at Sarawak Cultural Village is one of the few traditional houses left as the rest have been abandoned or demolished.

Besides the one in Sarawak Cultural Village, it is difficult to find a traditional Melanau tall house in the state. Most of the houses in Melanau villages now are built individually on stilts, and the designs are believed to be inspired by houses in the Malay community.

Here are 3 things to know about the architectural heritage of a Melanau tall house:

1.They are built very tall for a lot of reasons.

Traditionally, a Melanau tall house is built about 10 to 40 feet above the ground. For this, the Melanau have to thank the Filipinos for inspiring the need for this design.

As the Melanau people lived mostly along the coastal region, particularly near the mouth of the Rajang river, they were often attacked by pirates from the Southern Philippines in the olden days. To protect themselves, the Melanau built tall houses and even fortified them with cannons.

Besides the pirates, the tall houses also protect the Melanau people during tribal wars against the Ibans.
The Brooke authority also had some scuffles with the Melanau on one point when the former accused the latter for harbouring pirates.

Furthermore according to author Peter Metcalf in The Life of the Longhouse: An Archaeology of Ethnicity, a house raised on stilts serves many advantages.

“It escapes the mud below; it allows disposal of kitchen waste, soon cleaned up by free-roaming chickens and pigs; and it greatly improves ventilation.”

Particularly in Borneo, an elevated building like a Melanau tall house and a Bidayuh baruk would reduce the number of insects in your home.

2. The floor of a Melanau tall house was designed for defensive and offensive purposes.

Besides the height advantage, the floor of a Melanau tall house also serves to defend the community.
The flooring of the main level of the tall house are arranged in a crisscross pattern with small gaps in between.

When there was an attack, the flooring made it hard for the enemies to pierce their sharp weapons through the floor. As for the Melanau, they would pour hot, boiling water on their enemies.

The columns, which are the main structure of the building, are typically made from belian while the wall and flooring structures are made from nibong.

Meanwhile for the roof, they used sago leaves, which also happen to be the main economical source for the Melanau people.

The rungs on every staircase in a Melanau tall house were built in odd numbers. This is because they believed that by doing so it could bring wealth and good health to the household members.

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The rung of a ladder in a Melanau tall house has odd numbers because they believed it would bring them luck.
3.The living arrangement in a Melanau tall house.
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A traditional Melanau house comprises of few levels.

According to research done by Universiti Sains Malaysia, gender and marital status affected the organisation of the space in a Melanau tall house.

Every tall house was built with a few levels and each level had multiple bedrooms.

Only unmarried men occupied bedrooms located aon the first floor while married couples and unmarried women had their bedrooms on the upper level.

The upper level also houses the family’s ceremonial items and assets.

Curious visitors still can see some of Melanau artifacts at Sarawak Cultural Village’s tall house.

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Some of the ceremonial items displayed at Sarawak Cultural Village’s tall house.

3 botanical gardens you should visit in Kuching if you love plants

Calling out all botanists and horticulturalists who are visiting Kuching city for the first time!

Do not leave the city without visiting these botanical gardens:

1. DBKU Orchid Park
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One of the orchids found in DBKU Orchid Park.

While the hibiscus is Malaysia’s official flower, Sarawak’s state flower is actually the Normah Orchid (Phalaenopsis bellina).

So, having a whole garden dedicated solely to orchids in Kuching comes as no surprise.

Located near the State Legislative Assembly, the garden houses of more than 75,000 plants.

Some of these plants include Lady’s Slipper (Paphiopedilum sanderianum) and Bulbophyllum beccarii .

In July 2019, 600 participants from 13 countries are expected to come for 13th Asia Pacific Orchid Conference in Kuching.

2. Pitcher Plant and Wild Orchid Center

In the 19th century, Marianne North, a botanical artist came to Sarawak to paint scenery and plants. One of the plants she painted was a pitcher plant endemic only to Borneo.The species was eventually named after North, Nepenthes northiana as she was the first person to illustrate it.

Fast forward to 21st century, there are now plenty books and illustrations of pitcher plants. Plus, there is a botanical garden hosting up 35 species or subspecies of pitcher plants in Kota Padawan.

Apart from pitcher plants, there are other species including wild orchids found in the garden.Pay it a visit if you want to know more about this carnivorous plant. The centre opens Tuesday to Sunday.

3. Sarawak Botanical Garden

The third botanical garden is still undergoing expansion.

After receiving RM10 mil fund from the federal government in 2016, the garden is going to be spread over 83ha. It will link Darul Hana Bridge, Sarawak Legislative Assembly Complex and Orchid Garden.

The garden is targetted to be one of the sustainable networks of green spaces in Kuching city. It will also be a recreational activity area as well as a tourist landmark.

Special mention: Kuching Seed Swap

A public Facebook group, if you live in Kuching and are an avid gardener or even just starting out, Kuching Seed Swap is a free seed/plant/produce exchange group for all Kuching based gardeners.

The group aims to bring together a community of gardeners to share not just plants and seeds, but also knowledge and experience.

Happy Gardening!

Experience different sights, sounds and flavours at Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival

The Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival returned for its 17th installment this year to Carpenter Street, one of the oldest streets in the city.

The event started from Sept 17 and will be ending on September 24 and runs from 6pm to 11pm.

With the slogan “Sight, Sound and Taste”, the nightly event showcases the different food, music and cultures of various ethnicities in Sarawak.

Organised by The Federation of Kuching Division Community Association with Kuching Old Market Community Association, the festival promises eight days of fun-packed activities for all ages.

The different sights, sounds and tastes at Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival

As celebration in Sarawak is nothing without food, there are so many cuisines to choose from at the Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival.

From traditional Chinese food to Dayak barbecued goodies, visitors will be spoilt for choice.

Patrons can quench their thirst with a variety of drinks such as Thai milk tea, Vietnamese coffee and assorted bubble teas.

For those who are health-conscious, Kuching Chinese Traditional and Holistic Natural Medicine Association is there to provide free medical checkup.

Apart from that every night from 8am to 9pm, there will be Street Magic Show happening along Carpenter Street.

Making its return this year is 2017’s RM2 Charity Haircut where hairdressers from Maison Monica Hair & Beauty Academy are offering haircut services. The proceeds will be donated to Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA).

Other activities are children’s colouring competition, lantern fabrication competition, snow skin mooncake making contest and photography competition.

Local patrons who are diving are advised to park their vehicles at Plaza Merdeka, St. Thomas Cathedral or the Kuching Waterfront.

About Mooncake Festival

The mooncake festival or mid-autumn festival is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.

This year, the festival falls on Sept 24. On this day, the traditional delicacy called mooncake is enjoyed and shared among family and friends.

Visit Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival’s Facebook page for more information on the festival.

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The eight-day Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival promises fun activities for all ages.


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There will be a live Chinese orchestra performance at one end of Carpenter Street.


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A glass of Vietnamese coffee to quench your thirst.
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There will be performances by different ethnic groups every night and visitors are more than welcome to join in the fun.
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Have some mooncakes which are inspired by Sarawak kek lapis.
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Oyster pancakes fresh off the stove.


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Different kinds of sausage, anyone?
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Visitors can also enjoy freshly fried dumplings at the Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival.


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The friendly ice-cream goyang vendor will let customer to shake the traditional Popsicle making machine.
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To carry brightly-lit lantern like this is part of celebrating the mooncake festival.
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Trader selling lanterns at the Kuching Multicultural Mooncake Festival.
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A dragon dance performance happening at The Hong San Si Temple.
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A taste of Thailand at The Kuching Intercultural Mooncake Festival.
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There are various street performances happening at almost every corner of Carpenter Street.
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Patrons enjoying their foods as well as the performances.


10 things to do in Kuching, the Cat City of Sarawak

Kuching, also known as Cat City, the capital of Malaysian state of Sarawak is a vibrant, colourful city.

It is a mixture of old and new; with traces of the 150 year reign of the Brooke family as well as recent modern development under the Malaysian federation.

Most foreign tourists treat Kuching as the main gateway to visit the rest of Sarawak and Borneo.

The city itself , however, has so much to offer. Here in KajoMag, we highly suggest not to leave the Cat City of Sarawak until you have done these 10 things:

1.Learn the cultures

Kuching is a multi-cultural city and a visit to it is incomplete without learning about the different cultures.

The best place to absorb and experience the different cultures Is one place is none other than Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV).

It is a living museum showcasing the different ethnicitIes of Sarawak including Iban, Orang Ulu, Chinese, Malay, Melanau and Bidayuh.

Baruk, the Bidayuh Cultural House at Sarawak Cultural Village.
2.Eat your heart out

Kuchingites are foodies to their core and they are very proud of their food. Plus thanks to the city’s multicultural backgrounds, it offers more variety of food inspired by different races in the Sarawak.

If you are stuck on what to eat in Kuching, here are KajoMag’s list of what to devour in Cat City.

As for desserts, do not skip on these two classic ice-creams!

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Some of the local Dayak food found in Sarawak.
3.Explore the national parks

Sarawak’s wide range of biodiversity is the state’s crown jewel. The best part of Kuching is that you do not need to travel far to experience its rich flora and fauna.

Visitors can take a dip in Matang Wildlife Centre or climb to the peak of Mount Serapi.

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Get this view from the top of Mount Serapi.

Read more: Six nature attractions near Kuching City, Sarawak

4.Walk the streets of Kuching
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Explore the old part of Kuching.

While in Cat City, skip the shopping malls and walk on the streets of its old town.

Visitors can start with the Main Bazaar, the oldest street in Kuching located at the Kuching Waterfront. Explore Carpenter, India and Padungan streets and let the different smells and sound excite you.

5.Visit the museums
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The Textile Museum of Sarawak.

Did you know that the Sarawak Museum’s old wing was built in 1891, making it the oldest museum in Borneo?

Besides Sarawak Museum, there are other museums in Kuching as well including Textile Museum, Chinese History Museum, Art Museum, The Brooke Gallery and Islamic Heritage Museum.

Since you are in Cat City, do not forget to visit Kuching Cat Museum.

6.Spend a day at Santubong peninsular
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Spend a day at the foot of Mount Santubong.

Located only 40 minutes from Kuching city, Santubong peninsular provides the perfect place for a little R&R.

It is the perfect place to have the best of mountain and the sea. There are so many things to do that you can actually spend the whole day at the peninsular. Visitors can start a day with hiking at Santubong National Park, have a quick kayaking at Permai Rainforest Resort in the afternoon and end the day with a beer at Damai Central.

7.See the wildlife up-close
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Tourists admiring the magnificence of orangutans at Semenggoh.

A trip to one of the cities in Borneo is never complete without seeing wildlife up close.

Here in Kuching city, you can choose to watch a bearded pig strolling by the shore or a proboscis monkey jumping from tree to tree at Bako National Park. Or visit an orangutan during its feeding time at Semenggoh Nature Reserve.

8.Sight-see heritage buildings
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Sarawak Post Office is one of the heritage buildings found in Kuching.

With a rich history spanning over 150 years, Kuching has so much to offer when it comes to heritage buildings.

Only in Kuching, you can find the only Japanese building built during World War II, a prison turned into a fortress and which now houses a restaurant at Square Tower and a neoclassical style post office.

9.Experience at least one festival
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The Rainforest World Music Festival brings international performers to Kuching for a 3-day immersion of world music.

Kuching is probably best known for its international 3-day full of music and fun Rainforest World Music Festival.

However like any other city in Malaysia, you can experience different kind of festivals all year round.

Experience the harvest festival with the Ibans or Bidayuh during Gawai or go house-visiting during Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Adilfitri.

10.Hop into the coffee culture

The coffee culture in Kuching city has its own charm. First of all, Sarawak has its own coffee bean called the Sarawak liberica. You can find them at Black Bean Coffee at Jalan Pending and Ewe Hai Street.

Atmosphere-wise, you can choose to have your cup of java in a heritage building such as Commons Kch at the Old Courthouse or Indah Cafe at Upper China Street or in a hip, minimalist-decorated cafe like Keeper’s Ground.

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Hop into the coffee culture of Kuching.


30 things to do for free this What About Kuching 2018

What About Kuching (WAK) is back! From Sept 29 till Oct 28, Kuching will be lit up with tonnes of activities all over the city.

This month-long festival is a local community effort aiming to celebrate the arts, culture and lifestyle that Kuching has to offer.

Mark your calendar and decide what to do during this year’s What About Kuching:

1.Watch local artists in action at Bishopsgate and The Clock Tower

What About Kuching Music Portail provides platform for local artists to showcase their talents. Watch out for these dates Oct 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20 when the fun is happening at Bishopsgate Street Stage. Then on Oct 26 and 27, the party is moving to Clock Tower@The Old Courthouse.

There will be performances from Zee Avi, Tuku Kame, At Adau, Meruked and many more.

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At Adau’s Ezra Tekola on the sape’. Catch At Adau on Oct 12 at Bishopsgate Street Stage.
2.Visit the World Press Photo Exhibition

The iconic Padang Merdeka will come alive during the whole duration of What About Kuching. There, the World Press Photo Exhibition will make its Kucing debut showcasing a series of award-winning photos.

3.Follow a food trail along Padungan Street

What Kuching without its food? Follow the trail of Food Safari, collect stamps along the way and redeem a What About Kuching Merchandise.

4.Enjoy the music by Sarawak river at Waterfront Night Live

Do you know that there is a free weekly entertainment programme at GoDown Amphitheatre@Kuching Waterfront? The entertainment continues throughout What About Kuching month every Friday and Saturday.

5.Support young entrepreneurs at Junior Art Market
What About Kuching
Lend your support to young entrepreneurs at Junior Art Market.

This art market is unlike others as it is exclusively dedicated to young entrepreneurs. However, there are art workshops, food and performances for all ages.

6. Observe the beauty of body art of Sarawak

What does the late Anthony Bourdain and Crazy Rich Asian’s Henry Golding have in common? Both of them have tribal Iban tattoos on their bodies.

From Sept 29 till Oct 9 there will be a tattoo exhibition happening at The Old Courthouse.

7. Learn more about Sarawak tattoos

Speaking of tattoos, know more about this artistry on Sept 30. There will be a presentation about tattoo artifacts. While on Oct 7, there will be a panel discussion on Sarawak tattoo industry.

8. Take part in a photojournalism workshop

Calling out all professional and amateur photographers! There will be a free a workshop conducted by photojournalists from the World Press. Sign up quickly because seats are limited.

9.Meet a fine artist

Ramsay Ong is a household name when comes the local fine art scene. Meet him daily from 10am to 2pm from Mondays to Fridays at the Pullman Hotel.

10.Take pleasure in listening to monologues

Listen to local talents reciting their monologues on Oct 5. There will guests performers flying in from Singapore and West Malaysia.

11.Enroll your kids in a Latin dance workshop
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Enroll your kids in a Latin dance workshop.

Start ‘em young! Sign your kids up for Latin Dance Workshop and they might have a knack for it!

12. Watch a yoga performance

Observe professional yogis in action at Sarawak famous Darul Hana Bridge Oct 6. On Oct 18, the yoga performance is happening at the Old Courthouse. After both of the performances, the public will have the chance to try some yoga moves. Do not miss out on this!

13. Gain an understanding on how to be a published writer

Do you have a manuscript tucked away somewhere in the corner of your room? Or have you always wanted to be a published writer? For two hours on Oct 7, bestseller Gina Yap will share about her journey.

14.Take in the knowledge of a poet

Marc Nair, a poet from Singapore will gives listeners a peak into his world of publishing poetry, taking photographs and more on Oct 7.

15. Familiarise yourself with Borneo beads

The beads of Sarawak can be considered as one of the state’s most precious heirlooms. Know more about beads of Sarawak by Heidi Munan on Oct 9.

16.Admire the beauty of Sarawak craft

From Oct 8 till 28, explore the beauty of Sarawak arts and Crafts at Pullman Hotel.

17. Grasp more about mental health problems in Kuching

Honestly here in Sarawak we do not talk enough about mental health. Join in the movement of raising awareness in conjunction of World Mental Health Day from Oct 10 till 14. There will be exhibitions, screening and forums.

18.Ignite your passion in Latin dance

Dance to Latin music with Sarawak sunset glowing on you on Oct 12 and 19 at Kuching Waterfront. Only for two days, there will be a showcase and free dance lesson from Baile Latino Kuching from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

19.Spend an evening of music, art and coffee

Shades of Art is back in town on Oct 13! The 13th edition of this evening of music and arts is dedicated to the Ranee of Sarawak.

20. Watch local short independent films

For one night only on Oct 13 at The Garden@The Old Courthouse, there will be film screenings and sharing session.

21. Play some ping pong games

Sweat it out for some ping pong games at Plaza Merdeka on Oct 14-27.

22.Show your support to the artists from the Kuching Autistic Association
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Give your support to the artists from the Kuching Autistic Association during this What About Kuching.

Walk through forty pieces of artworks from the talents of Kuching Autistic Association. The exhibition is happening on Oct 19 to 21 at Hilton Hotel.

23.Explore a cardboard city

Here is another activity to bring your kids! Explore the Cardboard city made from recycled cardboard on Oct 20 till 21.

24.Jam with the youths

Feel the young vibes of local youths at Kuching Youth Jam. This monthly gathering features exhibition and workshop for hip hop enthusiasts.

25.Party with the local hip hop scene

Another What About Kuching event for hip hop enthusiasts, Tha (this is not a spelling error) Block Party organised by Tha Project will highlight hip hop talents, break dancing and more.

26.Take a pint (or more) during an Oktoberfest

Forget about celebrating Oktoberfest in Germany and head down tHe Spring shopping mall. Enjoy your drinks and the live music for ten nights from Sept 29 till Oct 7.

27.Channel your inner Tony Hawk

What About Kuching is all out giving platforms to different kinds of communities in the city. One of these community is the skaters of Kuching. There will be workshops, competitions and booths during Skate About Kuching on Oct 21.

28.Celebrate Deepavali for three days

Although Deepavali is not a public holiday in Sarawak, it should not stop all Sarawakians to celebrate. Come together on Oct 26-28 at CityOne Megamall to celebrate with arts, fashion shows, Bollywood competition as well as cooking classes and contests.

29.Visit a flea market

Show your support to local artisans and entrepreneurs while watching live music at Green Heights Mall Halloween Flea.

30.Find a treasure at a trunk sale

The biggest pre-loved market in Kuching is back on Oct 27 till 28. Give new life to old items at Kuching Trunk Sale (Oct 27-28) at Emart Batu Kawa.

There are more activities happening this year What About Kuching, download their calendar here!

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