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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
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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!

5 accessible mountain peaks to conquer near Kuching

For climbers living or visiting Kuching, there are five accessible mountain peaks to conquer here.

Each mountain has its own charm and difficulties as well as legends and stories.

But all of them offer the best of what Sarawak has; rich biodiversity and luscious greenery.

If you are making a list of mountain peaks to climb, perhaps you can start from this list:

1.Mount Santubong
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The view that greets you from the top of Mount Santubong.

Located about 35km from the capital of Sarawak, Mount Santubong has been gazetted as a national park.

It takes up to 4 hours to reach to the top and up to 3 hours to hike down depending on your stamina.

There are some steep climbs which come with rope ladders but the view that greets you is worth the sweat.

Unlike other Sarawak national parks, there is no entry fee to Santubong. So you can climb this mountain for free.

Read what else you can do at Santubong here.

2.Mount Serapi
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The view from the viewing platform of Mount Serapi.

Mount Serapi is located at Kubah National Park which is about 20km from Kuching city.

The best part of this climb is the path is tarred all the way to the top!

Read five reasons to climb Mount Serapi at least once in your life here.

3.Mount Gading
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You can swing by to this waterfall no 7 while on your way to the top of Mount Gading.

This mountain is a little bit far from Kuching, about 80km near Lundu town.

Sadly, this mountain does not offer much a view, just a sign implying, “Yay, you have arrived at the peak!”

The climb takes about 8 hours up and down so for a physical activity, why not give it a go.

While you are there, here are things to do at Gunung Gading National Park.

4.Mount Singai
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The view from Mount Singai.

If you are a practicing Catholic and a climber, this mount makes the top of the list you have to ascend near Kuching.

The faithfuls usually say the Stations of the Cross while visiting Mount Singai.

There is no Instagram-worthy view from the mountain peak but there is one viewing point three-quarter along the way.

Here are KajoMag’s six reasons for you to climb up this mountain.

5.Mount Jagoi

Located about 45 minutes from Kuching, Mount Jagoi is conserved by Jagoi Area Development Committee.

For beginners, this is the perfect mountain for you as it only takes one to two hours to reach to the top.

Once you are up there, the view of nearby mountains and Kampung Serasot.

Contact the committee to know more about Mount Jagoi.

What you need to know about the Japanese Building of Kuching

The Japanese forces first landed in Miri on Dec 16, 1941 and by Christmas day, they had successfully captured Kuching.

For over three years, the Japanese occupied Sarawak where the Imperial Forces introduced Japanisation, requiring the locals to learn Japanese language and customs.

Despite these efforts, only a few remnants of the Japanese occupation can still be seen to this day in Kuching.

One of them is Batu Lintang camp which was originally the British Indian Army barracks, while the other stands between India Street and Carpenter Street and was aptly named The Japanese Building.

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Do you recognise it? The Japanese building is the only building built by the Imperial Army which exists to this day.

The Japanese Building, an administrative centre for Japanese forces

During World War II, Lieutenant General Marques Toshinari Maeda was elected the first commander of the Japanese forces for northern Borneo.

Initially, his headquarters were in Miri before he decided to move them to Kuching.

In Kuching, the Japanese used the Old Courthouse as their administrative centre. Then in 1941, they decided to build a building – The Japanese Building – to link the Old Courthouse and the Treasury Building.

The Treasury Building was built in 1929 purposefully for the offices of Treasury and Audit departments.

Japanese Building of KuchingBefore this building existed, there was a road connecting Carpenter Street and Indian Street passing between the Old Courthouse and the Treasury Building.

The blood and sweat of Prisoners of War (POWs)

The Japanese Building was built with the blood and sweat of POWS who were interned at Batu Lintang Camp.

They had to walk 3 miles in the morning from the camp to the site and walk back again in the evening.

Besides building this administrative centre, POWs together with male civilian internees were also forced to work at Kuching harbour, 7th Mile landing ground and other sub-camps.

Most POWs were Brookes’ officers, officers from North Borneo, Royal Netherlands East Indies Army officers, British Indian Army personnel and Netherlands East Indies soldiers.

Meanwhile, the civilian internees were Roman Catholic priests and missionaries as well as British civilians.

The Japanese paid those who were part of the work party with “camp dollars”. There were also called “banana money” because the picture of banana trees printed on the notes.

Life after World War II

After the Japanese surrendered unconditionally on Aug 15, 1945, the building was first used as the court’s library.

Over the years, it has served different purposes by various parties. Although the inside of the building is inaccessible to the public on a daily basis, it still opens its doors occasionally.

Recently, a small part of the Rainforest Fringe Festival exhibition took place in one of the rooms of the Japanese Building.

Located awkwardly between two of Brooke’s buildings, the Japanese Building is the only construction built by the Japanese Army that still exists in Kuching.

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The front alley of the Japanese Building.

Read more about Toshinari Maeda’s unfortunate fate here.

Albert Kwok, the Kuchingite who led the Kinabalu Guerrillas during WWII

Although Albert Kwok was born in Kuching, Sarawak, the traces of his legacy lie 800km away in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Described as “neat, clean shaven, a man of superabundant energy and made many friends” by Stephen R. Evans in his book Sabah (North Borneo) Under the Rising Sun Government, Kwok was the leader of Kinabalu Guerrillas, a group of resistance fighters during the Japanese occupation of Borneo.

Albert Kwok’s early life

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Albert Kwok’s portrait (top left) displayed together with the other freedom fighters at Sabah State Museum.

Born in Kuching in 1921 to a dentist father, Kwok was sent to China to study traditional Chinese medicine in the late 1930s.

He moved to Kota Kinabalu which was then known as Jesselton on May 15, 1941 where he lived with his sister and brother-in-law.

It is believed that Kwok’s mother, brother and his other sister were still living in Kuching during that time.

The birth of Kinabalu Guerrillas

When the Japanese force started its offence against Jesselton, the town was defended by only 650 men of the North Borneo Armed Constabulary.

By 9 Jan 1942, the whole town was occupied by the Japanese.

A month later, Kwok wanted to establish connections with the Allied movements particularly the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP).

USFIP was the only sole armed resistance movement in the region which had firearms.

He managed to make his way to Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines where he trained under the command of Filipino Lieutenant Colonel Alejandro Suarez.

A year later in May 1943, Kwok returned to Jesselton and tried to contact Overseas Chinese Defence Association (OCDA).

Then in June 1943, he was back in Philippines again where he was appointed Lieutenant on July 1 by the US Army.

Kwok returned to North Borneo again only with three pistols and a box of hand grenades.

With a limited supply of firearms, he started a resistance group on 21 Sept 1943.

The group initially called themselves the Chinese National Salvation Association (CNSA), a branch of the ODCA.

However with more members of indigenous peoples, Eurasians and Sikh Indians of Jesselton joining in, the group renamed themselves theKinabalu Guerrillas Defence Force.

The Double Tenth Revolt

Only armed with parangs, spears and kris, the Kinabalu Guerrillas launched their attacks from Oct 9, 1943.

With about 300 guerrilla fighters, the revolt was aided by the Bajau-Suluk leaders such as Panglima Ali (Sulug island), Jemalul (Mantanani islands), Arshad (Udar island) and Saruddin (Dinawan island) attacking from the sea.

The Kinabalu Guerrillas had the element of surprise: They temporarily succeeded reclaiming Jesselton, Tuaran and Kota Belud with 50 to 90 Japanese casualties.

Evans wrote, “The following morning, all the main buildings in Kota Kinabalu (Jesselton) right up to Tuaran, were fully decorated with flags to celebrate the Double Tenth (Oct 10). They were the Sabah Jack (North Borneo Union Jack), the Union Jack, the United States Of America and the Chinese flag.

“The people celebrated the feast in freedom.”

The aftermath

The celebration did not last long. The Japanese started to reinforce themselves with troops coming in from Kuching.

Kwok and his Kinabalu Guerrillas was forced to retreat but the fight continued for the next three months.

The Japanese launched a series of bombings from Kota Belud to Membakut, burning down villages and killing around 2000-4000 civilians.

After being threatened with the possibility that more civilians would be killed, the top members – including Kwok – surrendered themselves to the Japanese on 19 Dec 1943.

The execution of the Kinabalu Guerrillas

While in prison, Kwok was tortured and questioned. Survivors who were imprisoned with him said that he suffered quietly, taking the responsibility of the Double Tenth Revolt.

He reportedly tried to commit suicide but failed.

On 21 Jan 1944, 176 people were executed. Not all of them were members of the Kinabalu Guerrillas; some were just civilians deemed guilty by the Japanese.

Kwok, Charles Peter, Chen Chau Kong, Kong Tse Phui, and Li Tet Phui were among those who were beheaded that day.

Other members including Jules Stephens, Panglima Ali and Rajah George Sinnadurai were shot to death.

The site of their executions is where the Petagas War Memorial now stands.

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A kempeitai (Japanese police) would wear this headgear and leggings during World War II.

Read more:

Toshinari Maeda, the Japanese nobleman who died off the coast of Bintulu during WWII

Alta Moda Sarawak aims to position Sarawak as a fashion destination

KUCHING, Aug 9: The inaugural Alta Moda Sarawak, a fashion showcase will place the spotlight on the work of at least 20 designers this Oct 25 to 27.

To be held at the old State Legislative Assembly building, the event aims to promote Sarawak as a state of diversity with different ethnics and cultures.

Speaking at a press conference on Aug 8, its chairperson Datin Esther Mujan Balan said Alta Moda Sarawak was a brand platform for Sarawak designers to come together to showcase their talents and creations in the field of arts, culture and crafts.

She said, “We are determined and focused for Alta Moda Sarawak to be a successful yearly event to promote Sarawak as a leading fashion hub in Southeast Asia and attract potential tourism traffic.

“The long term mission is to hold the event on an annual basis as part of Sarawak Tourism calendar with Sarawak Tourism Board as the main supporter and partner.”

The fashion event is expected to provide a rich insight into the world of fashion opportunities in Sarawak at both domestic and international levels.

This is done through diversified programs and activities that have been planned with the participation and support from local fashionistas, fashion interest group, celebrities, VVIPs, associate partners and media.

Esther stated, “We are hopeful through the support towards Alta Moda Sarawak 2018, this will be the next great Sarawak event to be reckoned with whilst promoting large multiethnics and multicultural of our people.”

The three-day event will gather young designers, promising designers who had some experiences as well designers who have established their names locally and internationally.

The press conference also featured a short runaway show to give the attendees snippets of what to expect during the event.

Among the designers that will be participating in the event are Anna Sue, Von Jolly Couture, Wan Bynun, Keith Sim, Paul Carling, Ben Nazry as well as Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and Universiti Sarawak Malaysia (Unimas).

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Paul Carling (right) and his model. The Paul Carling label was founded in 2016 and originally known as Paul Carling Collections. The label focuses on bridal wear and fusions of modern mix wear incorporating mainly Borneo tribal motifs.
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A design from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.
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Ben Nazry (left) and his model. He is a local designer known for his detailed and elegant work on couture and bridal gowns.
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A young designer from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and his model strutting down the runway.
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Aaron Von Jolly (left) walks down the runway with his model during the press conference.
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Widely known for her statement jewelries, Anna Sue (left) also has a pret-a-porte clothing line.

6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Mount Singai

If you have not visited Mount Singai before, now is the best time to do so. Due to our love of being outdoors, KajoMag has listed six reasons why it should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit.

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1. Close to town

Located in Bau District, Mount Singai takes only 30 to 40 minutes’ drive from Kuching City.

As it does not take a lot of time to reach there, you do not have to worry about getting up early or using a lot of gas.

2. Good spot for beginner’s training

If you are not particularly athletic but still want to be active, then Mount Singai is perfect for you.

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Mount Singai hiking area can be split into two sections. The first half is a set of stairs leading to the Catholic Memorial and Pilgrimage Centre (CMPC) while the second half is the hiking trail leading to the summit.

Typically, an average hiker can reach the pilgrimage centre within 20 to 30 minutes while the hiking ground can take about an hour to reach.

Visitors might find Mount Singai relaxing and enjoyable as the hiking terrain is not as hard and challenging as most hiking spots around Kuching.

Also, due to the steps and the inclining nature of Mount Singai, it is the best spot to pump up your cardio and enjoy nature.

3. Friendly hikers

On average, Mount Singai can have a few hundred visitors in one weekend.

And due to that, you will always bump into other fellow hikers along the way.

At Mount Singai, the hikers will typically greet you and some will even give words of encouragement  to reach the summit.

When meeting these friendly and supportive hikers of Mount Singai, it makes the hiking trip even more memorable.

4. Spiritual experience

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On your trek up to the retreat centre, you will notice there are monuments stationed along the way up.

They are the 14 stations of the Cross which represent Christ’s last day on earth as a man.

Mount Singai has long been a pilgrimage destination for devoted Catholics, with the earliest converts to Catholicism in the area among the Bisingai people dating as far back as 1885.

5. Help the community build their church

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Upon reaching the entrance point of Mount Singai, you may find a heap of bags containing pebbles and sand.

These are to build a new church hall at the pilgrimage centre.

As there are no access roads for vehicles leading towards the centre, the only way to bring these building materials up is on foot.

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While there are no entrance fees for Mount Singai, visitors can do their part for the kampong community by helping them carry the bags up to the construction site.

Consider it your personal Rocky or Shaolin monk challenge by carrying a bag up. You can also help trick your mind into thinking you have some extra weight to lose.

6. Instagrammable view

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Millennials with an active Instagram account would understand the novelty of having awesome pictures in their IG account.

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When you reach the top of the steps, Mount Singai offers a rest stop with one of the best viewing spots.

Apart from that, the summit also offers an equally breath-taking view for visitors to take picture.

Do not leave Kuching without trying these two ice creams

If you are visiting Kuching for the first time and are a big fan of ice cream, there are two iconic desserts you have to try.

Both ice creams have distinct tastes from each other and have maintained their legendary status in the Kuching dessert scene despite having no air-conditioners, let alone Instagram-worthy settings.

But locals have been flocking to these ice-cream places for years now and by the looks of it, they will continue to do so in coming years.

So no matter how packed your itinerary is, do not leave Cat City of Sarawak without trying these two ice creams.

1.Sunny Hill Ice Cream

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A cup of sundae with sweetened, crushed peanuts.

If ice-creams in Kuching had a king, Sunny Hill ice cream would definitely be sitting on that throne.

This ice-cream maker has been operating since the ’60s, maintaining its canteen-style design over the years.

Located at Jalan Bukit Cahaya, Sunny Hill offers affordable soft ice creams.

Besides their basic ice cream cones, they also offer ice cream sandwiches, banana splits and ice cream floats.

You can also choose to have toppings of syrup and/or crushed peanuts.

Unlike other ice-cream parlours that have an ever-ready selection of flavours, Sunny Hill serves its selection of flavours on a rotational basis.

While vanilla is served everyday, their other flavours are served as follows: strawberry (Monday and Tuesday), pandan and corn (Wednesday to Friday) and chocolate (Saturday and Sunday).

On top of their mouth-watering ice-creams, Sunny Hills also sell baked goods such as cookies, breads and egg tarts.

2. R.G. Ais Krim Bergula Apong

Ice cream gula apong (palm sugar) has been in trend for the past few years. But the first one to come up with the idea is a humble stall located at Kuching Open Air Market.

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A pandan-flavoured ice cream with a drizzle of palm sugar and cornflakes topping.

Reportedly, Richard Tan the owner of R.G. Gula Apong Ais Krim started the ice-cream plus palm sugar craze 20 years ago.

They only have one flavour a day but in three sizes – small, medium and large.

You can choose your own topping – peanut, cornflakes, Oreo or Nestum – for free.

The texture of this ice cream is closer to a shaved ice unlike most of the ice creams with palm sugar out there which usually has soft serve ice creams.

Some people may find R.G. Ais Krim Bergula Apong too sweet for their taste, but if you need an instant dose of sugar, why not give this ice cream a try.

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R.G. Ais Krim Bergula Apong is believed the one who started to serve ice creams with palm sugar.

How to order drinks in Sarawak coffeeshops?

Ordering drinks in foreign countries can be confusing. Even here in Malaysia, how to order drinks might even be different depending which state are you in.

Adding on the difficulties to order drinks, most Sarawak coffeeshops and food courts do not even have proper menus.

So here is a quick guide on how to order drinks in Sarawak coffeeshops.

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How to order your drinks at Sarawak coffeeshops?

If you want to order coffee, take note that you have to say “kopi” or “Nescafe”. “Kopi” usually refers to drinks made with local coffee brands like Kopi Cap Kapal Api or Anggerek, while Nescafe is a Nestle brand of coffee. A cup of Nescafe costs slightly more than a kopi.

So here’s a basic list of what you can order at almost any coffeeshop, ‘kopitiam’ or ‘kedai kopi’ in Sarawak:

Kopi ‘O’ Kosong – ‘Kosong’ means ’empty’ in Malay. This is the Malaysian version of Americano or Long Black since it is just a hot cup of black coffee.
Kopi ‘O’ – Hot black coffee with sugar
Kopi ‘O’ Peng – Anything with the word ‘peng’ means ‘iced’. A Kopi ‘O’ Peng is iced black coffee with sugar.
Kopi – Malaysians love their condensed milk. A cup of kopi is coffee with condensed milk.
Kopi Peng – This is basically iced coffee with condensed milk.
Kopi ‘C’– Malaysians apparently love their alphabet. So a drink with the letter‘C’ means ‘with evaporated milk’. A cup of Kopi ‘C’ is coffee with added sugar and evaporated milk.
Kopi ‘C’ Kosong – If you want a kopi ‘C’ without the sugar, then it is a Kopi ‘C’ Kosong.
Kopi ‘C’ Peng – A glass of iced Kopi ‘C’.
Kopi ‘C’ Peng Kosong – The iced version of Kopi ‘C’ Kosong.
Kopi ‘O’ Peng Kosong – A glass of iced black coffee with no sugar, condensed milk or evaporated milk. An iced Americano, in other words.
Neslo –  Here is a Malaysian version of mocha. It is a mixture of Nescafe coffee and the chocolate and malt powder drink, Milo.

When you’re asking for tea and all its variants, just replace the word ‘kopi’ with ‘teh’ which means tea in Malay. The same rule applies to Malaysia’s favourite chocolate and malt drink, Milo.

If you are in Sabah, change the word ‘Peng’ to ‘Ping’ and you are good to go.

Good luck!

10 types of festival goers at the Rainforest World Music Festival

Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is like any other music festival where people from all ages and countries come together in the name of music.

Organised annually at Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching, Malaysia, the three-day event features performances from traditional music to contemporary world music.

As interesting as the performers are with their exotic outfits and sounds, the most interesting people at RWMF are actually the festival goers.

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Sometimes, the festival goers are more interesting than the performers themselves during a music festival.

Not to generalise people but here are 10 types of festival goers you tend to see at the Rainforest World Music Festival:

1.The Learner

Rainforest World Music Festival is not just about the music and dancing but it is also about learning different cultures.

How to spot The Learner? They are the ones who raise their hands and ask questions during the cultural talks.

Or sometimes you can see them at the Rainforest World Music Festival Craft Bazaar engaging with vendors and asking questions.

Sometimes, they are your typical university students who major in music or anthropology. Sometimes, they are the intellectual types who take the opportunity during the festival to learn more about other cultures.

You can also spot them looking diligently at the festival guide or sitting in the front row of the sape lesson session.

2.The Live Feeder
Festival goers of Rainforest World Music Festival
Can you spot The Live Feeder?

These are the easiest to spot at the festival. They are the ones who have their smartphones raised during workshops, drum circles, and night performances for long periods of time, even just to take just a photo.

Or you can see traces of their live-feeding on their social media accounts even after the festival has ended.

3.The Selfie-obsessed

This kind of festival goer has a superpower ability. They can smell selfie opportunities unlike most normal people.

They know, for instance, which part of Sarawak Cultural Village gives the best photo ops, who to take wefies with and most importantly, which angle to take it form. Like I said, it’s a superpower.

4.The Spectator

Every music festival needs to have The Spectator. They are the ones who peek through the windows of the Iban Longhouse to watch a dance interactive session but never join in.

They watch the night performances from afar… such as the balcony of Dewan Lagenda or sitting at the back on their picnic mats.

Whatever it is, they are just there to spectate and enjoy the music.

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We came for the music!
5.The Solo Traveller

These are the lone rangers of the festival. They eat alone, participate in the mini sessions alone and they dance alone during the night performances.

Despite being alone, The Solo Travellers are the ones who look like they are enjoying not just the festival but also life overall the most.

6.The Party Animal

The Party Animal type dances the hardest, screams the loudest and drinks the most.

In times past when the ground in front of the stage could become a mud pit during a rainshower, they would be the ones dancing in the rain with mud on their feet and all over their bodies.

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Every music festival needs the Party Animals.
7.The Hobbyist
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I am here to do my own thing!

You have seen this type of festival goer, not just during the Rainforest World Music Festival but every music festival.

While the performers are giving their all onstage or in the mini sessions, they pick a spot and do their own thing.

Be it a yoga move or throwing a hoop or swinging a pair of poi, Rainforest World Music Festival has seen them all.

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“I come to share my hobby!”
8.The Herd

This type of festival goer moves in flocks. They usually have one tribe leader who decides which mini sessions to go or where to eat, one ideal follower who has no idea what is going on but happy to follow and the rebel who tends to break away from the group.

Plus if the herd is alcohol-inclined, they have a sommelier or beer connoisseur who keeps the alcohol level in everybody’s system in order.

Sometimes they have a babysitter who has a mother-like role in the group to make sure the herd is safe and sticks together.

They are commonly groups of university students and young working adults who take Rainforest World Music Festival as a short escape from reality.

9.The “I-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on-but-I-am-here-to-dance”

Some people would call this type of festival goer a dancer…only if you consider their moves as ‘dancing’.

The difference between The Party Animal and The“I-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on-but-I-am-here-to-dance” is that the latter tends to ignore what is going on because they just want to dance.

A band could be delivering a touching performance like At Adau’s Jackson Lian Ngau who dedicated a song to his late mum (in RWMF 2017) or Raghu Dixit from India and Slobodan Trjulja from Serbia giving a once in a lifetime hair-raising duet (in RWMF 2018).

These are the ones who would dance in the middle of a themed music demonstration or a drum circle during the festival irrespective of what is happening around them.

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Raghu Dixit from India (right) and Slobodan Trjulja from Serbia performing a duet song on July 14 during the Rainforest World Music Festival.
10.The ones who were not there for the world music but created their own world

These are the festival goers who were there at the RWMF but not exactly “there” at the festival.

They could be young couples who find their corners and just enjoy these time-defining moments with each other. Or even groups of friends who form their circles at Dewan Lagenda to drink together as the music plays in the background and sets the mood and atmosphere.

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Festival goers who created their own world at Dewan Lagenda during the Rainforest World Music Festival.
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