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Kuching: A Rather Bleak Start

Post-exam calls for vacation timeeee!

So exhausted as I'm typing right now cz I haven't got to recharge ever since finals. Had to pack up my room and moved out the day after my last paper, and the following day was to set off to Kuching, Sarawak!

As like the Penang trip, I went to Kuching with Michelle! Thanks to her, we saved a lot on accommodation and transportation hehe

awaiting our flight

It's our first time to East Malaysia, so there was a lot of excitement! The short 3-day trip was sufficient since we were only going around Kuching. Mulu Cave shall be in the itinerary next time I'm back in Sarawak!

Being first timers to East Malaysia, we were well surprised when we were given a slip at the customs, with "Permitted to enter and remain in Sarawak for 90 days" written on it. Wait, aren't we all of a nation? Why so regionist? hahahaha

First thing to do before our adventure began- collect our car! We rented a Perodua Viva for RM70 per day to ease our mobility and it was one of the best decisions made.

We were itching to get into the car to kick start our adventure that every time the car rental guy look like he's done with the documents, we'd want to get into the car..till he laughed and said "Nanti...belum lagi" (wait..not yet) hahaha You're holding us back, pak cik!!

Kopi O Corner was supposedly our first food stop, but it was closed. Quite a bummer cz we were hungry and ready for some local Sarawak food! Next on our itinerary was Medan Niaga Satok, a market where regular market stuff are sold andddd cheap souvenirs like batik Sarawak, keychains, woven bags..etc.

famous local veggie- Midin

Medan Niaga Satok
Jalan Matang Jaya, Kuching

Many shops were closed and there was nothing to eat at the market, probably due to the Ramadhan month. The starving us held it in and drove our way to Swee Kang Ice Kacang, which upon arrival was closed too when it was supposed to open an hour before! By then, we were quite gloomy with Kuching disappointing us in a row.

Disappointed, we almost drove away when the boss signaled us that it's open! They were just opening and we were their first customers of the day! Lucky us! Phew!

The menu was made up of a variety of drink/dessert choices! We didn't know what to choose so we randomly picked and asked what was recommended. The other stalls weren't opened yet, so we only got desserts and rojak..just enough to alas perut (fill our tummies a little).

White Lady (RM3.30); Nata + Milo (RM3- small)

White Lady is a dessert of mixed fruits like peaches, grapes and longan with evaporated milk. It's sweet, but not too sweet and the fruits were refreshing. I like fruits in my drinks!

Nata + Milo is basically shaved ice of evaporated milk with Milo powder topping and generous nata de coco at the bottom.

I found a peach slice!

Rojak (RM4)

The rojak wasn't very good though. The crushed peanuts were too little which makes it disproportionate with the large amount of gravy. The gravy didn't taste that good either, so that was a thumbs down.

Swee Kang Ais Kacang
176, Jalan Haji Taha, Kampung Bandarshah
Tuesdays-Sundays, 11am

With some light snacks in our tummies, it was check-in time to our hooood! It's called Berambih Lodge and omg, the common area is beautiful! If you're into longhouses, you're gonna like it!

view from the reception

common area

It was RM50 per night for a twin-sharing room. The room isn't the best, but it was good enough with clean beds, a working light and aircon, and a mirror. Michelle's rather unsatisfied with her bed though, cz the spring coils can be felt. Other than that, it was good enough. Toilet and bathroom is shared and that's where I do my makeup cz the yellow light in the room is bad for makeup haha

The employees there were very nice and friendly too! I just thought that was worth mentioning cz they made the stay much better :)

Berambih Lodge
104 Ewe Hai Street, Kuching City Center

With no time wasted, we dropped our things in the room and dashed out the door. We really needed a proper lunch. Pronto.

The streets reminded me very much of Malacca and Penang..the similar old-school feel.

For lunch, we stopped at a nameless area with hawker stalls on Carpenter Street which is highly recommended by bloggers. Upon seeing labels of pork satay being sold, I cringed inwardly (cz I tried it once and didn't like it). It was rather crowded cz I think it's quite a famous place to eat, good thing we managed to snag a table at a corner.

Sarawak is famous for their Teh C Special (three layered tea) and Sarawak laksa. You can't go wrong with tea, so we got a cup each. Good thing Michelle ordered only one bowl of laksa for us to share in case it didn't suit our taste buds...and it really didn't hahaha

Teh C Special

Sarawak Laksa

Because neither of us like the taste and smell of pork, we opted for prawn and chicken laksa. Not sure if pork is a compulsory thing or the lady didn't get the order right, but it came with kiang (some pig organ)! Such a turn off. And the chicken had its mushy steamed skin on it. Turn off, turn off!! And and the laksa was lacking in flavour too, like the taste is there, but way too mild :(

just happy with our drinks

Across the street was our saving grace- pisang goreng (banana fritters)! The stall is right by the Chinese temple, also highly raved about. This time, it lived up to expectations. Good one, auntie! Woohoo!

RM0.50 per piece

It is kinda pricey, but it was worth it lah. We got it freshly fried, piping hot! Took a little while to cool down and the batter was so crunchy-sticky. I don't know how to describe it, but think crispy when bite down, and nice sticky when pulling away (Bad description, but I hope you get the idea). Even when it has cooled down, it's still crunchy! The banana itself was sweet and overall, it was just...perfect!

Hawker & Pisang Goreng stall
Carpenter Street

After the not-really-satisfying-nor-tummy-filling lunch, we managed to walk around for a bit before Michelle had to conduct her interviews with our former high school Science teacher.

under the Harmony Arc

Sarawak Tourism Complex (Old Court House)

There is a Magenta Restaurant, which looks more like a nice quiet cafe than a restaurant. We planned to chill there on our last day, but it was closed =.=" What is it with Sarawak and closed shops? lolol

Part of the reason why we visited Kuching was for Michelle to conduct several interviews for her thesis. For that same reason, we were able to claim car rental, accommodation and her flight expenses. That saved us a lot of money!

Anyway, while our former teacher picked her up from our lodge, I planned to nap since I was exhausted from finals and moving out of my hostel. But after laying in bed for not more than half an hour, I decided to explore a little bit on my own.

The streets were quite quiet, very unlike Penang though it looked similar. Maybe because it was a Saturday and everyone was just having family time at home...hmm..

General Post Office

Textile Museum

Main Bazaar Street

Kuching Waterfront

DUN Sarawak

I spent most of my alone time at the Kuching Waterfront cz it was evening by then and the temperature was perfect to just chill around with a boyfriend or two (Whoops!) hahahaha I spent my time mostly taking photos, recording short clips for my Instagram, texting the Crazy Concert and chilling around with my very generic Coke Float.

Float shack

Took my own sweet time to walk back to the lodge on Ewe Hai Street and chilled at the common area. I liked chilling there cz there's a tv and the chance of maybe meeting other travelers, like one Hong Kong lady. Plus, there was aircon there anyway hahaha The female employee (or maybe the lady boss) came over to turn on 50 Shades of Grey when the male employee told her he couldn't load a Korean drama hahaha

We spoke a little after she excitedly told me it was 50 Shades, while I asked if she watched it before cz I have. It was hilariously awkward when a guy stopped by to see what's on tv before heading out (good thing he only watched the beginning of the movie) hahahaha

I left soon after when Michelle arrived to pick me up for dinner with teacher and her family! They brought us to have Kolo Mee, Sarawak's version of Wanton Noodles.

K.Y. Cafe is famous for their kolo mee and kueh chap. Thanks to our teacher and her husband, we got to try both! It wasn't on our itinerary to head over here cz we didn't know of its existence when researching online. It's always good to have locals!

The cost of dinner was rather cheap, though I'm not sure how much they cost per bowl. It was RM28 for a bowl of kueh chap and six bowls of kolo mee.

Kueh chap (or kueh tiaw kia) is noodles with dark soy sauce with some kind of tea soup (I think), served with beancurds, braised hard-boiled eggs and pig innards. We have this in Peninsula too, but since K.Y. Cafe is famous for this too, they got us to try it.

I seldom eat kueh chap cz I'd only eat the beancurds and eggs with the soup..not a fan of pork or its offal O.o My thoughts on this bowl of kueh chap is...mild. Just like every other Sarawak food I've tried, the taste was there but it wasn't strong enough.

The kolo mee comes in two variations- red and yellow. The difference was the sauce used for the kolo mee. Both Michelle and I preferred the red version cz it has a mildly sweet taste and had a lighter feel as compared to its pretty much tasteless yellow brother lol The yellow one had a much heavier feel to it and the sauce left a strange taste and feeling on the tongue.

Red kolo mee

Yellow kolo mee

As a conclusion, we didn't like kolo mee. Wanton mee for the win! haha

K.Y. Cafe
Jalan Sekama

Although exhausted, Michelle had a couple of interviews to conduct after dinner. I accompanied her to our teacher's house so she wouldn't drive back alone later. Her husband said it was drought season for Sarawak and that definitely explains the weather. It was soooo hot even at night!

To compensate or I'd say, reward ourselves who endured the heat, tiredness and an irrelevant speech by a supposedly potential interviewee, we drove to Bing! Coffee before calling it a night.

Bing! Coffee has many branches sprouted everywhere on Waze cz it's practically Kuching's Starbucks, I guess haha We just picked one closest to where we were and went for it.

orders written on the counter

The menu was quite extensive and we didn't know what to choose. Ended up getting a slice of Oreo Cheesecake cz it's a safe choice, and some Vanilla Lime Twist.

Oreo Cheesecake (approx. RM10.50); Vanilla Lime Twist (RM13.50)

The Oreo Cheesecake was a major letdown, just when I thought you can't go wrong with it lol The base tasted of fake Oreos..probably Creamo or something. The chocolate drizzle tasted cheap. And there was close to no bits of crushed Oreos in the, what is going onnnnn?

Vanilla Lime Twist tasted like my favourite ice cream, the Tropicana lime ice cream!...except, very bland, I began wondering if I was drinking ice-blended flavoured water :/

A letdown, what a way to end our first day in Kuching.

Bing! Coffee
Jalan Pandungan
Sunday-Thursday, 10am-12am
Friday-Saturday, 10am-1am

We discussed our dissatisfaction in the room before dozing off that night lolol I was quite surprised we didn't really had a proper meal that we were really satisfied with that day, we didn't even eat a lot, in fact...

But that's okay, we were hopeful for the following day cz it was time for Cultural Village!!!

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