As Malaysians, especially those living in West Malaysia, we’d like to think we know everything about our country – when we really don’t. It’s baffling when you realise the amount of “Semenanjungs” who have never even visited our brothers and sisters across the South China Sea. Start packing your rucksack, we’re heading for an East Malaysian adventure.
The first thing you’ll notice when you land at the capital of Sarawak, Kuching, is that they love their cats. Here’s a list of activities to help fully grasp the culture, minus the feline fun.
Sarawak Cultural Village
First thing on your agenda should be something somewhat unorthodox. A 30-minute drive from Tune Hotel Waterfront, the award-winning Sarawak Cultural Village allows you to travel back in time and experience the culture of Sarawak’s indigenous people first-hand. Widely known as a “living” museum, it houses various sections on each distinct culture. The staff sport traditional garments as they spout personal anecdotes of their unique childhood experiences when guiding you through the museum.
History buffs, rejoice. A short 10-minute ride from Tune Hotel is the Sarawak Museum. Built in the late 1800s, the structure sports European-style architecture that was common during Queen Anne’s reign in Great Britain, making it a piece of history itself. It houses a varied selection of exhibits, from Islamic history to a section on petroleum. And best of all, it’s free of charge! So if you’re hungry for knowledge, head over and learn about Sarawak’s colourful history.
After all that edumacation, it’s time to unwind. One of the most iconic places to relax and take in the local way of life is Chinatown. Located near the Sarawak river, early Chinese settlers dubbed the street Hai Chun or ‘The Lips of of the Sea’. Instantly, you will realise that it’s not your run-of-the-mill street market with shopkeepers shoving random merchandise down your throat. Instead, you’ll find practitioners of crafts that were passed down from generation to generation. From blacksmiths to carpenters, you’ll be able to admire true art firsthand. Just don’t get carried away and try to snag yourself a new wardrobe for your bedroom!
It’s time to head over to Sarawak’s neighbour, Sabah. The state’s capital, Kota Kinabalu, is also the most widely visited location in the region due to its array of attractions and Instagrammable sceneries.
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
Once you’ve landed, head to Tune Hotel at 1Borneo for a quick rest so you can feel fresh and ready for the rest of your trip. Before you hit the streets, make sure to pack a swimsuit because we’re going island hopping! For a small fee, you can take a ferry to Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, an archipelago of 5 distinct islands; Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi and Sulung.
There’s plenty of things to do, but most of the buzz revolves around diving. Fortunately, there are over 25 sites to choose from! If you don’t have a diving license, snorkelling is the next best thing. Honestly, you don’t want to miss out on those colourful corals. If diving isn’t your thing, you can also enjoy a nature walk and mingle with some of the locals.
Mari Mari Culture Village
The Mari Mari Cultural Village is the embodiment of Sabahan culture. The owners took it upon themselves to consolidate their rich culture and proudly showcase it to the rest of the world. It may be approximately 20 km away from Tune Hotel, but learning about the cultural wonders of Kadazandusun and various other indigenous groups will be truly worth the drive. The village also holds performances with traditional music and dance, so get ready to groove it the local way!
Gaya Street Sunday Market
It’s time to take a bite of history at the famous Gaya Street Sunday Market. The centre of business within the city for over a hundred years, the market is located at the KK Central Business Centre – originally called ‘Bond Street’. The road is closed off when the market takes over every Sunday morning. You’ll be able to find anything from local delicacies to art pieces here!
An adventure calls for a whole lot of exploring, most of the time on foot. It’s crucial that you always feel all in Tune before you head out again to cover new ground. Book your stay at either Tune Hotel 1Borneo or Tune Hotel Waterfront Kuching to take advantage of our 5-star amenities.