Saturday 29 April 2017

Kuching, Sarawak (Day 3): Fairy Cave, Wind Cave and Kuching Waterfront (again!)

Let me start this post with food cause a vacay with friends is not complete without turning them into foodie trip!(≧∇≦) So we started our day with Mee Pok at Yen Yen Cafe in Lundu town, which was a less than 5 minutes drive from where we stayed and close to Flower Scent Restaurant where we dined the night before. This time, we decided to try Mee Pok, a specialty noodles only found in the East Coast and happened to walk past Yen Yen Cafe before deciding to try.

Ying Yun's curry mee pok. Hers seem to have the biggest portion so much that Nicholas had to help her finish. The price of food in Sarawak are ridiculous! This much and only cost RM6. You'd most probably pay up to thrice in Kuala Lumpur for this. At the top in this pic is my pork trotters mee pok, served with braised pork in thick soy sauce. My friends love this and dubbed this the best choice because of how thick and rich the gravvy is!


Nicholas' minced meat mee pok. Portion is smaller and cost only RM4! This is like the price of a bowl of noodles 10 years ago. If only prices go down in Malaysia, which will be unlikely.

Drinks on the other hand is just standard price, almost similar to KL. We ordered an extra cup of 'snake water' to share because we were curious. Turns out it taste past like cincau hahaha

The Chinese Iban waitress saw how curious we were about snake water and brought out the premix packet for us to see, my goodness! She really didn't have to ⁄(⁄ ⁄•⁄ω⁄•⁄ ⁄)⁄ One thing we love about Sarawak is how most people we met are so friendly and nice. They're even nice on the road _ driving at moderate speed and no honkings.

Fairy Caves & Wind Caves

After our rather worthwhile meal, we decided to head to Fairy Cave and Wind Cave is just a little bit further from Lundu, we decided to drop by these places first. That day my tummy was feeling unwell which I deduced was from washing my hands at the waterfall before snacking so I ended up sleeping in the car the entire road trip, waking up when we stopped by a fruit stall along the way to buy bananas and banana chips just cause we monkeys love bananas hahahah

We arrived at Fairy Caves _ my friends initially not too keen about checking the caves _ and after climbing up the ladders towards the entrance to the cave, I decided I couldn't go on with the exploring because I was feeling dizzy and weak so I headed back down while my friends go ahead with the exploring.

Took some photos myself thinking I wouldn't have the strength to climb again

Ying Yun took some photos to show to me~

Getting back down took me lotsa steps FML. I rested at the stall at the entrance of the cave and ordered an apple juice which turned out to be from concentrated juice instead of fresh apples but after drinking I felt better, with the coldness of the drink numbing my pain hahahha.

I also noticed this stall sells homemade tuak, Sarawak's aboriginal rice alcohol packed in 1.5L bottles. We didn't buy it because we can't finish it. Heck, I am the only one who drinks aside from Ying Yun who only takes sips... Anyway, I had a few tuak sessions throughout my vacay hahaha

When I felt better, I marched up again only to feel horrible and rested a bit more FML. I did manage to explore just the center section of the caves. It didn't help the steps up the other parts of the caves were giving me the goose bumps and vertigo _ It felt as though I was standing at an angle on most steps. What's more the thick cords acting as rails for the stairs were littered with bat shits so I got guano on my hands hahahhah. But the cave is so pretty, its worth it!

After Fairy Caves, my friends were much more willing to explore Wind Cave thinking it has the same pretty scenery. This people didn't research LOL. Wind Cave is pitch black with grey-ish stalactites and stalagmites growing unlike Fairy Caves which have a hole on the roof of the caves which allows light to shine in and short shrub and moss to grow. So no photos inside the cave.

While exploring we walked past some other group, I had this mini light bulb moment_ why not play a prank and scare this people. So we switched off our lights and was prepare to strike. Unfortunately there were no walls to hide so I had Ying Yun shield me.

They found us anyway.


So by the time I jumped out from behind YY they were just laughing away #epicfail  I shall try better next time.

Le Nomade, Kuching Waterfront

Back to Kuching Waterfront, this time we were staying at Le Nomade, a hostel We booked from AirBnB that is slightly a distance further from Kuching Waterfront. The hostel is definitely different from where we have stayed, having a common area for backpackers to hang out, with board games and even kitchen if you want to cook to save. There is even a veranda furnish with chairs and bbq pit, pretty cool! 

Ying Yun's all about meeting backpackers and people with various backgrounds so it came as a surprised I initiated a lot of chit chats and her staying most of the time in her room. That was where I met a solo backpacker, John who later joined us the last two days we were around at Kuching and proved to be a lamppost funny companion.

The inside story John made up was we kidnapped him. Ying Yun's very Malaysian version was we picked him up from the tong sampah.

I say Malaysian version because that's what our parents told us when we ask where babies come from. Pretty sure it's an Asian thing.

The Dyak

Dinner is at The Dyak (pronounce Dayak), a boutique cafe just less than 10 minutes Uber ride from where we were staying. I've been researching on this place for a while and was really excited to try the aboriginal dishes and experience my first tuak!

We order chicken soup with wild plants, mani chai cooked with pumpkin and tempoyak or picked durian (doesn't is sound yummy?!) . My friends only accepted my choice for tempoyak after some of the 'normal' dishes we wanted were not available. It proves to be an amazing option! We tried tempoyak at Lepau the next day but find The Dyak's version to be the smelliest and therefore, yummiestt (’▽’)♡

Nicholas remarked how the food especially the mani chai tasted so similar to Indonesian food. Make me wanna go for a foodie trip in Indonesia!

Drinks we ordered include Ying Yun's barley lemon and tuak for myself. Don't remember what the dude ordered..

For dessert, we have tuak ice cream or rather tuak drenched vanilla ice cream top with shave pistachio, I think. Quite the opposite of me, Ying Yun and Nicholas didn't find that to their liking.

Kuching Open Air Market

We didn't want to retire early so we decided to drop by the Open Air Market after our Uber driver mentioned the place, saying they serve her favorite ice cream gula apong.


Our gula apong is empty on the inside (。ŏ_ŏ) The ice cream tasted very diluted. I guess it's made that way to compliment the gula apong else the dessert will be overly sweet.

Taking this photo of a random stall because Tomato Source.

 While I was away the dude went and ordered siew mai. Boy, can he eat! Though myself is guilty of gluttony too ヾ(≧▽≦*)o

Then we decided to take a walk around Carpenter Street and check out the celebrations at the temple. We bought ice creams and watch the opera before the crazy loud fireworks interrupted us.

Monday 24 April 2017

Kuching, Sarawak (Day 2): Hunting for Rafflesia! //Gunung Gading, Pandan Beach & Flower Scent Restaurant

Day two at Kuching started off with us fueling up the car and our stomachs with Kolo Mee (my first!) before our two-hour drive to Lundu to hike at Gunung Gading in search for the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia.

I don't remember where is this kopitiam at because Ying Yun's uncle recommended this place.

Auntie not to please? LOL

Gunung Gading, Lundu

At Gunung Gading, we booked a guide following the advice from the administrator as the trail heading towards the blooms were off trail from the usual tracking site. Together with a few other travellers, we hiked for about 10 minutes or so before finding the bloom, perched high out of reach on a rock where it has attached itself on its host for 8 months.

What's so amazing is that this flower has SIX petals, with one extra petal compare to its kind. The flower is 5 days old when we saw it, just few days short before it withers. Can you believe that. It takes 8 months for its flower to grow and bloom yet only a week to wither.

The first rafflesia we encountered which has six petals, so amazing!

Our guide, Edmund.


While we were waiting for the other travellers to take turns snapping photos, we chatted, tried to get to know the others and enjoying the scenery. I got to know cheeky little boy who kept trying to swing the loose vines. My intention was to scare him by saying some bugs might fall off the tree failed to reached his ears. Later he started poking my butt WTF (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
I was like, "why are you poking my butt" out loud to the amusement of my friends and his mother who tried stopping him. But he's not a mean boy, just a joker kind hahaha

After that we hiked a little more to another spot where a Rafflesia had bloomed on the ground. So amazing, just look at the size of the flower!

True to what Edmund mentioned, the Rafflesia smells just like mushrooms instead of its notorious, corpse-like smell. Even if it does smell like the latter, I probably can't tell.
Here's a dead one that has turned charcoal black! My morbid friend found it interesting...

I was trying to look for other buds nearby and when I found one, I asked Edmund if he can name it Vivien to his laughter. Ying Yun was motivated to find a baby bud to name it after herself and myself, me to find Vivien #2 but was not fruitful hahahha #TwoIdiots

Later we went our own way, taking the trail that leads to Waterfall #1, the closest trail so we can come back early for lunch.

While we girls were playing at the waterfall, the guys chatted. A game of rock, paper and scissor decided we should just swim in the waterfall hahahah. That was how we make decisions the entire vacay. While we were playing, my phone took a dip in the water when I slipped between the rocks and immediately went into danger mode and auto switched off on its own. I was holding my phone because I was taking photos _ bad idea. But photos. I love taking photos and even the last trip was the only one who took a thousand over photos over a week.

My phone survived nevertheless _ the danger mode and putting it into a bag of rice saved my phone. We found the phone alright after its alarm starts ringing in the morning. Nicholas' woke me up saying, "Good news. Do you know what's working?" Harharhar

Pandan Beach

It was beach time after our lunch YY and Nicholas helped me tapau-ed. You should see the reaction on their face when I exclaimed, "for as long as it is not bitter", they just froze hahahaha. YY had tapau-ed me an interesting, but super bitter chicken marinated in wild plants.

So yeah, beach after lunch!

YY's a huge fan of beach, I can tell. I don't know how can she be so unafraid of the waves. I tried wading and when the waves got bigger, or maybe I waded too deep, I started freaking out. Definitely haven't get use to this feeling. As children, my parents totally forbid us to get into the waters so we didn't have much chances. Even now, my parents kept telling me to avoid playing in waterfalls :/

Super environmental lover, this girl. Thumbs up!

Ying Yun helped me get to 'safety' and we started climbing up onto the huggeee rocks, this time it was YY turn getting cold feet. We were debating which was scarier _ climbing up and falling from huge rocks or drown in the sea WTF.

Flower Scent Restaurant

It started pelting so we headed to the little town nearby for a bit of sightseeing which is really just staring at the river and driving around _ there really isn't much to see. I have been calling my hometown, Sungai Petani Sleepy Hollow but this town bears closest resemblance to that title! We had nothing to do that we decided to just head early to Flower Scent Restaurant which is not too far away from the spot we were chilling.

We ordered sambal belacan-cooked midin, my first time trying! Tasted so good albeit slightly salty.

Close up on the fern! Look at how cute it is, the end curled.

Fried calamari (again!) which satisfied Ying Yun and Nicholas' palate.
Steam fish and mani chai.

The food were totally satisfactory and super affordable! So much that we thought we might as well stay for more drinks _ since there is no other entertainment around_ to the waitress surprise. We must be the only tourists who ordered tons of drinks hahahaha.

Deciding we had stayed for a while, we decided to leave. It was pelting so Nicholas went ahead to get the car but a few moments later, we girls thought the rain wasn't too heavy and decided to run towards the car. Halfway, Ying Yun started screaming, "DOG, DOG!!!" and I looked back, true enough one was chasing us! We ran with all our might and open and slam the doors behind us immediately. Talk about craziness..(╥﹏╥)( TДT)

Sunday 23 April 2017

Kuching, Sarawak (Day 1): Kuching Waterfront, Carpenter Street & TopSpot Seafood Centre

Hello, everyone! Sorry it took me so long to get to publishing this post. The following weeks after I returned from Kuching, the amazing capital city of Sarawak my work started pilling up and it was crazy! Virtual high5 to you people who feel me. I was also guilty for channeling my stress by looking forward to my next trip albeit it will be at the end of the year (WHAT?!!). I truly, really needed the whole looking forward thingy and positivity to go on. Including changing my hair to a new color LOL.

Ramblings aside, let me run you through all the fun stuff I did in Kuching!

This time I'm lucky (sorta) to be able to travel to Kuching with my BFF Ying Yun and her boyfriend Nicholas though that also meant finding myself in rather awkward third wheel position at times... Many times. Darn couple. Anyway, Ying Yun was around to visit her relatives in Sarawak so while we were there she did introduced us to the ones living in Kuching besides recommending amazing places to eat.

Since I took the late morning flight to my maiden trip in Kuching, I arrived in the middle of the day which meant I wouldn't have enough time to explore so we concentrated on places around Kuching Waterfront. We first checked into our room we booked from Airbnb, Lima Tujoh or Fifty Seven, an old shophouse-turned-hostel with a cafe on ground level hidden in one of the alley branching out from Carpenter Street.

This is Lima Tujoh! Plus my weird friend right there.

I would truly recommend this place, the interior design is so beautiful! I SUPER LOVE their rustic-y wood design plus our room have a mini loft fitted with two more single beds. Made me want one myself in future. We all do!

Even the bathroom tiles are pretty! Future house inspiration perhaps? (´∀`)

Unfortunately we were only staying there for a night. Even so, Nicholas can't stop raving about the how that was our best room for the next few days!


After we had enough admiring the room, us girls decided to go exploring just around the museum before heading to Carpenter Street. We found an interesting temple so we went in to admire the carvings and decorations and get our fortune told.

This is how we got our fortune read.

 Our fortunes turn out to be the same and the results were just 'alright'. Ying Yun took some time deciphering the poems which were rather vague and can be ambiguous.

We then dropped by the kopitiam just opposite the temple for some tea break _ my first Kuching's Teh C Peng special or 3-layered milk tea with Sarawak's specialty sugar called gula apong and pork satay. 

The pork satay was very tough IMO. Ying Yun remarked they tasted like pork jerky. It's just alright to me but the price was something. RM4 for 5 sticks of meat on stick?! You don't get that price for pork here in the peninsular! Very walao weh.


We visited her uncle and his family and her granny who made us light dinner consisting of three types of vegetables which was delicious! One salted vegetables was homemade so it tasted really fresh, oh-so-o different from the ones sold at markets back home.

Granny has three dogs at home so we hung around to play with her dogs. They're so adorable and two of them are so fluffy! This is actually my first time being in close contact with dogs since most_ 99.9%_ of the other times I usually freaked out and distance myself, especially more towards huge dogs hahaha. Don't judge me, I have not too nice experience with dog as a kid.
Granny's dogs however, are so loving and friendly it didn't take long before I start to adore them. According to YY they were also super excited to see me awwwwww (。’▽’。)♡ I LOVE YOU TOO, DOGGIESSS!!
We head back to Kuching Waterfront after that but Nicholas being a dude, craved for some meat. So after parking our car near Lima Tujoh, we walked along waterfront and towards Kai Joo Lane, apparently famous for its stalls but when we got there, it was almost empty despite being a Saturday. Apparently there were some Buddhist celebration that day and most of the stalls' owners we away, offering prayers.

So we decided to head to TopSpot Food Court. Walking. From Kai Joo Lane.

People, DON'T do that.

Google Maps suggested it was only 17 minutes away but we walked and walked and it felt like forever. Thankfully we made it before the shops were closed but there were several dishes we wanted to order ran out like crispy oyster omelette a.k.a. crispy oh chien and midin, a type of fern resembling plants from Jurassic era fern which is an uncommon plant in Peninsular. Midin was top on my 'To Eat' list and Ying Yun's favorite so we were disappointed when most stalls have run out of midin.

We ordered from Ling Long Seafood Stall because apparently they serve the best dishes according to Ying Yun and even got tons of amazing reviews on Trip Advisor.

Fried Chicken with Lemon Gravy

Sea Cucumber soup, so yummy!! Super recommended!

Fried calamari rings which were YY and Nicholas' least favorite because they didn't like how it is not crispy. I'm not too picky so I just omnomnom-ed away. But you do need to listen to them, they're like squid experts when it comes to eating sotong lah.

On top of that we ordered sugarcane lime juice. The combination is AWESOME!!! Simply refreshing and perfect after a crazy walk! This too, is another specialty drink found in many kopitiams in Kuching. Additionally, I had some kuih talam while waiting for my food to arrive. These tasted as good as Penang's!

One thing we noticed when dining at TopSpot was how everyone of different backgrounds were dining together! You can't find this in Malaysia except in Mamaks. We came to a conclusion that despite being less developed compared to KL or Selangor, Sarawakians are truly muhibah! Sarawak's definitely the best example of 1Malaysian!

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