Monday, August 22, 2016

In love with Sarawak - A testimony

Remember that I told you about the "entrance" to the cave in my previous post?

Well  it was actually the EXIT of the cave.

We didn't know about it, we just naturally entered the cave from a nearby resting area where Ilyas's popo was going to wait for us that time.

The supposedly exit.

There were reasons why it was the exit instead of the entrance, because when you come from the right entrance, it's coming down. So instead of coming down, we were hiking up thousands of stairs.
There were bird poops everywhere including the handrail. So yeah, my hand was full of bird poop.
Nope, you don't wanna imagine that. 

The endless going up stairs were draining my energy real fast, my calves were hurting, my stamina was used up. Up until one point, I told my friends to abandon me and just go ahead. Ilyas's mum and aunty gave up halfway and said they wanna go back. So I decided to join them as I thought I couldn't make it anymore. It was just too much for a weakling  like me who never hit the gym. Then one of the aunty told me to keep going, she said there was a famous mural ahead, she told me to keep on going and fighting. Hence, I listened to her and continued my journey alone in the dark with sheer light from my hand phone. 

Then slowly I could see rays of light coming from from the front, what I saw next made me kept on praising the Lord at that point. Later, I saw my friends not far from me.


When I got out of the cave, it was a HUGE relieve. 
And I realized that the 2 aunties hadn't reach the resting area yet.
Hmmm, curious.
Then only we found out that the point I was about to give up was actually near the exit and also the shortcut. So the 2 aunties ended up walking twice the exhausting journey.

I thank God so much that I didn't give up halfway.
Here's a simple lesson that I learn:
Never give up cause the light might be just around the corner.

I wanna thank God so much that I was blessed to have this trip.
I'm so grateful that my friends thought of me when they plan this trip in early March.
Thanks guys for putting up with me as I can get a bit cranky at times, 
especially when I'm tired or hungry or about to catch the plane.

I also wanna thanks Ilyas's awesome friendly family for their hospitality.
Thanks to Clarice we were able to save a lot on accommodation as we were staying at her dorm.
Thanks to Ilyas for being our driver, tour guide and clown of the group.
Thanks to Yee Fei for taking good photos of everyone. 
Thanks to Janet for the ice cream and KFC and
Thanks to Brian for being a wonderful addition to this group and also a spare driver whenever he was needed.

I've learnt to rely more on God's timing, sometimes His timing might just be better than you thought.
For instance on the last day,
 I was worried that we might be running late to the airport, we were really late that time.
but look on the bright side, I got to see the marvelous sunset before heading off to the airport. 


On the way to the airport, the song "惧高症" was played and I fell in love with it in an instance.
 I started reminiscing all the crazy moments we had from the first day.
Watching the sunset made it even harder to say goodbye.
Then tears slowly building up at the corner of my eyes.
 Thinking now that I had to go back and I feel like everything was just too surreal for me.
I guess it's because this was my first vacation with friends and it's been a long long time since I had this much fun and laughter.
I will never forget a single joyous moment with your guys.

Every time in the car,
 we will listen to Onefm's special game called 
"玩转space秀,有One没完".
Whenever Jay Chou's latest hits "Try" was broadcasted, audience will call in to join the game. 
If you are lucky enough to be 8th caller, you'll be selected.
All you need to do is answer a simple question and get RM1,000 worth cash or more!
We were all so excited every time when this segment was broadcasted.
Ilyas tried to call a few times but failed. Haha, but we had lots of fun listening to this programme.

Have you guys ever have this experience, 
whenever you listen to a certain song, you'll be reminded of certain memory?
Well, now whenever I listen to "不该"、 "你,好不好"、“惧高症”and "Try",
I'll be reminded of this marvelous Sarawak trip.

Sarawak is a beautiful place indeed. I'll come back for you I promise!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

In love with Sarawak Part 2

Day 5 Friday 5/8/2016

Woke up at 4.30am to get ready to the airport. Thank goodness we all manage to pack and clean the house before leaving Clarice's dorm.

We shared some simple bread-cake for breakfast at the airport which I bought previous day. 
Then, it's time we bade goodbye to Kuching and headed north to Miri.


Ilyas's grandma came and picked us from the airport. It was only 5 minute journey to his house. Ilyas's house was nice and cozy with a touch of kampung vibe, surrounded by some vegetation, a nice fish pond and garden.

His popo was very friendly to us, she made sure we were comfortable and got everything we needed.
Big thanks to popo. 
While Clarice and I staying at home having some girls chat, Ilyas, Yee fei and Brian went to the airport to pick Janet. I heard they were awkward upon meeting for the first time. Hehe.
For lunch, we had 虾米炒米粉, our first home cooked meal in Sarawak, cooked by Ilyas's popo herself of course, Not bad!

Due to the rain, we couldn't go outdoor, so we went to a local shopping mall and sing-K!
Oh I had a lot of fun singing with them. Surprisingly Brian's voice not bad eh!

Moving on, Ilyas brought us to this Christian cafe, I was blur blur at first. Then baru I got it.
We were celebrating Janet's birthday!


Happy 22nd Birthday Janet! All the best in your career.

When we saw the rain subsided, we were brought to this hill called Canada Hill to watch sunset.
There's this old well called Grand Old Lady which was used to dig oil.



The view behind was just breath taking. 
There's a cafe there where you can enjoy the scenery while having a meal.
 But you have to beware of the dogs. Ilyas got bitten while lucky Clarice almost got bitten.

So without further ado, we accompanied Ilyas to a clinic to have him checked and treated. 
By the time he finished his treatment, it was around 8pm. 
We were completely famished!
Ilyas's mother belanja us dinner at a nearby restaurant. Thanks aunty!

Battery flat. Goodnight.

Day 6 Saturday 6/8/2016

Woke up early for today's another strength and mental challenging adventure.
Once again, Ilyas's generous mummy treated us with yummy kolok me breakfast. 
They say if you didn't visit any cave, you never come to Sarawak.
Hence, off we went to visit another cave - Gua Niah it was! 
It was quite far from the city. Took around 1 hour journey to reach there.
The entrance fee was RM3 for students. However you have to pay RM1 boat fee just to cross the river which took less than a minute.


Ilyas's popo, mum, little brother, aunty and cousin also joined us.


Pause to take a picture. The foot journey to the cave was quite far. I really admire Ilyas's popo for making it all the way there, however she didn't enter the cave, but still good enough.


Along the wooden trail, you will see many millipedes crawling and making loving. 
Guess it's mating season. Janet was terrified by em'.


Finally reaching the "entrance" of the cave.
 I will tell you why I put the quotation mark there, there's another story behind it.
Stay tuned to my next post.

Unlike Fairy Cave, Niah cave was a lot safer, no steep wet stairs(some parts were sheer darkness), but a lot more smellier and also further. But still, the scenery inside was just as majestic as Fairy cave.
The rays of light coming down from above was pure heavenly.
I didn't take many photos, as I was really tired.

Sorry my camera didn't manage to capture the essence and detail of the cave. 
Trust me, it was way more pretty than this.

By the way stamina is must have if you plan to hike. 

 A group photo after completing the hike. 

We had KFC for lunch, Janet's treat. Thanks Janet!

Went home exhausted and smelly, took a quick refreshing bath and wait for dinner, this time Ilyas's popo cooked curry chicken for us. Yum!


 At night we planned not to go anywhere as we were all tired. So we stayed at home and played this game in our room. It's main objective is to find the spy. It was quite fun, the perfect activity for slumber party. 

Day 6 ended at midnight with a wide smile =)

Day 7 Sunday 7/8/2016

Couldn't believe it's our last day in Sarawak. 
Today we all woke up quite late except for Yee Fei and Ilyas. 
They went out early in the morning with Ilyas's grandparents to buy breakfast. 
Guess what, another round of Kolok mee!


This is Sarawak chu chang fen. The sauce was slightly sweeter and redder than KK's one.

After everyone got ready, we headed out to a cafe to have some refreshment and just relaxed before sending Ilyas's brother to attend his first piano lesson.
While waiting for him, Ilyas brought us to Miri park. It was vast and beautiful.


There were suspension bridges, fountains, small swimming area, barbecue shacks, jogging track and playground.

After picking Ilyas's brother from his class, we went to a local famous ABC shop to quench our thirst. 

ABC campur RM3.80 


I like this snack. They were deep fried sweet potatoes and tofu. 
They paired so well with the rojak sauce.

Our last destination was Tusan Beach. The beach was utterly clean.
Not a single rubbish was noticed. Let's hope that it will stay that way forever and ever.
Ilyas said the beach was just recently discovered, that's why it was spotless.


The beach was situated at a cliff, so once you got down to the beach, you'll see many little caves like this. My jeans was halfway wet as I couldn't stop myself from soaking my legs in the sea water, besides enjoying the soothing sea breeze caressing my face and listening to the sound of the ocean. 
It was just pure heavenly.

Can you guess what does it look like?
A horse drinking sea water!
What a sight to behold!


Unlike KK beach, you won't notice a single island floating on the horizon.
A wonderful amazing sunset to end our trip.
Bye Sarawak, till we meet again next time.
I had post-holiday-blues looking at these memorable photos over and over again.

*Some photo credits to Ilyas, Yee Fei and Brian*

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

In love with Sarawak Part 1

Finally have to the mood to update my latest wonderful trip with a bunch of friends to Sarawak.
We've been planning this trip since March, thank God for the super cheap air ticket.

So here it is.

Day 1 Monday 1/8/2016

Brian, Yee Fei, Clarice and I took the morning flight and reached Kuching around 9am. Brian is Ilyas form 6 classmate, we first met at the airport and got to know each other while waiting for Ilyas coming from Miri. First impression - shy shy type with 2 distinctive dimples. We are all actually mutual friends.

Later, there's this Indian guy bringing our rented car came to pick us to Clarice dorm near her university (UNIMAS), her dorm is kinda far from the city. the car rental is very cheap by the way. After "checking in", we headed to a food court to satisfy our rumbling tummy.  I had my first Sarawak Kolok Mee, they have many variations of Kolok mee, mine was called "kampua", nothing much different, only the noodle type. It was only RM3.00!!!! So damn cheap!

Moving on, we hung out a while at Kuching's newest shopping mall Viva mall. It was pretty much the same as Imago. Then, with the help of Waze, which they called 华姐 in cantonese (weird!), Ilyas, our driver brought us to a park called 马中友谊公园。The park was really pretty, there's a lake, and a huge 郑和 statue standing majestically in the middle of it. People from the nearby residential area came and jog or have a nice cuppa at the chinese cafe. A nice place to hang out indeed.


The sky was turning black fast and I was praying hard not to rain as we were heading to the annual Kuching Festival. Thank God that the whole night there was not a single drop of rain noticed. The place was sooooooo crowded, there were soooooo many food stalls until you don't know which food to choose. So I just picked randomly and some according the internet suggestions.


The taiwan sausage tasted weird. None of us like it. Ilyas's facial expression showed it all =)


The Matcha cheese tart was among the best food in the suggested list. Highly recommended.

Went back, took a nice quick bath, slept on Clarice's nicely wrapped tilam.
Boop, no current.
And that's how we ended our day one, super tired but still looking forward to next day.

Day 2 Tuesday 2/8/2016

Ilyas went out early in the morning to meet his teachers. So while waiting for him, Brian and I had Clarice's Milo and ate some of leftover pastries which I tapao last night.


Around 10, Ilyas came back and we headed out to Kuching's Cat Museum. Surprisingly it's free admission, you only need to pay if you're taking photos.


Yee fei took the photos with her newly bought high tech fish eye camera. I'm very sakai one, I just knew the existence of such gadget. It's very convenient if you are having wefie with a large group. There were I think up to thousands of cat collectibles inside including some cat specimens. Everything you need to know about cat is available. Cat lovers will surely go bananas over these cats exhibition.

Next in our destination is Kuching's library.


Photo taken by Yee fei, edited by Brian.
One night staying with Ilyas and Brian's narcissism level is the same as Ilyas already. 
Haiz this 2 guys....nevertheless, they brought us many laughters =) 

The grand entrance with see through staircase.

Next, we went to try our first sampan experience. The sampan will get you to the famous kek lapis destination. Here's a tip, don't let the sampan guy know you're not local. Just hop on the sampan and pay when you reach your destination. It's actually only RM1 per person, but we were extra charged RM3. 



There were various type of kek lapis samples with all sorts of weird names like Proton Saga, Michael Jackson.
All you can eat. Hehe. We only bought it before departing to Miri as its expiration date is one week in the fridge. 

After taking photos at the waterfront, we had our dinner at this rooftop seafood eateries. It was in my to-do-list. Yee fei is grateful that I've done a bit of homework while Ilyas planned the route for us.


Very nice view. We ordered oatmeal prawns (yummy!), toufu pot, fish maw soup and sayur midin, a type of vegetable which is only available in Sarawak.


Midin belacan. It tasted and looked like paku-pakis, but slightly slimy. Not bad.

Day 2 ended. Go back recharged.

Day 3 Wednesday 3/8/2016

Woke up early and filled our tummy with another round of Kolok Mee, then headed off to our first destination, Tasik Biru. Today's journey is all about outdoors.


You can really enjoy the tranquility of the blueish lake.

Without further ado, we went to one of Sarawak's cave - Fairy Cave.

 

Loving this candid shot. The paddy field is opposite the cave. You can hear loud bombings occasionally which is to scare the birds from eating the paddy.

The journey up into the cave was really challenging. There was this very steep staircase (almost 90 degree) which was completely dark and wet, I was so afraid that I'm gonna fall down, but thank God I didn't! Explorers would love this very much. 

One very wonderful thing about cave is, no matter which angle or height you stand, you'll get to see  a completely different view. Once you climb up to the peak, you'll just wanna stand there and feast your eyes with this God's amazing wonder. Too bad my camera isn't high tech enough to capture that view. This the best shot I could get. 


I'm very afraid of height, so I was holding Clarice and Ilyas's bag at certain steeper staircases. 
Unlike the ang mos who hiked and went down very fast, our group were really taking our time enjoying views and taking tons of photos. Oh the entrance fee is only RM1 per person!

After a hot hiking afternoon, it's time to refresh ourselves at the Annah Rais Hotspring. 
It was another beautiful place covered in nature. 
There were two hot springs surrounded by crystal clear river. 
We had a lot of fun there.
Entrance fee is RM5.


Their expressions tell it all how hot is the hot spring.

It's time for dinner! This is a huge eatery called 101 according to Clarice. Just like the Kuching Festival, too many stalls to choose.



So in the end, I ordered these. 麻辣面,麻辣水饺,普通水饺。
They were made by China people, quite nice, not spicy at all but a wee bit salty.

Battery flat and another day ended wonderfully.

Day 4 Thursday 4/8/2016

Started our morning with our very first Sarawak laksa, Ermmm, it was not quite what I expected. The flavour is slightly milder than I thought it should be. 


Moving on, we took a stroll around the cat city. Bought some Sarawak famous mi piang (米饼). Since it's China street, all you can see is china restaurant, 
you can see most of them sell these steam buns and 烧卖, or they called it sio bee. 
We tried the sio bee, it was slightly sweeter than KK 烧卖 。And cheaper too! RM0.80 each.

A picture with Kuching icon.

Next, we headed down to Sarawak Cultural village, it was near Damai beach. The entrance fee is RM60 for non-Sarawakian like me, unless you have student card like my friends, they were only charged RM15.90 each. So yea, don't forget your student card if you have one. Big difference leh! However they don't have this passport which you can let the worker from different ethnic houses to chop.



Melanau House. The staircase was tall and scary.


Group photo with the performers. You should really see their performance. I won't let out the details but I can assure you it's worth every penny and time that you spent. One crucial tip, you should check out their performing schedule so that you don't miss any of it and at the same time able to finish your house visitation. Cause by the time we came out of the auditorium, the village was closed.

We were famished by the time we got out of the village, so we went to this restaurant suggested by Clarice to have our first western meal. Ilyas joined his friends, so only left 4 of us. Brian was the driver of the night.


The ambiance was quite nice and soothing. The food however was so-so only. 
Then, typical me being afraid of missing the plane, urged them to go back early and pack as we had to catch the 7am flight to Miri.

And there went our 5th day at Kuching. Time flew just in a blink of an eye.

Stay tuned for part 2!

*Some photo credits to Brian and Yee Fei*

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sandakan Trip

It's been a while since we are on a road trip, so here's my post, a trip to Sandakan, also known as Elopura or Little Hong Kong.

We arrived at Tamparuli to have our breakfast with our relatives. Unfortunately, only 1 shop opened due to Raya holiday. Luckily another shop opened for business but the service and food were really bad.

At 8am, we officially began our long anticipated journey. (or so I first thought)

We arrived Sandakan at around 1pm+. My mum and I were already pening pening lalat. Checked in to Hsiang Hotel. RM150 per night for 2 rooms. It was really worth it. The price offered was cheaper than the online booking. 

My mum packed us some lunch in the morning, so we had our lunch in the hotel. Then we rested for a while as we were all exhausted from the 6 hour journey plus some part of the road was bagai ular kena palu.  

After our body were fully recharged, we went to visit my 姨婆. It was our first time meeting her and her daughter. She resembles my late popo alot.


Moving on, we headed to the famous Sandakan Temple. 


A row of Buddhas stood neatly on each side of the pavement.


As we entered the threshold, we were greeted by these gigantic buddha statues. 
What a sight to behold!


The sea view from top was just beyond description. 
We were all completely mesmerized. 
You just have to see it for yourself.

Then, we went back to the hotel to freshen up ourselves. Around 7pm went out to hunt for food.
Again due to raya holiday, the restaurant we went to had no enough workers. We waited for almost an hour for their food. Our tummies were rumbling already and the portion given was far less than we expected. We paid over RM100 for shitty service and food. 
Reminder to oneself, never go back to that restaurant anymore.

10pm Zzzzzzz.

The next morning, my cousin brought us to Sim Sim Water Village area to have the famous Sandakan 弹弓面.
Unluckily the shop was closed. 
So we headed to another restaurant, if not mistaken, it's call Kau Kee Restaurant, 
also situated at Sim Sim area. 
We had seafood breakfast. Their food was so tasty, I like their 皮蛋饺. Sorry no pictures.


Another breathtaking sea view with morning sunshine.

After the wonderful satisfying meal, my cousin brought us makan angin around town area as he is familiar with Sandakan. You will notice that each roundabout has different statues, like lobster, turtle, crocodile etc.

Then, we headed to the renown St. Michael Church. It is the oldest stone church in Sandakan which took more than 30 years to complete. This heritage site was my Form 3 Sejarah project.


After a quick photo shoot, we went to another historical site, Agnes Keith's House.
Agnes Keith was an American author. 



You can dine at the English Tea House, just next to the museum.

Around 9am+, we left for Sepilok. 
It was soooooooo crowded, there were many foreigners and also a group of church people.
We met Stephen's mother. She's one of the big crowd on a church outing.
According to her, there were 200 people joining.


 We were not allowed to bring our bags, foods inside, as they scared our belongings will be taken away by the naughty monkeys along the trail. It was quite tiring but fun though.


We were just in time for the feeding session. 3 orangutans showed up. 

Around 12pm, we bade farewell to Sandakan and ready for another butt flat and backache journey back. 

All in all it was fun and exciting to see another city. 
I will surely go back to taste the foods there. 
But next time, my mum and I will take the plane instead. 
=)