Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

Smooth sailing over a sea of clouds, the ATR 72-600 hums gently as it passes through the South China Sea on its way to Kuching.

The Bruneian News team was onboard the Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) link flight for a few days of adventure, nature, culture and food. 

The journey

Quieter than the Airbus or Boeing, the smaller aircraft took off without a hitch, surprising first-time users who expected the usual noisy and bumpy ascend. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Seats are laid out in pairs on each side, giving passengers adequate space and more room to breathe. 

For those who prefer additional legroom can choose either two options: the four preferred seats with a 43-inch seat pitch, located at the front of the plane or the six preferred seats with a 33-inch seat pitch, positioned at the back of the plane. 

Throughout the 1.5 hour flight, light snacks are provided consisting of a juice box and sandwiches, just enough to fill your stomach. 

Passengers can bring along their portable electronic devices for in-flight entertainment so be sure to download your best Netflix series!

As the plane descended into the City of Cats, we were welcomed with cool weather and experienced seamless landing.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Food for the soul 

Decked with a rustic homey vibe, Lepau Restaurant is a popular choice among travellers and tourists alike as it serves Kenyah cuisine including other local native meals. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

We were served famous favourites including Bario rice, buttermilk chicken, pumpkin dish cooked with coconut, Belacan chicken, Kayan mixed vegetables, sambal Kedondong, Tepus with Belacan/Pusuk and dried chilli calamari. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

The dishes were delectable, full of flavour and will give your taste buds a new perspective. 

But if you’re thinking of other options, try Benson’s seafood located in the city itself, just next to the riverside. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

The laidback restaurant is one of the decent seafood options that serves the usual menu such as sweet and sour prawn, oyster omelette, stir-fried sambal belacan midin, tofu, soy sauce octopus and Asam fish. 

Adventures in the wild

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and learn more about the local community’s lifestyle at the Borneo Tribal Village jungle resort. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

The little Borneodise in the making is nestled at the fringe of Kampung Apar Singai, an hour journey from the city and showcases a blend of heritage and contemporary living with an abundance of flora and fauna. 

Carrying the motto ‘Live. Learn. Leisure’, visitors can walk through a trail with various activities available along the way such as Kelulut honey tasting, blowpipe targeting, kayaking, fishing and obstacle games.

The jungle resort is said to be a unique eco-tourism product that can be enjoyed by all walks of life from students or visitors intending an educational trip, corporate company retreats to family fun. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

Snap and learn

Another unique way to learn about Sarawak’s nature, culture, heritage and food is to have a walk through interactive displays of the heart of Sarawak and Borneo at the Borneo House Museum. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

The artworks which were carefully selected, are divided into four zones namely Sarawak’s Nature, Old Sarawak, Sarawak Today and Sarawak Iconic Food.

Each piece carries a storyline to make your tour informative and educational.

Visitors are recommended to snap and learn away with the help of the staff who are ready to get your best angles!

Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

Stay current

Cool down at Kuching’s First Water Theme Park – the Borneo Samariang Water Park!

Catering to both adults and children with various rides, the park can accommodate up to 3,000 adults at one time.  

Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

Lifeguards are allocated in each area to give customers a peace of mind while having fun.

If you’re looking for something closer to the beach, ride the Salak beach wave pool that renders eight waves of various formations such as the Diamond Wave, Parallel Wave and V-Wave.

Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

All you need is some cake (lapis!)

Sarawak is well known for its Kek Lapis or layered cake and it’s not to be missed when you’re in Kuching!

We visited Kek Lapis Warisan, a well-known establishment that serves a variety of traditional and modern flavours from Durian, fruits to chocolate and rainbows.

Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit
Image: Rafidah Hamit

Daily, the establishment makes 600 to 700 trays of cakes. However, during special holidays such as Hari Gawai and Hari Raya, more than a thousand trays pass through the kitchen door. 

Visitors are provided testers of each flavour and once you take a bite, you’ll understand what makes these cakes so irresistible. 

With its soft texture, rich and vibrant colours as well as great flavours, make sure to snag a piece or two!

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Kuching, the City of Unity 

Apart from nature and food, the city centre itself is full of gems best to be discovered by foot. 

This includes enormous murals and artworks portraying the local life and animals. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Besides that, the Kuching Waterfront is a must-visit particularly at night as various vendors can be found along the pathway selling food, knick-knacks and small souvenirs. 

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Do plan your trip to the area strategically to catch the 15-minute Kuching Waterfront Darul Hana Musical Fountain show. 

The RM33.5 million fountain was opened in October last year and combines three elements namely music, water and light that creates an amazing sight at night.

Betterfly with the ATR

Flying back to the sultanate brought the same sentiments of a smooth and seamless journey. 

Comfortable and quieter than the larger aircrafts, the ATR makes a suitable choice for those who prefer a tranquil journey.

The latest project from RB serves destinations to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Balikpapan, Sandakan, Bintulu, Tawau and Sibu, with potential routes in the works. 

Plan your next sunrise in Kuching, a truly wonderful gem full of colour, culture and wonder.   

This article was first published on October 05, 2019 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 57

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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