The Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching is a yearly affair. Thousands of music and party lovers from around the world come to Kuching just for this festival.
Held in the heart of Borneo’s 100 year old Jungle, this event rocks! There are international artists from around the world performing various types of music that night.
With all the hype, we packed our backpacks, strapped our cameras and off we went to explore Kuching! Our first backpacking trip to the land of cats!
If you are flying with any budget airlines- make sure you check in 2hrs before (for international flights) and 1 hour before (for local flights/ within Malaysia)
Latest check in is 45minutes! Unless there is a queue or there are many people still un attended for.
Make sure you are well rested or have some sleeping pills ready. The seats are really 90 degrees! You can still recline but maybe only another 5 degrees down.
Haik! *SALUTE* 90 degree chairs!
Arriving at Kuching airport. In case you didnt know, Malaysians from Peninsular Malaysia is only issued a 90 day stay visa. Means you can only stay in Borneo for 90 days. Foreigners are issued standard tourist visa.
Malaysians from west Malaysia only has a 90 day visa entry to Borneo! What is this??!
We did our booking online so we wouldn’t be caught with our pants down @ Tracks Bed and Breakfast Kuching Most budget hotels will be fully booked because of the Rainforest World Music Festival. So make sure you make advance bookings. Tracks was small, but the people there were friendly. The place was ok. We didn’t quite like the creaky double bed and the noisy construction work they were doing up stairs. (They were renovating the top, to make more rooms).
Checking into Tracks Bed and Breakfast Kuching
The florescent looking paint on the stairs leading to the room isn’t Predators blood. Its just us playing around with the lighting. We did leave our mark on the wall tho.
Fried Koay Teow (Noodles) using a spatula! Reminds me of teppenyaki
Since we made our trip from Penang – which is famous for the Char Koay Teow (fried noodles) there. The only reason why we tried a plate of fried noodles here is because we found it unique that they were using spatulas to fry the noodles. It was a very slow way to fry the noodles. Taste was not bad. This shop is just opposite tracks bed and breakfast.
Obviously one plate of noodles between the 8 of us wasnt enough. We heard the Sarawak Laksa along Carpenter Street was good so we decided to take a walk there. A big sign “Madam Tang’s Famous Sarawak Laksa” stopped us. You know how they always say packaging is very important. The place was nicer than your average coffee shop. But sadly to say, the food wasn’t really good. The nasi lemak (rice with curry chicken) was alright. But the Sarawak Laksa was really disappointing. The bill for lunch was more than what we budgeted for.
We tried all the specialties in Madam Tang's
We took a stroll along the Water front Kuching and its nearby shoplots and saw plenty of the same stuff sold here. A lot of wood carvings -wooden shields, darts, furniture and statues, shops selling “famous sarawak layered cake” which if you ask me, really looks like a cake dipped into layers of neon paint! There are also plenty of shops selling souvenirs and Sarawak’s famous black pepper.
Painted walkways along Kuchings water front shop lots give it a unique look
Loads of wooden carvings and art shops around Kuching waterfront
Taking your leisure time and sip some fresh local brew as you watch the crowd go past the narrow street
the famous tua pek kong chinese temple.
Intricate carvings inside the temple
Apparently the craze in Sarawak is the special layered cake or kek lapis in malay. Some of these cakes have so many different layers with so many different colors. Honestly some of these colors where so bright, we were sure that our teeth would just turn rainbow by eating them! 😀
There are many stalls by the road side selling this.
Famous layered cake with plenty of coloring
And off to Jong’s Crocodile Farm after that!
These crocs are hugee!
Meat hungry crocodiles jumping in action
On display at Jong’s Crocodile Farm Kuching, is the skull of Bujang Senang – “The happy Bachelor”. For more reading material, you can read this blog here. Story of Bujang Senang
Meet the famous man killer of Sarawak - The infamous Bujang Senang
You might be interested in Jong’s Crocodile Farm after this. We did a whole blog about it. Check it out > Backpackies at Jong’s Crocodile Farm
What!!! Hungry again?! We must admit, all those crocodile snapping action with all that raw meat must have gotten us all hungry. We decided to try the famous Kon Lo Mee of Kuching. Apparently, in Kuching, the locals “must have” this dish for breakfast! – how true, we don’t know. So we decided to try it. This shop is along Carpenter street, just a few doors down from the Corner “Madam Tang’s” shop. (What we think of Madam Tang’s, we already blurted out above)
Waiting for our turn to eat was a night mare
You can either have the soupy noodles or the soup and noodles separately
We then went to visit the iconic Cat Statues in Kuching. It was just within walking distance from Carpenter Street.
A trip to Kuching is not complete until you have taken pictures with the pussies!!
After that you can walk to the Riverside, and take a boat ride. Initially we heard so much of the Sarawak River Cruise. When we got there, ok the boat was impressive. But the price was nonetheless also very impressive! RM 88 per person! for a 1.5 hour tour. Since we were backpacking and didnt want to break our budget, we saw some locals heading to the river side as well further up. We followed them and ended up taking a small motor powered, man steered sampan (mini boat) across for only Rm 0.50! 😀 No wonder the locals loved it!
Taking a boat ride with the locals across Sungai Santubong for 50 cents!
It was quite an experience because the depth of the boat was very shallow. And the boat man kept allowing more and more people to board the boat. Of course the more people, the lower the boat got, till a point where it was like only 1 inch before the water got into the boat. Scarry! (We can swim, just that we didn’t want to stink of river water!)
He had to steer the boat with a wooden oar but used a small motor to ferry us across. Moving slowly across the river, we saw other boats cruising passed us, and a team of dragon boat racers practicing. “Hoo Haa Hoo Haa Hoo Haa ” -their shouts contributed to the whole fun atmosphere!
The boat ride was a slow and relaxing one
You only have to pay the boat man after you arrive at the other side. You just drop it with the other collection near the front of the boat where he stands.
You should take the boat ride -at almost sunset. And this is the view you will get!!
View of of the boat ride
After the cruise, just find a nice local coffee shop, sit down and order one of these! Teh Si Special or Teh Si Tiga Lapis (Three layer evaporated milk tea)! Great to chill after a whole day of activity.
This is one drink you got to try! Its just simply awesome! Make sure the black layer is gula melaka !
We decided to have some dinner first. Friend suggested seafood at Top Spot Seafood Center. It was massive. The multi storey carpark is built solely for the seafood center!
If our friend didn't take us here, we wouldn't know it was so popular!
The prices are pretty reasonable. Check out the fried oysters and the baby ferns! (Special of Kuching!)
Round thin crispy chewy paste type with fried oysters on it
After a full tummy and about 6pm… Its show time! We wanted to give the local booze a chance and went looking around for the local TUAK- rice wine!
Damn, you would think that they made these in like oil drums and it would be easy to find. NOT A SINGLE STORE selling them?!
We had to revert to buying it at the guesthouse. They sold us a clear bottle like this for Rm 15 bucks. (No discount for guests) $@^%!%!!!
overcharging us for booze!
Worse part was after drinking a whole bottle – we didn’t feel anything, the guesthouse owner told us, that it was a slow kicker. That we might get drunk drinking his home made tuak. What the toot**
Im going back there and kick his ass!
Off to the world Rainforest Music Festival.
The events formula of afternoon informative workshops, ethno-musical, lectures, jamming sessions and mini concerts, followed by evening, performances on the main stage has proven to be a hit with the, audience, who come from near and far.
The festival site also sets up a variety of food and drink stalls, an arts and crafts area as well as a counter for festival memorabilia,
Sarawak souvenirs and CDs by the performing artists, all this contributing to a fun filled, wholesome festival experience. World Music plus a country fair atmosphere in the midst of lush greenery.
Lighted up stage filled with party goers
For more information on the rainforest music festival – check out Rainforest Music Festival
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And from all of us at backpackies, have a wonderful traveling experience! 😀