The WaterFront Hotel, Kuching

 

For our annual trip balik kampung last year, we decided to try a different hotel than our usual Lime Tree. Hence decided to give The Waterfront Hotel a try. We did not regret our choice.

Ninie being cheeky and refusing to sleep during the flight from KL – KCH.. 

 

I made a booking for two rooms. One for my Minci family and the other for my parents.

The trip was in December. I booked for myself, a Deluxe King room for 5 nights. After tax and a discount of 5% the total price amounted up to RM 1071.40. My son Ee was charged an extra RM15/day for breakfast at the hotel. But it was worth it. The breakfast spread was awesommmmeee.

We rented a car in Kuching which we drove from the airport to the hotel. The hotels parking area is shared with Plaza Merdeka. It’s a wonderful shopping mall attached to the hotel. It took a while to check in because of the high volume of visitors during school holidays. So we passed time taking pictures and kind of explored the mall.

Here are a few points I especially loved about this hotel;

LOCATION

Situated in the heart of the city, it is walking distance to most of the main attractions in the city. We could shop at the nearby Carpenter Street & India Street. Famous for its spices, textiles and local delicacies. If you’re willing to walk a bit further, you would reach the Main Bazaar where most of the souvenirs are sold. A little further, you could reach Top Spot. Tapi jenuhlah nak menapak.

Having Plaza Merdeka as a neighbour which houses most of our favourite fast food joints makes handling cravings for a McD cheeseburger, Gloria latte and Sugarbuns chicken easier with picky eaters. They even have MPH!

SPACIOUS CLEAN ROOMS

What more can I say. Our life is complete when there is a mini fridge to store those Kuching only food we buy at the store.

Housekeeping were on time and very accommodating. I particularly loved the toiletries they used especially the lemon grass like shower gel. It felt fresh.

And did I tell you they have the cutest, cosy swimming pool ever?

BREAKFAST BUFFET

We could actually sit there till 10am. I was too hungry to take pictures of the area. Suffice to say, the selections were delicious and we really enjoyed the Sarawak specials eventhough its just Nasi Aruk for that day. The Sarawak Laksa was the best. I think it is a special on a Sunday. Or was it on a Monday. I’m not quite sure cause they change these special menu daily.

But even so, you still have the star dish daily. That is the NASI LEMAK. LIkeee woowwww.. I had it everyday. And the bread pudding!

You can have your breakfast outside at the terrace too if you wish.

In general, the hospitality offered by the staff was like 10 stars. We couldn’t feel happier.  It is those little things that count you know, like the free shuttle to the nearest masjid for Friday prayers! I look forward for our annual trip this year. Perhaps, if the price is similarly great – we get to experience this first class hospitality all over again. InsyaAllah.. 

Kuching : Lime Tree Hotel

lime shower, banana fritters and laksa!!

I chose to highlight The LimeTree Hotel strengths through its breakfast selection and their special in-house lime shower gel. For this trip to Kuching, Sarawak I made 2 separate bookings using 2 websites. One is Agoda.Com and the other with AirAsiaGo.Com.

The LimeTree Hotel

Lot 317 Abell Road,
Kuching, Malaysia

 

I used Agoda.Com for my own booking as my flight tickets were already available. I only needed to sort out my accommodation. Through the Insider’s Deal feature on top of an Early Bird (non refundable) discount I managed to book the Deluxe King with City View room at a total cost of RM807.55 (including tax and fees). Its roughly RM143 per night as opposed to its usual RM190 . I planned to stay for 6D5N , so every penny counts. I paid with my credit card and within minutes I was booked. I only had to print the voucher to be presented to the reception later during check in.

Then, I needed to book my mother’s flight + hotel. she also had the same length for stay. so I turned to our very own local NO 1 Best Low cost airline Air Asia. Searching for one person was a tad costly compared to if you were to book for two people. Naturally the less popular flight hours were cheapest, and finally I got to make a booking for her (flight + hotel) at a cost of RM967.26 (including tax and fees). I then tweaked her flight itinerary a bit and ordered inflight meals at a reasonable cost (range Rm9 – Rm15 per meal). We were good to go.

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CHECKING IN

Standard procedure was to have an ID card of the main client at hand. What wasn’t standard was to also register the 2nd adult guest staying in the same room on the system. This was for extra security measures. I had to remind my mother that she can only bring in one of her sisters to accompany her in her room and not bring all the sisters for a slumber party. She cheekily obliged.

Guests were given only one room key and could only access the floors they are staying on. This also meant that my mother (at level 3) cannot freely stop on our floor (level 2) for a chat in the morning on her way down to the G floor for the breakfast buffet.

My mother had her reservation paid in full online – she had to leave an RM50 deposit during check in.

ROOMS

Impeccably clean with that lovely citrus scent. No complaints. The wardrobe was very tiny though but we made do. If only they had an extra drawer at the dressing table. I guess they were going for a minimalist concept. Ha ha. The showers had strong pressure and it was refreshing to use their in-house lime shower/shampoo gels. My son looked forward to his baths every time.

Each room has access to FREE WIFI. They also have their GREEN WAYS in running the hotel which I totally heart!

Daily complimentary beverages and bottled water was very nice. And they also have an inbuilt universal socket adapter which was very very thoughtful.

BREAKFAST

They have a varied selection to choose from  – asian, western etc.. but they may not necessarily differ on a daily basis. Meaning you will see laksa everyday. Chicken slices everyday. Banana fritters everyday. So guests must refrain themselves from having everything on that one day. Instead, reserve your appetite for a western breakfast every other day or so. Even so, I chose to enjoy the Laksa Sarawak and Banana Fritters every freaking day!! Whoever you have cooking in the kitchen is a keeper!!

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LOCATION

This cute hotel is situated in the city with nearby attractions – what more can I say.

Mr Husband and my mother enjoyed the stay very much.The staff were very helpful. The fact that they want to stay in this hotel again says a lot about its services and facilities. My mother, a very direct 59 year old lady who still loves wearing her leggings even went up to one of the hotel staff (ntah2 owner) and praised the hotel for its very nyaman goreng pisang!

Well Done LimeTree Hotel. keep it up!

EID 2016 : behind the meaning of ‘charity begins at home’

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME 

I find this phrase constantly misinterpreted or misused by people to alleviate their guilt against being too generous. For instance, when we help Syrian refugees or the homeless in Kuala Lumpur – we are met with ‘haters’ arguing why go so far to help Syria if you could help Mak Ton at the kampung 5KM away. Well.. if you happen to stay near Mak Ton , then go ahead, no one is stopping you from taking action as opposed to just being ‘kesian’. There is no need to categorise Charity and make people choose.

Every NGI or samaritan has different goals and purposes – at least they are helping to make a difference to that one life they come across. The above phrase should not be made to support ‘kera di hutan disusukan, anak sendiri mati kelaparan ‘. It just shouldn’t. The latter proverb was meant to demonstrate a person being selfish or unable to prioritise. That is not charity.

This year I made my annual holiday visit back to my hometown Kuching, Sarawak. We stayed at LimeTree Hotel (a special entry on that later)

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As usual, it was a visit very joyful and boisterous since I brought my mother along. I wanted her to be happy and being able to see her siblings and other relatives there. We practically drove her everywhere and everyone she wanted to meet. Naturally, we met a lot of people from all walks of life – some well to do, the rest not so much. Some have happy families, a few are broken to pieces.

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Each house visit or ‘berjarah’ as we call it – was a life lesson to learn and digest for my family and I.

Lesson on Patience

This was perhaps the numero uno lesson we learnt multiple times. We had to endure long hours of elderly folks tale which were reminisced as far back to the 1940s. We had a hard time differentiating facts from fiction as we were unsure whether the storyteller had dementia to begin with. Not only that, the ‘laughing session’ too was difficult to go through as the same jokes were repeated from one house to another especially when we were visiting the same string of siblings house. But we understood that this was one of the few forms of elderly entertainment one gets when technology and apps like FaceBook or Twitter is so alien to them. The stories weren’t a bore, in fact rather entertaining – just on loop mode.

And of course we had to be patient when people started asking us about a second child or specializing. Not that we haven’t been warned by social media but this is something youngsters nowadays must be prepared to put up with. Older generations have no malicious intent when they ask these things – its just part of the conversation. There is no need to retaliate by asking them back, ‘you’re getting old – when are you dying?'” as suggested by some social media accounts. Kau ni biadap ke apa? Tkde rasa kasih pada orang lebih berumur?

Once we grasp the idea of being patient – we knew better to hold our tongue and construct our sentences in a polite tone. It does not hurt to be gracious. Even my young son Ee is learning to withhold his innocent urges. One night, during a house visit, he was so sleepy and wanted to go home but knowing that his grandmother was still in the middle of an amusing conversation with the other guests – he did not threw a fit and forced everyone to go home instantaneously. He did not say ‘dah.. jom jom’ out loud. Instead, he whispered to Mr Husband that he was tired and such. Mr Husband acknowledged his problem and muttered a response that he’ll need to be patient and we will leave once Grandmother’s done. My son waited quietly at the chair and we allowed him to exercise his patience too for a while (like another 10 mins) before finally signalling to my mother that we really need to go home.

Lesson on ‘listening more’

Sometimes we forget that those elderly relatives we are visiting were once young people just like we are. If they were previously English speaking executives – you would most likely still hear them conversing in English. apa ingat dah tua.. cakap Melayu jak?

Thus it is interesting to see how with age their perceptions on life becomes more relaxed and less materialistic. Yes, importance of continuous education be it in a formal institution or on the streets are emphasized even more. So are values of being a woman when it comes to raising a family. But now apart from talking about their glory days they too impart crucial advice about living life itself. To explore. To travel. To have proper human interactions – we had to praise ourselves for not checking on our handphones frequently as we immerse ourselves in their stories and such.

Lessons on Charity

Charity does not always have to come in the form of alms or money. It should instead be cultivated as a state of mind. The act of being kind and benevolent to each other. And this is something we can teach ourselves and our children.

Empathy is Charity. If we could put ourselves in a less fortunate persons shoes we soon learn that we tend to have more than them. And that we could help them improve their lives in one way or another. These help can be in the form of advice, motivation, yepp.. monetary aid or at times as simple as lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.

Diligence is Charity. When you care about your job, perform your duties well and dare to take on bigger responsibilities  – that is also a form of charity. Especially when others could benefit from it. Imagine a diligent book keeper in a small town takes great pride in his choices of book collections and magazine choices – he is not only doing something that he loves but also sharing that with his town members as he leads them to discover useful interesting literature around them.

Or take a shopkeeper in a small town who prouds himself selling fresh fish and vegetable to the customers daily. He not only will gain financial profit for his business but unconsciously will set a trend of healthy eating among the people in his town. It may seem like something of no choice at first, but later people will thank him for helping them keep on a good heart and low cholesterol levels (medically speaking)

Righteousness is Charity. Which is something really hard to get by these days – adab and akhlak. A moral compass. Us younger generations are trapping ourselves into the web of championing human rights and all sort of #fightfor manifestos that we sometimes end up breaking the hearts of our parents or teachers who taught us morals not through self help  or parenting books but from examples and hand down family values.

Righteousness may not have a theory or hypothesis behind it – sometimes its just an act of doing something with well meaning intentions which makes you feel ‘right’ about it. And accepted by the major public.

And these are things you can learn and teach at home -starting from the young to the eldest member of the family. The next time you think about the phrase

CHARITY STARTS AT HOME

treat it as something along the lines of

MELENTUR BULUH BIAR DARI REBUNGNYA

Kuching 2015 : Where to Eat

Here’s the thing about being in your hometown. I just tend to stick to something I’m familiar with and less adventurous. However, this should get you started on anybody’s culinary adventure.

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RUMAH HIJAU (24A-24D, Jalan Rubber,93400 Kuching, Sarawak) 

The risk of stumbling into ex-colleagues are there but hey.. it is a good moment to catch up. We had to visit the place twice because we were actually aiming for 2 dishes – The briyani ayam madu and the pisang chocolate cheese pancake. Sadly, these must-try dishes are only available on weekends. So plan your trips wisely.

They also offer Nasi Ayam Penyet, Penang laksa and other forms of roti.

KETS KITCHEN (Lee Ling Commercial Centre (Lorong Lee Ling 1B), 93050 Kuching, Sarawak)

Perhaps going there for brunch is not really a good idea as most vendors have not opened their stall. But thank god the mi kolok is there.

Other mentions would include : Kueytieaw basah (udang), Laksa Sarawak, Nasi goreng daging.

KOPI O KORNER (No. 139B, Bangunan MARA, Jalan Satok, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak)

This place serves a lot of choices of breakfast and lunch. Every year we come to this place without fail as the place is clean and service is quick. It can be a bit expensive to frequent to everybody but the food is worth it. We had the MI Kampua Special and the famous 3 layer tea.

Other dishes you may want to try include Mee Jawa Special, Mi Pok (its not pork mind you) and of course the Laksa Sarawak.

SINGAPORE CHICKEN RICE (EXPRESS) (Jalan Rubber (Lot 476-477, Sect.10 KTLD), 93400 Kuching, Sarawak)

Our latest visit is a tad disappointing. We used to adore the Steamed chicken rice set but this time the chicken looked and smell old. Even the Midin Goreng Belacan tasted odd. I had the ‘new dish’ which is called Corn Soup. It turned out to be a normal fishball soup with sprinkles of corn and what looked like leftovers of carrot slices and lettuces. Not to recommend. The only thing that has the ol’ same aura of greatness to it was the 3 layered iced tea.

MADAM TANG’S LAKSA ( THE SPRING )

I barely recognised the suffocating ‘makeover’ to Madam Tang’s Laksa. Prior to the food court in The Spring Mall being renovated and standardized, this particular eatery had its logo and all put up big and high enough for people to see from afar. Now, I had to literally ask the generalized LAKSA STALL ‘are you previously Madam Tang?

To which the cashier happily replied ‘AOK”

The LAKSA SARAWAK was price-y but the taste was worth it. I am willing to shut one eye as I paid RM7.50 for a bowl of its normal laksa.

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Of course, there are other places once should try like TOP SPOT seafood centre, Teh Tarik Kafe, MOM’s LAksa, Bla Bla Bla cafe, Sambal Planet etc.. we just did not have enough time. HUHU..

Kuching 2015 : Places of interest

Coming back to Kuching playing tourist was fun. I have difficulty telling my colleagues of what they could expect from their visits to Sarawak. Kuching especially, as I feel that it is a place NOT for shopping but more of a place to discover Nature and Culture. Depending on what you’re looking for actually.

I used to go back to Kuching during EId. That is the time when you see Kuching become so vibrant and festive as people wear their nicest and most colourful clothes to the mall or to the movies.

This year around our little family decided to explore more of our hometown. Near Gawai season. Here are a few places to name a few.

MATANG FAMILY PARK

The admission fee was cheap for Mykad holders. Only RM 4.00/pax and visitors get to spend their time at the park and bathe in the waterfall or BBQ-ing for as long as they wish. Bring an extra pair of clothes. There is no dress code but please do not skinny-dip.

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Hazeeq was still afraid to be in the waters but he enjoyed his imaginary fishing. Going there in the early hours of the day was serene. The water was cold, the sun itself had this nice warmth to it. I think its a good place for locals especially to just allow themselves to immerse in the beauty of the place and enjoy what Mother Nature brings.

We did not go to Bako National Park this time. I went there some time ago during houseman-ship. It is a boat ride away from the mainland and the trekking paths are more ‘adventurous’ and scenes more interesting. I would recommend it to more avid hikers.

Gunung Santubong is also nearby. An hour away depends on where you live. heard that they’re introducing new things at the Damai Resort – so that should be equally fun as well.

CAT MUSEUM

Located withing the Petra Jaya vicinity, the museum is located in the DBKU administrative building up a majestic little hill. Admission is FREE but visitors will be charged for the cameras/ phones with camera they bring in at RM3/each.

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It is basically a museum that collects everything there  is about cats and elaborate on history, popular culture, superstitious beliefs and many more. It is astonishing at how capable they are in making such a cute museum just to tell us about cats. Hazeeq had a grand time there as he posed with whatever big cats he can. Well.. the parents too!!

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KAMPUNG GERSIK

This is the popular village that houses the famous Sarawak layered cakes. They have Dayang Salhah, Mira Cake House and D’Nona to name a few. They can pack our cakes nicely and neatly in a box safe for flight handling. The strips of cakes naturally would cost between RM 10 – RM 25. They have the dry and wet layered cakes and most of them are colorful as much as they taste heavenly. They make good gifts to inlaws. He he.

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MAIN BAZAAR/WATERFRONT

This is a very beautiful strip along Sungai Sarawak especially at nights. Apart from boat cruises and , if fancy is not your middle name  – they also have the Bot Penambang where you pay a very small fee to get across the river. For fun. And perhaps pay a visit to Kampung Boyan for the local food, Kampung Gersik for the layered cakes or visit Fort Margherita.

This is also a good place to get souvenirs –  I bought my keychains, fridge magnets, songket sarawak and pua kumbu there at  a very reasonable price. The locals are more than happy to help wrap them up for you – again safe for flight.

KUBAH RIA/PASAR MALAM

Sometime ago, this particular market was known as Pasar Satok because it was located at Satok. Now that they have relocated – it is more known as Kubah Ria Market. As any other market, we have all the wet and dry goods and this was where I hunted for my Laksa Sarawak paste, the powdered spice for my Bubur Pedas and all sorts.  They also sell those rare vegetables you don’t see in the markets at tanah semenanjung such as Sayur Midin, Dabai and Terung Asam.

Its a good place to see what people eat. Who knows if you might come across exotic finds such as the crawling Ulat Sago.

So these were the places we went during our stay. Of course other honorable mentions include The Sarawak Cultural Village, Orchid Farm, Chinese Museum, Jalan Masjid India (Carpentar Street) and Semenggoh Wildlife Centre (orang utan)

If you were to visit outside Kuching, thats where you’ll find The Niah Cave, MULU Cave and Dolphin Sighting places. Do come by to Sarawak – it is an interesting world of nature and culture. Next up, Food glorious food.