The Turtles of Talang-Satang Island

Talang-Satang is a lesser known National Park of Sarawak, not for lack of attractions, but rather for one of the most sought after attractions in Asia.

The National Park is the location of sea turtle nests, and the island has been conserved and protected by the local state government and conservation programmes such as the egg hatcheries to protect the eggs from poachers and wild animals, and reef ball program which encourages the growth of corals as shelters for turtles as well as protection against fishing nets.

While it is not an open to an infinite amount of tourists, one can book a conservation visit as a volunteer in the Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme, where you can help collect and incubate turtle eggs, see the turtles swimming in the ocean, and maybe even witness a hatching in person.

Talang Satang is the first marine national park of Sarawak and is an island spanning 19,400 hectares coastline and sea surrounding four islands of the southwest coast of Sarawak; Pulau Talang Besar (Greater Talang Island) and Pulau Talang Kecil (Lesser Talang Island) off Sematan, and Pulau Satang Besar (Greater Satang Island) and Pulau Satang Kecil (Lesser Satang Island) off Santubong, near Kuching. 

For more information on the Sea Turtle Volunteer Programme, visit http://www.sarawakforestry.com/htm/snp-np-satang.html

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Boat Cruise on Bau Lake

Enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Bau Lake Boat Cruise, run by the Kampung Tasik Biru Cooperatives.

The Boat Cruise has been in operation since September, launched two weeks before the Tasik Biru Festival last year, and is intended to promote the Bau District as a tourist destination, by branching out their attractions.

There are two boats in operation, accommodating eight and 12 passengers respectively, with a fee of RM10 per adult and RM5 per child for a 30 to 40 minute cruise.

The lake also has kayaks and ‘donut boats’ for family fun on the ‘Tasik Biru’ or Blue Lake, so tourists can choose between relaxing while admiring the blue waters and serene nature, or paddle through the waters.

Photo Credit: Borneo Post & Utusan Borneo
Photo Credit: Borneo Post & Utusan Borneo

Chinese Relics Unearthed Near Kuching Waterfront

A construction crew discovered a treasure trove of relics during routine construction on the drainage system just outside of the Waterfront Police Station at Jalan Khoo Yeag.

The Chinese potteries are believed to be roughly 200 years old, and Sarawak Museum Department Deputy Director, Dr. Charles Leh Moi Ung has stated that they believe the items are from the Qing Dynasty era, though further examination is needed to determine that for sure.

The discovery has surprised local historians as the area was believed to be an untouched mangrove forest during that time, and are now looking into the possibility of early Chinese civilizations in that area of Kuching.

The pieces of potteries are currently being researched and kept at the Sarawak Museum.

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Kuching Heritage Race

A seven day state of mourning has been announced throughout Sarawak, and out of respect of the late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Adenan bin Satem, events such as the Monster Dash and the Kuching Heritage Race have been postponed to a later date.

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Kuching Heritage Walk

The Kuching Heritage Walk with the media took place on January 11, with the Assistant Minister for Tourism Datuk Lee Kim Shin and the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Sarawak Tourism Board, Madam Mary Wan Mering, with the objective of promoting cultural and heritage tourism in the city centre of Kuching.

The Heritage Walk began at the Chinese History Museum at waterfront, proceeded to the three Chinese temples along the central road of the town, Carpenter Street, and ended at the Sarawak Museum.

Kuching has hundreds of years of history, and the heritage sites, buildings and relics can be found throughout the city centre, and some of that history is a living history, with some of the oldest restaurants and shops in Kuching still open today.

The walk was particularly special as Datuk Lee brought the media to view the newly discovered pottery shards found near Kuching Waterfront, which the Sarawak Museum personnel believe date back to the Qing Dynasty era.

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Kuching Gets a Public Transportation Revamp

Getting around Kuching will be getting a lot easier by the end of 2017, as the Stage Bus Service Transformation (SBST) Kuching begins full force.

Honorary secretary of Sarawak Bus Transport Companies Association, William Chan, announced that the SBST project will span 27,000km comprising of 15 trunk routes and 12 feeder routes daily, with a fleet of 130 new buses.

The new routes and buses are not replacing, but are being added, to the fleets of the five existing stage bus operators in Kuching.

Kuching has grown as a tourist destination and a major concern for tourists is often ease of transportation, and the addition of new buses and scheduled bus routes will undoubtedly bolster the public transport’s efficiency.

Photo Credit: New Sarawak Tribune
Photo Credit: New Sarawak Tribune

Datuk Amar Abang Johari To Fill In Big Shoes As The Sixth CM

Hon. Datuk Amar Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari  Tun Openg was sworn in as Sarawak’s sixth Chief Minister before the Head of State,  Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the Astana, Kuching on January 13.

Datuk Amar Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari, whose last Cabinet appointment as Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Housing and Minister for Arts and Culture, was appointed to Chief Minister’s post following the demise of the Right Honorable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Wednesday, January 11.

Fondly known as Datuk Amar Abang Haji Johari, the new Chief Minster has been a driving force in the tourism industry and was well-liked in the industry circle.

Photo Credit: Borneo Post & Utusan Borneo
Photo Credit: Borneo Post & Utusan Borneo

“FAREWELL” DATUK PATINGGI

The Sarawak Tourism industry joined all fellow Sarawakians in sharing the loss of Sarawak’s Chief Minister, Rt Hon. Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Adenan bin Satem who passed away on January 11.

As a mark of respect, the State Government has declared a mourning period of seven days beginning January 11 and to be observed  throughout the state.

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Santubong Peninsula to be an Archaeological Park

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak is working in collaboration with the Sarawak Museum Department to create an archaeological park along the Peninsula of Santubong, a historically, culturally and spiritually significant place an hour’s drive from Kuching city.

Santubong is the location of five archaeological sites that hold insight into the history of early life in Sarawak, with evidence of civilization being uncovered dating back to the 7th century and possibly to the arrival of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam to the island through trade.

The area holds a special significance in global history, as Alfred Russel Wallace carried out some of his most critical research, which led to the creation of ‘Sarawak Law’, which talks about the origin of species and is later included in the theory of evolution together with Darwin.

The location itself holds great spiritual significance to the local tribes, particularly the Iban, as their legends and myths revolve around Mount Santubong such as the story of Princess Santubong, the Cursed Crocodile Stone as well as the Batu Bergambar.

The Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg has opinioned that the Peninsula needs to be preserved for its historical significance, and has proposed the creation of an information centre in the Santubong area, where information as well as groundbreaking updates on the five sites can be displayed.

“We want to improve the facilities in this area with friendly infrastructure which everyone can easily access,” he said, mentioning improved roads for ease of accessibility, so that the archaeological park may become a cultural and tourism attraction in addition to a scientific boon to Sarawak.

The project has been slowly taking shape and all new facilities estimated to be finished by 2019.

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Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice Awards in Asia

Kuching City has ranked eighth place as a rising destination on TripAdvisor’s 2016 Traveller’s Choice Awards for all of Asia.

The award recognises 43 destinations on the rise all around the world, using algorithms that measure TripAdvisor traveller reviews and ratings throughout the world over the course of the year.

“We hope these winning lists will inspire those planning trips in 2017 to consider booking their holidays with some of these rising destinations, be it Baku, Da Lat or Kuching,” said Communications Director of TripAdvisor Asia Pacific, Ms Janice Lee Fang.

These destinations are rapidly gaining global popularity among travel communities.

Kuching solidified its eight place slot through its high ratings in enriching experiences through immersive displays of local heritage, especially through attractions such as the museums and the longhouses of the local ethnic groups.

Reviews of the Sarawak Cultural Village, known as a living museum, as well as the easily booked centrally-located hotels like the LimeTree Hotel also aided in the ranking.

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Photo shows sunset over the Kuching Waterfront.
Photo shows sunset over the Kuching Waterfront.