Sarawak Adds Latest Collection to Its Historical Findings

KANOWIT – New artefacts in the form of ceramics and cannon ball fragments were discovered during an archaeological survey conducted by the Sarawak Museum Department for the restoration process of Fort Emma.

“The ceramic is believed to be from the 17th century. We also found fragments of a cannon ball. These historical findings are evidence of activities that happened at the fort site in the past,” said Sarawak Museum Department acting Director, Tazudin Moktar.

“Based on history, it is believed that the government officials during the Brooke era were murdered in Kanowit”, he added.

The new findings will be studied further and displayed at the exhibition area of Fort Emma together with other exhibition artefacts.

Fort Emma is a 19th Century Brooke Era wooden fort and the main landmark at Kanowit. It is among the five forts built during the colonial era currently undergoing restoration and upgrading works in Sarawak.

The others are Fort Lily in Betong, Fort Brooke in Julau, Fort Hose in Marudi and Fort Sylvia in Kapit.

Photo shows Fort Emma after its restoration process completed in February this year. (Photo credit: Borneo Post Online).
Photo shows Fort Emma after its restoration process completed in February this year.
(Photo credit: Borneo Post Online).

Niah National Park Temporarily Closed for Repairs

MIRI – Niah National Park is officially closed to the public starting July 24, 2020 for ongoing repair works due to damages caused by a recent heavy downpour.

The heavy downpour on Thursday (July 23) had caused several trees to be uprooted and caused damages to its walkways as well as several other facilities in the park, including the main path to the Great Cave, one of the main caves in the National Park.

A statement posted by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) on its Facebook page stated that the Niah National Park will be closed until further notice and appreciates the public understanding on the matter.

For more information on the park closure, contact the park’s office at +6085-737450 or visit SFC’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sarawakforestry.

Photo shows the damaged trail caused by fallen tree branches.  (Photo credit: Sarawak Forestry).
Photo shows the damaged trail caused by fallen tree branches.
(Photo credit: Sarawak Forestry).

Beccari Discovery Trail – Matang’s Latest Tourism Attraction

KUCHING – The Beccari Discovery Trail, launched on July 25, 2020 at the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple in Kampung Matang, is the latest attraction in the Matang area, especially for nature and history enthusiasts. It is also one of ‘Sia Sitok Sarawak’ Intra-State Tourism Campaign tour packages offered.

The launch coincides with the demise centenary anniversary of a renowned Italian botanist, Odoardo Beccari, who was famous for his passion in making scientific discoveries on plants and insects during the reign of Charles Brooke, Sarawak’s second White Rajah.

Beccari published over 150 scientific papers, working on palms in Matang which earned him the reputation of a world specialist. Today, the forests at Matang are recognised as one of the richest palm habitats in the world with nearly 100 species identified.

The 3.2km trail starts from the old cart track at Kampung Matang to the site of Beccari’s field house – Vallombrosa. The route featured twelve (12) information boards related to some of the plants and animals along the trail, as well as an abandoned tea plantation while Beccari helped to establish for Charles Brooke.

One of the boards highlight Beccari’s findings of the relationship between ants and plants which fascinated him. Another features the diversity of plants, reptiles, amphibians, insects, fungi and so on, found along the trail.

Meanwhile, the launching site of the trail, the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple marks the legacy of the forefathers of the Indian Hindu community in Sarawak over 100 years ago. Known as the Lost Temple of Matang, it was accidentally discovered by a hunter back in 1960s and was rebuilt later in 2007.

Photo shows the entrance of the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple, the launching site of the Beccari Heritage Trail.
Photo shows the entrance of the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple, the launching site of the Beccari Heritage Trail.

Shoutout To All Sarawak Residents – This Is for You!

This is your chance to discover some amazing getaways within Sarawak at really affordable prices with The “Sia Sitok Sarawak” Intra-State Tourism Campaign happening from July 15 until October 14, 2020.

‘Sia sitok’ which means ‘here and there’ in Sarawak dialect, offers over 30 tour packages in destinations such as Kuching, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Mulu at a 50% discount! Be it land or sea, residents will be able to experience these packages from as low as RM25.

We have tours ranging from walking along the streets of Kuching with sunset river cruise to exploring Sarawak’s wide range of nature such as the Silabur Cave, Bako National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mulu National Park. The campaign also comprises of tours such as birdwatching, fishing trip, golfing, fun diving, historical and city tours, kayaking and many more. If you’ve never seen a real-life dolphin, check out our Santubong Irrawaddy Dolphin Cruise and Satang Island Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching packages.

Meanwhile, a mystery gift will await front liners when they book any of the packages to show our appreciation to them during this pandemic time, for their dedication and sacrifices such as hospital workers, foreign doctors and nurses who took part in the COVID-19 relief effort. It will also provide a much-needed break for them to travel and discover the beauty of Sarawak.

Residents can book now and travel later. The travelling period starts on August 1 to November 15, 2020 with terms and condition apply. For more information, visit https://sarawak.travel/explore-all.

What are you waiting for? Book now at https://siasitoksarawak.rezgo.com/

Photo shows few of the tour packages of Sia Sitok Sarawak for selection.
Photo shows few of the tour packages of Sia Sitok Sarawak for selection.


 

 

Sarawak Cultural Village – An Opportunity Not to Be Missed!

KUCHING – Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) has announced new discounted entrance rates for visitors who want to visit the largest living museum in Sarawak with various packages offered. The rates are available from July 1 to December 31, 2020.

The ‘Cuti Berami-Rami’ package rate entitles local Sarawakians to a discount of between 33 to 50 percent from the previous rate, which is from RM30 to RM20 per adult and RM20 to RM10 for children aged between 2 to 12 years old.

Meanwhile, the ‘Cuti-Cuti Malaysia’ package is RM60 per adult and RM30 for children aged between 2 to 12 years old – applicable to non-Sarawakians. Previously, the rate was RM95 and RM60, respectively.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with SCV’s 30th Anniversary celebration, it is also offering family packages suitable for those who are eager to spend their quality time with their families and at the same time, be part of SCV’s 30 years of glorious journey. The packages are the ‘Family Together Gather Package’ and ‘Family Berami Package’.

Previously, the ‘Family Together Gather Package’ was offered at RM270 (for 2 adults and 2 children) and RM320 (for 2 adults and 3 children) but the new discounted rates are at RM180 and RM210 respectively.

For Sarawakian families, they can go for the ‘Family Berami Package’ where the new rates are RM60 for 2 adults and 2 children, and RM123.60 for 2 adults and 3 children.

All these special rates and packages are inclusive of the entrance fee, a visit to the ethnic houses and watching cultural performances.

For more information, visit the Sarawak Cultural Village official website at https://scv.com.my/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SarawakCulturalVillageOFFICIAL.

Photo shows the entrance of Sarawak Cultural Village.
Photo shows the entrance of Sarawak Cultural Village.

Delving into Borneo’s First Ever Full-Fledged VR Theme Park

The D-Virtual Park, located on Jalan Meranek, Kota Samarahan is Borneo’s first ever full-fledged Virtual Reality (VR) Theme Park which is now open to the public.

The VR theme park offers 10 adrenaline pumping VR entertainment rides that would swipe anyone off their feet. The rides include VR Speed Cruiser, VR Giant Slide, The Enchanted Chamber, VR Gatling Gun, VR Knight Rider, VR D’Battleship, VR Gyrate, VR Trekker, VR Quad Squad and the park’s all-time favourite, VR Elevation D’luxe.

The public can also experience entertainment services such as eSports Centre and a customised Hologram Theatre screenplay, which showcases the most revolutionary form of cinematic experience. It also houses SD X Studio, SD X FabLab, SDX-Arena, GiGA Virtual-Cafe and D-Tamu. They provide a Virtual Tour for the public to get an early insight of the facility which can be found on its main website.

During the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), D-Virtual Park will be reducing the number of visitors in accordance with the health and safety procedures imposed by the Government.

“We are evaluating several new and enhanced safety measures to ensure everyone’s safety while we work, stay and play at D-Virtual Park”, said Dato Dr. Ir. Ts. Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah, Serba Dinamik Group Berhad Managing Director regarding the changes in the park’s operation procedures.

Visitors are required to wear facemasks upon entering the premise and to practise social distancing, while the park’s staff will be managing the crowd during their rides, at queues and at the café. Guests will need to book tickets in advance and scan a QR code before entering for contact tracing.

For more information, visit D-Virtual Park main website at
https://d-virtualpark.com/ or their main Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DVirtualParkKotaSamarahan/.

Photo courtesy of D-Virtual Park
Photo courtesy of D-Virtual Park

Appreciation Dinner for STB Chairman

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) held an appreciation dinner for the outgoing STB Chairman, Datuk Abdul Wahab Bin Aziz who is retiring after his 2-year term, along with the STB Board of Directors, who had successfully completed their tenure.

The appreciation dinner was held on July 6, 2020 at the Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching. It was attended by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew and STB staff.

Last year, Sarawak had achieved commendable results for its visitor arrivals which was 5.22% higher than 2018.

“If it were not because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we would be able to achieve our target this year as I am confident that we have the right ingredients to attract more visitors”, said Datuk Haji Abdul Karim. He hoped that by 2021, Sarawak would be able to come out strongly despite the challenges faced, to show the State’s focus of developing the tourism industry and helping Sarawak to flourish.

STB Chief Executive Officer, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor also mentioned her gratitude to the STB Chairman and the Board of Directors for their commitment throughout their term.

“It has been an honour to work closely with the Chairman in handling the various challenges within the industry, with the support from the Minister and the Board of Directors. This year, we were so confident that we could hit the 5 million target, with 16% increase in January, however, we are now faced with unprecedented challenges. We will give our best to bring the State’s tourism to a faster recovery, working closely with the industry players and in alignment with MOTAC’s direction,” she said.

  Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (second right) presenting an appreciation gift for STB Chairman, Datuk Abdul Wahab Bin Aziz (second left), with STB CEO, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor (right) and Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew (left).

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (second right) presenting an appreciation gift for STB Chairman, Datuk Abdul Wahab Bin Aziz (second left), with STB CEO, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor (right) and Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew (left).

Sarawak Listed as A Priority for Federal Tourism Development

KUCHING – The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Seri Hjh. Nancy Shukri had announced that Sarawak is listed in the ministry’s priority list for tourism development.

She said a committee led by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Secretary General, Datuk Dr Noor Zari Hamat had visited several ongoing tourism projects around Kuching city, that had the potential to be developed as tourism spots.

“Among the places were the Heritage Walk project by Bintangor Village to Esplanade Kuching, National Archives of Malaysia project and a handicraft project  which is designed to develop craft products of Sarawak”, she said during her speech at a dinner with the state tourism, arts and culture industry players.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak government is continuing the Visit Sarawak Campaign, focusing on promoting the five key themes; culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals (CANFF).

“Besides continuing with the Visit Sarawak Campaign, a new post COVID-19 Campaign with the tagline ‘Rediscover Yourself in Sarawak’ has been organised to reach out to the domestic market, intrastate and interstate travel, whilst embracing the new norm,” he added.

Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (third right) receiving a souvenir from the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (third left). (Photo taken by Mohd Alif Noni. Photo source: New Sarawak Tribune).
Photo shows the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri (third right) receiving a souvenir from the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (third left). (Photo taken by Mohd Alif Noni. Photo source: New Sarawak Tribune).

Sarawak Tourism Recovery Kicks Off with Domestic Travel

MIRI – In an effort to restart tourism efforts in Sarawak, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak will continue to promote the Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) with its new post COVID-19 campaign tagline ‘Rediscover Yourself in Sarawak’.

The Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting mentioned that the campaign aims to reach out to domestic tourists and encourage intrastate and interstate travel among locals. He said this during the handing over of the Regional Specific Tourist Guide (RSTG) licenses to 19 new tourist guides on June 8, 2020 in Miri.

“We are shifting our focus to domestic tourism and will continue with the ‘Visit Sarawak Campaign’ with the focus of strengthening the ‘Sarawak More to Discover’ brand, at the same time promoting five key themes of Sarawak’s unique experience in terms of Culture, Adventure, Nature, Food and Festivals (CANFF),” he said.

He pointed out that the COVID-19 outbreak had seriously affected tourism industry players, especially tourist guides. With the reopening of domestic tourism, tourist guides will have new responsibilities to make sure tourists abide with the health and safety protocols during their visits.

He was confident that the new licensed tourist guides would boost the tourism industry in Sarawak and considered the possibility of organising similar RSTG courses in Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu as well.

Photo shows Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting (seated centre), the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Hii Chang Kee (Second left), Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak Director, Mr Suriya Charles Buas (second right), STB CEO, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor (extreme left) and the 19 new licensed tour guides in Miri. (Photo courtesy of New Sarawak Tribune).
Photo shows Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Sebastian Ting (seated centre), the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Hii Chang Kee (Second left), Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Sarawak Director, Mr Suriya Charles Buas (second right), STB CEO, Sharzede Datu Haji Salleh Askor (extreme left) and the 19 new licensed tour guides in Miri. (Photo courtesy of New Sarawak Tribune).

Diveheart Borneo: Bringing Smiles To Some Very Special Kids

Meryl, a lovely nine year-old girl with cerebral palsy has found confidence in herself when her mother, Kimberly, signed her to try out the Diveheart Kids programme by Diveheart Borneo team and immediately she fell in love with scuba diving.

The Diveheart Kids programme in Kuching, Sarawak is the first one to have been done in Borneo. The programme aims to instill the “can do” spirit in participants, inspiring them to take on challenges that they may not have considered before.

The in-water training was organised by the local Kuching PADI dive centre, Premier Marine and Scuba Centre and the Diveheart training was conducted by Ernest C.Teo, a PADI Instructor and  Diveheart Borneo Coordinator. Among the volunteers were medical professionals and a professional rehab physiotherapist.

“Scuba therapy has benefitted Meryl in a lot of ways. She is able to move every part of her body and it gets her to think what she needs to do. Nowadays, she is more alert of her surroundings and feels more confident of herself,” Kimberly added. 

Diveheart is a non-profit organisation based in Chicago, USA, offering scuba programmes for people with disability or adaptive scuba. Currently, it is the leading adaptive scuba training organisation in the world. While here in Asia, Diveheart is currently available only in Malaysia and at two locations, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching. 

Diveheart supports educational scuba diving programmes to provide both physical and psychological therapeutic value to participants. With the programme, the Diveheart team discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of water which provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we are equal.

For those who are interested to be a Diveheart volunteer, they can contact the Premier and Scuba Centre in Kuching at +6011-10572822 (Office) or visit http://www.divekuching.com/index.html. Volunteers do not have to be scuba divers as there are many areas they can be of assistance.

Photo shows one of the activities for the Diveheart Kids programme.
Photo shows one of the activities for the Diveheart Kids programme.