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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Registration for the Borneo Mountain Bike (MTB) Challenge and City Ride 2017 in Bintulu, is now open till January 15, and once more participants from abroad will be in attendance.
The MTB Challenge takes place on February 26 beginning at Wisma Bintulu, and is organised by the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA).
The five categories for the MTB Challenge are the men’s open, men’s veteran, junior boy (below 19), closed men and ladies open with distances and difficulty varying, while the City Ride, which is a non-competitive part of the event, is 55 km long which will be held on February 25.
Both the MTB Challenge and the City ride have RM100 per-registration and all participants receive jersey, finisher medal, bike tag, goodies bag and stand the chance to win lucky draws.
For online registration please log on: https://goo.gl/forms/ cA8VbhQBukjstnjz1.
February 25 fast approaches, as the Miri Country Music Festival (MCMF) returns for another epic installment.
Featuring international names like Shane Smith & The Saints and The Strange Pilgrim, as well as local country bands such as the Mountain Wind and Country Road, it’s a fiesta for the country music enthusiasts.
The MCMF has become part and parcel with Miri’s local communities, with entire families coming down and making a day of it for two days, enjoying the food, games and music.
This year’s MCMF will be taking place on February 25 and 26, at the ParkCity Everly Hotel, the same location of the 12th Borneo Jazz Festival on May 12 and 13.
This year rings in the new Visit Sibu Year initiative which was launched in March 2016.
Sibu has many hidden attractions, the most popular of which is the food trail that begins at the large fresh market in the centre of town and weaves through backroads to the next delicacy, with the Sibu Street Art marking the way.
The Sibu Street Art peppered throughout the town, display the significant moments in Sibu’s history as well as significant foods and art within the town, depicting its cultural heritage.
The Borneo Cultural Festival in July as well as the sixth Sibu International Dance Festival in August, display the cultural and ethnic diversity that can be found in Sibu, while also encouraging the preservation of those cultures.
Sibu is less than an hour from some of the oldest longhouse communities in Sarawak, with various competitive races throughout the year including remote control boat racing, as well as the Sibu Bike Week which has brought big bikers from around the world to careen the streets of Sibu.
A unique mix of people, lifestyles and attractions, Sibu is definitely a must-visit in 2017.
The fifth edition of Colour Rush is expected to have some 8000 participants in Kuching on February 18 and in Miri on February 19, beating its yearly 5000 participants average.
The Colour Rush is held annually by the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS) to commemorate International Childhood Cancer Day on February 15 and to raise funds for the medical treatment of Sarawakian children diagnosed with cancer.
The registration has been open since December 4, 2016, and has shown incredible promise of hitting the 8000 participant mark in the Colour Rush by the time registration ends on January 25.
To encourage registration, the SCCS held a special promotion where the first 50 participants to register before December 31 receive special t-shirts and a voucher.
The CH Premier Restaurant at Jalan Tun Jugah, Kuching, has set records as the first restaurant in Malaysia to have robotic serving staff.
With four new robotic waitresses on their payroll, the taller robots named Goddess 1 to 3, and a smaller robot named Lolita, all four of whom use magnetic strips on the ground to navigate the floor.
The Restaurant serves fine dining meals, steamboat meals and Chinese-style family platters, so in lieu of the theme, the robots speak in Mandarin and are able to speak a specific set of phrases including ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘please take the food from the tray’.
This bodes as the dawning of a new age in cuisine for Kuching, as it shows a blend of traditional cuisine and modern times, and this upgrade should encourage local attractions and facilities to add more marketable aspects to their business to keep them relevant.