Travel

My First Time in Borneo, Malaysia to Discover Sarawak

9th June 2015

Until a few months ago I had never heard of Sarawak – one of the two Malaysian states of Borneo. Quite possibly I would have failed to locate Borneo on a map! I had no idea that at the end of May I would find myself in Malaysia – for the first time – to discover the local food and culture. Then I received an invitation on behalf of Malaysia Airlines to join a group of selected London bloggers to a foodie’s adventure to Sarawak.

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I accepted, of course. What followed was one of the best trips I have ever had, during which I completely fell in love with Malaysia and with Sarawak in particular, and its food!

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Discovering Sarawak, Borneo

Sarawak, known locally as the Land of the Hornbills, is situated in the northwest of Borneo (the third-largest island in the world, divided among Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia). It is a huge state, almost the same size as the whole of Peninsular Malaysia!

We spent four days between Kuching and Damai Beach, visited local tribes and learnt about their traditions at the Sarawak Cultural Village, shopped with the locals at Satok’s food market and cooked traditional meals, tasted the best satay, noodles, laksa and kek lapis.

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In Santubong, we stayed at Damai Beach Resort, a nice place to relax after a day spent visiting the Sarawak Cultural Village.

Damai beach Resort in Santubong, Sarawak Borneo (Malaysia)

in the evening, we took a boat cruise on river Santubong where I witnessed one of the most incredible sunsets of my life.

Discover Sarawak, Borneo - Malaysia

We continued our journey to the main city of Kuching. We explored the food scene, the hawker centres and the food markets, but also at night bars and karaoke!

We stayed at Pullman Hotel which offers a nice view of the city and it’s also conveniently connected to a shopping mall.

Kuching - Sarawak Borneo (Malaysia)

Not far from Kuching, we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Borneo’s most famous residents, the Orangutans, at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre!

Most of all, I was lucky to share these experiences with a group of incredible, kind, inspiring people! 

Caroline Artiss, a bubbly half-English half-Malaysian chef and YouTube star, was our guide around Sarawak and introduced us to her family and took us to their favourite restaurants! Caroline, the team from Malaysia Airlines and Ollie from the PR agency did a fantastic job organising this trip and ensuring we had an authentic experience of Sarawak.

Finally, the bloggers: I had the pleasure to travel with some of the best known London food bloggers and I have to admit I was intimidated at first. But from the moment we met at the airport in London till the moment we said goodbye a week later, it felt like I was travelling with old-time friends. Thank you Niamh Eat Like A Girl, Helen Food Stories, Lucy Food Goblin, Guan The Boy Who The World and Luiz The London Foodie for sharing this experience with me!

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Here’s a short video I shot in Sarawak featuring my favourite moments, like Sunday breakfast with noodles at Uncle Tongs in Kuching, the orang-utans feeding in the forest and the incredible Borneo sunset! I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Disclaimer: my trip to Sarawak was sponsored by Malaysia Airlines. All opinions are my own.

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