The epic journey to Sekeping Serendah

breakfast

The trip started off normally enough – it was supposed to be an overnight stay at a relaxing retreat about an hour away from KL. We had breakfast and bought some groceries for the barbecue at night before driving down…

serenti

…I even managed to drop by my alma mater. ;)

Sekeping Serendah
is supposed to be about 10 km after Serenti Serendah. I drove up too far, got some wrong directions from a local and drove into a gravel stretch of road. The website did mention a “narrow road” so I pushed on despite the numerous hazards on the road, nay, gravel path.

stuck

I drove into a deep pothole about 2 kilometers in. I tried to reverse,
failed to get a grip on the sandy gravel and had to get out. We came
out with this idea of putting rocks under the tires for traction and I
managed (with much acceleration and damage to the car) to reverse out…

…straight into another deep pothole. -_-“

ideas

This time I was really stuck and Joyce and Windy came out with a couple of…er, innovative ideas, including jacking up the front of the car (Windy: You have comprehensive car insurance right?) but it was to no avail. We were stuck in the middle of nowhere!

arrive

Thus, I called the retreat and asked for a tow truck. We were stranded there for two hours while waiting for the tow truck guys to come. It was certainly an Experience (TM). ;)

tow

The people fixed a length of rope to my car…

out

…and I reversed it out with the help of the 4WD towing me. The strange thing about these kind souls is that they wouldn’t accept payment of any sort. Cheers!

shop

The ordeal gave me cracks on both my rear tires and it was decided that a trip to the tire shop was in order so I won’t burst it driving back, lose control of the car, crash, and kill everyone. Damage for replacing both rear tires: RM 320.

fail

Oh well, at least I got a certificate as a testament to my driving skillz. ;)

CNY in Ipoh

drive

Ipoh is a small town (but one with city status) about 2 hours away from KL. I drove down to spend CNY with the Lim sisters – Eiling, Ziling and Yiling. Ipoh is surrounded by limestone hills and the “hard” water is said to contribute to the famed Ipoh leng luis. It’s commonly said that Ipoh is a leng lui (beautiful girl) manufacturing factory so I think I made the right decision to spend CNY there instead of back home. ;)

welcome

I was made to feel very welcome in Ipoh, thanks to the entire Lim clan.

roast duck

I ate a lot of food – this here is the famed Ipoh roasted duck. Besides eating…

gambling

…much of the time was spent in…er, diversifying my portfolio to include liquidity based assets.

visiting

We also hit a couple of houses, do the CNY visiting thing.

camwhoring

I also consumed quite a bit of ethanol-based drinks considering its CNY and all. No, don’t ask, think about how many people have asked me already before you do that. ;)

grapes

It has gone Pharaoh-nuff! Get it? Egyptian pharaoh with Ziling, my camwhoring buddy. =D

group

It was quite fun actually, visiting the Lim sister’s relatives and friends. I even met a couple of people who reads my blog. Greetings!

ezy

We had planned to spend a night there but ended up spending three days and two nights in Ipoh. There are just too many photos to post up so the next post would be about places and food in Ipoh.

end

Thanks to the EZY sisters for having me in Ipoh! =D

Happy CNY everyone!

lengzai

P/S – Did you know that Ipoh is also famous for their leng zai? ;)

Yin Yang Steamboat @ Cameron Highlands

mountain house hotel

A trip to Cameron Highlands would not be complete without the obligatory yin yang steamboat dinner, since the ambient temperature and wind chill factor can be pretty cold at night. We went southbound to Brinchang instead of Tanah Rata but it turns out that both towns were equally packed with tourists.

organic steamboat

There are a lot of places offering steamboat dinners, most of them yin yang style – so called due to the two different broths and the similarity to the symbol of good and evil. We went to Restaurant Mountain House Hotel, which offers “organic” steamboat priced at RM 16 per head.

yin yang

The yin yang steamboat comes with seafood, tofu (urgh…), noodles, rice vermicelli, assorted super processed food, and homegrown vegetables. Cameron Highlands produces a huge amount of fresh, organically grown vegetables, so it’s really cheap there…which is probably why we got an ultra generous portion of veggies.

noodle trick

The yin yang steamboat consists of a chicken broth and a tom yam broth – it’s usually a mild broth with a spicy broth, keeping with the themes of absolute good and absolute evil. Exhibit A above shows the patented sixthseal.com method of ensuring your noodles are cooked.

1. Use your chopsticks to snag some noodles.
2. Apply pressure to the noodles with your fingernails.
3. It needs to be slightly soggier than al dente – you’ll get a feel for it (pun not intended) the more you do it.

It was originally invented a good 17 years ago by yours truly, intended to gauge whether instant noodles are ready to eat when I started cooking Maggi at 10. :)

me doris steamboat

This photo is making the post look dated – I went to Cameron Highlands with my ex last month, but never got around to posting it until today due to a massive backlog of posts. Quickly switching subjects, the vegetables in Cameron Highlands comes in the most vibrant shade of green I have ever seen!

no veggies

Nooooo….no more veggies!

Cactus Point @ Cameron Highlands

cacti

Cameron Highlands is known for its strawberries and roses but it also has a relatively obscure but healthy cactus industry going on.

cactus point

Cactus Point is a popular tourist attraction, and why not? Cacti are easy to take care of – they don’t need watering or any other affectionate gestures.

cactus spine

A cactus is a very lovable plant, with sharp spines protruding from every inch of its surface. I have a few sharp protuberances as well, so perhaps that’s where my affinity for cacti stems from. Pardon the lame pun.

cactus eat

You can break it open in times of dire need for water if your office or house is lacking. Or so I heard.

cactus camwhore

You can even camwhore with it.

cactus sale

Cactus Point has a wide range of cacti for sale…

cactus nfs

…and some marked NFS (Not For Sale).

cactus buy

Cactus Point has almost every species of cacti, according to the brochure. There are miniature versions as well – I bought some to bring back home. I’ll probably bring one to the office too.

I am now the proud owner of an evil looking cactus.

Driving to Cameron Highlands

arrive

I drove up to Cameron Highlands over the long weekend with my girlfriend at 6 am in the morning. I consulted Google Maps and wrote down the directions from my place to Tapah. It wasn’t very difficult once we got on the PLUS highway but we still managed to get lost coz we didn’t realize the NKVE highway is part of the PLUS expressway.

speed
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (of the accelerator)

I managed to clock a decent speed once I got on PLUS, managed to hit nearly 180 km/h driving on the fast lane before switching from D to 2 and maintained about 190 km/h. My girlfriend wouldn’t take any photos of the speedometer after that, preferring to hold on to the passenger side handle with one hand braced against the glove box.

fail
Tourist destination peace of mind for travelers – FAIL

The toll costs a cool RM 19.20 so it’s about RM 40 for a return trip – make sure your Touch ‘n Go card is loaded with the appropriate amount coz we had to reverse (much to the annoyance of the cars behind us) and switch to the cash lane due to a lack of credit in the card.

lata iskandar

We managed to reach the Lata Iskandar waterfall after about an hour of driving. The Lata Iskandar waterfall is a popular rest stop for people driving up to Cameron Highlands.

lata iskandar waterfall

The Lata Iskandar waterfall is a magnificent sight with (very cold) water from the highlands rushing down a steep cliff. People can be seen frolicking in the water and generally chilling out before heading towards Tanah Rata (the main strip of Cameron Highlands).

lata iskandar us

It’s a great spot for vacation photography too – the “I was here” type shots. ;)

fake strawberry

I didn’t get to eat a real strawberry then but the next post will be on the Big Red Strawberry Farm where we picked our own strawberries. :)

Sarikei road trip with Autumn

road trip

It’s the long Merdeka Day weekend and it was decided that a road trip is due to bring Autumn to check out the legendary Big Prawn Assam Noodles in Sarikei. She hasn’t tried it before and it’s a public holiday so down we went. We got some much needed rations for the one hour drive down – this is Autumn’s favorite vegetable crackers.

pumpkin

She was tempting me during the drive down…

cucumber

…with various different crackers

potato

…from a repertoire of herbivore food

carrot

…like carrots

long beans

…and long beans. It’s really hard to drive with someone feeding me random bits of vegetables. The long beans threw me off a little due to the phallic shape too. ;)

oat congee

We stopped at the intersection before Sarikei to have some food since it was already past lunchtime. This is mixed oat congee (from a can) which tastes better than it sounds. We’ve been eating this for lunch for quite a while now.

congee inside

It’s really good, comes with a folded plastic disposable spoon and is full of constipation solutions (otherwise known as “fiber”).

me eating

I’m not a big fan of Healthy Stuff (TM) but I have been having a host of health issues lately (not just ED, but constipation to boot :p) so I’m trying to get more fiber into my diet.

me autumn

Anyway, after the brunch inside my car, we weren’t really that hungry anymore so we walked around Sarikei town and did a bit of the tourist camwhoring thing. There’s not much to do in Sarikei except walk around the (only) supermarket – Ngiu Kee.

4114

After an hour or two of this, the QAG 4114 arrived at Glory Cafe and parked in its usual spot – right in front of a yellow fire hydrant. ;) Oh, this is becoming something of a recurring joke.

noodles

Autumn was a bit apprehensive about the Big Prawn Assam Tom Yam Noodles, but after a sampling of the rich broth, she was sold.

antenna

It turns out that Autumn is really good at peeling the antenna of the big prawns as well. She claims it’s a trick she learned from eating prawns during her youth. I can’t do it myself…

peeled

…but she was kind enough to peel the antenna for me. Thanks Autumn! :)

us

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like the great noodles over here. It’s really worth the drive down if there’s a long weekend or holiday and you haven’t got anything better to do. Cheers!

Kingwood Resort Mukah

kingwood resort mukah

Kingwood Resort Mukah is a beach resort located in Mukah. It has 99 rooms sprawled across a huge compound that borders the beach and the facilities and buildings are all very new, having only been completed a couple of years ago. It’s perfect for a short weekend retreat.

palm fronds

The palm trees that greets you with it’s swaying fronds and the cool sea breeze coming in from the beach makes for a very nice and relaxing environment. The horizon is visible from the…er, horizon and covers the entire…well, horizon. ;)

kingwood mukah

The main hotel building is a 3 story structure in the middle the resort compound. Kingwood Resort Mukah has facilities ranging from swimming pools to tennis courts. It’s very well maintained and looks clean and new despite being constantly exposed to salt water.

kingwood lobby

The lobby of the resort is decked out with rattan chairs and has free WiFi coverage.

king nothing

Hail to the King, baby! ;)

kingwood sterile

The decor is very antiseptic, which may not be a good thing for a beach resort, but it gets brownie points for being clean and brand spanking new.

check in

The rooms start from RM 322 nett but we got a special deal from Henry so we only paid RM 160 nett for a Premier Room with a sea view with a published rate of RM 368 nett. He was also kind enough to throw in lunch and breakfast for two. Cheers!

queen sized

The Premier Room is equipped with two queen sized beds, which I always took to mean as one designated for activities which leaves wet spots on the sheets and the other for sleeping in. ;)

interior

There is also a writing desk, a couch, TV with Astro, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities and wardrobes.

shower

There is a modern shower unit made of transparent glass and an adjacent toilet. I reminded Clare to shout “Fire in the hole” should she flush the toilet while I’m in the shower coz that makes the water go scalding hot. It’s proper travel etiquette when sharing rooms. ;)

toiletries

The toiletries provided are pretty standard so you don’t have to bring your own toothbrush or shaver.

balcony

The best part about the Premier Room is the balcony outside the window. It allows the cool sea breeze to come in and commands a great view of the beach. It also serves well as the designated smoking zone.

balcony view

The view from the Premier Room also covers the swimming pool at the resort and the gazebos scattered throughout the beach front.

Video of Kingwood Resort Mukah from the balcony

palm beach cafe 

Henry was kind enough to prepare a complimentary lunch for us, so we went down to the Palm Beach Cafe. The Palm Beach Cafe is the only dining establishment in the entire resort, so unless you’re bringing your own food, that’s where you’ll be eating during your entire stay. :)

melanau decor

Palm Beach Cafe has been decorated with Melanau elements and the cultural aspects of Mukah. The huge fishing net featured on the wall reflects the fishing industry Mukah is so well known for.

al fresco

There are al fresco seating arrangements with a water feature right by the poolside.

kingwood mukah sarawak

Henry had prepared two servings of the Melanau Fried Rice that is one of the signature dishes.

girl

Our waitress was a pleasant girl from Bintulu that somehow wound up working in Mukah for reasons we didn’t delve into.

drinks

She served us fresh orange juice and warm water while the lunch was being prepared.

melanau fried rice

The Melanau Fried Rice comes with generous amounts of seafood in the fried rice and is served with an egg and a huge fish cracker.

lunch eat

The portions at Palm Beach Cafe is huge, with me barely managing to finish the dish, which usually costs RM 12 ++ while Clare ate about 3/4 of the food.

ripples

There is a unique water feature surrounding the Palm Beach Cafe with ripples of water shimmering in the afternoon sun.

walk

The resort area is also a nice place to take a leisurely stroll with gazebos and concrete chairs for sitting down should the need arise.

Video of view from the beach front

pool

I figured we would go for a swim after the lunch despite having forgotten my sunscreen and we went down to the poolside.

pool chair

There are pool chairs and a small kiddy pool in addition to the main pool.

It was fun to soak in the water and swim a little.

pool me

It’s a very nice feeling to relax at a beach resort after a working week.

dusk

We swam in the pool until it was evening then went back to the hotel and took a shower together, er…I meant took turns showering before heading down for dinner.

dinner

We ate again at the Palm Beach Cafe for dinner, it being the only restaurant there and what not. It was decided that we’re going to check out the western dishes for dinner.

dinner me

There were a group of people having a function there so the food came out a little bit slow but that’s alright since it’s a vacation and all, so there are no fires in dire need to be put out. ;)

kingwood macaroni

I had the Kingwood Macaroni (RM 11 ++) which is stir fried macaroni with prawn, minced chicken, mixed vegetables and beef bacon. It doesn’t taste as good as Clare’s order.

fettuccine carbonara

Clare has the Fettuccine Carbonara (RM 14 ++) which, as it’s name suggests is loaded with carbs. ;) It’s stir fried fettuccine with beef bacon, onion, garlic, black olive, mushroom and cream. The sauce is very creamy and it tastes much better than the stir fried macaroni.

kingwood night

We went for a walk on the beach after dinner…

wine

…and adjourned back to the hotel room to drink some wine. I had brought a bottle of wine and several bottles of liquor for some liquid entertainment at night.

mixer

Clare also brought her Anything and Whatever drinks which works as a good mixer for the cheap Joker liquor that I got. It’s very relaxing to kick back once in a while and get some drinks in and just smoke at the balcony while talking the night away.

The morning view when you wake up in the morning and open the balcony to breath in the sea breeze is amazing.

breakfast coupon

The hotel provides a free buffet breakfast so we woke up at 8:30 am the next morning to eat breakfast before we headed down to Palm Beach Cafe.

breakfast

I noticed that the Palm Beach Cafe logo is actually made out of wooden spatulas!

cereal

The buffet breakfast has a wide range of options ranging from fruits, cereal and pastries…

hot food

…to hot food like fried noodles, curry chicken and fried eggs.

my plate

I loaded up my plate for a huge breakfast in anticipation of all the walking that was in store for us in Mukah.

morning pool

The hotel was kind enough to concede us a late checkout time of 3 PM so we still had time to go for a swim after the trip to Mukah town.

kingwood end

We packed our bags and took the 3:30 PM bus back to Sibu. You don’t actually have to travel down to Mukah to catch the bus, the bus route takes it through the resort so you can actually flag it down as it passes by. I got the driver to drop us off at the resort instead of bringing us to Mukah town when we arrived the previous day too.

relax end

It was fun to take a trip down to Kingwood Resort Mukah. The resort is very well maintained and clean and the beach front locality provides a very relaxing weekend getaway.

Attractions in Mukah

sunday morning

Mukah is a pretty small town but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything to offer besides the infamous sago worms and umai. I stayed at the Kingwood Resort Mukah with Clare, which is about a 14 km distance away from the town. We woke up at around 9 am in the morning, and I read the papers while having my nicotine fix at the balcony before deciding to head down to Mukah.

hitched ride

Unfortunately, the hotel shuttle is currently in transit and the reception informed us that all the taxi drivers are on assignment so I told Clare we’ll just stand by the highway and hitch a ride. I had this idea of using a RM 5 bill (RM 10 if that fails) to flag passing cars to Mukah down. We looked like tourists so I reckon people would be inclined to pick us up. The first car didn’t stop and it started to seem like a bad idea when an SUV saw us and pulled up.

drive

These fine folks were on assignment from HICOM for a Mukah project and was all too happy to drop us off at Mukah. They wouldn’t even accept payment but I insisted, noticing the cigarette packs on the dashboard, to buy them some smokes. It was very kind of them to do that, most people wouldn’t stop but I have faith in The System (TM). :)

mukah mascot

They dropped us off at Mukah Old Town where the pasar tamu is. This is the central market where you can get umai, sago grubs, tebaloi, and other authentic Melanau produce. The official mascot of Mukah is a fish – Mukah is known for their fresh fish from the sea and fish is their primary export.

fish gills

I’ve been told that the best method of ensuring that a fish is fresh is to look at the color of the gills.

fish bite

It may also be necessary to bite off a chunk of fin to verify the freshness of the fish.

fish camwhore

I have been learning the arcane arts of camwhoring to limited success too. ;)

tamu stall

The pasar tamu has a lot of stalls selling local produce such as tebaloi, belacan, fish crackers and sago pearls. The kind ladies at the stall were nice enough to show us how sago products are actually made.

sago paste

Sago comes in a paste form which can be used for cooking various dishes or processed to make other sago products.

sago pearls

Sago pearls are made from sago paste after a baking process. There are different grades and sizes of sago pearls, some of which is eaten with umai and some for cooking.

tebaloi

The famous tebaloi (sago crackers) is a sweet biscuit made of sago flour that has been exported to markets as far as the US and Australia.

fish market

Our next stop is to the famous fresh fish market, where the catch of the day is sold straight from the fishing vessels the very same morning.

barracuda

The stalls were doing brisk business selling everything from barracudas…

stingray

…to stingrays.

old man

We met this friendly old man selling stingrays who saw us taking photos and quickly pointed us to the opposite stall where a huge stingray has just being caught and was in the process of being chopped into more manageable portions.

huge stingray

The gigantic stingray was easily the size of a car tire and the man handled the dissection with the ease of one with years of experience, pulling out the innards and chopping the parts into smaller sizes.

baby sharks

We also saw a catch of baby sharks. They look really cute in that size, but I imagine the cuteness factor will disappear when one of them bites your toes off. ;)

fishing

Fishing seems to be the favorite pastime of the people of Mukah. It’s done on a large industrial scale with fishing vessels and also on a smaller scale with recreational anglers at the pier.

crucified

This is the obligatory “I was here” photo with the Welcome to Mukah sign. Crucified and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. ;)

temple

Mukah is also home to a famous Chinese temple built by the early Chinese settlers in 1879.

lion

I found the statue of a lion with a fatherly paw over it’s cub very adorable. :)

sago chimney

The main historical attraction in Mukah is the 20 meter tall chimney from the first sago factory in Mukah. We nearly missed it due to its unassuming facade.

mukah end

Mukah is a very laid back and relaxed town that is about to be developed into a huge administrative capital from the SCORE project. The town is a little bit far from the resort, but it’s definitely worth the trip, if only to experience the culture and heritage of the Melanau people.

Mukah – The journey

bus mukah

I went down to Mukah for a night’s stay at Kingwood Resort, Mukah during the weekend. Mukah is the nearest beach to Sibu and is about 144 km away. The journey takes approximately 4 hours despite the relatively near proximity due to the road conditions – there are potholes galore and parts of the road is made of gravel.

bus ticket

I didn’t want to drive down to the resort since it would cost me more to change the suspension of the car and all that after the ordeal it’s been though in Mukah. ;) I figured taking the bus would be cheaper so I headed down after work on Saturday with my travel companion Clare. It’s RM 18.70 for the Sibu – Mukah ticket and we took the 2:30 PM bus down.

bus inside

I had gotten a really good deal for the Kingwood Resort in Mukah thanks to Henry. It cost me RM 160 nett for a Premier Room – Sea View with breakfast for two and lunch thrown in to boot. The published rate for that room is RM 368 nett during weekends and peak season. Cheers for that!

clare

The rooms comes with two queen sized beds which is a Good Thing (TM) since Clare claims she snores in her sleep. Heh!

joker

I had gotten supplies the previous night (namely alcohol) and we found this drink called Joker. I figured having some liquid entertainment would help with the tedious journey to Mukah. ;)

It’s a really crappy locally produced liquor but I can’t help but get two bottles of it just coz of the “Why so serious?” quote from The Dark Knight.

bus blurry

The journey took 4 hours and the road was so bumpy that I couldn’t even take a proper shot. See all the photos all blurry one. It’s also senget a bit due to the potholes and all that. I’m really glad I didn’t drive my car down – it would wreck havoc on it.

paddy fields

The view is scenic though if you’re into paddy fields and all that. I managed to get some sleep and you can tell the bus driver to drop you off at the Kingwood Resort in Mukah (which is about 14 km away from Mukah town).

arrival

The fresh breeze from the sea and the beach made it all worth it though. :)

Sarikei

sarikei

Sarikei is a town located about 105 km from Sibu. Sarikei is famous for its pineapples, which is cultivated here and exported. I drove down with Faye to sample the Asam Tom Yam Big Prawn Noodles over there (see previous post) and had an acute case of the post-lunch coma after the enormous serving was consumed and decided to stay the night before driving back early next morning.

pier street

Sarikei is a pretty small town by anyone’s standards and the main commercial area is concentrated around the pier (esplanade). There are only a few main roads in town and you’ll be hard pressed to lose your way around the town.

sarikei pineapple

There is a gigantic 3.6 meter pineapple located at the Sarikei waterfront. This distinctive feature pays homage to the famous Sarikei pineapples, most of which is exported and is renowned for it’s sweet and juicy fruit.

pineapple prick

The Sarikei pineapple replica is perhaps the most popular photo op available in this sleepy little town. There were a couple of other tourists taking photos with the prickly fruit too. I don’t know what the structure is made of but the thorny leaves are not very conducive to sitting, as I found out first hand.

pineapple us

Faye also wanted to take a photo with the famous Pineapple of Sarikei. Please, no jokes about inserting bromeliads where the sun don’t shine. ;)

kings inn

I was feeling rather drowsy after lunch and didn’t feel like driving back home so I cruised around town for hotels to check into. I had seen a billboard on the road leading to Sarikei advertising King’s Inn and decided to spend the night there. It was a rather impulsive decision since we didn’t even bring a change of clothes (or even the basics like a toothbrush). I had an extra pair of pants and a spare pullover in my car from a road trip several months back and Faye elected to wear the shorts and T-shirt I was currently wearing at night so it worked out alright.

kings inn outside

King’s Inn is newly renovated and has WiFi in every room. The proprietor of Glory Cafe recommended the place to us since it’s clean and relatively cheap. It cost us RM 40 for a double room. The occupancy rates are very high – we saw a FULL sign being put up as soon as we checked in.

kings inn lobby

The lobby at King’s Inn is smaller than my bedroom but it’s comfortable, with a couple of rattan lounge chairs and some reading material (mostly newspapers and magazines) on the shelf. There is also a water cooler and a chiller with sodas and snacks.

kings inn bed

The room at King’s Inn is indeed clean and neat. This is pretty good by rural standards – there are no international class hotels over here, most of them are budget hostel accommodations and dodgy old inns. The only complaint I have is the desk between the single beds, which prevents the beds from being joined together. King’s Inn ran out of queen sized bedrooms so we had to go for a double single bed room.

kings inn tv

The fittings in the hotel room is pretty standard – there’s a vanity mirror on a desk, a very small 14″ TV set, several cloth hangers and a plastic stool. It’s only RM 40 per night nett so it was alright with us since we’ll just be staying until 4 am before we have to drive back to Sibu. The room is clean and the air-conditioning is cold and that’s all that matters. :)

main street

I crashed for about an hour due to excessive consumption of alcohol the previous night before waking up to go exploring around the small town. The last time I was here was back in 2002 so a good six years had passed since I have been in Sarikei. This is the Main Street of Sarikei town taken at dusk.

sarikei toilet

I would be remiss if I didn’t do a reenactment of the popular pose at the Sarikei Public Toilet that received critical acclaim (?) back in 2002. The photo is somewhere in the archives of sixthseal.com – this is our version of the “I was here” photo.

sarikei clock

The Sarikei town clock is also another landmark in Sarikei. The town clock served an important function back in the days when wristwatches and cell phones weren’t available but no one probably bothers to look at it nowadays, except for the visitors. I took the liberty of squeezing myself into an empty waste disposal post. I don’t think that worked out very well for my shorts…

shell

Sarikei Wharf Esplanade is another popular place to watch the sun set (and for lovebirds to gather at night). It’s conveniently located at the main row of shophouses in Sarikei town. You can take a leisurely stroll in the evening when the sun sets as the cool breeze coming in from the Rejang River makes it ideal for a nice walk down the wharf.

playground

There is also a playground at the esplanade where the children play on the plastic swings and slides. It seems to be a very popular pastime among the families over here. I guess there’s nothing better to do on a lazy Sunday evening.

fishing

The other popular activity for locals is fishing by the pier. We saw quite a number of anglers whiling the time away at the wharf. I went to have a look and saw that the people here mostly use baited hooks instead of the jigging or popping method which is more popular with recreational fishing enthusiasts elsewhere.

pineapples

We also went exploring at the local market and found a cache of pineapples. Pineapples are Sarikei’s claim to fame and the variant they cultivate is noted for its juiciness and sweet texture. It costs RM 4 for a kg of the fruit. One pineapple weighs about 1 kg or less, depending on the size. Sarikei’s pineapples is a must try if you ever come over – it’s delicious!

pasar tamu

The local marketplace has received a makeover of sorts and is now painted in (rather garish) tribal designs. The taller building behind the market is an old Chinese operated hotel which has become rather run down since the glory days of Sarikei as a wharf town.

local foreign

The difference is clear.

mangrove

Sarikei also has numerous smaller jetties and docking bays made out of roughly bound timber. I found a little path opposite a place selling coffins (of all things) which led to a mangrove beach (it’s actually silt deposits from the river).

jesus

Jesus walks on water (with adidas trainers)
“Ye of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:31

sheraton

Dusk came over pretty soon and we took a shower at the hotel before heading out for dinner. I had asked for recommendations from the receptionist at the inn we were staying at and she suggested checking out Sheraton Seafood Centre.

prawns egg

This is the steamed prawn with egg, which is flavored with chilli, ginger and Chinese red wine. It tasted absolutely fabulous! The prawns were so tender and juicy it came off the shell with just the gentlest of nudging from a chopstick.

deer meat

This is deer meat cooked with dried chillis. I’m not sure about the legal status of deer as a protected species, but they serve it (as well as bats and other exotic wildlife). It’s good, tender and spicy.

pork

This is sweet and sour pork which is one of our staples. It’s nothing to write home about – I’ve had better. We wanted sweet and sour fish but the proprietor (who is also the chef) advised against it since it would take a long time with the crowd at the place.

dinner

The meal cost us RM 40.20 inclusive of drinks. Faye paid for the dinner. That’s why I sayang her while posing for this photo. ;)

chicken king

We saw a couple of bars and pubs around Sarikei and was intending to check out the interestingly named Fire before noticing the distinctive Guinness sign and neon blue lighting above Chicken King Restaurant. Chicken King Restaurant is er…emulating, shall we say, the KFC operational model and has almost the same menu items.

chicken king interior

However, the second floor is al fresco (albeit covered) and offers a cafe style environment. I asked the proprietor and he told me it’s been open for six months and they serve a small selection of beer. It’s called Chicken King Cafe and is meant as a watering hole with a more relaxed ambiance.

chicken king tv

The entire perimeter of the place is open and there are plenty of ceiling fans to provide adequate ventilation. There are various seating arrangements and a huge projection TV to attract customers but we were the only ones there.

view down

The place affords a nice view of the main street of Sarikei, though it seems that this town becomes a bit of a ghost town after 10 pm. Perhaps it’s due to it being a Sunday, but the rural lifestyle seems to adhere to the sleep early, rise early philosophy.

drinks

We ordered a couple of beers to relax and chill out at the place before heading back to the hotel. The Guinness Stout is priced at RM 7 per bottle and the Tiger Beer is priced at RM 7 per bottle.

pier night

There is another pier opposite King’s Inn where we were staying and we saw a bit of man-on-man love going on at a secluded bench when we went for a night stroll. I was surprised to see such tolerance of GLBT relationships in a small, rural town. ;)

pier night us

Despite our decidedly heterosexual orientation, the two male-male couples were kind enough to take a photo of us by the pier at night before we went back and hit the sack. I had to wake up at 4 am the next morning to drive back to Sibu in time for work.

pineapple night

Sarikei is a sleepy, quiet town that’s ideal for a weekend trip away from the city with friends and family. The hotels are cheap and the seafood and the pineapples are great! It just cost us a little more than RM 100 for the entire trip.

Note: You should be careful when driving back at night. There is a turn going into Durin before reaching Sibu and the 40 km of unpaved gravel road is seriously going to mess your car tires up. It took us 1 ½ hours to drive back due to a wrong turn into Durin. It takes MUCH longer for that detour and there are no road signs but if the marker jumps from Sibu – 100 km to Sibu – 50 km within a kilometer, you’re on the wrong road. Stick to the main road.

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