Friday, 6 August 2010

Kuching trip – 6 Aug 10

I haven't been flying with Tiger Airways for almost 1.5yrs hence I didn't knew that the only eatery at the public area of the departure hall has been changed from Hans to MacDonalds.

We proceed to check in first and to my surprise, the lady at the check-in counter requires all of us who are boarding the plane to be present at counter. I guess she must be a newbie or the rule has changed cos I did check in for YQ for the Penang trip.

We went through the custom and waited inside the transit area since there is nothing to shop or do at the public area of the departure hall. Other than free internet acess, free WIFI and free local telephone call from the booth, there are 2 new FREE services in the budget terminal. Wow... Free foot massage machine and free handphone charger!
Lock your hp inside the locker while charging
Enjoying foot massage

We spent our time idly inside the transit area for almost 2hr before boarding the plane. We were given row 25 & 26. Normally the last row is row 30 but for this plane, the last row is 26. The flight to Kuching is relatively short, only 1hr 10min which is comparable to the flight to Penang.
South China Sea
Winding rivers

We reached Kuching International Airport at around 4.20pm. The plane stopped at the furthest gate and we have to walk across the tarmac to the airport building. The airport looks new as it was upgraded in 2008. KIA is the 3rd largest airport in Malaysia after KLIA and KKIA.
Plane touching down at Kuching International Airport
Walking from the gate to the custom
Welcome to Kuching

Clearing the custom was a breeze as many immigration counters were open.  Before exiting the arrival hall, there is a tourist booth where maps are available.
Tourist booth

I have checked from Tune Hotel website that there are shuttle service from the airport to Tune Hotel at RM7.99 per pax but it's hourly frequency. We are able to catch the 5pm shuttle bus but we decided to enquire the taxi rate first.

Taxi are available at a flat rate of RM26 from the airport to Kuching city. Taxi coupon are purchased from the taxi counter and someone will guide you to the respective taxi. As there are 6 of us, we couldnt squeeze into one taxi. We enquired a 8 seater MPV which cost RM50. Since the difference is only RM2 compared to taking Tune Hotel Shuttle bus, we took a cab instead of waiting until 5pm for the shuttle bus.
Taxi coupon counter
8 seater MPV taxi
Kuching International Airport

There was traffic jam on the way hence we reached Tune Hotel 1/2 hr later. Normally, the journey takes about 20min.
Tune Hotel Kuching
Hilton Hotel which is directly opposite of Tune Hotel

My sis requested for a less noisy room as our room in Penang was near the lift lobby which can be quite disturbing.

There are 4 storeys in the hotel including the ground floor where the reception is located. We were given 3 rooms on the 2nd level which in fact is the 3rd storey while Joe's room was located on the 1st level.

As my sis requested for a more quiet room, we have to walk quite a bit to reach our room since there are 2 rows of corridor which are parallel on every floor and there is no short-cut at all. 
Check-in counters
Airport transfer service and a snack bar at the background
Free internet access
There is only 1 lift in the hotel
Long corridor to our room
Anyone interested in advertising?

As usual, the room is small with sufficient space for us to move around the bed. My mom even bought extra hangers since there are only 3 hangers in each room. It seems that the room here is hotter as the room wasn't cool even after we switch the fan to full blast. Surprisingly, there is no hairdryer in Kuching Tune Hotel. Only 2 Tune Hotels does not come with haridryer - Kuching & Downtown KL. I emailed Tune Hotel beforehand to double confirmed so we bought ours along.
Double room
Free mineral water & Safe box
Single room

After settling our belongings inside the room, we went out for dinner. The waterfront is just a stone throw away from Tune Hotel. When I was doing research on Kuching, I don't believe it initially when I read that Kuching is an unusually pedestrian-friendly for a Malaysian city. It's really true as after I saw sidewalk pavement and pedestrian crossing.
Kuching waterfront
Maps for directions
Pavement along the road
A shop along Jalan Carpenter selling souvenirs
Handmade handbags and souvenirs
Jalan Carpenter (Chinatown)
Chinese Temple

The place which I plan for dinner is Lau Ya Keng Food Court but I just could find it. According to my research, it is located at Jalan Carpenter and is opposite the temple. In the end, we had a simple dinner at this place opposite the temple. There are 3 stalls selling kway chap, fish soup or zhi char. We ordered 3 bowls of kway chap and 3 bowls of fish soup. I was quite disappointed with our first meal in Kuching.
Stalls opposite the temple
Kway Chap stall
Fish soup stall
Kway Chap and Fish soup

After our dinner, we strolled along Kuching riverfront. It is the most popular meeting place in Kuching and was once a line of old warehouses.
Grass growing on the road lamps
Sarawak Tourism Complex (Old Court House)
Beautiful Sunset
Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sarawak (Sarawak's State Legislative Assembly building)
Astana (Official residence of the Governor of Sarawak)
The Square Tower
Night view of Kuching waterfront

There is a river cruise which departs from the waterfront at 5.30pm which takes about 1.5hr and cost RM60. I find that it's quite pricey hence I didnt include this in my itinerary. To get across the river, there are sampans which are known locally as Tambangs. It only cost RM0.50 which is very cheap.

We walked to Giant supermaket which is located beside Crown Plaza Riverside to buy mineral water. There is a KFC here and my sis wanted to try the cheesy potato wedges after I told her that I had it in KL before.
Cheezy potato wedges

The mineral water here is much more expensive than the one I bought in Kota Kinabalu, almost double the price. We bought 6 bottles of 1.5l and 1 bottle of 5.5l mineral water which cost RM2.39 each and RM6.49 respectively. We walked back to Tune Hotel and rest for the day.

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