Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Current State of Riverside Shopping Complex

During my younger day Riverside Shopping Complex used to be a go to shopping complex until bigger and more modern malls  started to make their presence in Kuching.

I was rather shocked with its current scenario now. Parkson used to be the main tenant here and they had totally moved out. The shelves which once used to display all sort of merchandises are still visible.

There are now many empty retail spaces with some businesses still hanging on. This place has seen a better day.

The shopping complex is ideally located at the city centre with the waterfront just opposite it. However, it might find it hard to survive as it will still need to compete with other newer malls.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Borneo Convention Centre Kuching

The Borneo Convention Centre Kuching also known as BCCK is a dedicated convention centre in Kuching. It is located at Kuching Isthmus which is surrounded by industrial area and is about 8km from the city.

From far, BCCK roof design reminds me of the Putrajaya International Convention Centre. The common area is quite spacious.

Various countries' flags are hung over the ceiling. There is still room at the common area to accommodate a few more banquet tables.

The VIP holding room is quite plush with luxurious white sofas and ceiling lights.

The banquet hall is the largest hall at this convention centre with a capacity of 2000 delegates.

There are also a few more meeting rooms of various size and capacity. This is my first time here and I find the facilities here satisfactory.

The only downside is probably the quality of the food served by the restaurant here. There is no buffet style dining due to the latest procedure and delegates are confined to their own table only. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

The LimeTree Hotel Revisited

My last stay at The LimeTree Hotel was in 2012 and I decided to stay here again recently as this hotel has never been a quarantine hotel in Kuching during the pandemic. My last stay here was about 9 years ago. I had a pleasant experience back then and I expect the same this time around.

There aren't many guests staying here this week and the lobby area is mostly quiet during my entire stay. The hotel is still well maintained after all these years.

I booked a standard room (RM 110.50) which is quite small but it is not an issue if one is travelling alone. The important thing is that the room is always clean and comfortable.

Guests are given complimentary breakfast. There are no more buffet and breakfast is served by 7am. I was not given any choice on what I prefer and they just serve what is available on the day. Wish they could serve breakfast as early as 6.30am. It is also a good thing that they rotate the breakfast menu every morning.

Will I come back to this hotel to stay again? Without a doubt. This is one of my favourite afoordable hotel in Kuching

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Kuching International Airport Post Covid-19 Pandemic

It seems like all the airports in Malaysia are badly hit by the recent pandemic. My recent visit to Kuching International Airport revealed the dire situation we are currently facing.

The retails at the ground floor where the arriving passengers will came out from are totally annihilated except for a convenience shop. 

The departure floor fares a bit better as some retails and restaurants/cafes are still operating.

Passenger traffic is rather scarce due to limited flights in and out from the airport.

I am surprised to find out the shop which I always frequent for last minute shopping at the departure hall had closed permanently. This shop is located just after taking the escalator down after the security check.

Only a handful of food stalls at the departure hall are still operating. Even fast food outlet, Marrybrown had wind down.

Every passenger travelling in from outside Sarawak will be arriving at Gate 5 and beyond are still subjected to health screening at the time of writing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Sibu Airport During Phase 3 Of National Recovery Plan

Even with various relaxations, these has not jump start the recovery in the aviation industry. This could be reflected by human traffic and how the retail outlets are doing inside the airport. The situation of Sibu haven't change much since my last visit here 6 months ago.

From the flight schedule displayed, there are not much flight operated from the airport daily. I reckoned around 3-4 flights only daily mainly to Kuching, Miri and Kuala Lumpur (twice a week).

There are only 2 surviving retails at the ground floor; Sugarbun and a convenience store.

This time around, passengers are not allowed into the departure hall until announcement been made. So, we have to be seated at the ground floor concourse area.

The situation inside the departure hall is worse than I thought. All the retails here were shuttered except for a cafe.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

My 9 Hours Bus Journey From Kuching to Sibu

It has been more than a decade since I took any bus express bus service in Sarawak. Due to my unexpected mandatory quarantine came to an abrupt end after the recent change in entry requirement, I had decided to go back Sibu earlier. Options are limited as flight was not available every day and air ticket price can be insanely expensive.

Buying bus ticket can be done online now. Ticket to Sibu cost RM48 after 20% discount. I chose Bus Asia (previously known as Biaramas) because they seem to have the most frequency of the day.

My journey started from Kuching Sentral. This is my first time here and it ain't big as I initially thought. For those who are familiar with Bandar Tasik Selatan Bus Terminal, navigating Kuching Sentral would be a breeze.

As the pandemic keep raging at the state, the bus schedule is rather dynamic and many schedule trips were cancelled.

I got to take a double decker bus. An operator will check for police permit before we were allowed to go onboard.

The bus will not be seated to full capacity and there will be proper distancing between passengers. This bus has a spacious seat and what appear to be built in with its own entertainment system. Unfortunately, the entertainment system was just there for show.

As the bus air conditioning system is not installed with HEPA filter like aircraft, I decided to keep myself safe with a respirator after assessing the risk.

The bus departed on time at 1000 and make a quick stop at their depot before continue for the first stop at their cargo collection point in Serian (1118).

I would thought this will be the only stop in Serian but I was wrong. After collecting some cargos, the bus then proceed to the nearby bus station.

After Serian, the bus will stop at Sri Aman (1340), which is about the middle point of the journey. I am glad to see Fort Alice has been restored as a museum now and no longer in the dilapidated state during my last visit here.

Sri Aman bus terminal is situated in what appears to be a new commercial area and share the same building with the Pasar Tamu. This would be a perfect place for a toilet break and they charge RM0.20 per entry.

From here on, I would thought the bus will then head straight to Sarikei but it made another stop at Jelukong bus terminal (1445)  where the bus drivers usually have their meal. This will be an ideal place for passengers to buy refreshment or snack.

The Pan Borneo Highway remained unfinished after all these years. The bus journey was somewhat reasonably comfortable even with this unfinished project.

Sarikei will be the last stop (1745) before the bus heading to Sibu. 

I finally arrived Sibu Bus Terminal at 1900, after hitting the road for 9 hours. Initially, I estimated a 7 hours journey and I didn't expect it would took so long. This could be attributed to the many stops on the way while the bus limits its maximum speed at 80 km/hr.

Even though this was a long journey, I get to see the transformation of the small towns along the way.