I just got back from a lovely holiday at the Santubong Family Resort. It was my first real excursion out of Kuching since I got here. We took the chance to go, since Monday and Tuesday were State holidays in honor of Gawai Day.

Gawai Day is the biggest holiday of the year for the native tribes. Nobody I asked seemed to know exactly what was involved in the holiday though, aside from people returning to their villages to be with their families. The holiday calendar here has a great deal of variety in it from state to state, depending on which ethnic groups are more numerous. Sabah and Sarawak have Good Friday off due to all the Christians, Sarawak has Gawai Day, Perak and Penang have Thaipussam for all the Tamils. Each state with a monarchy also has a holiday for the birthday of the King. It all evens out in the end, it seems. At my last job in the states, employees had an official “floating holiday” that they could use to observe whatever holiday of theirs wasn’t honored by the calendar. That was pretty good, though I could use at least one more of those. I’ve been told that Sri Lanka wins for having the most national holidays a year. Sri Lanka observes all the high Hindu Holidays, both Eids and Mawlid Nabi, and all the Buddhist holidays, including every full moon! That’s a gauranteed holiday once a month. Now who’s going to complain about that?

Santubong was great. From our balcony we could see Mt. Santubong and the South China Sea. A ten-minute walk led to a gorgeous sandy beach. The sea was as warm as bath water, and gentle. The sun is too fierce to go in the middle of the day, but morning and late afternoon is great. The kids loved it, especially after I assured my five-year old that there were no crocodiles. All the crocodiles are over in the Sarawak River, but that’s a topic for another post. As a muslim, it’s the little things that made the trip so pleasant. Nobody complains if you jump in the pool with shirt and pants on (issue discussed here). Every hotel room has the direction of prayer marked in a corner of the ceiling. Forgot your prayer rug? No problem, housekeeping has complimentary ones for you. The complimentary breakfast buffet? Halal corned beef. Man, I haven’t had corned beef in ages! Of course, the hotel is a little pricey to make a regular thing out of it. But it turns out, Kuching is only about a half an hour drive from the sea, easily close enough for a day trip. Now I just have to find a public beach.

Published by bingregory

Official organ of an American Muslim in Malaysian Borneo, featuring plants, pantuns and pictures from the Malay archipelago. Oversharing since 2002.

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  1. “Puteri Santubong, Puteri Sejinjang,
    Penjaga gunung negeri Sarawak,
    Manis sik ada dapat dilawan,
    Anak dak dewa turun kayangan.

    Ooo..Puteri Santubong,
    Menenun kain…siang,
    Ooo…Puteri Sejinjang,
    Menumbuk padi…malam.

    Satu harinya duak kelayi,
    Beranok-anok sik renti-renti,
    Sorang madah diri bagus agik,
    Sorang sik ngalah sampei ke mati,

    Yalah kisah duak ‘rang puteri,
    Suka kelayi setiap hari,
    Lalu disumpah raja kayangan,
    Menjadi gunung negeri Sarawak.”

  2. the next time you plan a trip up to santubong/damai, you may want to check out nanga damai. it’s a B & B place that’s a short walk to santubong beach resort. here’s the link: http://www.nangadamai.com/

    by the way, hi! am from kuching as well and have been lurking around your weblog =)

  3. Just came back from Nanga Damai.Fabulous!!Fantastic.I am from Peninsular malaysia..and feels tht this place is perfect for all. The host is friendly.Jungle tracking was great!!!

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