KUCHING, August 12: If you are thinking of where to go during a long weekend, may I suggest Telaga Air? It is a seaside Malay settlement located only 30 minutes away from Kuching. Due to its close vicinity to the city, it is a great place to hang out for those who just want to get away for half a day or so.
It is advisable to take Jalan Akses FAC or Matang Expressway instead of Jalan Matang. The Jalan Akses FAC route not only offers great scenery along the way but the sparse traffic and well-built road ensure a pleasant and enjoyable ride.
Being a fishing village, Telaga Air does not offer huge tourist experiences such as sky diving or sightseeing of ancient tombs. Rather, it is a heart-warming place that offers visitors small, little delights they will cherish for a long time. These delightful moments may not be extraordinary but they will entice you back to Telaga Air, again and again.
There are six must-do things when hanging out at Telaga Air for half a day or so:
1. Chit-chat with the locals
Among some of the greatest things you can experience in Telaga Air is the friendly villagers there. Go strike up a conversation with anyone, and you will immediately feel at home. There is no need for a tour guide as just about everyone there is willing to share whatever they know about their place. They will tell you about their village, food, seafood and everything else under the sun.
2. The very reasonably priced seafood is a gem!
Telaga Air is situated at the estuary of Sungai Sibu, before the river romances the South China Sea. It is thus not surprising that Telaga Air is a fishing village and is known for its fresh and reasonably priced seafood.
For families travelling there, it is a must to buy fresh seafood from the local fishermen there. For all visitors, one thing that no one should miss is sampling the seafood dishes at the hawker centre opposite the Sg Kampung Telaga Air Waterfront. There are about 10 stalls there, a few selling drinks while the others offer delightful seafood dishes.
Fancy eating fish, prawns, crabs, cockles and other types of seafood cooked to your liking? No problem, just place your order. For example, you may want to order chilli crab, butter crab or fried crab. The great thing about eating at Telaga Air is that the dishes can be ordered in small portions. For instance, RM5 could get you a medium-size bowl of cockles, while crabs or small prawns can be had for a mere RM10.
3. Fresh coffee and tea
Surprisingly, fresh and excellent coffee and tea are available, too. Although they are served like at other eateries elsewhere, the coffee tastes surprising fresh and smooth. Actually, it is one of the best coffee in Kuching!
It is recommended that you go to the first stall at the hawker centre if you are a coffee addict. Just order simple black coffee or tea, and you will find yourself savouring a simple but fresh beverage that can give some of those high-end cafes a run for their money.
4. The sweet treats – pickled ‘Belimbing Api’
This is another delight that Telaga Air offers. After a hefty lunch, you may yearn for something sweet and a little tangy to freshen up your palate. You don’t have to go far to satisfy your desire. Just walk across the road and look for a gentleman selling tempting-looking pickled fruits. We are used to pickled ‘kedondong’, pickled ‘asam’ and others, but have you ever tried pickled “Belimbing Api”? Do give it a try.
According to a pakcik, the process of pickling ‘Belimbing Api’ is the same as pickling ‘kedondong’. However, as
‘kedondong’ and ‘belimbing’ are completely different in terms of texture and taste, they taste very different after three days of soaking in a syrup made from a mixture of water, sugar and vinegar.
While people do not eat the husk when eating fresh ‘Belimbing Api’, the husk of the pickled ones can be eaten. It tastes just nice, not too sweet and a bit tangy. It makes a delightful dessert after a heavy seafood meal.
5. The coconut and mango shake
Not far from the hawker centre is a cafe that looks a bit laid back but don’t be fooled by its appearance. That café offers possibly the best coconut and mango shake in Sarawak – creamy, thick and refreshing! Definitely a great drink to have after a long walk on a hot and lazy afternoon along the Sg Kampung Telaga Air Waterfront.
6. Take a stroll along the Sg Kampung Telaga Air Waterfront
The waterfront offers not only a scenic view of deep blue skies and the glittering Sungai Sibu. There is also a little mystery kept under wraps.
For every single step taken at the park, you will step on some giant leaves. If you haven’t, do take a good look around next time you visit the place to solve the “puzzle”. Try to figure out how many leaves were carved on the pavement in the park at the waterfront.
The waterfront may be small in size, but what is interesting is that one can go to the jetty for a picnic or a photo session or to fish. With the soft breeze caressing your face and body, coupled with the gentle rocking of the jetty, the experience resembles being in paradise!
Yes, Telaga Air is definitely a village with a difference, and it is a great place to hang out. — DayakDaily