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  • Writer's pictureRick

East Malaysia Day 18: Last Food Hunt in Kuching before Johor Bahru (柔佛) then Home

I would want to sleep late, have brunch then go to the airport, but after being awoken several times in the night, I was unable to go back into sleep since 4am. I decided to go for a light breakfast.

I left my room at 7:30am. Upspot Kuching Hostel’s WiFi was down, which also affected the door lock and I could not unlock or lock the front door using the app. Instead of switching to using mobile network, I used the physical keys, which was trustworthy and saved the hassles. IOT device depended too much on network for security and became unreliable if the network was unstable even though Bluetooth was working fine and could operate the device — not to mention issues with battery. How I knew? I just quit a company that was into IOT and they called this overly-reliant technology "smart".

7:45am, I came to Yee Siang Dumpling House for its dumplings. The restaurant specialised in dumplings yet I had tried only its Sarawak laksa. I ordered a set of pan-fried chicken and chive dumplings (5 pieces per set), a toast and kopi-o (sugar self-service). Sarawak kopi-o was stronger than Sabah kopi-o. Yee Siang's self-made dumplings were not very big and tasted very good with distinct flavours of its ingredients. I could go for another set with different fillings but I had to leave some stomach space for early lunch later.

Dumplings @ Yee Siang Dumpling House

There was one thing I wanted to verify before I left Kuching. I went to India Street again and came to the Indian Mosque Lane. The door that was locked the previous night was opened and I could see a narrow lane inside but it was very quiet in the morning. Instead of walking into the lane, I went around the shophouses again to the other end of the lane and the door of the old Masjid India mosque was opened too. I peeped inside and saw a closed door with couple of motorcycles parked there — not sure if the old mosque was still in used. Again, I took a day-time photo of the new floating Indian Mosque and went back to the hostel.

Indian Mosque Lane @ Kuching India Street

9am, Kek Lapis Mama Su was not opened yet. I tried using the app to unlock the front door of the hostel but it was still not working, I decided to use keys all the way till check-out. I cooled off in the air-conditioned room while packing my belongings. At around 9:45am, I went down to Mama Su, without my cumbersome backpack, to get 4 layered cakes with different flavours: durian, matcha & chocolate, cinnamon and butterscotch. This would add more than 1Kg to my hand-carry baggage.

Kek Lapis Mama Su

Outside the shop, two newcomers to Upspot Kuching, probably checked-in the day before, were fumbling with their apps to try to open the front door. I used the key to open the door and explained to them the WiFi was not working and they needed to use mobile networks or their keys, which they left in their room.

Checking-out from the hostel was easy, I left the keys in the room and locked the room door and then the front door with the app using my mobile data. Last stop before going to the airport would be early lunch.

I went to Borneo Delight for the 4th time in 4 days with my backpack and goodies bag. At 10:20am, the restaurant was quiet and three Dayak ladies were busy plucking, cutting and chopping vegetables and spices. I ordered umai ikan and dabai fried rice with a cup of honey ginger. The raw fish cold dish, with pickled shredded vegetables, was tasty and dabai fried rice tasted similar to olive fried rice. These two dishes were the last items on my food-hunting list — I had cleared it!

Dabai fried rice & umai ikan @ Borneo Delight

I hailed a Grab car from Borneo Delight to Kuching Airport for RM10, reaching the airport before 11:30am. It was a domestic flight to Johor Bahru, so straight through the departure gates and immigrations clearance, I came to the transit area and charged my phone as usual while waiting for boarding at 1:05pm.

Flying from Kuching Airport

My 5th and last flight for this trip, AirAsia AK 5417 flight departed Kuching International Airport at 1:45pm and landed at Senai International Airport (Johor Bahru) at 3:15pm under a cloudy sky. It was raining. There was no immigrations clearance for domestic arrivals, and no collection of check-in baggage for me, so I just walked out of the immigration area.

In the arrival hall, there was an outlet selling Sarawak kek lapis. The prices were slightly higher by just RM2 to RM5 than the kek lapis that I bought in Kuching. However, it was considered cheap as flying to Kuching for kek lapis and back would definitely cost more.

Flying to Senai Airport

Following the signage for "Bas", I walked past CausewayLink's ticketing counter — noting that the next service was at 4pm and bus fare to be paid onboard the shuttle bus — to the Bus Waiting Area. This was my second time flying via Senai Airport on my way home in 7 months. The last trip was from Kota Kinabalu.

Shuttle Service AA1 @ Senai Airport

The airport shuttle bus, CausewayLink Service AA1, arrived at 3:50pm, boarding began — I used my ManjaLink card to pay the RM8/pax fare — and it departed at 4pm to JB Sentral. It was cold in the air-conditioned bus, partly also due to the rain. Fortunately, I was in my flight suit. As expected, traffic was slow on the Skudai Highway in the late afternoon. And I felt hungry. It had been more than 5 hours. "Mr Bus Driver, can I open the goodies that I bought in Kuching and eat on the bus?"

The airport shuttle bus reached JB Sentral at 4:45pm. Instead of going to JB CIQ and head for home straightaway, I decided to have early dinner in JB, so I would not have to think about eating out or cook later (oh, there was nothing in the fridge).

I went one round in JB City Square shopping mall, but it was really inconvenient for me to dine in crowded restaurants of my choice as I was lugging my big backpack and a goodies bag in one hand. I headed over to KOMTAR JBCC and came to Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks (士林台湾小吃). Tables were available in the outlet so I sat down and had an oyster mee sua and a XXL crispy chicken.

Oyster mee sua & XXL crispy chicken @ Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks

After the meal, I went to JB CIQ and used the auto-gantry to clear Malaysia immigrations. The MDAC that I had submitted when entering Sabah was still valid since I had specified the return date as 30 days from 20th May 2024. After crossing the Causeway, I was back on Singapore soil — there was no need to submit SG Arrival Card for Singapore residents when returning by land via Woodlands Checkpoint or Tuas Checkpoint.

— End of East Malaysia 2024 —


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