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Southeast Asia Research Academy Annual Convention and Excursion 2022

Renugah Rengasamy

4 Jul 2023

Day one

During the convention, SEARA members had the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Kuching, Sarawak. One of the places they visited was Tasik Biru, a stunning blue lake located about an hour's drive from the city center. Tasik Biru was a gold mine and is surrounded by lush greenery and limestone hills. The lake gets its name from its bright blue color, which is caused by the high mineral content of the water. The SEARA members were mesmerized by the natural beauty of Tasik Biru and spent a few hours exploring the area. They took plenty of photographs and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings. It was a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a great way to connect with nature.

tasik biru
Quick refreshment break before continuing our tour

fairy cave
At the viewing deck at the top of Fairy Cave

They then visited Fairy Cave - an impressive nature reserve, a limestone cave. It is named after the stalagmites inside the cave, which are said to resemble fairy creatures. The cave is a popular tourist destination so SEARA members are lucky Fairy Cave was in the itinerary. They headed for Eco-Serembu Park next just in time for the welcoming dinner hosted by the local Bau District authorities. The dinner was accompanied by the performance of Sarawak 'sape' living legend, Matthew Ngau Jau.

Matthew Ngau Jau

Members were then brought to Siniawan Night Market, a popular weekend destination in Siniawan. The market is set up along the town's narrow streets, which are lined with traditional wooden shophouses. Members strolled through the market while enjoying local musicians and performers' live music and entertainment. The lively and festive atmosphere offers members to soak up the local culture while enjoying the street food and drinks before heading to Borneo Keranji Farm to settle for a night.

The night continued with Snack Fiesta, a get-together activity where SEARA members bring their local snacks or delicacies to be introduced and shared with other members. A few rounds of 'pass the message' game were also played, where they had a good time and the session was full of laughter. 

Day two

The next day, SEARA members' itinerary was packed with more visits to local hidden gems. First, they headed to Paku Rock Maze Garden – a precious karst landform. It is a unique and enchanting attraction known for its winding paths (maze) made of rocks.

paku rock maze garden
SEARA at Paku Rock Maze Garden

Second, they were brought to see 'Sleeping Beauty', an outline of a mountain resembling the head, chest, and body of a woman sleeping from afar. Third, they went to Maw San Historical Lane where they listened to the historic story of 'old Bau' shared by Pemanca Bong. Before calling it a day, they also made a quick stop at New Buddhist Village.

maw san

borneo keranji farm
A group photo of us before leaving Borneo Keranji Farm.

All in all, it was a fantastic tour spent with everyone and a great opportunity for SEARA to network and be better connected. We look forward to SEARA ACE 2023 which will be held in Bogor, Jakarta, in August this year.

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