Ever wanted to switch off your laptop, put your phone away and disappear for a weekend where you can laze around as much as you wanted? You’d need a place that has so many inviting distractions from the digital world that you won’t even notice that you haven’t checked your social media accounts for the last few hours.
If that’s the kind of getaway you’re looking for, then The Village House is just the place. Hidden away in the sleepy village of Kampung Santubong at the foot of Mount Santubong, the cozy homestay offers an impressive view of the mysterious mountain. Take a stroll around the village and chat with locals to find out more about the majestic peak’s legends – or explore it for yourself! (More on that later.)
With 10 rooms, two suites and a 6-bed dorm room, The Village House is similar to a typical home in the kampung – you’ll need to take off your shoes and climb barefooted up a wooden staircase to reach your room.
Inside, you’ll find floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pool and lush greenery that are made to be swung open during the day to let the natural light fill the room. Each room is lovingly decorated with original artworks by local artist Ramsay Ong and handwoven ‘Ikat’ textiles, an exquisite traditional art that is a national heritage.
The airy ensuite bathroom features a rain shower, fragrant bathroom amenities and fluffy bath towels for pampering. Once you’ve freshened up, you can then relax in the his-and-hers sarongs to fully immerse yourself in the kampung atmosphere.
Stretch out across the comfy twin single beds or spacious double bed set upon a solid four-poster bed frame made from timber. The crisp white linen sheets, soft-as-a-cloud pillows and duvets that are made for snuggling make it hard to leave the bed.
A private indulgence
At The Village House, privacy is of utmost importance – there are plenty of lounging areas and cozy nooks with hammocks and reclining chairs where you can take a nap or read a book after a dip in the pool. Even when it’s the school holidays, you’ll still get the same sense of peace and quiet, as the homestay only accepts guests above 12 years of age – meaning no small kids running around!
Other entertainment alternatives include the Wallace Den, featuring cable TV and DVDs, as well as board games and a library filled with all sorts of books. For those seeking fun and adventure beyond the homestay, all you need to do is approach the attentive members of staff, who can arrange a selection of exciting activities and excursions for you.
Food-wise, you’re in good hands: the restaurant, Blue Ginger, offers a diverse menu between local and Western flavors, such as Sarawak laksa and beef rendang, as well as steak and pasta. However, for a unique take on Sarawakian cuisine, try “A Taste of Borneo”, the restaurant’s special 8-course degustation experience adapted from well-loved recipes, ranging from slow-cooked meats in bamboo tubes to seafood carefully grilled over a charcoal fire. Each course is sure to surprise and delight the senses.
For a true getaway where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, visit The Village House.
Top Things To Do in Santubong
There’s far more to Sarawak than its capital city of Kuching – uncover the state’s raw, natural beauty in the Santubong Peninsula. Here’s a list of top activities, combining sun and surf with thrilling exploits in the jungle.
Be immersed in Sarawak’s cultural heritage at Sarawak Cultural Village
Sarawak is home to a diverse range of ethnic tribes, comprising Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, Melanau and other smaller tribes. Learn more about the state’s rich cultural tapestry at Sarawak Cultural Village, just 10 minutes away from The Village House by car.
Dubbed as a “living museum”, the 17-acre compound has homes and longhouses built in the traditional style of the tribe it represents. Each structure has a “storyteller”, who will tell you more about the culture and lifestyle of the tribe. The village is also the site of the world-renowned Rainforest World Music Festival, which takes place every year.
Open from 9am to 5pm daily, don’t miss out on the fun-filled cultural show, which takes place twice a day – 11.30am and 4.00pm. Standard entry tickets cost RM50 (Adult) and RM25 (Child).
Breathe in the sea air at Damai Beach
Right next to Sarawak Cultural Village is Damai Beach, a popular beachside destination for both locals and visitors. It’s a great place to stroll down the beach and watch the vivid sunset off the coast. In the late afternoon, you can see colorful kites being flown in the cooling breeze.
Along the beach you’ll also find Damai Craftworld & Event Centre, formerly known as Damai Central. Here, you can check out the food court to satisfy a rumbling tummy or browse the local handicraft shops.
Learn about turtle conservation at the Satang Islands
Get your fix of Vitamin Sea with a day trip to the Satang Islands’ white sandy beaches and clear waters, just off the coast from Santubong. Comprising Satang Besar and Satang Kecil, only Satang Besar is open to the public. The boat journey to the islands takes approximately 45 minutes from the village jetty.
Located in Talang-Satang National Park, Sarawak’s first marine protected area, the pristine paradise is under the care of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation. The island’s beaches are a vital nesting ground for the endangered Green Turtle – to learn all about the conservation program, drop by the turtle hatchery. You might even be lucky enough to see some turtle hatchlings!
Besides that, you can take in the wonders of the vibrant coral surrounding the islands by snorkeling or diving in the designated areas. Do note that scuba divers must be accompanied by an approved dive guide at all times.
Get up-close with wildlife at Kuching Wetlands National Park
Hop on a boat and meander down the waterways of Kuching Wetlands National Park, a marshy 6,610-hectare refuge on the estuary of Sibu Laut and Salak rivers. As you slowly cruise down the river, you’re sure to come across a variety of wildlife species, from Irrawaddy river dolphins and crocodiles to proboscis monkeys and wild boars.
For the early birds, take the morning cruise, which will take you past the quaint Salak Village, while night owls are sure to love the sunset cruise, where you’ll be able to spot the magical flickering lights of fireflies as night falls.
Take on the Mount Santubong Summit Challenge
Up for a real challenge? Conquering Mount Santubong should be right up your alley – the arduous trek to the summit can take anywhere between 4 to 8 hours, depending on your fitness level. If you’d rather skip hiking to the very top, there’s the less strenuous Jungle Trek (marked as the blue trail), which loops around Santubong National Park at the mountain’s foothills.
The 2-kilometer trail, which takes between 1 to 2 hours to complete, will take you past bubbling streams and cascading waterfalls. There are also BBQ areas and benches located along the trail for you to take a breather or enjoy a picnic.
Paddle along the coast of Santubong Peninsula in a kayak
If your arms are ready for it, explore the Santubong’s coastline in a kayak. You can sign up for a guided day trip, which takes you out along the Santubong Peninsula, stopping by some lesser-known beaches along the way, such as Teluk Belian, Tanjung Sepang and Teluk Pasir.
It’s one of the best ways to experience Santubong’s natural wonders, as you may get the chance to spot White Bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites flying high above and sea turtles, giant otters or even Irrawaddy dolphins in the waters.
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s stand-out stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!