We had an amazing stay with Adrian at The Kebun! The Kebun really is an working organic farm and homestay. They have two two-bedroom bungalows and we stayed in Adrian's Bungalow. It's an all-inclusive thing, meaning he provides all meals, transportation and even the use of his motorbike. As we had been staying in Kuching for a few nights at a hotel, Adrian picked us up at our hotel and before we headed to The Kebun, he said he wanted to take us to his favorite place for barbecued pork in town - his treat - and it was delicious. We like this guy already!
Adrian is quite a guy. He's big - 6'3" at least which is very tall by SE Asian standards. He's extremely knowledgeable about Borneo and its surrounding areas. He has a quick wit and a contagious laugh and we really enjoyed our time with him.
The Kebun is very close to several national parks and other attractions. When we got to the farm, the geese greeted us with a symphony of honks which we got used to quickly, since it's kind of the permanent soundtrack around there. It really is a farm. The fruit and produce and some of the animals exist to feed the guests and family but Adrian is also developing his business to sell at markets as well. They have geese, ducks, chickens, goats, sheep, turkeys (a rarity in this part of the world - these turkeys are from "down under") and a lot of dogs.
The farm is on a lot of land with creeks of various sizes running through them. Our bungalow - Adrian's Bungalow - was set further back from the main house near the larger main waterway. It was a good 5 minute walk to our bungalow, but we thought it was really cool. It was like we had our own cabin, because, well, we did. Our bungalow was huge. It had a long terrace that wrapped around half of the house, two bedrooms, a giant living room and good-sized kitchen.
Now listen, this isn't for everyone. It's bare bones - no AC, no 300 thread count sheets, no screens on the windows to keep out any and all of God's creatures - but it's so beautiful and peaceful. The first morning we went outside and a flock of chickens and their rooster were on the front porch to greet us. It's all part of the fun though and if you're not into that sort of thing, then you should probably go stay at the Hilton.
Dinner is served communally in a lovely converted barn, but if you prefer, you can stay in your bungalow and have it brought to you. We thought it'd be fun to meet the other guests and boy were we right! They are an Australian family from Cairns - mom, dad and three boys age 8 - 13 - and they were so much fun to hang out with. We sat down to a dinner of chicken curry, duck braised in a sweet molasses-like sauce, eggplant, potatoes, fish (that the Aussie boys had caught that day) served two ways and the best papaya we've ever had.
Breakfast is included in the room price as well, like I said, but it's the one meal you cook yourself with ingredients they've provided. We had farm-fresh eggs with homemade bread the cook had given us the night before, coffee and jam.
During the day, we took Adrian's motorbike to Kubah National Park for a hike, which was a short 10 minute drive. We had already been to Bako and Kubah was a nice smaller-scale follow-up park with amazing views.
Adrian is the perfect host. Make yourself at home - is the unofficial motto around the Kebun. It really is like staying with friends. He'll bring you into town if you need to or take you sightseeing. Or if you need to borrow his car or motorbike - it's yours. His staff is also wonderful. They make you feel so welcome and are always popping into make sure your mosquito coils are burning or to bring you a snack or tidy up. We only got to meet Olivia and her daughter on our last night there, but they too were lovely and gracious hosts.
The day we left Adrian packed us up in his spare truck (he let the Aussies take his car sightseeing) and took us into town. And Adrian wanted to take us to get steamed buns at his local spot. He treated us to a few pork buns and some sweet tea and before we knew it - we were late for the airport. We ran in to the terminal and sure enough - they'd closed our flight. Not only would they not let us on our flight, they wanted us to pay for all new tickets to get on the next one. Good thing we had Adrian there. He would not leave our side until the matter was resolved. He spoke to the desk agent in Malay and railed on him until he caved and let us on the next flight for free. Always good to have a Adrian on your side!
We can't say enough about our stay with Adrian at the Kebun. We highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an authentic homestay experience. It's not put-on or touristy - you really feel as if you're staying with a family because you are. You can visit all the national parks or just stay on your terrace and relax - we opted for a little of both!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kebun was started 12 years ago as our plan for a retirement home in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Adrian’s Bungalow was put up after being disassembled from the movie set of The Sleeping Dictionery. Olivia’s was only put up only two years later when it was taken out of storage which was also disassembled from the same movie set. The farmstay side of the business only started in April 2010 after much encouragement from friends.The Kebun is not just accommodation, it is an experience. If you would like to get a taste for the basics of a simple lifestyle in a beautiful tropical setting, which is of fresh gardens of organic herbs & vegetables, picking your own tropical fruits, dining on fresh farm raised livestock, fishing for your own freshwater fish & simple accommodation with little impact to the environment, or even to help out with feeding all of the animals at the end of the day’s activities and again in the morning, then your are up for a unique Sarawakian adventure at The Kebun. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Kebun Kuching, Sarawak