Saturday, march 8th, trip to Muara Tebas.
Muara Tebas is a village close to Kuching, it is known for two things. Fresh sea food and a 200 year old Chinese temple overlooking the village. It takes about 45 minutes to drive there and while it may seem like far to go for lunch most Sarawakians are crazy about their food so if they hear about a good spot to eat they will drive very far to try it out.
The village itself is right on the coast, quite large and tightly built up, most inhabitants are Malay, there is also an ethnic Chinese minority. As in may other places in Malaysia the Chinese settlers had no land and had to look to commercial activity to make a living. In this case they established a trading point on the coast.
Today the trading is not so important although there is still a large jetty and commercial fishing boats come here to drop off their catch and top up their fuel and ice supply. Most of the Chinese inhabitants these days are involved in running the few sea food restaurants which are built on stilts out over the sea. It is a nice place to come to, the food is fresh and the view of the temple on one side and the sea on the other is quite impressive but peaceful. We came to the village about noon time, ate lunch (fresh sea food and local Sarawakian vegetables) then went on to climb the stairs to the temple.
The temple was first built 200 years ago by Chinese migrants who were thankful to their gods for allowing them to safely arrive in Sarawak, it was built on a spot where they found a natural spring of fresh water, the spring is still there to this day and the water is freely available to all who visit the temple. The temple was built in several stages, for a while it was in a poor condition untill in 1979 a staff building was added and the roof of the main building was repaired. In 1984 the local Hakka association took over the caring for the temple. over the next 14 years the temple was first renovated then also expanded (a dining hall was added). In the year 2000 a fountain and a “Buddha’s footprint” were added to the temple.
The temple is feels quite peaceful, it is also quite traditional in architecture and has a very nice view of the town. Worth visiting, especially if you are a Buddhist ;). The statues of the following Buddha’s are in the temple: Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Amithaba, Buddha of medicine. there is also a statue of the goddess of the Sea and her two aides the Mighty ears and Mighty eyes…and here I was thinking buddhism is monotheistic…
Anyway here are some of the pictures:
As you can see the temple renovations and expansions have been carried with care, this gives the temple (in my view anyway) a good classical look. I would recommend a trip to the temple on a weekend, combine it with lunch or dinner, take some time to explore it.