Monkey's galore

Trip Start Mar 10, 2007
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Trip End Jan 01, 2007


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, a waterfront promenade, upmarket tourist shopping centres, old Chinese temples and cultural museums, the guides describe it as a great lace to spend a few days 'exploring'. My verdict, it a nice city and the riverfront is quite pretty but there's not much to see here. Sorry to disappoint you :(
    Due to being unable to get flights booked on my first night in town, i had to spend another night in town before i was off to Bako ark, so i spent it at the huge weekend market, which to be honest only occupied me because i am now obsessed with buying too much fruit and eating ti i feel ill! So i did that, then i checked out the ethnology museum, which was quite interesting. I was mostly interested by the articles on tattooing by the tribes people and repulsed by the strange article i took a photo of. I couldn't understand exactly what its use was, but by the sound of the writing i got the impression it goes up the penis! Gross.
        Then came the highlight of Kuching. One rumour around town is that Kuchen means cat  in Malay, and thats where the town got its name. The towns mascot is a cat, and their emblem is a cat statue of nine cats. So how could you go to Kuching without seeing the Ludicrous cat museum? I wasn't going to make that fatal error, so off i went. The pictures of this crazy, scary place speak for themselves.
      Having said Kuching isn't that great, i is an ideal place to base yourself for a visit to Bako national park, my itinerary for the next few days.

BAKO NATIONAL PARK

I've seen a few national parks now, but Bako didn't disappoint. Arriving by boat in sunny weather, we were greeted by a stunning landscape of sea stacks, wave ledges and other rock formations carved out of the beautiful rocky headlands lining the beach. A beach! i hadn't expected that.
     The boat pulls up on the beach, and the park headquarters are just behind. Got the room situation sorted, then set off on a trail with Eve, a girl who i met on the bus. Saw nothing of the elusive Proboscis monkey (the park is famous for them) on our way around the 5.6km trail. Returning to the headquarters, we were passing the viewing platforms around 200m from the headquarters when were treated to several sightings of numerous proboscis monkeys, big noses and all. It isn't known why the noses are so big, however the commonly believed theory is that it is a sign of sexual attractiveness, i.e. the bigger the nose the more attractive the male  (Sloaney your sorted! Only kidding).  Their stomach are soo fat too as eve tells e they have two different stomachs, specific ones with specific enzymes for different foods. Another fact for you, these monkeys cannot eat sugary fruits as the gas and acids that would build up n their stomachs would kill them.
        My time in the ark over the next few days consisted of more trails, notably to the a Tajor waterfall, a beautiful secluded place with several pools suitable for swimming, and to the small yet pretty Paku beach. Saw some of those crabs that you see in nature programs with one tiny claw and one huge one, and they all seemed to be either fighting for females/territory or taking art in some sort of mating display. I found it rather interesting anyway, even though they were only tiny.
           Saw several more monkeys throughout my time in the park, amongst other creatures, then went back to Kuching for my flight the next evening

KUCHING AGAIN
To fill the day me and crazy Dirk went to the Semmengoh Orang Utan wildlife centre, a centre where they have taken in animals rescued from poachers and captivity and they train them to learn to live in the wild before releasing them again. They currently have about 10 of varying ages, and they hold a feeding session for the tourists to snap away. It seems like a genuinely worthy cause (unlike the moneymaking scam of the tiger temple) and the people seem genuinely interested in conservation. I got the impression that the feeding sessions are purely to satisfy the government/tourist industry, to bring some necessary income, to educate and to prevent it becoming like a zoo by the force of higher powers.
       The orang utans were already out when we got there, and it made for a wicked visit, seeing several from reasonably close, including a smaller baby one.
      Didn't do much else in Kuching, and flew to KK in the evening
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