Kuching is cool but hot!

Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
1
53
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Trip End Aug 16, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kuching is the state capital of Sarawak and we had heard good reports about it being laid back and a relaxing place. It was also close to Bako National Park on the coast which we wanted to explore.

We stayed at a great little hostel in the centre of town that was well geared up with wifi, a rooftop bar, table football and of course a pool table. Aidan once again tried to beat Dave whom we had re-met up with there with Bonnie. I think Aidan finally got the better of him after a few attempts and a bit of leniancy!

As a city it lived up to its reputation and we just took it easy catching up with school work and planning the trip.

A highlight was a trip to the Sarawak cultural village which could have been a bit tacky and touristy but in fact surprisingly wasn't. It gives you a good insight into traditional village life through a number of houses that have been recreated there and there are locals that are happy to explain things in detail to you. It was also interactive with Ady showing a deft hand at spinning the biggest spinning tops I have ever seen with a rope as a winder. There was also the chance for us to see if we had improved on the art of blowpipes. We hadn’t! In a small theatre (with aircon thank goodness) where we saw a local dance show.

There's a couple of small shopping malls in town that Issy became besotted with in order to find a bookstore for her to satisfy her now enormous hunger for reading books at an incredible rate. She has so far read about 30 books that we have bought and sold but unfortunately I have not been able to get any downloaded onto her IPod as we have been in Malaysia. Also probably due to my incompetence, so if anybody has any good ideas so we can stop carrying 12 kilos of books around – let us know!

Kuching is built on the banks of a river and one evening we all went out for a walk after dinner and came across the opening ceremony for the new promenade walk that had been built as a river walk. Of course it wasn’t a normal ceremony, the Prime Minister was the official gust and we stumbled into the event to be greeted by himself who looked at us surprised and said "hello, how are you?" Mixing with the top brass - great stuff!

After we had said our final goodbyes to Bonnie and Dave, who have been great comp0ant on our travels through Borneo, we decided on an overnight trip to Bako. I had read up on a lot of reports of Bako that said that the accommodation and facilities were very poor but for one night we thought we would risk it. The park is reached in about an hour from Kuching using a local bus that drops you at the main gates. From there it is a 15 minute boat trip into the sea and around the headland to the park HQ. We only had a couple of days left in Malaysia and so I was reluctant to get too much cash out that would need changing at the airport. I had enough for food and lodging but hadn’t counted for the extortionate cost of the boat trip that wiped us out of money! Luckily II had heard an older couple at the check in who I thought had a Coventry accent. “Which part of Cov are you from?” I asked. “Tile Hill, how did you know?” They had just taken early retirement at 60 and we had a laugh about it before we asked them for a loan! Thankfully they had some spare cash which tided us over until we could get to a cash point.

As rain clouds loomed we decided to go off for a trek straight away before checking in to the rooms. We went on a loop that took us through the seven different eco systems that Bako is famous for and the change in scenery in such a small area is very surprising. Even as the rain fell it was beautiful to be up on the hill overlooking forest on one side and the China Sea on the other. When we got back we were drenched but had brought a change of clothes so problem there.

As soon as we entered the four bed dormitory I knew the prospects were not good. Damp, urine, unclean – and that was our room. The washroom was pretty much the same. Oh well, one night is manageable, we convinced ourselves as we went to get something to eat.  

In the other Malaysian parks the accommodation and food had been very good. Here it wasn’t. The food was awful to put it mildly. It was a buffet that they kept getting out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, reheating it badly on small burner candles. Needless to say the kids bought a pot noodle and we had plain noodles. It is such a shame as the park is gorgeous although new buildings are being constructed that may help; still, they will have to change the chef though!

The next day it was monsoon like weather and after twenty minutes of battling through the forest in the downpour, we decided to cut our losses and try and head back to Kuching. After a long drawn out disagreement with the boating mafia we finally made it back and spent the day drying out in the Gust House.

Our time in Borneo and Malaysia was at an end and we all concluded that it had been one of the best legs of our adventure. Action packed, stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, spiritual jungles, it had it all and we loved it.
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Comments

juliamullins
juliamullins on

Off to Bali now....I can't wait for the updates. Bali is one of my favourite places. I'm sure you'll get up to Ubud. It's just so beautiful. It's been 21 years since i've been there so I'm sure it's changed a heap.

alison michell on

Realy enjoy reading your blog. good to hear about bonnie and dave too. here in scottish borders we have ejust experienced some bazaar weather which was vary upsetting for farmers as they lost a lot of new born lambs. there was heavy snow on high ground and torrential rainfall on lower ground just 20 miles away in places. the flooding was the wost i had seen in the 15 years i have blived here, but the next day it was all gone and the sun shone brightly like asummers day. its still rally cold here though like 8 degrees so i really envy you guys in the heat. was graet to have met you and we both could barely walk for 2 days after climbing kinabalu! ps. loved izzys account of that! ...alison x

Kathleen Bisset on

So Borneo and Malaysia were the best! We particularly liked Issy's account of her climb of Kinabalu. We used to go climbing in Wales and Cumbria but it wasn't hot....We haven't had a travelblog from you for about 3 weeks. Where are you? When you get to Sydney, try telephoning John and Lena Smith on 0061 2475 16072. They live near the Blue Mountains, just north of Sydney. Liz - do you remember Lena with the big glasses? Cant wait to read your next blog. Love Kassie and David XXXX

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