The land of delivery KFC!!
Trip Start Sep 26, 2012
57Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Premium Stay Hostel
Once we had landed we jumped in a taxi and after getting very lost our, not very friendly, driver finally gave in and phoned the hostel for directions. We were beginning to get a bad feeling about our decision to come to Kuching but this was soon forgotten when we entered the reception of Premium Stay Hostel and were met by the friendliest & most helpful receptionist we have encountered so far
With his help, we really did manage to pack a lot in to our few days in Kuching...
We decided to spend a day exploring everything the city had to offer so we took ourselves on a tour of the area using our guide book and a map we had acquired. Kuching is the city of the cat and, as a result, is full cat statues and monuments! Along the river there are paving stones detailing the history of Kuching and how it was involved in the battle for ownership between Malaysia & Brunei and the role us Brits played in protecting it.
As we walked along the river's edge, we spotted a sign for river cruises with the next one leaving in a matter of minutes! We thought this might be a good way to see lots of the sights so we hopped on. It was a very relaxing tour but there was actually very little to see and with no commentary from the man operating the boat, we weren't really sure what we were looking at anyway
Once back on dry land we made our way through the city stopping for an ice cream and a quick look inside a bazaar where we picked up some souvenirs. I picked up an unwanted souvenir as a big bug flew into my eye & refused to come out despite me scraping at my eyeball in desperation. Matt tried to help but he couldn't get it out either! He was just beginning to panic that it may be a leech when finally I managed to dislodge it! Thankfully I wasn't left with anything more than a slightly bloodshot eye for a while! Then made our way on to China Town & Little India (it's becoming clear now that everywhere has one!!) before venturing further out to the national monument, aquarium and museum.
All in all it was a very successful day of sightseeing as we covered pretty much all of the main areas of interest mentioned in the guide book plus some extra things we found interesting!
Monday morning saw me & Matt up really early and making our way across the city to the bus station as we had planned a trip to the Orangutan Sanctuary for their morning feed
After a quick briefing, we followed the guide along a short trail into the edge of the rainforest where another guide was beginning his call to the orangutans to come and feed. After about 20 minutes there were still no orangutans and the guide's calls were becoming increasingly desperate! Another 20 minutes passed and still nothing, our spirits were dampening, as were our clothes as it was still pouring with rain!! It was becoming clear that the orangutans weren't going to come and see us today and who can blame them? It was really early & pouring with rain, I certainly wished I was still in bed too!!
We were taken by minibus to the Cultural Village as it was about 45 minutes away. I was very excited when we arrived as we were given passports to use throughout our visit which you could get stamped at each different tribe you visited. As we walked around the village we came across different structures, each typical to that particular tribe, for example longhouses belonging to the Iban tribe where numerous families would live communally in what was a very long house! Inside the houses we were greeted by actors who portrayed members of each tribe and described the way of life these people would have lived and some of the activities they would enjoy such as making clothes and rugs. There was a traditional bamboo bridge to take you across to one tribe which we all managed to cross despite it being very narrow!
After spending time walking around the various buildings and meeting different tribes, we made our way to the theatre to watch the 4pm show. This was a bright and colourful display of the different dances each tribe would perform at particular times of the year, including a representation of newborn birds learning to fly and a ceremonial dance involving a big wooden pole which one man climbed and was then spun round as he laid in his stomach
Today saw us heading off to the Bako National Park. This was highly recommended in the brochures and our very friendly receptionist said it was good as well. This meant getting up early again to get the bus at 8. It was then an hour on the bus to the ferry port. We knew once there you needed a boat to get to the park. These cost 90RM per boat and held up to 6 so ideally we wanted to try to share a boat to split the cost. Luckily there were 2 men on our bus who were keen to do this as well. So we all hopped aboard a rather small boat. The waters here were rather dangerous as they are home to a lot of crocodiles. This being proven by the very large skull on display in the lobby. We kept an eye out in hope of seeing 1 but we had no luck. The journey took about 20-25 minutes then we suddenly slowed down near an island. It was a very low tide so we were nowhere near the edge of the water and even further from the beach but he seemed to be stopping. Suddenly he announced that we must walk from here!!! All 5 of us gave him a puzzled look and said, "Walk? You're joking right?" as the beach was probably still 3-400metres away. "You must walk," he replied. So the question had to be asked, "but I thought you said there were crocodiles in this water?" He didn't reply but he jumped in the water and ushered us out
We signed in and quickly went on our way, going in search of the famous proboscis monkeys. These are strange looking monkeys that have fat pregnant looking bellies and big noses. No sooner had we started our trek the usual happened. It poured down. With no wet gear yet again we all got drenched. The walk was only 0.8km so wasn't too far but it was a challenging walk with lots of climbing and trees in the way. Luckily out of nowhere Gareth spotted a proboscis monkey sat in the tree, which turned out to be a group of 3 of them. This was amazing luck so made getting wet worthwhile. We watched for a while then continued the walk and bumped into Dush from the day before. To our dismay, he told us he had gone back to the orangutan sanctuary for the afternoon session and saw 6 of them. Even the really big rare one came out! We were very pleased for him but couldn't believe our luck on seeing none
As we reached the start of the next trek which was 1.5km each way, I decided to skip it as I wasn't feeling great. So the boys headed off only for Gareth to soon return with both flip flops now fallen apart and no more elastic bands! Matt on the other had carried on alone. He started off thinking he would just go a little way then turn back but it soon became a personal challenge to see whether he could do the whole trek. He was against the clock as well as this was 1hr 30mins each way, we were getting picked up at 2 and it was already gone 11 when they started. It turns out Matt got a bit of a shift of so was really walking quickly as me and Gareth sat waiting and laid on benches. As he came to his first T junction he says he almost turned back giving up early as he was already tiring a bit and the sign said it was 1 hour to go. With the time being now nearly 12, an hour each way plus the half hour ish to get back from here made it a tough decision. This is Matt we are talking about though! So he figured if he could knock 15 mins off each journey that would give him enough time to just about make it. So he somehow managed to get all the way there, get photos as proof and get back to the sign in 55mins. Even he surprised himself. Then returning to us at about 1.15 very sweaty and very dirty. He was very proud of himself. I think the Kinabalu climb had given him good practice.
On the way back to the boat we came across a family of wild boars
HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEP!!!
After a final wander around the town, stopping to post our postcards and try a local delicacy (a kind of meat filled bread dumpling), we headed back to the Maharaja for lunch before catching a taxi to the airport and our final farewell to Malaysia.
I'm so glad we made the decision to come to Kuching as it really has been a fascinating fun filled few days!