Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
3Trip End Feb 17, 2006
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Where I stayed
Travelled to Kuching by Air Asia. At this time, the LCCT terminal is not opened yet and Air Asia was still operating from KLIA Main Terminal. Parked my car at the terminal. Parking charges are RM 50 max for 24 hours. Upon checking in our bags, we just lazed around KLIA while waiting for the boarding time. Had an early lunch at KLIA Food Court but sadly, not much variety. Thinking about it now, I think LCCT has more choices.
To our surprise, we boarded the new airbus, just recently acquired by Air Asia. Our flight was at 8pm and the journey took 2 hours. We landed at Kuching International Airport at 10pm. This is a newly renovated airport. Previously it was just a domestic airport and only now it has been upgraded into an international airport. From there, we took a cab to the hotel. While chit chatting with the cab driver, I learned that he is a part time driver and during the day, he works at some ministry office in Kuching. The cab belongs to his dad and he mentioned that he could arrange for his dad to take us around Kuching should we need transport. I confirmed the deal with him. That is also when I learned that all cab drivers in Kuching do not work on an agreed sum but strictly by meter only which is a good thing.
We checked into the hotel, Harbour View Hotel, which is ideally located by the Kuching Waterfront. After checking in, tool a stroll to the Kuching Waterfront. There are many stalls and the place was quite happening. I had my supper here and relaxed until around midnight and then back to the room as I had to wake up early because I had instructed the cab driver to come to the hotel at 8am the next morning.
Had an early rise and went down for breakfast. Breakfast was excellent in the hotel with lots of choices from local to continental breakfast. As we were having our breakfast, I got the call from the cab driver that he is waiting outside. Finished our breakfast and met our cab driver, who is the earlier driver's father, Mr. Hj Maseri who is also a local native.
Our first destination was Kampung Benuk. It is a local village which houses the natives and there is a small museum there where we could visit...of course, for a small fee. This is the tribe that used to do head hunting those days. Its part of the Bidayuh Tribe. The village was a mixture of traditional long house and modern design. The museum there is known as Paka Mini Museum and it is run by the late village heads wife. The late village heads name was Otok. It is here that I learned that this village previously used to live in caves and until the arrival of the British to Sarawak, their livies were continuously threatened. Then, by assistance of the British, they moved to this place in early 1940. When we finished, I thanked the lady and gave her a small token of appreciation (which is compulsory).
Then, it was another long drive to Annah Rais Village in Padawan. The drive took almost 2 hours. Along the way, we managed to see the oldest church in Sarawak which is an Anglican Church. Upon arrival at the village, we had to pay a small fee again for entry. This village seems more traditional and organized. Took a walk inside the long house and they also have a small souvenir shop which sells handcrafted items from the native people here. Managed to taste some Tuak here...which is the local arrack. It tastes good too. Now our next destination, Semengoh Orang Hutan Wildlife Preservation Centre.
At the Semangoh WIldlife, we were lucky because we arrived here just before 2.30 pm which is the feeding time for this wildlife. We were guided through a jungle trek to the feeding ground and were allowed to watch these primates at close proximity. We left here almost at 4pm and headed back to the city.
Our next destination was the Cat Museum, the only one of its kind in the world. It has the history of cats and a lot of information about cats. As you would already know, Kuching in Malay language means cats. Hence, this city is also known as the cat city. From the cat museum, we told the cab driver to send us back to the hotel as we were tired too. We reached the hotel at around 6 pm.
When we reached the hotel, we suddenly were motivated to cross the Kuching River at the waterfront and visit Fort Margherita. We took the boat, which is a main transport medium here in Kuching, for a nominal fee of 50 cents per person. Visited the Fort and after that, we came back to the Riverfront.I then hired a boatman to take us on a private tour on his boat alone the Kuching River. He agreed for a fee of RM 20 which is supposed to last 1 hour. This was a great experience as it was almost sunset, we watched and enjoyed sunset from this boat. Once done, he send us back to the waterfront.
We then took a walk at the waterfront bazaar and decided to do some shopping of native antique items. After shopping, we walked back to the hotel and had dinner at a restaurant by the name of Green Hill Corner which is just beside the hotel. The great thing about Kuching is that as you do your purchases, you do not need to carry the items and walk around. just inform them you hotel and room number, and they would send it to your hotel and it would be with the reception area safely tagged. No pilferage. This kind of trust is hard to find in Peninsular Malaysia. With this we called it a day and went to rest.
Woke up early again. Here, unlike peninsular malaysia, sunrise is much earlier. At 6 am, it is equivalent to 8 am in peninsular. After breakfast at the hotel, we met our cab driver again. This time, we headed towards Mount Santubong and Mount Sejinjang..the two legendary mountains of Sarawak. Finally after a 2 hour drive, we arrived at Damai Lagoon, the foothill of the mounts. Here is the Sarawak CUltural Village. A must visit. Never miss this place if your going to Sarawak. Due to its distance, it is a good idea to stay at Hilton Damai Lagoon and enjoy the beach and scenery too.
The visit to the Sarawak CUltural Village took almost 5 hours...even that was not enough. Then we headed to the other side of city. Our next destination was Matang Wildlife. This is another 3 hour journey. By the time we reached here it was evening.
After visiting the wildlife, we headed back to the hotel and reached the hotel at 7 pm. We then did another round of shopping in the City. Had dinner in the hotel. We wanted to try Laksa Sarawak and Mutton Soup there. It is excellent. Would highly recommend anyone to try these dishes at this hotel. With this we called it a night a decided to rest. We were very tired, especially with traveling the distances.
Today is quite quiet. Since our flight was in the afternoon, didn't do any traveling. We had breakfast in the hotel and walked over to the Chinese History Museum which is just opposite the hotel. From there, came back to the hotel, checked out and headed straight to the airport. We did not have lunch too as we were quite full with the breakfast. Then we reached KLIA at 6pm and had an early dinner there and back home.