Kuching is cool but hot!
Trip Start Sep 14, 2009
78Trip End Aug 16, 2010
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Where I stayed
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
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
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.