Borneo Beckons

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Oct 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Nadin Homestay, Kuching
What I did
Kuching Esplanade
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Malaysia  , Sarawak,
Monday, October 8, 2012

Up at the unearthly hour of half 6 to make breakfast before leaving the hotel in Kota Bharu- two bleary eyed travellers took the lift to the top floor, and then walked the last flight to the rooftop restaurant. The Kelantan river looked wide and brown as usual, the traffic outside being significantly thinner than the previous evening. The local population seem to rise late and work late with evening markets the order of the day. Certainly when we arrived at 11 on Sunday night the road outside the hotel was so busy we thought they had rerouted the Malaysian Grand Prix and decided to make it a night race. We had popped across to the Dessert shack across the road for a very late tea – after our very late tea. Crossing the road was like a game of Frogger (Sorry to those younger than me who probably don't remember Frogger the computer game)

Anyway breakfast was pretty tasty today- chicken nuggets and sweet chilli sauce (so i had a few to remind me of Hayley), 2 variations on rice, noodles with a concoction of veg and some strips of something – maybe tofu , chicken in a sort of sweet and sour coating, fried egg, and i’m sure something else but can’t remember. We also had toast from the fantastic toast machine. Quickest and best toast machine ever – I was hoping they would produce a list like the one in the bedroom so we could bring it home- but no luck. Apparently if you want to take the towels, or the remote for the aircon you can if you fork out few ringetts – so i don’t see why the toaster should be different.  Anyway back to the toaster. You pop you bread on the moving metal belt and it moves the toast under the burners. If you put it through twice it comes out perfect in quicksticks time- much better than hanging about for 3 mins like at home. Could make toast for everyone in the close with one of these beauties in the time it takes to do a couple of slices with mine.  To top it all they had Kaya as well – that really nice jammy stuff that’s a bit like proper lemon cheese without the lemons.

We were surprised to find Kota Bharu airport was a well organised little airport and we whistled through with no problems and soon found ourselves settled in our comfy leather seats ready for take off. We were heading for Kuala Lumpur for our transfer to Borneo (Kuching). Air Asia definitely came up trumps in terms of service and facilities etc. LCCT airport (Low cost carrier terminal – where all the Ryan air equivalents fly into) in Kuala Lumpur  was also a big surprise. Again there were lots of facilities there and it was by no means the poor relation to the international airport as some of the low cost airports tend to be.

We landed in Kuching in Borneo to a humid 33 degrees. It felt much hotter after a slighter cooler couple of days in the North east of Malaysia. Fortunately we had negotiated an airport transfer with our homestay before arrival so we were collected by a very nice little man, who took us to our little house.

The difference between Kota Bharu and Kuching can best be illustrated by comparing Chelmsley wood with Solihull for those of you familiar with Birmingham . The houses are suddenly bigger and more palatial , and roads wider but more orderly. There are still smaller houses in the kampongs which look like they are difficult to keep clean if you get my drift, but they all exist side by side.  

We are staying in a homestay in one of the kampongs (aka village) about 30 minutes from the jetty where the sampans take you across the river to the city. When we arrived here we were met by Raji (henceforth – but only between us, known as Thompson) who owns the homestay . He was a bit like one of those tenacious Thompsons reps who seem hell bent on selling you trips as soon as you arrive and before you have had chance to come round from the jet lag, or the night before. He seemed to be desperate to pin us down to having the services of a car and is driver . Anyway – those who know me well will know that the more people try and get me to spend money the more determined i become to hold onto it.  Knowing that Lindsay had managed to get around without a car last year and keen to keep down costs we had planned to do a number of trips etc by bus. Thompson however seemed to have other ideas. Eventually we managed to convince him that as we are here for 6 days we would ease in gently,  getting  our bearings  first (and checking  out the bus station, the footprints guide and Lindsay’s hints and tips email etc ) before making any commitments-  so tomorrow i think we will be checking out the local golf course and then taking a gentle "cruise" – i say that in inverted commas – when you have checked out the pics you will see that cruise may be a bit elaborate – but we will be drifting along powered by an outboard motor and a chap with two large paddles – along the Sarawak river- checking out local kampongs (prizes for those who remember what a kampong is)

Anyway i’d better sign off so i can post this and then get some sleep. The bullfrogs in the pond outside seem to have finally stopped singing- oh thump spoke to soon-  J
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