Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cat City - Day 3

It's a great feeling waking up in a jungle. No noisy neighbours, no noisy cars. Just nature and fresh air. The good thing about Bako is, there are no mosquitoes. We were surprised. Edwin woke up early in the morning to try out another trek, the Teluk Sapi. I was having lots of muscle ache from the previous day's hike, so I didn't join him. By the way, Edwin was my travel partner to Nepal during our 4th uni year. His stamina was amazing, despite the cachexic appearance.

We stayed at this jungle chalet with two rooms. Each room has two beds attached bathroom. Quite comfortable, just that no air-con.

The chalets are surrounded by trees, which makes it a very nice back to nature experience.

We had simple breakfast that we brought along. Food at the canteen wasn't great. Told the boatman the day before that we'll be leaving at 9 am. Initially wanted to share boat with other tourists, but there were none leaving at that time. The cost for a one-way boat ride is RM 47, and can usually sit 5 people per boat.

Our boatman was a bit late. So we still had some time to walk around the wooden platform. And then it was time to leave.

Our schedule was very tight for the rest of the day. From Bako, we headed to the Satok Sunday Market. That is a bit like the Gaya Street that we have in KK. Many things to see, hold, and buy. The market starts at Saturday evening and ends at Sundah noon.

Irene shopped for some gifts to bring back home. Little boy was finding things to play with. By the time we're done, our stomachs were growling. Must try some authentic Sarawakian food before we leave.

Sarawak laksa.

Kon lo mee. Not very authentic, but will do.

Met up with some old coursemates who are studying to become eye doctors. Then we rushed off for our next destination: the Cat Museum.

Edwin sums it up well. In the Cat Museum, you can find almost anything about cats, except real cats. Pretty good collection of cat related stuffs, and entrance is free.

Have you seen a crying cat before?

Time was running out. We rushed to the Sarawak Cultural Village, which is located in Santubong, about 45 minutes away from Kuching. Arrived there at about 3 pm. The cultural show starts at 4 pm. We've got just an hour to finish seeing all the houses there. Entrance fee is a whopping RM 60. Luckily, my student card earned me some discounts. For those of you who have never been to SCV, let me bring you on a very fast sight-seeing tour. The SVC is basically a cluster of houses of different races/tribes built around a lake, with staffs in the houses making handicrafts and cultural performance.

The Chinese house.

The Malay house. Some ladies playing congkak and making kueh kepit there.

The Melanau house. Gigantic structure.

The Orang Ulu house. Magnificently built on stilts. There was a man playing music instrument and another making the sape (native guitar).

The Penan house. Or rather, hut. The simplest of them all.

The Iban house. Lots of tree bark as wall paper.

The Bidayuh house. My favourite. The circular hall was really grand. Great place to sit around and yum-cha and have BBQ at the fireplace in the center.

And finally, we rushed to see the cultural show. We were a bit late. Nice show it was. Sayang didn't manage to have a photo with the guy in loin cloth.

Took some photos of our final moments in Kuching.

3 days 2 nights passed very fast. Before we knew it, it's time to get onto the return flight. It has been a great trip, made even more memorable by Edwin's company. Schedule was very hectic. But I think we managed to see most of the things we need to see in Kuching.

Had dinner at The Spring, the newest shopping complex in Kuching. Something like Midvalley of KL. Then, Edwin sent us to the airport.

And we went on our way home to KK, with fond memories of Kuching, Sarawak.

To see more photos, click HERE.

Cat City - Day 2

Day two in Cat City started with a nutritious bowl of kueh chap. Little boy liked it too. If you don't know what that is, see my earlier post, or do a google. That little stall selling kueh chap near the church, is much more delicious than the one Auntie Liz recommended in KK. Irene had curry mee, which was just ok.

We walked to the Waterfront again. There were some interesting blacksmith shops along the way. Since it was still early in the morning, most other shops were still closed.

The plan for the morning was to get across the river to see Fort Magherita. To get across the river, you'll have to hop on one of those little sampans, for a fee of 30 sen per person (so cheap hor). You get to chose from HOTLINK sampans...

And DIGI sampans.

Being a 019 user, I wanted to take a CELCOM sampan, but there were none to be found. Obviously the Sarawak River is not CELCOM territory.

After getting off the jetty, we walked into a little village, then passed a school, walked along some trails, and came to a police station. There were some interesting police vehicles on display. Probably vehicles used during zaman komunis or zaman britis, now retired and pancit. Little boy had fun with those macho machines.

The Fort was just beside the police station. Don't know much about it's history. I suppose it was used to cannon-fire headhunter boats during an era long passed. Sad to say, the Fort was quite run down. No proper maintenance, overgrown with lalang. And see that humongous structure that they're building in the background? That's going to be the new State Assembly building. Don't know how it's going to look when completed, but I would say for now, it spoils the skyline of the Kuching River only.

Don't you think this will be a good place to shoot a horror movie?

As we went back to the jetty, our HOTLINK boatman was already waiting for us. We had earlier agreed to go with him on a short Kuching river tour, to make up for the Sunset Cruise that we missed out.

Seeing Kuching River on a sampan. Not as cool as on a real cruise, but will make do. Cut cost ma.

Nice leh.
Little boy enjoyed the boat ride too.

After the 30-minute boat ride, we were back at the Waterfront.

The place was still quite deserted. And it was getting hot.

Little boy did not seem to mind though. He was having fun running around, and falling down.

From there we walked to the Tourist Info Center at the Court House complex across the road. Had to pay for our lodging at Bako. The staffs there have lots of info to offer. Then made a short visit to the Textile Museum nearby.

Walked on towards the Merdeka Palace Hotel. Edwin said it's the most expensive hotel in Kuching. The Agong and whatsoever VIPS stayed there when Merdeka celebration was held in Kuching. The hotel lobby certainly looked grand and classy.

Our destination was the Sarawak Museum, just beside Merdeka Palace. We're wierd people, who visit museums while on holiday. For the uninformed, there are more than 10 museums around Kuching for museum geeks who are interested.

The museum building was really beautiful.

Tried to take some photos without flash. But the guards still noticed. Bummer. Wonder why they don't allow people to take photos in museums. Their displays are so cool. Even got two giant whale skeletons in full length.

Edwin caught up with us after the museum. We checked out from the church, had a quick lunch, and headed for our next destination: Bako. Edwin joined us for the trip. He needed a break from crazy hospital work and city life.

Kampung Bako is about 30 minutes away from Kuching. That's were tourists hop onto boats to get into the Bako National Park.
Little boy got very scared of his first speed boat ride, clinging on to mummy for help. It was a nice but bumpy boat ride.

That's Mount Santubong if I am not mistaken.

We arrived at Bako National Park after 40 minutes or so. It was about 3 pm already.

Not having much time to spare before sunset, we quickly checked into our jungle chalets, and went for trekking. Little boy stayed in the room with mummy. I tak larat carry him.

The brochures claimed that Bako was teeming with wildlife. Well, there were not many that we saw. There were a couple of these proboscis monkeys, a big 'tame'boar that came looking for food in the evening, and that was about it.

There are many treks in Bako to be explored. Some could be reached within half an hour, others, half a day. Since we did not have much time, we chose the Teluk Pandan Kecil trail, which apparently have the best beach in Bako.

The interesting thing about Bako is, the vegetation changes very dramatically. One moment you could be walking through open low forests like this.

The next moment you could be struggling through dense rain forest. Really cool!

Here we are at the cliff overlooking Teluk Pandan Kecil, after a 45-minute trek.

Nice ka? So so ler. So quiet punya beach.

On the way back, did a side trek to Teluk Paku. Another beach, even less impressive. Then, we walked back to Bako HQ to enjoy the sunset.

Had dinner at the HQ canteen. Then settled for an early night rest. Haven't been doing exercise for a long long time. Got really tired out by the trek.