We're arriving late for Sarawak Cultural Centre visit. Anyway, I will revisit Kuching in near future hope to update more on Sarawak Cultural Centre.
Since we cannot visit the centre, taking one photo also "jadi"-lah!
We adjourned to Damai Beach & having seafood at near by restaurant.
Few of us return to Cultural Village for Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) the following year and the festival in the village setting is great.
The open air market is a market place selling various groceries items and agricultural products. There is also outdoor dining place here with stalls offering various local dishes. Adjacent to it is the Electra House which is among the earliest shopping mall in Kuching. An interesting feature of the open air market is its watch tower which used to be a watch tower for fires.
Even though there are various other bigger and better malls in Kuching, the open air market and Electra House still manage to attract patrons as they are located in the heart of the city. Additionally, the Petrajaya bus stop nearby and car/van rental area in the vicinity make this area become lively during the day. When nigh falls, its all quiet around this area.
North is north and south is south but the two are one in Kuching!
The small city of Kuching is actually two cities, the city of Kuching North and the city of Kuching South. Each has it’s own city hall and mayor…and the total population is only 500,000!
Does this imply the city is for some reason extremely difficult to run? Well, not exactly but this is the politics of accommodation – which tries to ensure each racial group doesn't feel left out in matters of state.
The picture shows the Kuching South City Hall. Kuching North City Hall is located across the river that runs through the town and is more popularly called the Cat Museum.
The famous Cat Museum (famous because "Kuching" is "cat" in Malay) is housed in the City Hall of Kuching North.
Entrance to the museum is free but the exhibits may not be to everybody’s liking. Some people find it rather kitschy and if you come here expecting a historical museum, you will be dissapointed.
So, what can you find here? Well, there are pictures and figurines of cats (what did you expect?) and other cat trivia such as movies and books with a link to cats. Personally I liked the figurines and cute cats, but the trivia stuff was not really that interesting for me.
Located in the Petra Jaya which is just outside of Kuching town, you’ll need a car (or taxi) to get here. You can also take a long walk up to the hilltop where the building is.
The building looks like an alien space ship but is actually based on the design of a traditional Melanau hat. The Melanau are a group of people native to Sarawak.
There was an interesting plaque at the site of the Satok Suspension Bridge.
When the bridge was constructed in 1925, ....it panicked wrong doers who feared being buried alive at the site. Apparently, Dayak tradition calls for several slaves to be sacrificed and thrown into the first hole to be dug.... to drive away demons
It then continues to say however the tradition was never followed.
As Ripley says - Believe it or not!
Orchid says: Let your imagination run wild. Afterall, this is head-hunting country!!
Padungan Road is sometimes referred to as Chinatown which is very misleading as most parts of the city is like a Chinatown.
One end of this road is marked by this arch in chinese architectural style and the other end is marked by the cat statues opposite the Holiday Inn Hotel .
I found nothing interesting along this street. There were many clinics, drug stores, car parts shops, repair shops and grocery shops, so it does'nt offer anything interesting to a casual visitor.
Charles Brooke, the 2nd Brooke Raja named this fort after his wife. Built on a hillside to guard the town against pirates approaching by river, it is now a Police Museum. It’s a small simple structure and in the courtyard is a display of old police vehicles and cannons.
In the rooms, exhibits include police uniforms and weapons of all types including the homemade guns of communist jungle fighters from the 60’s.
I walked along the battlements and was rewarded by a nice view of Kuching city from across the river.
Best way to get here is to hop onto the many boats that shuttle back and forth across the river. See my “things to do tip”. Once you get off the boat, it’s a 15 min walk to the fort.
Alas, you won’t see the Satok suspension bridge anymore as it collapsed towards the end of last year. While there was initially some talk of the govt rebuilding it, nothing more has been said since then.
The bridge was built in 1926 to hold water pipes transporting water to town and had a very narrow passageway for people to walk or wheel their bicycles across. Until a concrete 2 lane bridge was built just beside it in the mid 70’s, cars had to get across by ferry service. The construction of this bridge spurred development on the far bank which now has many residential estates, the Sarawak Parliament, the Cat Museum, sports stadiums etc,etc.
Head north of Kuching and you'll find yourself in Damai' s Cultural Village. There you will find traditional housing and customs of the local people of years gone by. This place is great place visit.
They provide shows several times a day. Try and catch one, it worth you while.
The best chance of seeing orang-utans in their natural habitat around Kuching. These beautiful animals were previously held in captivity but have been rehabilitated at the centre and are semi-wild, only coming to be fed if they have been unable to feed themselves in the jungle (hence you can't automatically assume that you will see them).
Feeding times are at 8.30 -9 am (although it was still in process when I arrived at 9.30) and 3 - 3.15 pm.
These animals are truly stunning and incredibly agile as they swing through the branches overhead. I felt really priveliged to be able to see them.
This place feels quite off the beaten track if you are going there using public transport although tour groups also descend upon the park in large numbers, and this may be an easier way to get there.
Tour or Public Tansport??
On a tour I guess that you can fit more sightseeing into the day as a trip to the centre by public transport only takes a morning (don't plan on spending a whole day for this trip) - having said that the people in the tour groups seemed more interesting in interacting with eachother than watching the orang-utans and I don't think I could have stomached spending a whole day with them. In short, going to Semenggoh using public transport will spare your sanity and save you money at the expense of being able to cram less into the day. - The choice is yours.
Incidentally Lonely Planet says that you need a free permit from the Visitors Centre in Kuching to enter the centre. This no longer seems to be the case. Entry to the park is 3RM.
Details of public transport to the centre can be obtained from the excellent visitors information centre, in the old courthouse in Kuching. It takes about 40 minutes by bus from the town to Semenggoh.
Of course seeing orang-utans was the highlight of my visit to Semenggoh but it was great to see other animals in the jungle too, like this gibbon.
Also at the centre are some caged crocodiles. Whilst I applaud the centre for its efforts to get orag-utans back into the wild, the conditions which the crocodiles were kept in were quite poor.
Peronally, I'd have releaded them into the jungle too, where they could (hopefully) prey on the noisy tour group members!
i felt so cheated! I went on one of the
longer trails i think it was Tajor and there was supposed to be a waterfall on the way and beach at the end.
It was so hot and i got so burnt and when we reached the waterfall none of us dared to go in cos the water was brown. and when we finally reached the beach, it was high tide so we couldn't go down!
ARGH we were so tired we wanted to call the info centre to get a boat to get us but NO RECEPTION. so we had to trek back and we ran out of water cos we didn't know there were exposed areas with no cover at all. 5 hours of trekking! 5hours!
However, drinking water is readily available from the little cafe, and it really is soothing to sit there and watch the waves. and the food ain't too bad either! and the little provision shop actually has lots of stuff, and oyu can even hold your own bbq ( i think you can either buy your own or get them to cater but u have to inform them beforehand).
and we had the company of boars, who were sniffing around our chalet and around the cafe as well. A couple (as in literally a pair of male and female) are the most common sight.
Might seems like a normal rock structure but according to our guide, this actually grows out of the ground and is now still growing few inches every year!
It is along the way from Fairy Cave back to Kuching.
About 3 minutes before the Kubah National Park in Matang lies 'the Kebun'. Spread over 10 acres it has Goats, Cows, 2 Fishponds and an extensive Fruit Orchard. The Owner built 2 houses which were actually dismantled from a Hollywood movie set and rebuilt on the property! Both houses have electricity and running water although the one pictured is the more comfortable one fully furnished and airconditioned.
From this farm you can visit the 2 nearby national parks by bike (which you can borrow) and also make visits to the nearby modern Iban Longhouse (Kampung Rayu Iban) plus Malay Kampungs in Telaga Air. From here its another 1 hour drive to Lundu town and a further 25 minutes to Sematan a coastal town.
There is a small stream that runs through the property into a big river. You can get the owner to have his boys bring you with farms sampan for prawning and crabbing. Much fun!
Best you email them for more information. Last time we stayed there it cost us RM120.00 a night and we brought our own food to cook. But we did get to eat some freshwater fish from the pond and a fresh chicken for no extra charge. We ended up staying for 3 nights.
We drove there but you can get there by Van from town which drops you right in front of the road that leads to the farm, a short 5 minute walk. There is a sundry shop nearby for the basic stuff which you can make a short run to either by the farms bikes or use one of their motorbikes if you are feeling lazy.
You can email them but be warned. They check their email like once a week as there is no fixed line at the farm.
About 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Kuching. Bako is an all-year-round-good-to-visit place.
Overland access from Kuching to a small fishing village, Kampung Bako. Then by boat to the park. Timings of the short sea crossing are dependant on the tides (expect rough seas between November and February).
Check out my Bako page for full details.