The Bako National Park is the oldest national park in Malaysia... Gazetted as a protected area in 1957, it has almost every type of vegetation that is found in Borneo... Covering some 2,727 hectares at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula, Bako has seven complete eco-systems such as beach vegetation, cliff vegetation, kerangas of health forest, mangroive forest, mixed dipterocarp forest, padang or grass;ands and peat swamp forest... bako is also home to 5 species of primates viz the rare proboscis monkey, lon-tailed macaque, silver leaf langur, the slow loris and tarsier... Other interesting animals that can be seen are monitor lizards, plantian squirrels, bearded wild pigs, flying lemurs, civet cats and at least 6 species of bats...
Accommodation at the park includes chalets, lodges, hostels and campsites... Other facilities include the Kerangas Cafe, a barbeque area, 24-hour electricity supply and treated water supply...
Bako is managed by the Sarawak Forest Department... All visitors to Bako must obtain an entry permits, register at the park office and pay a nominal entry fee... These can be done at the Kampung Bako jetty... The Petra Jaya Bus (No. 6) takes 40mins from Kuching to Kampung Bako... The earliest bus leaves Kuching at 6am and the last bus leaves Kampung Bako at 5pm daily... Visitors then board chartered boats (at RM16 return) to continue their journey to the park...
It is somehow rare these fruits can only be found in certain countries. It is a fruit oval in shape and with spikey skins. Many foreign tourists do not like the smell as it has rather strong smell but tastes good. It is seasonal, twice a year mostly middle or end of the year.
In Kuching many of durian trees grow wildly in the forest.
This fruit has high cholestrol but can filled your tummy and you can skip lunch or dinner if you take it. Avoid liquor after taking these fruits.
In picture no. 2 , those tourists went for a longhouse trip and on the way back we saw some durians on the way back at the roadside. As a tourguide, I asked them to try, some liked it but not all.
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.
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.
Gunung Gading National Park is located about 2 hours drive from Kuching. You can either hire a taxi for the day or get a bus to Lundu, and then a van to the park. When we got there we organised a guide to take us to the Raflessia flower, the biggest in the world. It took about 1.5 hours of walking through rainforest to get there. There was one flower that had been in bloom for 4 days and another close by, which was moulding. We were very lucky to see the Raflessia, let alone two of them. There was a waterfall close by to the flowers.
My friend shows us this place off Kuching Town centre & about 30 minutes drive. This river is ideal for picnicking & we're happily throwing all the gals into water.
This is what we call "Of the Beaten Path" bullies.
P/s: Transport there (FREE), because my friend's relative is running a 2nd hand car dealership.
The Kuching Aquarium is located in a small open-air building behind the Sarawak Museum "Old Building." There are several fish tanks with various species, some water bird displays, and a large cayman crocodile in a cage. Note that there are public tandas (toilets) at the aquarium. Admission is free.
In the park south of the Sarawak Museum's "Old Building," is a beautiful, well-groomed botanical garden with trees, flowers, fountains, gazebos and paths. The Aquarium and Heroes' Monument are located in this park. I understand that it is well lit and a nice place to go in the evening as well; however, the garden was once the old burial ground of the Chinese community in Kuching and who knows what comes out at night.
Jalan India used to be the main shopping area of Kuching. It is the extension of Jalan Carpenter to the northwest. They are now separated by the Japanese Building, which was built during the Japanese occupation in 1940 and is now part of the Courthouse Complex. You may walk through the Little Lebanon Restaurant to get to the Jalan India shophouses.
The old Kuching Wet Market is at the west end of the Waterfront across the Sarawak River from Astana. It is not in use anymore (March 2009) but I do not know why. There was trash everywhere (unusual for Kuching) and even part of the roof was missing. It is in a great location on Main Bazaar. I bet there is something planned for that land.
save a day to climb mt santubong. just don't expect a light climb up a hill!
probably one of the more memorable moments of my trip.
there are also some great cafes and bars about. leagues ahead of kl.
You can spend the day or even rent a cabin for the night. Which ever, bring good walking shoes and your camera and plan to get wet.
From Kuching you can take a cab, but I would suggest booking a private tour. The whole day was less than $100, and the guide made all the difference.
After a short drive to the pier, we boarded a boat that took us to the park. After arriving, I was given a choice of any hiking trail(s) I wanted to do... I took the short one. With in the first few minutes we came across a troop of Proboscis monkeys. At the end of trail, I was hot and tired, so we hopped a water taxi. The owner of the little boat was great, and gave us a wonderful tour of the park from the water. This is where you get wet, you have to walk out into the water (about 2 feet deep) to get in and out of the boat. No one warned me... I was in leather shoes and jeans!
After hours of walking and riding, you can enjoy a nice meal at the little cafe and watch nature go by. Warning keep an eye out on your food the Silver Leaf monkeys will steal it right off the table!
One last warning, this is not a city park, it is nature almost in pure form. There are snakes out there and the animals are wild. Just keep an eye out, and use some common sense and you should have a wonderful experience.
I've included 5 photos here to give you an idea of what you might see.
Situated at the foot of Mt Santubong, the Sarawak Cultural Village exhibits 7 traditional houses representing 7 cultures of Sarawak from the Chinese, Malaysia & 5 ethnic groups on 17 acres in Santubong (35km from Kuching).
Each house has people "living & working" to show the day-to-day activities in their lives. There is also a 45-min cultural show held twice a day
To get here, it takes approximately 30-45 min from the capital city on a dual carriage road. Entrance to the Sarawak Cultural Village costs RM60 ($17) for adults, but it will cost less for those from Sarawak
If you're not keen on travelling all the way up to Kota, then about an hour and a half north of Kuching is a little peace of paradise called Damai.
All you need there are your swimmers and an appetite for relaxation.
Rent a car, take a drive outside Kuching and discover the rivers and mountains that surroounds the city.
Becareful because unless you know your way around, you may get quite lost. Trust me. Been there done that. Hoe else do you thing I score these pictures. :-)