| Part 7: Kuching,
Intan -> Kuala
Lumpur -> Kuching
Waterfront Lodge, Kuching. RM 90 for a small but nice and comfortable
room with attached bathroom (shower). No window, but opening on top
from which the light enters. A/C, TV, phone, table and chair and a
place where to hang the clothes. The bathroom is clean and modern. Best
shower (in a budget place) I've had so far.
overcast in the morning, then a mix of overcast and sunny
sleep long, getting up after 9am. Around 11am I drive with Shirley and
Natasha into town, where I have a late breakfast in the Old Town White
Coffee restaurant. While there I download my emails. Brief discussion
with Shirley. I decide that I'll fly today (evening) to Kuching, that
is if I manage to get a plane ticket.
buy a bus ticket (RM
14), then go back home to pack my stuff. At 1pm the bus to KL leaves to
the KL Jalan Duta station. Once there I take a taxi (RM 14.20,
coupon system) to the KL Sentral station hoping to get a plane ticket
the Airasia office there. Not a chance, huge queue of people. Would
probably had to wait 1:30 hours or more judging by the queue numbers.
I take the next KLIA Express train to KLIA. This leaves at 3:40pm and
arrives in KLIA
at 4:10pm. Then I get to the bus station and this time there is no bus
waiting for me, I have to wait. The bus (RM 2.50) only leaves at 4:40pm.
5pm I manage to be at the LCCT terminal and for a couple of minutes I
hope of being able to catch the 5:40pm flight. Not chance,
there is again a
huge queue of people wanting to buy Airasia tickets and I only get the
plane ticket at 6pm for the 7:40pm flight. Cost is RM419 + RM 45 for
the 3kg above 15kg for my luggage. I probably would have spent less had
I flown with Malaysian Airlines.
After this there is
hour of queue at the check in counter and finally at 6:40pm I can go to
the airport restaurant for some dinner. This has been a quite
inefficient way of travelling today - I left Teluk Intan at 1pm and
will only arrive in Kuching at 9:30pm.
flight leaves with a delay of 10 minutes and lands at 9:40pm. At the
airport in Kuching I book the hotel and take a taxi to it.
-> Kubah national park -> Matang wildlife reserve
Waterfront Lodge, Kuching.
mostly sunny in the morning, gradual clouds build-up, intermittent rain
starting from 2pm. Many hours of rain in Kuching until 6pm. Not too hot.
leave the hotel at 9:20am and walk to the CPH Travel travel agency.
There I learn, sigh, that just an hour ago, at 8:30am, a group left for
the Talang-Satang tour, the one which visits the turtle protection
area. No such tour tomorrow, because there are no people going
tomorrow. Had I arrived just one hour earlier I could have
full-day tour (RM 230).
But it is possible to do
the tour tomorrow to the Kuching Wetlands park, where it is possible to
Irrawaddy dolphins if you are lucky. I leave for the moment the travel
agency giving them my contact details and asking them to contact me
should somebody show up wishing to do the Talang-Satang tour.
it looks that I'll spend two days in Kuching and there is no particular
time pressure I take it easy and slowly walk back to the hotel where I
confirm the two nights. Then I check flights and connections over the
Internet. I end up fixing the last part of my holiday, visiting Labuan
and Brunei after leaving Kuching. I book the Airasia flight to Kota
Kinabalu, to avoid entering into the 24h no-book window.
something am when I leave the hotel again and head to the tourist
information centre to ask how to get back from Kubah NP. They mention
something of park vans making the way back to Kuching. Another option
is to ask the taxi driver to wait.
I walk back to
street where I flag down a taxi. For RM 50 he'll bring me to the Kubah
NP. It's not a too long trip and at 11:50am we are there.
Kubah NP is supposed to have nice rainforest and to be home to a large
number of species of palms. After registering at the park HQ the local
staff, a guy, tells me what I can do. The nicest thing in this park is
apparently a waterfall. Going there and coming back takes three hours
(1.5 to go + 1.5 to come back).
I ask about the
reserve which should be nearby and the park staff tells me that it is
quite far away. But for RM 20 he can drive me there, wait for me and
bring me to the bus station. But I have to be back from the waterfall
trail by 3pm.
So I start walking towards the
waterfall. I first
walk up along a road for half an hour. Then I take a trail to the left
and start descending. In the meantime, at 2pm it starts raining, which
does not make things easier because everything gets very slippery and
I'm just wearing rubber slippers.
I manage to
waterfall ahead of time, even making a few photo stops along the way.
Quite a challenge to balance when holding an umbrella when walking
down a steep trail. The waterfall is beautiful and would have
looked even better in a sunny blue sky.
On the way
back to the
park HQ at one point I slip when walking down a staircase. I make a
nice sky dive and am lucky that I just hurt a bit the left arm. Some
blood coming out, but never mind, it could have been much worse
back at the park HQ by 2:50pm, then drive with the park HQ staff to the
Matang wildlife reserve. This is supposed to be a place where
animals are prepared for a life in the wild. In reality I only see
animals in cages. After half an hour there I get back to the car and we
start driving back to Kuching, arriving there before 5pm. I give RM 50
to the guy for driving me around.
the evening I relax and book all remaining flights and hotels in Brunei
and Dubai. I also buy a ticket for the trip to Semenggoh tomorrow for
-> Kuching wetlands national park ->
Full Hua, Kota Kinabalu. RM 90 for a small but recently renovated and
stylish room with attached bathroom (shower). The room has adjustable
A/C, TV, phone, a cupboard for the clothes, small table + chair, no
window. WLAN is available, but does not work (only in the lobby). No
breakfast. Centrally located in the Kampung Air area of KK.
overcast in the early morning. The sky opens up after 9am, then closes
again and finally opens up after 11am. Just a little bit rain in
Kuching in the evening.
I'm ready by
7:45am for the trip
to Semenggoh. At 8am the minibus arrives and starts picking up people
for the trip.
We arrive to Semenggoh at 8:45am, i.e. the minibus trip has taken a bit
over half an hour.
My last visit to Semenggoh took
place over 10
years ago, in April 2000. It appears that the Semenggoh centre has
changed a lot in the meantime. It has been professionalised and
the number of tourists has gone up since the last time I visited. Back
then there were perhaps two dozen tourists waiting for the orang utans
and no orang utans showed up.
This time around
orang-utans gather around the feeding platforms, including a mother
with a baby. The not so good news is that also the number of tourists
has gone up. Huge crowd of at least 100 people, cramped in the small
space of the viewing zone. Looks like Semenggoh people have been very
successful in marketing the centre. Or perhaps April is low season
July is high season.
Shortly after 10am we drive
back towards Kuching, arriving
before 11am. I then walk to the office of the CPH Travel tour agency to
pay the afternoon tour to the Kuching Wetlands national park (RM 160).
there I ask what time we are back from the
tour. 8:30pm, which is ok, because it leaves enough time to arrive to
the airport. The girl in
the travel agency is not so sure that we will be back by 8:30pm. Some
discussion, we conclude that I will talk to the drivers and boatmen,
so that they bring me back to the hotel by 8:30pm.
it is 11 something am. I get back to the hotel and check out, leaving
my bags there. Then I get out, have some lunch and explore a bit the
I take one of those boats which cross the
cents). On the other side of the Sarawak river there is not much to
actually there is nothing worth mentioning.
2:30pm I'm back
in the hotel. I pull out the computer, check my emails and read the
news. I also check in online with Airasia and book the hotel in Dubai
for July 24.
The driver of CPH tours arrives a bit
4:25pm. We drive to a jetty near the Santubong peninsula (arriving
shortly before 5pm), where I'll do the tour to the Kuching Wetlands NP
together with four other travellers. The idea is to take some photos of
the Irrawaddy dolphins which supposedly live here.
tells me that this tour can also be done in the morning and that
actually the morning is the better time to see dolphins.
tour turns out to be a disappointment, because we see no dolphins. The
only wildlife worth mentioning are some proboscis monkeys far away on
the trees. Thinking about it, it's no surprise that we see no dolphins,
because there is a huge traffic of boats in this area.
boat trip lasts a
bit over two hours - we leave at 5:15pm and are back at 7:30pm. The
tour guide is a bit desperate because no dolphins show up and spends a
lot of time and effort to locate at least some proboscis monkeys. It is
really dark at 7:30pm when we finally are back in the
The tour guide then drives to Kuching and
drops me at the
Hotel at 8:05pm. The hotel staff calls a taxi for me, which arrives 10
minutes later. At 8:35pm we arrive at the airport.
leaves with a small delay of 10 minutes for KK. The only reason
actually I'm flying to KK is that there are no direct flights between
Kuching and Labuan or Kuching and Brunei. I have a connecting flight to
plane lands at 11:20pm. Things then happen fast: I retrieve the
luggage, call the hotel to book a room and get into a taxi (RM 30,
limousine) to the hotel.