4 nice day trips from Kuching and 1 traumatizing experience

We stayed in Kuching for about 1 week during the xmas holiday last year. Despite the harsh weather (it was the rainy season), we did plenty of things to enjoy ourselves, other than visiting the town and eating sea food :D

* Learning about the culture in Sarawak Cultural Village

Going to the Sarawak Cultural Village is a good way to know about the different tribes that are living on that part of Borneo island. It’s not too far away from Kuching, and you can rent a taxi for half a day (or an entire day) for a good price. There is no public transport to go over there, but I’ve heard that a shuttle is going there at certain periods of the year.

Over there, you can find good examples of traditional longhouses from several tribal groups with the appropriate utensils and artefacts : longhouses of the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu, a Melanau tall-house and a Chinese farm house for example. There are also various activities you can participate in, such as blowgun shooting ! This was very nice even if we sucked at it.

At the end of the visit, we assisted to a wonderful traditional dance show for 45 minutes. You can go there with or without a guide, it’s up to you.

 

* Gunung Gading National Park

It was raining a lot that day, and we were the only one in the park. Some paths were closed due to the bad weather so we didn’t have the opportunity to hike to the waterfall. But it is a well-known and recommended track, one of the highlights of the park ! Instead, we did an interpretation trail about the biology of rafflesia, the biggest flower of the world. That was very interesting, we saw some rafflesia buds, but no flowers. The picture you see is taken from a poster inside the exhibit ;-) This plant is fascinating, it takes up to 9 months to grow and only flowers during a few days !After that that we had lunch to a beach nearby….

* Saying hi to the orang utans

The organ utans are native to the rainforest of Borneo and Sumatra. They are very intelligent great apes that can create sleeping nests each night from branches and leaves. It’s an endangered species due to habitat destruction and pet trades. In Borneo, there are several rehabilitating centres for orang utans, including the one very close to Kuching, the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. The centre will take care of wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets. It is possible to visit the centre, with a small entrance fee, and have a chance to see semi-wild orang utans.

Going to the wildlife centre can be disappointing during winter, because it is the fruit season. So the orang utans can find food by themselves in the forest and won’t really come to the feeding stations. It can therefore be tricky to spot some in the trees. Better to go in the morning to increase your chances.

We managed to see a mother and his baby and it was so cute ! It was raining so much that day it was tricky to take good shot, but I was glad to be able to see some ! Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any during the rainy season, but any other time of the year, the chances are higher !

There is also very nice vegetation over there.

* Visiting Annah Rais longhouse

Ana Rais longhouse is one of the oldest Bidayuh longhouses. The Bidayuh tribe is the second largest ethnic group in Sarawak, is located about 60km from Kuching.

I still have mix feelings about this longhouse. It’s a traditional longhouse, but there is not so much to see over there. With time, the place lost the typical atmosphere . The longhouse complex isn’t built completely from traditional materials, the people don’t wear traditional dress, and most of the houses have a TV satellite dish, it is very disturbing.

I think it’s much better to try to learn the culture by visiting the Sarawak village instead of this one, but it gives you the opportunity to visit a longhouse where people are sill living in it. Visit Ana Rais longhouse if you want to see how the Bidayuh people live and maintain their culture in the 21st century.. but don’t expect authenticity.

And … last but not least….

* A kayaking tour on a local river

A kayaking tour on a local river can be of a lifetime experience ! Believe me ! Since it was raining all the time, the level of the river was so high that the spiders were stuck in the trees and couldn’t really move from one place to another. And since the current was so strong, our kayak was occasionally bumping into the trees and all the spiders were falling… into the kayak…. yes, that scary !!!

If you are afraid of spiders (like me), please, think carefully before doing it during the rainy season. I was traumatized after this experience. My legs were trembling and I was screaming each time a spider was crawling on me. My boyfriend was trying to kill them on my back before I could see them, but at one point, we hit a big and huge tree and there were too many of them in the kayak.

Our guide took photo with a shitty camera but at least we have some souvenirs :-)

In the middle of the trip, we stopped in a village for a meal and a little walk and we learned about the medicinal plants that you can find over there.

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46 responses to “4 nice day trips from Kuching and 1 traumatizing experience

  1. Sounds a fantastic trip in spite of the spiders – that would have been very traumatic! I have only seen orang utans in zoos – the conservation work to save them is so important! Very interested to read all about Sarawak Village :)

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    • The conservation work to save them is impressive in Malaysia (in the meantime, it means the habitat destruction is huge as well.. and it’s quite depressing). There are 3 or 4 rehabilitation centres over there. The one I visited is the smallest one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This post has so made me want to do nothing but travel for the rest of my life! What food was there to eat by the way? Awesome post, and by the sounds of things an awesome trip :)

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  3. Spiders….ugh. But it sounds like you had a fantastic trip! I’d say it was worth it hah. The pictures are stunning, as usual. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Sounds like a nice experience despite the weather!
    I had to laugh at you comment of the spiders. I don’t care much for spiders, but by friend is even worse. When we were on a boat (looked much like a kayak, but with a small engine) in the Amazon in Brazil we had the same problem. The boat was very low and we were going through tall grass and ALL kinds of spiders I have never seen before fell into the boat. My friend was almost on her way into the river to avoid them:)

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    • Oh my god, this must have been an horrible experience ! Choosing between the spiders on the boat or the tiny parasitic worms in the river.. hmmm tough choice ;-)

      I know the spiders over there are really scary and huge. It’s a reason why I don’t think I will go over there, even if I’m attracted by the richness of the Amazon forest. I don’t think I would survive !

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, indeed. I guess that’s part of the fun of travelling, right. You get to see how different people live differently to your life. Whenever, you return from your trip, you will feel like you’re lucky to be born in your home town, home country etc, because there is really no place like home.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It was nice to be able to spot these great apes in their natural habitat. I was glad my boyfriend had a good lens so we could zoom a bit and see them. Because they are quite far away.

      Oh, terrific and terrifying could have been a good title for my post :D

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It seems a complex place with culture and nature. If I’m not wrong that giant flower can smell very strong when it’s in its flower stage. Ugh, spiders XP, I’d say to the guide that I didn’t book for the Halloween tour.
    I hope don’t sound rude but, Why would be wrong that natives don’t use traditional dress or have satellital tv? I think it’s part of modernity (I’m myself a native too) and if they hide that artifacts to simulate a past I’m sure that the experience could be false or staged, as if I’d travel to, let’s say, Norway and I’d feel disappointed because the people there cannot dress like Vikings and use jeans or chat in internet. Although I could understand if the advertisement would promise an experience like centuries ago before the comfort of modernity.

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    • Interesting observations. I have to agree with the comments about authenticity. While perhaps this might work in a museum, I don’t think this can be expected in someone’s home. I think this raises questions around what authenticity is, what tourism looks like, and where exploitation starts. Not being there nor having the whole story leads me to wonder more. :) What do you think?

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      • I think you’re very gentle ^_^, thanks for your time, and of course it has to be a story more complex than I can intuit from the distance,.
        I hope you are enjoying a great travel. Kind regards.

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    • Sorry for my late reply, I was away for work :-)

      You are right, the rafflesia is the flower that smells like a dead body :D It is a very powerful smell that will attract various flies and help with pollination.

      I understand you other comment. My words are a bit confusing, I’ve realized that ! :D I was disappointed because I was expecting some explanation about how a longhouse was working today, and maybe a little history about how it was working in the past. I wanted to know more about the Bidayuh. We didn’t get that. Instead, we were walking the middle of if, watching people and their daily chores. It felt wrong to see that, like you were in a place you weren’t supposed to be. My problem I think is that I was expecting something else, and I got disappointed. We did it before the Sarawak Cultural Village, and at the end of the tour I had the feeling that I didn’t know anything more about the culture in that region. But if you go there with the right state of mind, it could be good ! :-)

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