Category Archives: Travel

Orangutans in Sarawak, Borneo

One of the things you have to do while in Borneo is see orangutans in the rainforest. I went on a river rafting trip that included a stop at Semenggoh Wildlife Center (national park) on the way. From my research I believe this was 1 of the 2 good options for seeing wild orangutans near Kuching.

Mother orangutan with baby and bananas

The orangutans are free in the forest. They stop by the viewing points because of the tasty food (many were also brought here for rehabilitation so they are comfortable seeing people – though the rehabilitation is largely moved elsewhere now).

Because the orangutans are free when fruit is in season sometimes few or no orangutans show up. They generally have feeding time in the morning at 9 to 10 AM (when I went) and in the afternoon (3 to 3:30 PM).

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Classic Inn Premium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Classic Inn Premium offers a very good location, in Bukit Bintang KL, with clean and quiet rooms and good wifi. There is a large mall right across the street with plenty of places to eat (along with some places to eat on right next to the hotel).

photo of bed Classic Inn Premium

Rooms are a bit small, but fine. The things they could do to improve the rooms are to put more small tables in to put things on, there is space for them and almost no other space to put things on. The showers are nice (good water pressure, hot water and high – 8+ feet, which is nice when you have some places you have to duck to get your head in). The bathrooms are the normal budget SE Asia toilet/shower combo which might seem odd to some but these are above average.

photo of signs for what you can't do

Signs with character for what is not allowed.

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Sultan Abu Baker Mosque

The Sultan Abu Baker Mosque was constructed upon a hill overlooking the Johor Straits between 1892 and 1900 and is the state mosque for Johor. The mosque can accommodate 3,000 worshippers.

photo of Sultan Abu Baker Mosque

Sultan Abu Baker Mosque. All photos are by John Hunter.

I recommended taking a short trip to visit and walking around the grounds. You can walk to old town from without much trouble (I would guess it is less than 2 km from old town), obviously you can drive or take a taxi if you prefer.

building in the Sultan Abu Baker Mosque complex

This square building and two large rectangular buildings of the same style sit on the non-Straits side of the Mosque.

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Wonderful Hiking in Bako National Park

Bako National Park offers a network of trails through jungles, scrub environments and to beautiful beaches. The post includes spur trails which I took as part of a loop off the Lintang Trail. I slept in Kuching, hiked during the day in Bako National Park and returned to my hotel at night.

On the Pandan Kencil Path

photo of view from plateau on Bako National Park Pandan Kencil path

Great views from a plateau. And the plateau also had large numbers of pitcher plants.

photo of pitcher plants

Then there is a short spur off the Pandan Kencil path to this wonderful beach overlook (Besar):

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Lintang Trail, Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo

Forest trail, Lintang trail

The Lintang Trail, Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo is 5.25 km but it offers several additional spur trails. I will post on the spur trails in a future post.

Steep climb on trail, Lintang trail

The trail has quite a bit of step climbs. Along with the spur trails I was quite exhausted when I completed the hike (which is not normal for me). It was fairly hot, combining that with probably a bit over 10 km (which is not normally any problem) and the step climbs got a bit tiring.

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Bako National Park, Sarawak, Borneo

Bako National Park is a wonderful location less than an hour outside of Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo. The park includes rustic cabins (for overnight stays) and a visitors center that serves food. To reach the park you must take a 20 minute boat ride.

view from boat dropoff for Bako National Park

When the boat dropped us off here in the morning they said they would pick us up on the beach. I couldn’t really understand why, but this photo shows the tide has made the path to the stairs impassable, which explains why (I should have figured that out but my brain doesn’t always work as well as it should).

photo of sign showing Bako National Park trails

I only spent a day in the park. There are several intersecting trails. The “small” loop trail includes the Lintang trail and intersects with Pandan Kecil path, Pandan Basar path and more. I hiked through several trails and completely exhausted myself, actually. It was a wonderful hike.

There are probably enough trails to keep you busy for 2 days of hiking though I think you can get a good feel for the different settings in 1 day.

photo looking back at Bako National Park from the boat as I leave

Looking back at Bako National Park from the boat as I leave (the visitor’s center is just off to the left).

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Johor Bahru Chingay Parade

The Chingay parade is held of the 21st day of the Chinese New year. In 2014 that will be February 20th.

Here are my photos from 2013 Chingay afternoon parade. The afternoon parade starts at 11 AM or so on the previous day – so on February 19th this year) as deity statues from the Old Chinese Temple are carried out to get ready for the evening parade.

Photo of kids playing gongs at the Chingay Parade in Johor Bahru

The biggest parade is the night parade but there is also a parade during the day. The evening parade covers 10 km and starts about 7 PM, I believe; it will finish after midnight.

photo of costume at Chingay Parade, Johor Bahru 2013

The Johor Bahru parade is also called The Parade of the Deities as the Temple deity statues are taken on a journey from the Temple to bless the city with peace, prosperity and harmony (the Chingay parades in Singapore and Penang are non-secular as I understand it).

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Thaipusam Festival, Johor Bahru

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival dedicated to Lord Murugan (Kartikeya) celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). Murugan is the Hindu god of war and victory. He is the son of the lord Shiva and Parvati; his little brother is Ganesha.

I took the photos in this post last year at the festival downtown (between the Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Hindu Glass Temple and the Arulmigu Thandayuthapani Temple). This year the festival is scheduled for January 17th.

photo of Thaipusam crowd

photo of girl in a red dress

On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common.

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