Category Archives: Travel

Hiking in the Forest Research Institute Malaysia – in KL

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) in Kuala Lumpur offers a nice location for a hike. I took the train to Kepong and then a taxi to the park. There is then a fairly long walk to the trail (from the entrance) but past interesting sites, so I found it worthwhile. You could probably get driven in further but you have to pay at the gate, so I think the taxi was reluctant to enter.

hiking trail

My guess is this isn’t high on tourists list of attractions in KL (more an education and research center and resource for those living in KL). But for people that like hiking (such as me) it is a nice location. And for those living in KL it is a great hike (those I saw hiking seemed like locals to me).

forest stream

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If You Visit Kuching Eat at Tribal Stove

Tribal Stove is absolutely wonderful

Yes it has great food, which thankfully there is a a great deal of in many place. What makes Tribal Stove someplace not to miss is it is the rare combination of great and generally inaccessible food.

I often find great restaurants in tourist destinations. And sometimes it is even local in a sense – but nearly always (not all, but almost) I can get very similar good dishes in any large city across the globe.

Tribal Stove had truly distinctive dishes that were also great. They have quite a few dishes, some of my favorite are wild jungle salad and tapioca leaves. The restaurant serves cuisine from Kelabit Highlands in Sarawak.

photo of great Kelabit Highlands food

Maybe my all time favorite meal. The 3 sample items were great.

The set menu (photo above) of tea, a meat dish with 2 vegetable sides, soup and rice that was US$5 (15 MYR). It was amazing. It would be great at $20. I happened to be lucky enough to get my favorite vegetable there with my first order.

The meet dish in the triple was very good, the rice I didn’t care for. But the two vegetable dishes were amazing – truly great. One the right is Lamud Busaq Keluduh (Bario Wild Flower Salad) – wild ginger flower, petai and wild chives flavored with Bario Higland salt. I believe the dish on the left was Udung Ubih (Wild Tapioca Leaf) – cassava or tapioca leaf pounded and shredded and cooked to perfection over a slow heat. The middle dish was, I believe, beef with crisp vegetables.

Menu - Tribal Stove, Kuching

I have been trying other dishes which are also great but those 2 are not to be missed (you can get “small” dishes of those for $3, see photo below – two pretty easily make a meal in my opinion). If the prices triple this place is still not to be missed.

There is no restaurant I recommend to travels more strongly than I recommend Tribal Stove. If I could have one restaurant transplanted to my location so I could eat their in my home town it would be Tribal Stove. There is nothing remotely close.

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Treehouse, Permai Rainforest Resort, Damai (outside Kuching), Borneo

I very much enjoyed the treehouse cabin at the Permai Rainforest Resort. The reviews on Agoda for the ground level lodgings there were not great, but I was extremely pleased with the treetop cabin I stayed at. The Permai Rainforest Resort is in Damai, about 30 km outside Kuching.

photo of Treetop Cabin, Permai Rainforest Resort

The treehouses all are along the forest edge where it meets the beach. You hear the wonderful sound of waves crashing and winds rushing through the forest trees.

photo inside of the Treetop Cabin, Permai Rainforest Resort

The rooms have a full bath and electricity.

They were quite cool, with the shade and wind, but also offered AC if you wished to use it. The cafeteria wasn’t anything fancy but offered tasty food and a decent wifi connection (no wifi is available in the rooms).

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Masjid Bahagian Kuching

The Bahagian Mosque (“Divisional Mosque”) is located just past the river walk in Kuching. Also known as Kuching City Mosque, the mosque was built in the late 1960s to replace the original State Mosque that was erected on the same site in the mid-19th century.

Kuching City Mosque, Sarawak

The mosque is surrounded by a Muslim cemetary.

The pink mosque is Kuching’s largest and stands as an important historical landmark in the city. Its magnificent gilded Mughal-style domes are its most distinct trademark, rising high above the city’s skyline. Gilded half-domes that match the domes on its roof grace its windows.

Masjid Bahagian Kuching, Malaysia

Masjid Bahagian Kuching is believed to be the state’s oldest and first-ever mosque, a memento from the time when Islam first arrived in Sarawak. It can accommodate up to 4,000 worshippers at a time.

Masjid Bahagian Kuching

Related: Sultan Abu Baker Mosque, Johor BahruMasjid Jamek, Kuala LumpurNational Mosque of Malaysia in KL

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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