I like walking around cities to see how things feel as you walk around. I like walking in the touristy areas (often I do anyway) and also the non-touristy areas. One of the problems in walking in non-touristy areas is if they are not meant to be walked around (cars are expected) then it can be pretty boring. But if locals walk around it can be quite nice.
The cat monument is hardly impressive but it is a popular photo spot nevertheless. Kuching means cat in Malay (Bahasa Sarawak is the dialect of Malay spoken in Sarawak). Kucing is the word for cat in Bahasa Malay but in Bahasa Sarawak the word is pusak. There is some dispute how the name came to be but the city has adopted the cat city nickname.
The Kuching Esplanade is in the foreground with a view of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building across the river (Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak).
Nice wall and window on a street near the Kuching riverwalk/esplanade. The Kuching riverwalk and a bit of surrounding area are nice for tourists (and locals) to walk around and enjoy.
My single most amazing experience during several years in Malaysia was watching Rhinoceros Hornbills fly around on my hike on Mount Santubong on Borneo in Malaysia. I stayed in a treehouse cabin at treehouse cabin, Permai Rainforest Resort (in Damai about 45 minutes from Kuching). From there it was a 15 minute ride to the trailhead.
The hike of Mount Santubong was amazing itself, and I will post more about it later. It was the longest most vertical hike I have been on. At what I think was the first overlook I stopped and ate a snack and drank some water. And during my stop hornbills started flying around.
I didn’t remember that Bornean Hornbills (Rhinoceros Hornbills) were huge and it was quite surprising how large they were. The Rhinoceros Hornbill grows to 90–120 cm long and weighing 2–3 kg. In captivity it can live for up to 90 years. It is the state bird of Sarawak and the National bird of Malaysia.
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.
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.
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.
The Siew San Teng (Tau Pek Kong) Temple in Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia has retained this spot since 1770. It is across the street from the Kuching river walk (and the small Chinese history museum). The temple itself has been renovated and rebuilt many times.
View of the river from Siew San Teng Temple. The museum is visible on the left of the photo.
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.
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).
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
Great views from a plateau. And the plateau also had large numbers of pitcher plants.
Then there is a short spur off the Pandan Kencil path to this wonderful beach overlook (Besar):
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Looking back at Bako National Park from the boat as I leave (the visitor’s center is just off to the left).
As I posted a few weeks ago I took a look at Kuching and was as I learned more I have been looking into moving in Kuching. Kuching offers some really nice benefits. It is less expensive that places like Kuala Lumpur and Penang. It also is said to be a very livable city. I plan to look at it in soon.
One thing that drew my interest is the active bloggers from there. Borneo Colours and Sarawak bloggers provide a forum for bloggers for all over Borneo and Serawak and are great places to find related blogs. And also just searching for blogs I found several. Some of my favorites are (including some from the rest of Borneo and even the rest of Malaysia, too):
By far my favorite though is Miao & WafuPafu. The cat is from Kuching, though he lives in Melaka now. This comic is awesome!
I also have found the start of a network using Google+ (John Hunter on Google+).
When looking at the others areas in Malaysia, other than Kuala Lumpor, I don’t find many blogs (and many that I do find, are by expats). That might partially be that I am just missing what is there for blogs in other locations. The blogs are a great way to get a peak at Kuching before I make it there (I should make it next week, or the week after that).
Related: Tourist Stuff in Kuala Lumpur – photos of Penang