After a bit of a sleep in, we wandered into the city to follow the walking tour suggested in the Lonely Planet. Mostly it was just to wander through all the main streets of the city, some of the sights mentioned in the book no longer existed and other were interesting to see. Kuching means ‘Cat’ in Malay, so part of our morning entertainment was taking photos of all the random cat statues around the city.
Kuching is a fairly small city, and while it was nice to wander, there isn’t a great deal to see. We did make a few food stops on our wanderings, we enjoyed some pork buns, roti canai, mangosteen, and some random fruit juice.
At 4pm we were collected from our hostel for a wildlife cruise down the Santubong River. We were hoping to see Irrawaddy Dolphins, Crocodiles, Proboscis Monkeys and Fireflies. I wasn’t too fussed that we didn’t see any crocodiles, but was a bit disappointed that we didn’t spot any Irrawaddy Dolphins.
On a more positive note we did see some wild proboscis monkeys swinging through the trees. Also because of the lack of wildlife the tour people took us to a water village (stilt houses) to look around and meet the people. They were all such lovely, welcoming people and the kids were just adorable, following us through the village. I find it quite surprising to see the conditions in which some people still live. This village’s only fresh water is what they collect from the rain into their tanks and they wash themselves outdoors with little buckets of water; their power is from local generators; yet they have WiFi. It is good to see some aspects of their traditional lifestyle maintained, but disappointing how many aspects have been changed by western society. I did appreciate being allowed into their village and as I mentioned the people were all so welcoming.
By the time we had wandered from one end of the village to the other, it was time to hop back on the boat. As we headed back we looked for Crocodiles, but saw none. The tour ended with us seeing lots of fireflies in the mangroves, flicking their lights on and off. Fireflies are cool!!
When we got back to Kuching we headed out for a late dinner, all day I had tried unsuccessfully to find a place to cook me up some Wan Tan Mee (it’s a noodle dish with dumplings and fried pork – super tasty), we headed to the food stall across the street and asked the lady of she made Wan Tan Mee…when she said “Yes” I whooped with joy! And she laughed! Even though we didn’t see dolphins, the wildlife cruise was lovely, and my day ended perfectly with a big bowl of Wan Tan Mee….happy Duckie!
More random info: I mentioned last time that Malaysia is broken up into states. Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. I learned today that Peninsular Malaysia is not one chunk, but 11 states. I know nothing about these states though.
Day 20 – Kuching
We had hoped to participate in a cooking class, but we could only find two classes. One was not running because the entire company was going to Thailand for a holiday; the other needed a minimum of 4 people in order to run a class. So rather than learning to cook Malaysia food, we slept in.
Just after showering and getting ready to start the day, the rain started. I don’t just mean a bit of rain, I mean the kind of rain that floods the streets in minutes and it so heavy and loud that you struggle to have a conversation. So we spent the time sitting around the hostel reading our books and checking our emails.
Around midday the rain eased off and we ventured out for a brief wander to get some coffee, buy some bits and bobs and have lunch before walking very quickly through the drizzle back to the hostel to catch our taxi to the airport.
Due to roadworks, traffic was ridiculously slow and we started to wonder if we would make it on time…a 30min trip tool over an hour! Thankfully we arrived with time to spare, that calmed my nerves a little.
The flight was pretty standard, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur and were in the city in no time.
Our evening was pretty simple, check in, go get dinner and wander the markets of Chinatown checking out all the Prada handbags and Rolex watches!