Catty Kuching – Sarawak, Borneo

Cat Statue - KuchingRiver Taxi - Kuching

Hi all

I took an Air Asia flight to Kuching in Sarawak the other state of Borneo. I have to say Air Asia is fab. Cheap, reliable it’s about time the cheap airlines got to Asia. I turned up at Singgahsana Lodge, and I have to say so far that this is the best guest house I have stayed at. The owners are amazing. If you go please say hi to Donald, Maria and Richard for me. It’s also one of the cleanest places and the dorms (yes still in a dorm) are pretty spacious and you get your own locker.I decided to go out and take a walk around the city (well it is a city but it feels more like a town). The old side has a main river front called the “People Place” and is full of colourfully painted buildings and colonial building courtesy of the Brooks when they were the 1st and 2nd raja’s and given Malaysia’s mixed ethnic population feels considerably integrated. You are warned that people may snatch your bags but I really didn’t see anything that would insinuate that. I adore it here, it’s just soooo pretty. The city is full of arts and crafts there definitely seems a better selection than what Sabah had. The oldest street in the city is full of Indian traders and they even have an Indian street and a Chinese street to celebrate the historial population mix. Did get kerb crawled by an older Chinese guy but clocked him straight away and sent him packing. The majority of people old, young and new just say hello all of the time but in a friendly hassle free way. The guesthouse also has the coolest bar on the top floor which opens at 5pm and sometimes never closes. So I had one beer and then went to bed early to catch up on my missed Mount Kinabalu sleep.

After breakfast I grabbed a taxi to the Matang Wildlife Centre, I’ve only got 5 full days here so I wanted to pack in as much as possible. Kuching is also a great base to visit the surrounding areas. Matang doesn’t have much there and is quite small but today my legs are really feeling the effects of Kinabalu so I didn’t want to go too mad. I entered the gated enclosures and just listened to the sounds of the jungle around me. There were only about 4 other people in the park. After passing the crocs I saw the bear cats and civets and met one of the volunteers. She has been there a month and is leaving tomorrow and was just getting her photos taken with the animals before she left. They had frozen fruit ice cubes to supliment the asnimals diets like a little morning ice lolly snack. On to the sun bears and then the pig tailed macques. Much larger than the long tailed cheeky ones he impressed me with his stunning reflexes. A fly would land on his cage and before it had a chance to go anywhere he’d catch it and eat it. On to my favourites the Orangutans. They had decent sized enclosures and the whole point of the park is that they do try to rehabilitate animals back to the wild. From the viewing podium I was staring at 6 year old Doris. I put my hand on my head and so did she. Then one of the other visitors called up and she got up  came to the wall and put her hand up towards us. Everyone else left so I went to take a look at  Aman at a huge male (orangutan). He was asleep and previously blind. He was the first Orangutan in the world to under go a cataract operation to repair his sight , it worked and he’s now a Daddy. Suddenly I could hear raspberry noises, Doris wanted all the attention so I went back to speak to her. Apparently I was lucky as she normally throws stones at the visitors and although attempts have been made to release her in the wild she prefers the park.

The park called me a taxi and then dropped me off to the world’s first and probably only Cat Museum. Hence the title of this page. Kuching is the Malay word for Cat. Yes they are cat crazy here, there are statues around the town and various moggies hanging around the streets. If you like cats then this museum is for you although it’s not a must see, it was just on the way back and I thought why not. It appears that museums are all free to get in here which is great. It had donations of cat items from all over the world, stories like “Puss in Boots” and even posters of pop groups like “Curiosity called the cat” (those were the days!) adorn the walls.

I jumped on a minibus back to the city and arrived in time to do the sunset cruise along the river. Includes orange squash and cakes more views of the colonial buildings and some local tribal dancing at the end (although that was rather amusing). Back at the guest house I popped up to the bar where the owners Donald and Marina were there to welcome their guests. There was also an English couple and we chatted until midnight. As I was leaving a group of Scottish guys gave me a beer and made me tell them about climbing the mountain. At 4am after a power cut, games of shithead, pool and a few tunes later I sneaked back to the dorm.

The next day and with legs feeling normal again I decided to view the museums, again these were all free and beautiful colonial structures. So after the Sarawak museum, the museum of Islam and a private museum where women were weaving the traditional wall hangings I returned to the guest house. The Scots had only just surfaced, they’d carried on until 5, I had some local food and then an early night as tomorrow it’s off to the Longhouse and my reason for visiting Sarawak.

Transport count :

Plane = 8, Bus = 24, Train =2, Boat = 8, Sunglasses = 5, Mosquito Repellant = 8

Take care

Sally x

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