Semengoh Forest Reserve Malaysia
The Semengoh Wildlife Reserve is a twelve mile drive from Kuching and well worth the trip, Borneo has beautiful beaches in the more touristy destinations of the North, but the attraction for me wasnt sun, sea and sand. I joined a couple of tours arranged by the Bermibeh Travellers lodge (Ewe Hai Street) . They started early, and not being much of a morning person I skipped breakfast, but this was offered to me gratis by the great people at the Bermimbeh hostel while I waited for the vehicle. On the first trip I didnt see any of these fantastic creatures, just lots of gruesome photos of the damage they could do to you if you do see them and let them get too close. ‘If an orangutan touches you, you always go to hospital’, our guide as the reserve told us. These orangutans are being rehabilitated into the wild and if they don't need to come to take the food laid out for them, it’s a good sign, they are doing well. They are orphaned or injured or have previously been kept as illegal pets and the aim is not to tame them but to help them as they fend for themselves. On my first visit we waited and waited quietly (and as usual in a group of people, some not so quietly) in the woods but they didn't come.
Semenggoh Wildlife centre Siburan Sarawak Malaysia
"Simply delightful" We were told several times before walking down to view the orangs, that their sighting is rare. This is a good thing, as it means that they are less dependent on us for their food and survival and they are managing on their own. But I couldn't help hoping we will see at least one. We were so disappointed in the morning as we waited for 35 minutes and there was no sign of them. My husband was thoroughly disappointed and we decided to cancel evening plans and come back for the evening feed. The ticket is valid for the whole day so you don't have to pay twice. In the evening, as we started walking towards the feeding area, it began to rain. And hallelujah, the Orangutans decided to pay us a visit. It's better that you don't take infants as the monkeys sometimes get aggressive and throw things or pee on you while jumping above. Carry an umbrella as it rains off and on. Drink as much water as you can as you get dehydrated quickly. Don't forget to pay the crocodiles a visit and check out the orchid garden with the pitcher plants.
Kuching Wetlands National Park Kuching Sarawak Malaysia
"Santubong by Day & Night" There are these lovely boat rides by day and one by night. I tried both and feel that if you plan one for the early evening that overlaps into the night, you get to see the monkeys and dolphins as well as the night animals Choose a reliable tour guide as the crocodile spotting depends wholly on a trained eye. We discovered that one sure-fire way to spot dolphins is to keep your boat behind a fishing boat. The clever fellas wait for the fisherman to discard the small fish from his nets and they catch them as they hit the water. The dolphins move in pairs, so even if you miss taking a pic of the first one, the second follows a second later...Every time! As the sky darkens you can see the lovely fireflies as well. Take something warm as it sometimes gets chilly.
Annah Rais Longhouse Homestay Siburan Sarawak Malaysia
"Short story about the Longhouse" I wouldn't recommend staying over the LongHouse for the night as it does not appear to be very comfortable, but a quick visit is quite worthwhile. Sometimes it's difficult to spot Orangs in the morning, so it would be a good idea to pop over at the LongHouse for a visit and then get back for the evening feed so you get to pack in both locations within a day. Looking around the LongHouse takes about a good 30 minutes.
Permai Rainforest Resort Kuching Malaysia
"Gorgeous Tree Houses" The location of this resort within the rainforest is gorgeous. You can spot wildlife quite easily and it's a pleasure to walk through that evergreen space everyday. As expected with rainforest space, the woodwork does get grungy with mold and the humidity does set a severe pace for the maintenance staff. We had problems with our air conditioning appliance as well. The staff are helpful and they assist you with a change of room, or special food whenever possible. The cafe is quite lovely and so is the food. We were quite happy with the quality and variety of food served there. The beach is open to non-residents and is very popular with the locals. Be prepared to see crowds during weekends and holidays. Do check out the outdoor swimming pool. It's quite a different experience. Please don't put out food in the balconies as the monkeys will get there and not leave.
Bako National Park Kuching Sarawak Malaysia
"Stay Longer...At least a night!" Bako National park is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Such diverse flora and fauna that the space enchants and exhilarates you. The boat ride to Bako is little less than an hour and once you reach, the seclusion and quiet of the place hits you. The island is busy between 10am to 4pm when most of the day tourists come in. Post 4pm the place is gorgeous. It's a mistake to leave the island before 6pm as most of the wildlife come out then There are about 16 color coded jungle trails. We went on the long lintang trail. You can see almost all of the vegetation types in this trail. It's a good idea to have a guide for two reasons. The obvious one is that you can get lost, and the other because there is so much detail that you can otherwise miss. There is just one food outlet and the stuff is strictly mediocre. The staff however, are willing to make some items on request if you so wish. You can see the macaques and the bearded pig by day. Come evening, when the park is almost empty, the silver backs and proboscis slowly emerge. They are gorgeous. The macaques come to the beach looking for beached crabs on low tide. They swipe the occasional beer can if you aren't fast enough :) Take the time out to go for the night trail. You will be amazed at the number of creatures that emerge. Go armed with a powerful torch and mosquito repellent or it can get very difficult.
Damai Puri Resort & Spa Kuching Sarawak Malaysia
"Needs maintenance" We were unsure of whether to book the rooms at Damai or at Permai, and chose the latter. Are we glad we did! After settling down at Permai, we walked down to Damai to get some lunch and check out the facilities. The restaurant, pool and cafe was closed for renovation and we couldn't grab even a coffee. It was not just the availability of areas, the staff too weren't too eager to help. Maybe it was a language barrier, I'm not sure. The view of the beach from Damai is clear and not hidden by trees.
Jong's Crocodile Farm Malaysia
My next excursion was to Jong’s Crocodile Farm, also a short drive away. The significance of the word ‘farm’ didnt really sink in at the time, but the crocodiles that are fed for the (fairly scarce) tourists are in huge emerald green pools. I had the place almost to myself once a small group of Malaysian sightseers had left. Its a tranquil leafy spot with crocodiles everywhere. Inside an enclosure a huge tailless beast languishes in a solitary pen, apparently he was born this way and would be savaged by the others outside. Jong’s is a pretty and surprisingly peaceful place, considering the thing to do is to wander amongst the largest and most aggressive living reptiles.