Final day in Kuching, rain rain go away, no Bako

Day 9 – 05 Jan 2012 – Kuching

After a bit of research over the past few days I have pretty much finalised the next phase of my trip so last night I booked a return flight from Miri to Mulu and some accommodation for three nights in Mulu National Park. I am hoping that they are the only things I am going to need to book ahead, or it could be a night in a doorway somewhere!

The plan is to catch a boat from Kuching to Sibu tomorrow morning, I will overnight in Sibu and then catch a smaller boat up the Batang Rejang (Rejang river) to Kapit. In Kapit I hope to hook up with some other travellers and organise a guided trip further up river to a longhouse for an overnight stay the following day. I am not sure if I will do one or two nights up river will have to see what other people are wanting and what it all costs, apparently it is not overly cheap. The boats from Kuching and Sibu are quite modern, sealed and air conned, yus!  I will then boat back to Sibu for a further night and then take an eight hour bus ride to Miri.

I have to be in Miri for the 12th as I have a 9.30 am flight to Mulu on the 13th. I am planning on staying three nights in Mulu Nat. Park, visiting the famous caves and hopefully doing an overnight walk. From Mulu I fly back to Miri and aim to do a day trip the following day to the Niah Caves. From Miri I will bus to Brunei and in Brunei I will plan the next phase – in Sabah !

So, let the challenges begin, as tomorrow I head off into the unknown by myself !

I have enjoyed my time in Kuching, it has been great to spend a few days with Alex getting to know a little bit about Borneo and Malaysia, sampling different foods, all wrapped in the comforts of a car and a nice apartment to return to each day. Alex has been a great host and I have much appreciated his time and company.

Today was the day we were going to head to Bako National Park, but the weather really did turn to crap last night, I woke up around 5.30 to some heavy rain and some big lightening ! There was no way we were going to make it out to Bako, which is a real sham as I was keen on visiting, but I guess I can always come back again. With the weather so crap, I pretty much stayed in bed reading most of the morning. Reports later in the day from some of Alex’s friends suggested this was a good idea, sounds like there was a fair bit of flooding in Kuching, with many places closed.

I also reorganised my pack – cannot believe it all fits in !

The only activity of the day was a trip to the mall for lunch and I picked up a pair of jandals. I have found it very hard to find anything that fits my feet, and I am only a size 10,  I would hate to have my nephews feet ! The Spring mall is the newest in Kuching and inside I could have been in Sylvia Park, most of the regulars were there.

Found a small bit of NZ in the supermarket !

I guess there are going to be days like this when not much happens as I travel through wet areas.

I have update “the plan” page with more detail for the next week or two.

A tester stroll in the hills

Day 8 – 04 Jan 2012 – Kuching

The weather was a bit uncertain when we got up so we decided to not head out to Bako National Park. So I went for my first run since I have been away, I left at 7:50 and managed about 40 minutes and two and a half laps of the complex before melting completely away in the humidity. I ended my run at the pool, only to find it being cleaned and not accessible, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I was absolutely dripping ! I staggered back to the apartment and had a long cold shower, but it still took a good hour in the air con to cool down.  It was nice to get out and run, though it was pretty slow !

The weather kind of perked up after that so we went and had a very early lunch (10.30) at Alex’s favourite Malay place, Rumah Hijau Cafe. We tried to eat there yesterday but it was packed at 11.00, it is a hugely popular place. I had an Indian Rojak, which was again delicious. I have been loving the food here.  One of the many advantages of staying with someone who knows the town is getting to eat excellent food at places that are outside the usual tourist haunts, its not that food is any cheaper, but I have seen a broader variety of foods and I have not had the same thing twice.

After lunch we took a drive out of town and went to Demai beach and to Mt Santubong, about 30 minute drive from town. There are a number of resorts at Demai at the foot of the mountain and we wandered through one to the beach. It was not a great day for the beach and the weather didn’t show it at its best, but it has lovely yellow sand, palm trees and a never ending view, except when you look to the base of the mountain.

We then headed back to the trail head and did the 45 minute walk to the viewing point at 400 metres up the 1200m Mt Santubong.  We were too late in the day to do the full loop to the summit.

This walk was long enough, I was hot about fifty metres up the trail, it was very humid. The track was steep, rooty, but not too muddy – nothing compared to the Home track run in the Waitakeres a couple of weeks ago!  Getting all that trail running in really helped prepare me for these sorts of walks as, apart from the heat, I found the climb was not too bad, harder than Piha trails and easier than Huia I guess. The key difference is when you are walking the Waitaks you are not checking that you are about to step on a snake with every foot fall:) The bush is totally different as well, no ferns, a lot more primary growth here too.

About half way up the trail I heard a massive commotion in the trees and looked up to see a small group of monkeys, chasing each other around, hooting and barking and jumping from tree to tree, by the time I got my camera out they were out of shot, but awesome awesome to experience !

The lookout proved a real dud and totally overgrownt. I would have loved to have let loose on the way back down but was really conscious of turning an ankle on the wet roots, so took it pretty conservatively, though I did slip at one point and gave the ankle a wee tweak.

The mountain from the road back to town. The walkable side is not so steep!

Malay girls in school uniform from the local Santubong school. There is a version of the uniform without the headdress.

I am also updating “the plan” with the next couple of weeks activities, will add dates tomorrow night when I have booked flights and accommodation.

Please send me emails !  I get some news via FB updates, but always love to hear more detailed news about what is happening with friends and family !