Malaysia · 4 Days · 38 Moments · February 2016

Al Bates

Malaysian Borneo - Kuching, Sarawak

19 February 2016

Ummm well almost. We got to our gate and JB frisks himself like mad. "I've lost my boarding card". Idiot. Here he is being detained by security. Luckily he was bailed out by a fellow passenger who found it and rescued him. I dramatised that slightly...! But we were off on the shitty budget airline to Melbourne. Bring on Aus!

18 February 2016

Luckily, JB sweet talked the steward into moving us to the front of the plane due to our connecting flight. This seem to result in an extra leg room seat. Winner. Once in KL we had to do lots of airport walking and had to get annoyed with lots of queues. But eventually got ourselves checked in, got some duty free and we were good to board our flight to Melbourne!
Our flight to KL was typically delayed by almost an hour. We have a reasonably tight turnaround in KL so we were a little nervous. To add insult to injury, it appears Air Asia's already tiny seats were even smaller if you were sat on the back row. Jon genuinely struggled to sit in this seat. Oh and we had a snoring fat guy next to me.
As cool bohemian types that we are we opted for this restaurant that had seats made out of an old bath. The camera was on an effect setting but I think it added something... Also pretty sure we saw a few prostitutes about these parts.
Disaster struck on our return journey when a classic monsoon torrential down pour decided to hit. We were stuck for a good 20 minutes before we made a dash across the road and into a shop!
These rules amused me
We decided to take a little water taxi (at the cost of 16pence each) over to the other side of Kuching to check out the orchid garden. Not sure how in season Orchids are but they're quite pretty. We were also pleased to have nailed the "Asian toilet" during this visit.
I coops not believe how exhausted we were when we got back to Kuching. I was utterly cream crackered! Climbing and scrambling through the jungle for two days takes its toll! So our last day we thought we would have leisurely look around more of Kuching. This is our hotel which was absolutely brilliant and very cheap!

17 February 2016

Picture with our awesome guide. Cute! Also a moment please for Jon's tan. He's almost Malaysian.
Last night we saw several snakes but couldn't get very close to take decent pictures (is also much harder in the dark). These are green vipers, and yep... They ARE deadly. They tend to hang around the same tree for three weeks or so so we found last nights quite easily. Our guide informed us, a bite from one of these (whether it was from the baby one or the big bastard) you have a window of one hour to get the anti venom before you're dead. Seriously. Also I have to confess, the photo of the snake looking right at the camera I didn't actually take. I handed the camera to the guide who, in fairness was stood right next to me, as he was in a better spot for the picture. We had also scrambled into a boggy bushy area to get the picture. Plus I am pretty sure he wasn't keen to put a client in direct line of the snake - he's quite a coiled spring here πŸπŸ˜•
Last nights accommodation!
Walking on we suddenly got our money's worth in a big way! We saw the third species of monkey you can spot in this area - the silver leaf monkey. So cute!!
In the jungle the mighty jungle!
Today we opted to have a local guide show us round. We'd been recommended a guide so we could see more things. It appears the piggies liked the guide!
Baby pig!
We started the day by spotting this little bad boy - the flying lemur from last night no less!
Morning morning, we woke up to all sorts of strange noises. Unfortunately Jon also has 20+ sand fly bites on his legs so had an itchy night. Ouch!

16 February 2016

This was the most special sighting. This is a flying lemur. Apparently not easy to see (they could be saying that so we feel we got our money's worth!). He was high high up in the tree and so was very tricky to photograph. They glide from tree to tree. Sadly this one just climbed further away from us so we didn't see the gliding in action but was still awesome to see!
This bizarre thing is a bat, taken looking up. It looks like a pig or something off angry birds!!
Anyone who knows me knows I am not keen on spiders or bugs. Naturally the jungle has HUGE ones. Here is a selection, ewww! We did see a baby tarantula too but the photo didn't come out, maybe I didn't get close enough...
These are sleeping swallows, they sleep face first in the rock face! You could literally touch them they were that close.
We met for our night walk and I think everyone staying in the park had signed up. So there was around 18 of us. This included several smug Brits who seemed to think they discovered Borneo and were loudly telling everyone about things they know. You know the sort. Also there was a couple who thought it would be a good idea to bring along their eight year old son. The couple, again Brits, were the typical parents to one little darling who think that keeping up an 8 year old very late would be good for him. I can confirm he was a little shit. He'd shout or yell and naturally wasn't told off once. Not surprising as I bet he was totally tired. Still he was a whingey little bastard (I sound like my father). I have to admit for the first 15 minutes I was convinced we'd see nothing. Then we managed to strategically get to the other end of the line of walkers. So I got over it and found some incredible animals! Check out these tree frogs!!
Before dinner at the canteen we took in the views on yb beach of the sunset. Quite a contrast from this morning's miserable scene in Kuching! At dinner we signed up for the night walk later tonight.
Definitely time for a siesta. The humidity and exercise makes you exhausted. This is our accommodation for the night (just us staying in here, we paid extra for our room and I'm thankful for it - nude sleeping required!). No air con but a fan that's quite powerful. For Β£17 a night we can't complain! It's what our Zimbabwean guide Manda would have called "accommodation - basic". There also appears to be a wild boar outside our door. Lol. πŸ—
This place is amazing, when you think you've seen "the animal" suddenly another species appears. This "baby" monitor lizard rocked up on the beach. Again I chased it for a photo. Apparently though they can be really aggressive and people are scared of them! This one seemed to be fine mind. Beach is stunning! Paradise!
They're basically a couple of geezers. Just need a pint to complete the look. Bizarrely the little macaques seemed quite comfortable chasing these guys off (about four times the size!). Then again I have seen a macaque chase a woman with a coconut around a car park... Amusingly in Indonesian Borneo (south), apparently they're nicknamed "Dutch monkey" because the native population thought they looked similar to the Dutch colonists - big noses and fat bellies. Ha! I was amused by the dominant male's raging cod piece. πŸ˜‚πŸ’„
Caption competition. Whatever was in the hole in that tree trunk, these guys were interested!
What's that orange animal down there? Said Jon. We walked closer to find the proboscis monkeys right down on the beach. We got unbelievably close to these wild monkeys who are on the endangered species list. Proboscis monkeys, which look hilarious, are only found on Borneo and only in a few places. Coming to Bako, you have a good chance of seeing them but not if you only visit for a day trip. These guys sleep most of the day and are only active in the late afternoon or early morning. So it certainly seemed very worth investing in the over night stay.
Back down to HQ I suggested a stroll along the beach. Within a views moments we were joined by the cheeky macaques and three wild bore (Or bearded pig). It could have been the perfect match to remake "baby monkey riding backwards on a pig" (if you don't understand, get on YouTube now!)
Our scrambled to the top of the hill was worth it, stunning views across the bay.
Once we had checked into our ... Err ... Room we were off on our own jungle trek. In the humid heat it is actually very hard work walking. We also chose a route that we had to virtually climb up! I got some fab GoPro video of our scramble. Along the way we saw a skink or rather a Malaysian sun lizard who I chased until he posed for a photo!
Our mood certainly improved once we were on the boat to Bako. The rain stopped and the views were epic. The little boat, like lots we've caught here before, bombed it along crashing on the waves. Quite hairy. And we got a bit wet. Our driver said "not worry, these waves are baby. Last week - six metre high!" Well that's a relief. We arrived in paradise and were greeted by sleeping proboscis monkeys!
A grumpy start to the day. We're booked to stay in the jungle - Bako National Park. However as I woke up I saw outside was torrential rain 😞. The show must go on as they say and we threw on our rain coats and staunchly made our way to the bus stop. You wouldn't have seen rain like it, it was absolutely pouring down! I got all grumpy and announced it was a stupid plan to go, because sometimes I revert back to being a 12 year old. The bus took 45 mins and once we were on we realised we forgot to visit the cash point. On arrival at the ferry terminal we realised this was quite a mistake as there was no atm and nobody took card (kinda obviously). I blamed Jon. Some random bloke offered to take us to a cash point for equivalent of a fiver. Ended up a 20 min round trip but no harm done really. Silly us.

15 February 2016

On our return to Kutching we wandered the city and looked at more Cat statues. Lol. 🐱😻😸😽😹 We dined the appropriately named restaurant 'James Brooke Bistro". What a fab little city.
On the bus back the bus played loud hip hop beats, most unusual. We were also joined by an utter nutcase. Despite many western tourists here it appeared he was fascinated by me. I don't think he was all there and certainly didn't reflect most people in Kuching or Malaysia. He kept looking me and then looking away. Eventually he got his mobile phone out and very unsubtly (it was on loud) took two photos of me. I said in a loud voice "he's just taken photos of me!". With that he moved seats. But continued to stare at me. I was very glad to be with Jon. And I was pissed off this guy made me feel so uncomfortable.
In the afternoon we caught a bus to the place where they feed Orangutans. I was so excited as I remember my dear Grandma Dean telling me all about them on her trip to Borneo many years ago. She loved monkeys so much after that trip! We were told at the gate there was no guarantee we'd see them. Its fruiting season so they dont rely on the centre for food. We waited an hour, saw a squirrel and some bugs. No Orangutans 😞. I was so disappointed! Jon said its a reason to come back in the future.
We explored Kutching city which is amazing. It has a fascinating history as it was once ruled by a "white rajah" in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A family called the Brooke's. As far as the history points out this era is thought of fondly. A nice change from the "Brits were bastards" line. Kuching has an obsession with Cats, still not sure exact why but Kuching means Cat in Malay.
We arrived in Kuching just after midnight and got a taxi to our hotel, waterfront Lodge. Which, for Β£15 a night, was pretty darn good! They have pretty strict rules on pigs and smelly fruits mind. Today we decided to explore Kuching city.