Becoming the transporter
The past few days, some friends came by for a visit. I was given the task to drive them around while they are here and we went to most of the nearby attractions trying to cover as much ground as possible within the 4 day. This also gave me a chance to go and revisit some of the places here, share some information about the places, and get something for my blog. They had much of the itinerary worked out before hand and all I had to do was just drive.
Going to Pasar Serikin.
The first day, after arrival, took them to Pasar serikin.
Most of the items remain the same like few years back when I came here the first time, but some unique traditional things, craft or souvenirs might not be available all the time… I do not know if it was just me, but I got the feeling there are not that many variety of things now compared before.
What remain the same and probably getting more intense is the heat. An umbrella, hat, cap, sunglasses, anything that can block the sun from directly contact on the skin is wise.
It didn’t take too much time walking from end to end, they didn’t buy anything much and I didn’t buy anything, so we left Serikin’s glaring sun after few hours and went to the nearest sight-seeing destination.
From Serikin to Fairy cave.
A 15 minutes drive, followed the sign boards, we arrived at Fairy cave. There is also the Wind cave. About 15 minutes drive also from Pasar Serikin basically within the area. We decided to leave it out because we knew it was too dark and not much can be seen without a powerful torch.
More pictures of the cave in flickr.
Photographing in natural light.
The warm light coming from the large cave opening at that time was nice and warm, it was about late afternoon and I just had to try some portrait in natural light. So I asked one of them to pose for the camera and light, bit reluctant and shy but none the less it was an opportunity not to be missed.
Camera Model Canon EOS 50D
Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/50
Av( Aperture Value ) 4.0
ISO Speed 1600
Lens EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM
Eating the best Mee Kolok
Next day, breakfast at Mee Sapi Hj Salleh serving one of the best and well-known recipe of mee kolok to date – a full house cafe from opening to closing time. The volume of patrons compared to the size of the outlet is way off proportion. Do not expect any comfort or supreme dining atmosphere but when the bowl lands on the table, start devouring and forget everything else.
Tips: try get a table outside, it’s more windy.
Satok Sunday market
Satok Market for generations located near the Satok road, now have been relocated to a new place just after the Satok bridge beside an eatery known as Kubah Ria, which is facing the Sarawak river. Interesting place for a walk about and photography besides the opportunity to see local items being sold. It’s packed and cramped place to be at the weekend morning.
One of the reason visitors and tourist come here is to buy salted terubok fish, not a favorite myself but it’s legendary. The vendors provide special packaging options if you want to carry them on board a flight or even delivery to your hotel. It’s an international affair.
Jong’s Crocodile Farm.
Straight after the market we all went to the crocodile farm, about 40 minutes drive, entry fee. RM16 per person and the feeding time which is the main attraction here is 11am and 3pm. That’s when crocs jump out of the water to snatch foods hanged on cable, placed by the handlers.
Besides crocodile in their smelly ponds (the stench might be unbearable to some) leaping out, there are also birds to be seen, some fish in aquariums, tortoise, iguana lizards, a sun bear, monkeys, etc. It’s like a mini zoo or something like that. The pond where they keep the bigger fish is a nice sight and good for photography but it’s hard to photograph the giant arapaima fish, you might catch a glimpse of it when it slides over the surface but you’d get the idea of how huge they are.
Waterfall At Sikog Village
From the crocodile farm, off to the waterfall. It’s a hidden place, impossible to find if not asking the villages directions. A Sign board telling that you have reached the right junction is visible at the road side but the waterfall is another 30 minutes walk through muddy soil, crossing small stream and following unmarked trails but the footprints of villages that have tread that path before, It’s confusing and getting lost is too easy. We were lucky there were few kids heading the same direction, otherwise I would probably not find the waterfall, even though I have been there few times before. (lat 1.335579, Long 110.335144) Google maps
The 30 minutes trail is by itself tedious but interesting passing through grass, bamboo, orchards and crossing small streams. Humidity, hot and sweating profusely comes along.
The waterfall is a two tier drop. I prefer swimming at the top-tier as it’s just higher. VERY deep at some parts, can’t feel the bottom of the river. You could climb the cliff and jump into the river but it’s. It’s water catchment is about 20 x 20 meters.
One of the problem when walking in the mud is that when the sandals get caught in the mud, pulling the strap to get it back will definitely break it, that’s about what happened to one of us, Luckily we found some rope and did some innovative quick fix or else the walk back would be so uncomfortable.
Dinner at Green House Cafe
Evening, dinner time at Rumah Hijau Cafe (green house cafe). It is a cafe within a house. They got nice ambient and atmosphere to chill out, the food is nice but some of the menu might not be available. As of the latest information, opening hours, 8 am – 3 pm / 6 pm – 11 pm. You might want to check their Facebook page. for any latest info.
City of El Gato
After dinner, we still got some free time so what else to do then wander about in town, taking pictures with the popular landmarks here which is the CAT. el Gato…!
More cats nearby,
The totem pole representing cats.?
And the chinese cat..
So basically, all the gatos (gato-in plural form, hope I’m not wrong) are photographed that night. These cats landmarks have become a tourists’ “official destination”, a unique signature of Kuching city-which translates to cat city by the way, makes them the hot spot for travel photography.
The plan was to Bako national park, Everything was set and prepared, unfortunately, due to weather and sea conditions, the boat could not take us straight out. So we would have to walk for some hour before reaching the point of interest planned, which some of us did not want to do for whatever reasons I can’t remember. A change of plans and we were on our way to another destination.
It’s a place for rehabilitation for Orang utan, an adoption center, about 20 minutes drive from the city. The center being part of a national park in a jungle is not a zoo as the staff would repeatedly say, meaning there aren’t that much to see in terms of animal population. Since we didn’t want to throw the tickets bought for Bako earlier on, we just used it somewhere else. The national park ticket purchased is valid for all national parks at the day of purchase, another option would to be jungle trekking Mount Serapi, which is quite extreme and not suitable for some of us.
After the briefing, and some warning from the ranger of the dangers and precautions needed, especially on leeches, two of the participants, due to unwarranted phobia and unnecessary fretting, opted to stay at the bench, Quite a waste as the trails are mostly clear wide, nicely paved, gravelled or fitted with wooden walkways. Funny how they were moving in the jungle at Sikog the other day without any hesitation what so ever and with just a few words and imagination, became frozen, either it’s just an excuse or that’s how phobia works, I’ll never know.
It was a short walk around the enclosure and cages, within 30 minutes we were back at the starting point. Then we went to the picnic spot which is also within the compounds, where they got gazebos, barbecue station, and even a changing room and toilet nearby.
went back after a short swim and dinner.
Kuching Orchid Gardens,
After they did their chores and all the shopping needed, head to the orchid gardens. Just beside the Astana, the same road heading to the DUN- Dewan Undangan Negeri (state legislative assembly) building. The orchid garden is just on the left before the main gates. The usual orchid display, few varieties of them and good for photographing, it would take about an hour to cover the area provided not taking up time photographing. Entry is free and there’s a small canteen with a small fridge selling drinks if you get thirsty.
Done with the orchid gardens, head to the cat museum to kill the time, Located on top of Bukit Siol, within the municipal council building itself. There’s a moderate display about cats, history, breeds, some souvenirs shops basically and nothing much. First time visitors will find it interesting but coming there repeatedly wouldn’t make much sense.
Time to depart,
After 4 days of driving and going around the city travelling together, we get to see things in a different perspective and know what makes interest and what do not. All depends on the individual and personal preferences. Some planning and preparation before travelling, is necessary even though we think we already know. It doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious. Here, most of the destination information is available on the web and a simple phone solves a lot of problem. The national parks, provide reliable source of information by phone, you just need to know what to ask. So does the private tourist spot such as Jong crocodile farm and cat museum.
Mostly the destinations and attractions mentioned previously are within 30 km radius of the city, planning and with some friends to ask for help and information, can make travelling Kuching, Sarawak an interesting adventure and really cheap. There’s options for car rentals at the airport or outside agents with very reasonable price.