Kuching: Buddha’s Birthday and Kubah National Park
Borneo has to be high on any nature and wildlife lover’s travel list. The diversity of its wildlife, much of which is endemic (meaning it is found nowhere else), draws visitors here from all over the world.
The adventure would begin in Sarawak, the western Malaysian state on Borneo, in the state capital Kuching, but disaster stuck…
We arrived on an auspicious day, not for the first time on this trip! It just so happened to be Wesak Day, a Buddhist holiday celebrating Buddha’s Birthday.
Unfortunately, Chris had pulled his back out at Singapore airport and by the time we arrived at the lovely Treehouse B&B, by taxi, Chris could barely walk and was in masses of pain.
Confined to his bed, I headed off to find food only to stumble across the parade as I came back out of a cute little Taiwanese restaurant after a most nostalgic plate of Chinese dumplings.
I ran back to the B&B for my camera and joined a few others heading out to see the parade. The parade was snaking its way through town, we caught up with the floats and followed it.
It was a wonderful atmosphere, every now and again someone came over and gave me a handful of candies, by the time I got back to the B&B my pockets were full of sweets!
Kubah National Park
The three of us caught a local bus out to the park, which is situated around 20 Km to the west of Kuching. We paid our inexpensive entry fee and the ranger at the rustic counter showed us the route we should take and gave us some advise, urging us to be back in time for the last bus!
The park is famed for its vast variety of ferns, frogs and toads. Alas, they are most active in the evening and we would be long gone by then.
We chose to do the Waterfall trail, and the Selang trail for the viewpoint. It was humid walking but the forest was shady.
There may not be much in the way of large wildlife but there is plenty of small stuff to fascinate you as you stroll through the trees, from big bugs to fungi and remarkable plants.
We reached the waterfall and refilled our bottles in the crisp, clean water.
It was the perfect place to pause for a while and enjoy the surroundings.
Well, it was until we spotted the leeches! We trod a little more carefully after that, luckily no one got a fully attached leech.
While we were resting we happened to spot these tiny frogs, just going about their business, ahem, out on the edge of the lower waterfall. We didn’t think we’d see any frogs!
From the waterfall we continued onto the Selang Trail which brought us out to a viewpoint, a wooden platform with a ladder to reach the top where there was a bench.
The view out over the Santubong peninsula and the cloud-crowned Gunung Santubong is breathtaking. The rivers weave their way through the lowland forest like glittering ribbons. It was well worth the extra effort to walk this trail as well.
We made it back to the gate with plenty of time to catch the bus back to Kuching, he needn’t have worried!
With Chris unwell, I explored Kuching by myself.
I loved old Chinatown, it maybe wasn’t quite as ornate as, say, Penang, but it had a definite charm that made me feel right at home.
I found the spice shops, and rather alarmingly, the massive vats of margarine: they looked so unappetising! The wonderful spices soon took my mind off it though.
Kuching means cat in Malay, and it has become a bit of a cat city! Now that is my kind of place!
I didn’t actually see that many kitties but there are a few adorning monuments around Kuching, and they are on many souvenirs!
Lovely Bindi, who runs Treehouse B&B very sweetly gave him some cakes to cheer him up!
We would have to put the Orangutans on hold until he could walk.
It was bitterly disappointing for Chris and it meant extending our stay in Kuching.
This didn’t bother me one bit, I was actually quite enjoying the city!
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By Rachel A Davis