Thursday, 30 October 2014


One of the side trips I did out of Kuching was kayaking the Semadang River, an amazing day out in the jungle wilderness only an hour out of the city.

Although a little expensive compared to what I normally like to spend, this was totally worth it and should not be missed if you like outdoor adventure amongst some seriously beautiful scenery.  Whether you have kayaked before or not, anyone can handle the casual pace and it really was an incredible day out.

Semadang Kayak will pick you up from your hotel and drop you on the banks of the river an hour or so later to start your paddle.  We stopped at a mini waterfall for a quick swim before continuing on to a tiny village where a delicious local lunch awaits.

After lunch, we take a tour of the village, where they have an enormous array of plants and herbs that are still used for medicinal and obviously culinary purposes.  Then it is back on the water to finish out the day's paddle.

We saw various wildlife and reptiles along the way and the whole journey takes you through some stunning natural scenery, with a feeling of being totally lost in the Borneo jungle.  

A couple of helicopters fly overhead during the day, a reminder of how remote some of these villages and national parks are, the chopper sometimes the only form of transport in or out.

After arriving at another tiny village that signals the end of our trip, our guide burns a copy of all the day's pictures to CD for you to take home.  

It was 188 myr for the whole package (around $65 au) but there was only me, one other customer and our guide for the whole day, the Borneo jungle all to ourselves.  I can't recommend it highly enough.

Lunch at the village

Coffee beans drying out

 I'm no stranger to mango plantations, but this was a 2 kg monster, I have never seen mangoes like it

Monday, 27 October 2014


After our very relaxing time on Pangkor, it is back to hectic bus and ferry schedules which sees us go north to Butterworth to see Noi off on the overnight train back to Thailand and then I head south again to KL for a few hours sleep before flying out the next morning to KuchingBorneo. 

Noi, being Thai, is only issued a 30 day visa for Malaysia and has to head back anyway to look after her mushroom farm.

Now I’m going to rush through the Borneo section to try and get caught up, plus I really feel that I didn’t get anywhere near as much out of my time there as I could or should have. I really underestimated the size of the place and the distances to travel, especially at the slow pace the buses seemed to run at.

I stayed at Hotel Westree in Kuala Lumpur, a bit pricey at $30 au, but a fantastic location with great cheap food a 3 minute walk away and KL Sentral station just across the road, the whole reason for staying there, where i caught the fast train to the airport the next morning. 

After landing in Borneo I was booked to stay in Kuching at Premium Stay Hostel, a nice enough, very large room with a super friendly and helpful owner, I would definitely recommend the place, though I had to move after a couple of days as they were booked out.

This turned out quite OK as the new place was much better value and a really nice room at a great price, under $20 au, the Grand Supreme Hotel.  The location was away from the town center, though had plenty of local nightlife and eating options right on the doorstep, plus it only took me about 20 minutes to walk in to town. 

 Kuching is an amazing little city, for me just the right size and I could seriously see myself living there. There is a great riverside promenade in Kuching that is a beautiful spot for a stroll in the evening as it comes alive with food, lights, art, music and people.  

The whole city is a great mix of old and new, with all the infrastructure needed for the modern urban dweller, while retaining a small town feel and some seriously friendly people. 

Speakeazy was a great little friendly bar/cafe and the staff were amazing.  Definitely a place to check out in Kuching on Jalan Carpenter, which has a 'Chinatown' feel to the street and is home to many western and local oriented bars and restaurants. 

I spent almost a week in Kuching just exploring the city and meeting new people, becoming good friends with one guy in particular, Johnny, a local business owner and keen photographer. 

 We still keep in touch and he may visit in Australia next year to do some photography in my hometown after looking at some of my pictures from home.  He even took me to some model shoot party where we all got to practice our skills and I met a great group of locals.

There seems to be a lot of English speakers in Malaysia and plenty of wealthy people, more so than the other parts of SE Asia I had visited. 

I really didn't take many photos in Borneo...

The Riverside looks so much nicer at night