Exactly one week later than planned we finally arrived on the Malaysian side of Borneo at the state Sarawak’s capital named Kuching. Here we will stay for two nights before we head to various national parks to discover the true beauty of Borneo.
Borneo is the third-largest island on the planed (after Greenland and New Guinea) and shares its territory between three countries, from which Indonesia is the largest part and Malaysia and Brunei are the more developed parts. One could easily spend several months on Borneo to discover all the sights, however since we only want to stay two to three weeks on Borneo, we will restrict our travels to the Malaysian side (Sarawak and Sabah) and maybe Brunei.
Why going to Borneo?
For me it was always a dream to explore the rainforests on Borneo. I have seen many pictures and documentaries about these ancient tropical rainforests and I am completely impressed with its richness both in flora and fauna. Also, I am very interested in how the indigenous people in Borneo live and hope we will meet some tribes that have not been affected too much from the outside world. Since we plan to stay six months in this part of the world, I realized my dream. Big thanks also to Ilinca for coming with me, I know she would have preferred dozens of other destinations.
The City of Kuching
Kuching is the capital of the state Sarawak and with more than 600’000 inhabitants also the largest city on Borneo. Despite the large population, it is a calm city with moderate traffic and a historic center. But Kuching is definitely not the reason why someone would fly to Borneo, as the city itself has not much to offer apart from the beautiful river promenade, a few museums and some restaurants and bars. Kuching however is a good starting point for visiting the nearby national parks and preservation areas.
The word Kuching is translated into cat. I don’t know the origin of this as the number of stray cats is not larger than in other cities. However, all over the city there are monuments, wall paintings, and ads with cats, and there is even a cat museum, which we did not feel like visiting. Maybe there we would have found the answer to the name’s origin.
Going to Bako National Park tomorrow
One of those nearby national park is Bako, which is located on a peninsula in the north-east of Kuching and can only be reached by boat. It is fully covered with rainforest and is the home of the endangered proboscis monkeys and lots of other creatures such as huge salt-water crocodiles, stingrays, big lizards, snakes, and other more common inhabitants of rainforests. Due to its proximity to the South Chinese Sea, there is a big diversity of natural landscapes on a very small area. On 16 well-marked trails it will be possible to discover the park without the need of Indiana Jones style adventures.
We will head to Bako National Park tomorrow and stay there for two nights. It is unlikely that we will have good Internet reception there, so the next blog post might follow only in about three days.