On Sunday 17th June we got a bus from Brunei to Miri at 7am. The bus took five hours and took us out of Brunei and into the state of Sarawak. We had chosen to go to Miri as it was a straightforward bus journey from Brunei and dramatically decreased the cost of flights as opposed to getting a flight directly from Brunei to Kuching. From Miri Bus Station, we shared a taxi with two girls that had been on our bus to get to the airport which made the journey a lot cheaper and ended up only costing us 6MYR (£1.15) each. Our flight from Miri to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, wasn’t until 6pm that evening so we had six hours to wait in the airport. This wasn’t too bad as we’d gotten used to lots of waiting around and had clocked up a lot of hours in airports already! After a smooth journey, it was around 9pm when we had finally checked into our hostel, Borneo Seahare, and managed to get some food. Over 12 hours of travelling had wiped us out so getting to sleep that night certainly wasn’t hard!
We spent the next day looking around the city which was nice as it’s quite a pretty city with a nice waterfront. Kuching is slightly obsessed with cats and everywhere we went there were cat statues and murals. I googled this and it’s because the word Kuching means ‘cat’ and one theory why the city was named after the word cat is that there aaa a miscommunication by an early English settler. The theory goes that the first Raja of Malaysia asked a local what the city was called but, the local misunderstood and thought he had pointed to a cat and asked for what that was called instead so he answered ‘kuching’ and thus the city got its name. The cat is on their state flag and has some significance to all of the different cultures and religions that reside in Kuching. I also read of a story that when a chemical attack on mosquitos and rats carrying malaria had an adverse effect on the cat population in Sarawak, the British Airforce implemented a mission known as ‘Operation Cat Drop’ where they dropped 14,000 cats into rural Malaysian Borneo to hell the feline population bounce back – now that really is a dedication to cats!
We walked along the riverfront which is really pretty with lots of foliage and a nice bridge that gave you views down the river and of the nearby mosque. Whilst walking around the city we went to the Old State Mosque, also known as the Kuching Mosque. We weren’t able to enter as I didn’t have anything to cover my legs but we didn’t mind as we got to see it from the outside and it was very nice with golden domed roofs.
That evening we headed out again for the sunset and had an ice cream by the river. This was really nice and the sunset was pretty especially over the Mosque. There is another mosque on the riverfront also being constructed called the Sarawak State Mosque and this looks like it’ll be particularly grand when it’s finished!Despite not having a lot to do it had been a very nice day looking around Kuching and we liked the look of the city a lot.We returned here after visiting Bako National Park for the night of the 19th June and stayed at a new hostel called Marco Polo’sGuesthouse. We had managed to get a good deal on a private room and the hostel also served a big free breakfast which we exploited before going back to the airport to catch our flight to Kuala Lumpur and then onto Sri Lanka.
We had enjoyed our time in Kuching and in Borneo and had ended up being very lucky with our wildlife experiences during our stay which is what you hope for when visiting a lot of rainforests and national parks! I imagine we’d return to Borneo one day to hopefully go diving and maybe try see some more orangutans but for now it was time to leave.
Next stop: Sri Lanka
Sending love x