Monday, October 8, 2012

Kuching, Malaysia September 29 - October 3, 2012

We just got back from our first family vacation in Kuching, Malaysia and it didn't disappoint one bit! We utilized our time to the best of our ability and had a blast. Many of you have asked me WHY Kuching? Here is a little bit of why: Malaysia lies in the heart of South-East Asia, near-by Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines. You can reach it by airplane really easily. Kuching ("Cat City") is a medium-sized town on Eastern Island of Borneo, in the State Sarawak. Kuching weather is warm all-year round with tropical climate temperatures of about 25-30 degrees Celsius. There's some days with rain (and haze) around October to February, but it will only rain for an hour or so a day, refreshing the air to even HOTTER. And finally, was cheap, close and had lots to do for everyone!! So here is a glimpse of our trip in pictures.
We boarded Air Asia - kind of like Airtran:

We stayed at the Four Points Sheraton in Kuching and it was a relatively new hotel that we were able to use hotel points to stay at (all that traveling the hubby did before we left is FINALLY paying off). Anywho - they had a great concierge desk that helped us with everything from where to go, what to see, to getting us a taxi - stat!
Our first day there we went to a place called the "Sunday Market." It's only open from Saturday night to Sunday here is what we saw:

Each of these are little "stalls" to buy pretty much anything - you can buy anything from fruit and fish to dresses and nick was really pretty cool and we were definitely "the outsiders" here. EVERYONE would look at us, especially our girls. They were a tourist attraction to the locals! We purchased some local items - but they are for gifts and if you are lucky, you will get to find out what they are!
On day 2, we headed with our guide, Mr. Abu (AKA the concierge guy), to the Semenggoh Nature Reserve (Orangutang Sanctuary) as well as the Crocodile Farm. The Nature Reserve was AWESOME!!! We saw the orangutangs close up, eating, swinging from vine to vine and tree to tree as well. We even saw a mama orangutang with it's was really cute!

Some of the pictures aren't the greatest - but it was so HOT in the forest that the lens of the camera kept fogging up! I don't think I have ever sweat so much until this day - it's so HUMID in Kuching!!
Next we went onto Jong's Crocodile Farm - which was really neat as we headed there just in time to see them being fed:

These guys put a piece of meat/fish onto a hook and scurry it out over the water and the crocodiles come and "jump up" to get it:

Here is the crocodiles "jumping" to get their food:

The next day we went to discover Kuching! We walked all over, took a sampan (AKA boat ride in which I was SURE it was going to sink), and saw what is known as the "cat city." Here is our boat ride - we went for an hours ride down the river for only $5.60 USD (that is $14 Malay Ringgit)for ALL of us:

Here are some of the highlights of our cruise down the river:

Here are some of the highlights of Kuching and why it's known as the "Cat City":

Next after a 45 minute ride through the mountains, we went to a village known as the Sarawak Cultural Village. This village tucked away at the foothills of legendary Mount Santubong, 35 km from Kuching is Sarawak's fascinating cultural showcase, the award winning "Sarawak Cultural Village" which is also the venue for the World Harvest Festival and the Rainforest World Music Festival. This living museum depicts the heritage of the major racial groups in Sarawak and conveniently portrays their respective lifestyle amidst 14 acres of tropical vegetation. Here, it is possible to see Sarawak's ethnic diversity at a glance. The handicraft is both bewildering and tempting, including the Kain Songket (Malay cloth with gold inlay), Pua Kumbu (Iban housewives textiles), Melanau Terendak (sunhat), Bidayuh tambok (basket), Iban parang (swords), Orang Ulu wood carving and Chinese ceramics.

So the village is an adaptation of the 7 different cultures that make up Sarawak. They each had a different "house" that was portrayed here and at each house you got a stamp in your "passport" to show where you have been and in the end, it's a souvenir to take home. The girls really enjoyed our time here - climbing and seeing all there was to see....they even took part!

These are Sapes = kind of guitar like instrument that are handmade and really nice! The guy in the picture above is the one who made these below:

Needless to say - we all had a GREAT time at the village!!!! We even have our own sape that we purchased to bring home!
On our final day in Kuching, we went around the city and into a few museums, went to "Chinatown" as well as "Little Lebanon." Our final stop was a restaurant called Top Spot that is a well renowned place in Kuching and it did NOT disappoint!

A Monastery:

A Chinese Temple:

Some views of the downtown streets of Kuching:

Kuching Town Mosque:

Pictures of Chinatown:

Little Lebanon:

Our final destination was a place called Top Spot. Lenny has said it's world renowned and it didn't disappoint! We weren't sure whether there were just open for dinner since it was empty - literally, but quickly found out that we were just eating lunch really late as they close at 2 pm from the lunch crowd. We found a place that was more than willing to feed us and it was great! Hannah chose snapper fish with veggies and rice. It was REALLY good - they even let us back into the kitchen as Hannah wanted to see her snapper get cooked.

Needless to say - on our flight home we had two sleeping kids who were pooped!! They did lots of walking, seeing and doing on this trip and can't wait for our next trip - bring on Saigon as Ho Chi Minh City here we come!!

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