A 6-day excursion to Kuching. The drive from Sarikei to Kuching took about 5 hours, with an additional hour to reach Permai Rainforest Resort, which is located by the seashore and at the foot of Mount Santubong. We reserved an interesting treehouse for us and a cabin for our parents. These accommodations are tucked in the Borneo rainforest where it requires about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the resort entrance.
Our 2-night stay at Permai Rainforest Resort was fantastic. The smell of earthy scents after the rain, the crashing wave by the shore, the cooler temperature in the rainforest, the free-roaming wildlife around us… a few words to sum up the whole experience: quiet, peaceful and tranquil. We also visited the nearby Damai Beach and did a morning hike at Mount Santubong National Park.
We spent a night at Angelina’s cousin’s place on the 3rd night in Kuching before spending the remaining 2 nights at the Imperial Hotel in the downtown area. Throughout our stay in Kuching, we visited several relatives and friends as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. We also celebrated Angelina’s dad’s 70th birthday at a restaurant with his old friends.
During our last day in Kuching, we visited the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre to see orangutans before heading home. It is the biggest orangutan rehabilitation center in the state of Sarawak that serves as a sanctuary for the injured and orphaned orangutans.
Although we didn’t plan much for this trip, it actually turned out to be really relaxing and fun.
A few observations:-
- The drive from Sarikei to Kuching are mostly on single-lane double-yellow-line roads. There are lots of Pan-Borneo Highway constructions along the drive, which is supposed to stretch from the state of Sarawak to the state of Sabah. That said, most drivers disregard the “no passing” signs and pass slower traffic at dangerous speed.
- We contemplated choosing either Damai Beach Resort or Permai Rainforest Resort since both resorts are closely located among one another and they are away from the bustling Kuching downtown, but ended up choosing the latter because it was much more secluded and it has 10 treehouses that are 20 feet from the ground. That said, it didn’t dawn on us that we had to walk quite a distance to reach our accommodations. Thankfully, we were able to persuade the resort workers to provide buggy ride for the parents and at the same time, lug some of our belongings in.
- The orangutans, known as “the old men of the forest”, are only found in parts of Borneo and parts of Sumatra. The Sumatran species are critically endangered, with only about 7500 left. The Bornean species fare a little better with about 104K left. Most orangutans live in Indonesia. To see free-roaming orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is truly a treat. There are two orangutan rehabilitation centers in Malaysia: Semenggoh in the state of Sarawak and Sepilok in the state of Sabah. These centers are not meant to be touristy spots but the visitors have an unique opportunity to see the orangutans during designated feeding times from a distance, and at the same time, get educated regarding these species by the knowledgeable wardens.