Incredible Asia: Kuching (2)

When I arrived in Kuching, I couldn’t help thinking that the name resonates with the Indian town of Kochi that I visited last December. As it turned out, according to one version the Malay name “Kuching” indeed derived from the Indian “Kochi”. As per another version, the name comes from “kucing”, the Malay word for cat. Throughout the day we saw many stray cats in town, with local people stroking and caressing them. No wonder our accommodation was also in the ‘cat’ style.

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“Quiik Cat”: our journey begins here.

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Cats are everywhere on the hostel.

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What a cute cat guy. 

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The hostel is cute and artistic inside also.

In the morning went for a walk towards a shopping mall to have coffee and buy hats. And explore the surroundings in the meantime, of course.

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Telephone booths

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St Mary’s school is the oldest in Kuching (dated from 1848) and the fourth oldest in Malaysia.

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Merdeka Palace Hotel. “Merdeka” means independent in Malay. It’s a popular word in the Malay urban architecture. For example, just in front there is Merdeka Padang (Independence Square).

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And this is Merdeka Plaza where we sat down for coffee.

I immediately noticed how friendly the local people were: in the shops, in the mall, in the street. Especially if you say in Malay Selamat pagi (Good morning) and Terima kasih (Thank you).

Our goal for today was Bako, the oldest national park in eastern Malaysia. However, it started raining. So we sat down at the reception of “Qiiik cat” and shared some Hungarian palinka (strong spirit) brought by my friends. Since the St Mary’s School was very close, we saw many kids around, and took photos with some of them. The most amazing scene a young lad literally swimming in the rain pool next to the main road.

After the rain abated, we called a taxi and headed for Bako.

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Waiting for the rain to stop

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Kuching fire station

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Another school with kids just before the boat station

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Ready to take a boat ride!

We hired a private boat for a reasonable price to take us from Kuching boat station to Bako. The journey was really fast and enjoyable, with wind blowing in the face and water drops splashing around.

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Approaching the Bako National park. 

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Bake begins where the Sarawak river flows into the South China Sea.

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We are welcomed by the local residents …

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… and local wild pigs.

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Looks like there are crocodiles here also.

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Amidst the rainforest nature

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Three musketeers in the rainforest

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Back to the Bako boat station after a quick 2-hour exploration

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Time for boarding

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River houses on the way back

Exploring the rainforest was very quick as the last boat for Kuching was bound early. Nonetheless we had fun meting the local fauna and flora.

In the evening we went to the waterfront and took a boat across the Sarawak river. The ride was quick, but fun, with local people laughing and joking. The other bank turned out to be much more clearly Muslim, even though Malaysia is predominantly a Muslim country. We had a dinner in a public open-air canteen, tried local Teh C Peng (three-layer milk tea: syrup, mil, and tea), met many cats around, and took a stroll along the river.

Rollei Digital CameraCats in town

Rollei Digital Camera

Rollei Digital Camera

Taknig a boat across the river

Upon crossing the river back, we sat down for a beer in the Barber pub with a great interior and atmosphere. The day was pleasantly tiring, full of impressions and emotions.

Terima kasih, Kuching!

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