Whilst the city center of Kuching itself has alot to offer, many attractions can be found within 45 to 80 minutes’ drive away from the city. On the final day of our stay, we paid a visit to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and the Annah Rais Bidayuh longhouse.
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
The first stop was the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre to get a glimpse of semi-wild orang utans. Feeding times are 9-10am and 3-4pm, so time your journey well (about 45 mins to an hour by car from Kuching). Since the orang utans are semi-wild, the feeding platform is roughly 15-20m away from the observation platform. So if you want to get intimate shots of the primates, be sure to bring at least a 200mm lens. The pics you see below are taken with a 90mm, so you get an idea how far you are from the feeding platform. I’m told that the orang utans don’t visit at every feeding time, so don’t be disappointed if none turn up. Oh yes, bring a tripod if you’re into macro photography…
Annah Rais Bidayuh longhouse
After the wildlife centre, we headed towards the Annah Rais Bidayuh longhouse. I was expecting the type of longhouses I’d seen earlier in the Sarawak Museum. It was nowhere like it! Because people actually live in these longhouses, they are constantly being upgraded and renovated. So while the houses were still connected and the lifestyle is very much communal, I saw many modern comforts such as washing machines, satellite dishes, LCD TVs and fridges. Although I would have preferred to see a traditional longhouse (a showhouse perhaps), it was still quite an experience. The Bidayuh community that live there have been living there for at least a hundred years and still stick to their traditions. In fact, preparations for the Gawai day were in full swing. Everyone was doing some spring cleaning and the entire bamboo flooring of the longhouse was being replaced in sections. If you’re going to visit, it’s best to hire a guide to bring you around. There’s an entrance fee which goes to maintaining the longhouse and while the Bidayuh living in that particular longhouse didn’t mind my taking photos, just be respectful and ask if they don’t mind your lens snooping around (afterall, it is their home).
So, Kuching.. Malaysia’s cleanest (in my opinion) city! And a city full of culture, with residents who are proud of this and keen to share with you everything they have to offer. Kuching is also great for food! And if you are visiting with a camera, you’d be spoilt for choice. I just wish I had more time! So, like Langkawi, it is one of those places in Malaysia where once is never enough. Visit the gallery for more images.