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Borneo & Brunei - April/May 2011



Lemanak River, Batang Ai and Kuching

Next morning we left Kuching & drove to the Lemanak River pier, on route stopping at Serian tovisit the local market. We also visited a Chinese farm to see how pepper & cocoa are grown, and at an area of forestry to look at wild orchids & pitcher plants. After lunch at a local food hall in Lachau Trading Centre we brought 2 large bags of biscuits & sweets to be given to the chief of the village longhouse later on for the children. We drove onward to the river jetty for the longboat up Lemanak river to the longhouse.

This 45-minute river trip was particularly pleasant going though the green foliage of the rainforest on both sides of the river & also tangled above our heads. The sounds of a particular insect, cicadas, was extremly loud thundering down from above following us all the way. The sounds of White Rumped Shama birds are also heard from time to time. The boatman, tour guide, Rob & myself did not talk throughout the journey & I guess like myself we were all enjoying this beautiful & natural enviroment. I was mesmerised.

We arrived at the longhouse with the local people welcoming us with a glass of home made rice wine. We had 2 glasses each. We looked at their kitchen & their simple sleeping arrangements on the mats in the long main room. There are also guestrooms for guests who wish to stay overnight in the longhouse. We can offer this on our tour programme upon request. We sat down for a performance of music and dance. Were were again offered rice wine & met the chief of the longhouse village. Everyone in the longhouse from children to young people to older people were all very friendly welcoming us into their traditional longhouse. These people have very few possesions but seem happy in their life. I left the longhouse also very happy too.

We returned to the jetty by the same river journey & I enjoyed it again, then we drove over to the Batang Ai lake pier for the hotel boat to take us across the Lake Batang Ai to the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort for the night. This is a lovely resort set on a hillside looking out over the lake. The resort is built in the style of a traditional longhouse among forestry in a peaceful & tranquil environment. The resort has a good view of the lake. The rooms were large and very comfortable. The resort also offers a short trek into the forest with a walk on the canopy walkway (terrifying) and it has swimming pool but unfortunately it was under repair during our visit. It would have been a luxurious setting in the jungle.

Next morning an early rise to board the hotel boat back to the pier for our visit to the Semenggoh Orang Utan Sanctuary near Kuching. Although the journey was a few hours of driving the scenic route was very pleasant with green trees & foilage all the way. We stopped for a coffee break & lunch on route. We arrived at Semonggoh Orang Utan Sanctuary in time for the afternoon feeding time at around 3pm. This centre is a bit different to the one in Sandakan, Sabah. This centre is in a more natural enviroment with no restaurant & shops for the visitors. Instead of an introduction film at Sepilok centre here in Semonggoh centre a member of staff gave a briefing to describe the centre and the Orang Utans. We were told what to do & what not to do in front of the Orang Utans. We watched two Orang Utans at the feeding platform & also two more Orang Utans playing on the trees outside the feeding platform. We looked at both centres & many Orang Utans but we did not tire of looking at them. They are wonderful creatures.

We arrived back in Kuching & checked in at the 5* Hilton hotel. In my opinion this is the best hotel in Kuching. The hotel has also the very best location facing the Kuching river waterfront across the road. The rooms are large & stylish. Our deluxe room had a superb view looking out across the river to the state parliament building. We will be booking all our clients staying at Hilton Kuching in a deluxe room with riverview. There is a lovely swimming pool in the garden, tennis court & gym at the hotel. The best offer at the hotel is their delicious nightly buffet at their restaurant. It was so good that we spent two consecutive evenings there for our dinners. There was plenty of seafood including lobster, crab, salmon, tuna, prawn as well as chicken & meat etc. They were all wonderful & delicious. The desert was mouthwatering too.

Next day we took a trip to Bako National Park.

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Pitcher Plant
Pitcher Plant
Lemanak River
Lemanak River
Lemanak River from the Longhouse
Lemanak River from the Longhouse
Batang Ai Lake
Batang Ai Lake
Orang Utans at Semenggoh
Orang Utans at Semenggoh