Thursday, September 17, 2009

Destination Sarawak

I have wanted to go to Borneo since reading Gerald Durrell's book set there. It sounded so pristine and wild and adventurous.
Then in 1998 a mate and I went to Kuala Lumpur for ten days and at the Royal Selangor pewter place gift shop we got into conversation with one of the staff and she said Sarawak was wonderful. That sealed the deal. I told her that next time I came to Malaysia I would go there - and I would hate to let her down as I am sure she is a devoted reader of this blog.

When most people visit Borneo they go to Sabah in the north east. It is a scuba diving mecca, apparently, and enjoys much higher tourist numbers than Sarawak. Since I am a rebel and say 'Fie!' to the opinions of hoi poloi I decided we would go to western Sarawak to try and be token tourists. And we were quite successful at that.
(Also, Ellen, wanted to go snorkeling and sit on a beach. Oh, and jungle would be nice.)

Even in the capital city of Sarawak, Kuching - a city of 300,000 people, there were only a couple of dozen white people. And we managed to avoid most of them because they didn't spend much time in the old part of the waterfront which was where we spent almost all our time.

I was originally looked at spending most of the time north of Kuching in Santubong, but reading around and the polite silence of a friend's boyfriend who knows the area gave me pause for thought.
I looked at the map again and saw that the road west ends at Sematan. That was why I picked Sematan.
There are two islands about 5kms north called the Talang-Talang islands that offer snorkeling sites, and there is a national park called Tanjung Datu (Where "Tg. Datuk" is on this map) that is accessible only by boat. I fugured we'd find some pretty authentic jungle there.
Finally, there is a resort there, right on the beach, that would allow us to be indulgent and lazy. Nine nights there please!

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