Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Sarawak_4-7 Nov 2011: Day 2

Bye-bye Santubong...we're off to the City now...
After checking out from Damai, we quickly made our way back to Kuching to meet up with Aimi at the Grand Margherita hotel. The initial plan to rent a car and tour around Kuching was a no-go. Somehow, the botched idea turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as if not, we wouldn't have met Mr. Eugene, cab-driver cum tour guide extraordinare!!! A definite recommend if you're travelling in a small group. For those who plan to go to Kuching and wish to seek his service, just blog-mail me and I'll give you the number. Alternatively, you can find him on my FB.

First-stop....SERIKIN (not Sarikei. That's a totally different place). Serikin is located near the border of Kalimantan and Sarawak. Journey to Serikin from the city will take approximately one and a half hour.

What's in Serikin? Their weekend market of course. You'll find handicrafts, Sarawakian batiks, mats, jamu and all sorts of other Indonesian items. For women, they mainly come here for the telekungs and embroidered Indonesian batik. Pricing-wise...not bad. It is fairly cheap. All depends on your bargaining skills.

Instant Ice-blended...an Indonesian treat!

As we were already within the area, we decided to make a pit-stop at the Wind Caves. It was definitely a first time for all of us. We never came close to any caving activities. Note that in visiting the Wind Caves, it's ok to wear normal attire. However, if you do decide to visit the Fairy Caves along the way, wear proper attire i.e. sneakers. I was made to understand that the climb within the Fairy Caves are even more slippery and steep.




Mr. Eugene, Aimi and M*
Breath-taking...
This was the part that totally creeped me out. Can't imagine people, including children, finding sanctuary here during the Japanese occupation.
To be honest, for first-timers, you will definitely be creeped out. It's so dark that even the light from our torch lights failed to penetrate the darkness. You need some very powerful ones like those brought by Mr Eugene. Our herooo....even the group behind us followed Mr Eugene while he explained the history, some of the unique formations and the water passages within the cave.

Some gruesome history behind the caves in Sarawak. Basically, in Sarawak, there are hundreds of caves. During the Japanese occupation, many had to seek refuge in caves to escape torture and prosecution. Mr. Eugene informed that even his parents at the age of nine had hidden in the Fairy Caves. Lucky for them that they had chosen the right cave, as many of the caves were smoked and the Japanese had blocked their escape routes, leaving those inside the caves to suffocate to death. All did not survive. This later contributed to the naming of "Bau" in Sarawak due to the stench of the dead. (This is debatable as I've read many versions to how the name "Bau" came about. For now, I'm sticking to what Mr Eugene told us). According to Mr. Eugene, the stench was so bad that nearby villages could smell it. Flies would come in black clouds to feast on the dead.

However, those who sought refuge at the two caves, specifically the Wind Caves and Fairy Caves were spared. Somehow, the smoke from the fire were channeled out from the caves due to their unique formations and passageways.




Bell-holes. Bell holes are the effect from bats roosting on the ceilings of the cave. These form of erosions are due to the heat and condensation from the bats' urine.
By the way, during our tour, I highly suspect I got a "gift" from the bats, specifically on top of my head.

Jannah  : Omg, balik kang I better mandi. I tak nak kang tetiba ada bald spot pulak...
Aimi     : Yeah, nanti ada bell-hole pulak...
Jannah  : -__________________ -  Kughang Asthaaammm...
Aimi     : Hahahahahah




A definite must-experience... If you are properly attired, I suggest that you visit the Fairy Caves as well as it is within the area as well. Visit the Sungai Sarawak too as usually it's bustling with activities. Unfortunately, when we visited it, the water was slightly higher than usual so it was closed to the public.

By the time we arrived back in the city, it was already 5'ish. We made our way back to our room to freshen up and prep for our next stop...across the river...Dayang Salhah...

The sampan ride across the river will cost you 50 sen.Be careful when you get into it as I was unfortunate enough to knock my head on the ceiling of the sampan...ouch..sakit sikit ajer. You'll forget it once you get to Dayang Salhah.

Dayang Salhah is famous for their fresh kuih lapis. By the way, go there on an empty stomach. You can sample as much as you like. There are so many varieties you'd go bonkers by the end of your visit. Men, prepare to be slaves to your mums, wives, sisters or girlfriends...Gurlsss, prepare to get cross-eyed. My friends and I sampai terduduk kat tengah-tengah kedai...what Aimi's beau later on termed it as our bimbo moment.






Us with our purchases
After stuffing our hotel's mini fridge with our purchases, we went on in search for dinner. Location? Top Spot! Ohh Emmm Geee...fresh, pricing not too bad..and oh soooo good!!!