SEARCHING SARAWAK FOR ORANG-UTANS AND FAIRIES

28/10/2016

Kuching, in the state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, is an amazing place to visit. Not just because Kuching means “cat” in Malay language and that they have millions of cats everywhere (mostly sculptures) together with a museum of cats! We came here especially to enjoy The Rainforest Word Music Festival – I wrote about it in another post on here – but there are some other brilliant things to see and do by taking trips into the beautiful natural surroundings.

Sarawak fairy cave

Since we arrived one day earlier for the festival, we rented a car at the airport (90 ringgit per day) and went to explore a few spots I found online before coming there.

 1. CLIMB INTO THE MAGICAL FAIRY CAVE

Fairy Cave Our first stop was the Fairy Cave, which is located 42-km (50 minutes) from the city of Kuching near a town called Bau.

The rock in Fairy cave was formed during the Jurassic period (200 million years ago – at that time crocodiles first appeared!!) and one has to climb a 4-storey high staircase tower to get to the entrance of the cave. And how it got its name? Well, according to some Chinese stories, the Fairy Cave got its name from a small stalagmite structure which looks like a Chinese deity. Whereas an old folks tale, suggests that these caves are home to fairies, gods and goddesses. Till this day, some Chinese devotees can be seen placing offerings and saying prayers to the rock formations which resemble their God. You can still see an old staircase by the limestone walls that back in the day before the new concrete stair structure, was the only way, which locals used to make their way up to the caves to perform prayers there.

 

After climbing that enormous concrete staircase from the road level, you reach the entrance of the cave which looks like a face of a ghost – I didn’t notice it there, but when I looked at my pictures I was quite surprised by its scary face. Truly an amazing entrance to the Fairy Cave.

Fairy Cave Sarawak

That green is really that green, and that cave is really that dark, and those gorgeous winding steps disappear into blackness, and you have no idea what you are going to see when you enter.

Upon reaching the entrance of the cave, we came across a narrow passage where you had to climb up the steps. They were really steep, wet and slippery – so be careful and also watch your head as you might hit it.  It was really windy and cool, as we made our way through the narrow passage. There is an opening up above the ceiling where only one person at a time can climb through. So we made it to the opening which leads us into this other world.

We were greeted with a breath-taking view the moment we made our way to the main chamber. I felt like we entered a magical fairyland out of this world. It was simply beautiful. Moss and tiny ferns cover the ground, as the enormous cave entrance lets sunlight into the cavern, which is massive. Water drips from above, feeding the little plants, and bat poo provides a fertile soil.

Fairy Cave Sarawak

 

I was in awe of this place! I’m the person who loves to watch all kinds of fairy tales, so you can imagine how excited I was when my imagination became actually real! I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter Pan and Tinkerbell jumped from behind the rock and say “So come with me where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever and in never never land.” The photo below is made in Photoshop to show you how I felt in that magical cave! <3

Fairy Cave Sarawak

 

It’s one of those places that you really have to see to believe.

If you’re ever in Sarawak, you MUST go to the Fairy Cave.

 

Tips

  • Bring a torch
  • Wear good shoes – it is slippery and you might step into some mud or bat poop 😀
  • Bring some water as there are hundreds of stairs and no shop close by
  • Use some repellent
  • Bring YOUR CAMERA! (and a tripod)

Fairy Cave Sarawak

 

2.   MEET THE AMAZING URANG-UTANS

The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre in Sarawak is home to a bunch of rescued or orphaned orangutans, and their offspring, including some gorgeous babies.

Semenggoh Orang Utan Sanctuary is around seven square kilometres in area, and the orang-utans who live here roam freely in the jungle of the reserve, coming in at feeding times only if they are hungry. There are two feeding times each day, when visitors hope to catch a glimpse of these beautiful and endangered creatures. Feeding times are 9-10 am and 3-4pm. We gathered with a bunch of other tourists before the three o’clock feeding, and were briefed on the behaviour of the orang-utans – and given some tips on our own behaviour. They also warned us that the morning weren’t lucky and that they didn’t see any orang-utans.  Don’t bring any food or water with you – keep it in your bag as they can take it from you.

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

 

Following the guide, we walked to the crocodile area first as no orang-utans were around. Then our guide was informed through his walkie-talkie that some orang-utans are on the way. We gathered on a wooden viewing platform, facing another wooden platform. The guide then began calling the orang-utans in.

After around five minutes of calling, we could hear the cracking of branches in the distance, behind our platform. The noise in the branches continued, until overhead we could see flashes of orange as a pregnant female orang-utan came through the canopy together with her baby. I was taking photos when our guide informed us that another orang-utan is on the way – this time a male.

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

The orang-utan mama sensed him and disappeared in the jungle. However this orang-utan didn’t stay long as well. Another male was on its way to get some food. It was an enormous orang-utan male – the alpha male of this sanctuary. Guards pushed everyone further away from the eating platform as this guy likes to walk on the ground. We looked at him in awe. He was massive! I couldn’t believe that this was happening. I have only watched those animals in the TV and now I’m only 5 metres from wild orang-utans! They are so beautiful! I even turned my camera off for few minutes and just enjoyed that moment.

OrangutanSemenggoh Wildlife Centre Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

How do you get there? We got there with our rented car, but you can take a local bus from Kuching. It takes around 45 minutes. There are also a bunch of tour companies that organise excursions around Kuching. With them, you can pair a visit to Semenggoh with a kayaking experience, visiting a longhouse, or some hiking, for example. However, I found their prices quite high as we paid only 10 Ringgits to get inside.

 

3.   GET TRIBAL AT SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE

Our last stop was Sarawak Cultural Village, located on the Santubong Peninsular, at Damai, where the amazing Rainforest World Music Festival was happening – it’s probably an hour’s drive away.

This place is known as a local “living museum”, the village features the traditional buildings of the indigenous people of Sarawak.

And there you have it! I was there only two and a half days but I was able to see quite a lot and I L.O.V.E.D. the place!

Sarawak

Cultural Village Sarawak

 

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