White beaches, great diving, Orangutans.
KT was our first impression after landing in Malaysia and definitely not the best one. We didn’t really plan our trip this time, so after landing in Kuala Lumpur, we went through immigration without having a connecting flight or bus transfer to KT. We thought we’d stay the night but didn’t realise the airport hotels are only at the international terminal before passing immigration and we couldn’t go back. So we stayed the night at the airport and boarded a plane at 7am to KT, to arrive really tired and exhausted and sleep through most of Sunday. 2 days wasted on the 30 day visa.
We stayed in KT for 2 days to meet Yann Torres and decided to travel to Pulau Kapas together the next day.
Kapas is a small island east of KT. It takes about 30–40 minutes by Grab and another 30 minutes by ferry to reach the island. We found good accomodation at Kapas Beach Chalets (KBC) right next to the jetty and stayed there for 4 days. We tried scuba diving, but unfortunately visibility wasn’t great and there were a lot of jellies around, so we didn’t go for any further dives during our stay.
Right after Kapas we took a Grab back to KT and from the jetty there to Redang. Just like on Kapas, there’s no ATM on the island, so you’ll need to bring cash, and there’s no ATM nearby the jetty. We stayed at Redang Island Resort(4*), which belongs to the Taaras, the only 5* resort on the island. This meant they offered free transport to and from the Taaras. Brilliant, since we paid way less for accommodation and spent our time working and scuba diving at the Taaras, on a private beach, with an amazing view.
Kuching offeres a remarkable value for money. So without compromising the budget we got to stay at fancy hotels. We first stayed at the Meritin, but since the room didn’t have any windows and left us tired every day because of the lack of sunlight, we decided to move to the Riverside Majestic Hotel. In Kuching we got to experience nightlife, as it has a mixed culture and people do party until sunrise. From Kuching it’s about 30–35 minute ride to the Semenggoh Nature Reserve where you can see Orangutans! We left Sunday morning before 08:00 and arrived in time for the feeding. This was an amazing experience to see those giant apes. There are tour providers offering this for >100RM, but it’s much cheaper and easier to catch a Grab for ~25RM and pay the ~5RM ticket at the reserve directly. We arrived about 20 minutes before the tour groups and had a nice, private experience till then.
The second great experience in Kuching was the Bako National Park. Unfortunately we didn’t time this right, arrived pretty late at the boat jetty and had to wait another 15–20 minutes until more people filled the boat transfer. We spent 2–3 hours walking around in the park and saw some monkeys and one of the famous Proboscis monkeys. We would have loved to stay there for the night, but everything was booked out already.
There’s nothing I can write about Kuching that’s not covered in James Hunt’s Travel Guide to Kuching for Digital Nomads. I recommend reading the article if you plan to visit Borneo. We met with James a few times to talk about the nomad lifestyle, work and life in Kuching and other topics, overall a great time there.