Day 38: Across to BorneoJuly 23, 2016 in Malaysia
Today we finally say farewell to Malacca after 5 comfortable and interesting days/nights. Carol provided a breakfast of roti canai (Malaysian flatbread similar to a savoury crepe) and nasi lemak (rice & sambal with boiled egg & anchovies, wrapped in a bamboo leaf). She's been so good to us! She also drove us to the bus station which was about 20 minutes away on the other side of town, saving us getting a public bus out there!
The bus was much the same as the one that had brought us from Singapore, with wide comfortable seats, a footrest and decent reclining capabilities, air conditioning and luggage racks in the hold. The journey was pretty non-eventful, I dozed and listened to podcasts while Shandos mostly slept.
Only thing of note was that for some reason, the bus stopped at a rest area maybe 20 minutes short of our destination. I guess there's some rule that says you can't drive longer than x duration without a break, so even though the end of the line is 20 minutes away you still have to stop. Only a couple of people got off the bus to stretch their legs and inspect another disgusting Asian public toilet.
Arrived at the enormous KLIA2 airport in plenty of time - by now it was 12:30 and our flight wasn't until 3:30, plus it was domestic and we'd already checked in and didn't have to drop bags. Had a typical airport lunch at Subway and then headed for the gate. Very surprised to find that unlike every other time we've been through this airport, we only had to walk for about 5 minutes to the gate, rather than the 25-30 minutes it usually is. The terminal is in the shape of an H with the entrance at one of the angles, so if your gate is on the parallel side and at the end it's a bloody long walk!
Waited at the gate doing some various internet things while AirAsia apologised their way through another flight delay; this time about 1 hour. We've now had four flights with them and three have been running late "due to late arrival of the aircraft". I don't know what that's code for, but it's very annoying!
Took off about 90 minutes late (so close to 5pm), and the pilot earned his stripes during the climb-out! Powering up, powering down, dodging left, dodging right to avoid huge thunderheads that just seem to gather in the sky late every afternoon. Once we'd cleared those the flight was pretty uneventful. Only a short hop of 90 minutes, so we arrived at about 6:30 and cleared immigration very quickly (yes - even though it's a domestic flight all travellers to Sarawak are monitored separately from the rest of Malaysia).
Our hotel is clean and modern though not particularly fancy, and again on the edge of the main part of town. Being a Saturday night we freshened up and set out exploring the town of Kuching. First thing we noticed was statues and street art of cats everywhere - apparently Kuching sounds similar to "white cat" in Mandarin so it's colloquially known as the cat city.
We wandered a bit along the riverfront (there's a wide river which the old city is clustered up against, with very little on the other side), before settling on a restaurant in a colonial era building just back from the water. The restaurant was full of white people which when travelling is usually an immediate red flag that the food isn't going to be very good, but we persevered and ate here anyway. Happy to report that the Sarawak laksa we both ordered was excellent, and a good price at 11.5 RMY/$4 AUD.
Looked at a bit more of the riverfront but decided to save further exploration for tomorrow. I have a feeling we'll be doing a lot of walking!Read more