Kuching (yep thats right its sounds like the cash-money sound)
My first impressions right from the airport were Kuching was abit guarded, not as friendly or giving and that it was a small place. As soon as I got out of the Taxi and arrived at Singasanna Lodge I realised my above impressions were false, simply for the fact that I had an unfriendly Taxi driver, or maybe just even a Taxi driver that didn't speak English. One fact was true though, Kuching was a small city in comparison to KL.
The front entrance of Singasanna Lodge is located on a busy road. Reception is up the stairs on the first floor and cool from the air-con, also tranquil with water features to aid the atmosphere. The level of service when checking in and thereafter was top-notch, they understood I had missed a day and had refunded me already. I was in a dorm of 6 bunk beds with lockers next to them. It was pretty basic but was immaculately clean and tidy. Immediately got chatting to people in reception. Then had a couple of beers in the bar, which is located on the roof. The bar itself was amazing, it had a pool table, table tennis, a TV on a overhead projector, lots of places to perch on high stalls and it had a hammock. The bar furniture had a theme of bamboo and wicker, my favourite touch was that the walls were covered in messages of all the people who had visited and cartoon drawings of themselves or of people who had worked there. I spent a lot of time in this bar and met such a mix of different people, old and young, wicked and fun. The bar opened at 5.30pm everyday and closed when everyone said so. The showers were communal, single sex and cleaned everyday.
Kuching City Centre.
Next to our hostel was a cinema with the latest films for a very good price of RM 10. All films seemed to a vintage taste because of the low quality projection and Malay subtitles. They didn't sell salted popcorn much to my disgust. On the balcony of the cinema was a beautiful view of Kuching, just stunning at sunset.
Near the hostel was a river that had the modern capital building on it. You can purchase a boat rides along the river or walk. Near the markets are museums and a small Aquarium; there was an array of fish tanks with a single big fish squashed into each tank looking sad and lonely. There was also a small pond in a cage that housed about 100 turtles. I did leave this Aquarium a little sad and promising myself to sign up to an animal activist charity, but hey least entry was free so that's better than a kick in the teeth.
The centre consisted with many streets with shops on, many shops selling tit bits geared towards tourists. As Kuching is quite a modern city the high street did also consist of shops that we would see in our high streets such as stationary shops, Mac stores, bookstore chains etc.
I visited the beach resort called ………….. which was a 45min bus journey away. The place housed beautiful wooden hotel rooms on stilts rights on the beach; it also had a fresh water pool for cooling down in or having a rinse off from the sea. The resort also had a wildlife park with monkeys in. When I was walking down to the beach there was a commotion as a Viper (It was green all over) was just hanging in a bush next to the path. Security removed it with a stick.
Food in Kuching
The food I ate in Kuching was amazing and just what I was hoping for when I reached Malaysia! The three restaurants that I remember most were the Green House, Top Spot and Blah Blah.
Green house was amazing and I ate there everyday nearly twice a day. You could get Satay Chicken with rice, Phad Thai Noodles, Chicken or Beef Dumplings and my favourite Beef noodles. All dishes cost near to 3 or 4 RM. Bargain. The Green house was a food court. So there were about 5 food stalls under each roof selling different things, with a seating area in the middle and a drinks boy (or old man) who came around. I became a recognised local there.
Top Spot was located on top of a multi-storey car park, so it was funny when we were walking there because I thought they were pulling my leg. The food court was massive there must have been about 8 or 9 restaurants/big food stalls next to each other with a mass dinning area in the middle. Each restaurant had their food on display, so you could just order by pointing at what you wanted. The seafood they had on display was out of this world, tiger prawns the size of my fist and squid that looked like mini sea monsters. In the end I went for mussels, which were huge. When customers had finished there would be a massive piles of plates in the middle of the tables. Each dish cost around 8RM each? Next to nothing for amazing food.
Blah Blah is one of the posh places in town, it is apparently where all the local celebrities go to eat and I'm not surprised as it has the WOW factor. As you enter the restaurant a host greets you, then you walk on stepping-stones across a pond filled with beautiful big carp, then you walk past the kitchen then into the dinning area. The dinning area was gorgeous, the ceiling was covered in red Lanterns and there were fairy lights mixed in with the pebbles on the floor. Unfortunately we didn't eat here as it was quite expensive and we had just eaten so we just had a couple of beers, but the food we saw coming out was making us drawl.
The people I met at Singgahsana Lodge were amazing. You all know who you are! Hats off to all you mad hatters. I must have been incredibly lucky that we all rocked up at the same time. The Lodge also hires westerners, usually backpackers to help socialise with the customers. So that was nice in the fact that there was always someone around to chat to LOL. All the nights of fun with cards or bar games were all because of you wicked people! BIG UP!