Thursday, 5 August 2010

Kuching trip - Prologue

After Penang and Kota Kinabalu, Kuching is the 3rd place in Malaysia that I would be visiting this year. I booked the airticket way back in Dec 09 when the airfare is S$1 per way and total is S$72 after taxes and service charge. There would be 6 people travelling together, my family,  my cousins Xinyi and Baoxian & my friend, Joe. However, few days before the trip, Baoxian pull out from the trip as she wants to spend more time preparing for her exams.

2 months prior to the trip, I discovered that Tiger Airways changed the flight timing when I was occassionally browsing the fares on the travel date on it's website. Unlike Jetstar, Tiger Airways didnt emailed me about the change of the flight timing to a later time! It only emailed me a flight reminder few days before the flight. I made a mental note to recheck all the flight timings prior to the departure date, just in case that the airlines did not inform me.

Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia. Sarawak is located on the Borneo island which is shared with Sabah (another Malaysia state), Brunei and Kalimatan (Indonesia). I was amused when I read that a very popular Singapore blogger thought that Kuching is in Penisular Malaysia and can be reached by car.

Kuching means "Cat" in Malay. However it is unlikely that it has anything to do with cats. The two more likely explanations are that it derives from the Indian word kochin, meaning "harbour," or that it is named after the mata kuching or "cat’s eye" fruit, a close relative of the longan that grows widely here.
Map of Sarawak
For accomodation, I choose Tune Hotel Kuching which is located at Kuching Waterfront and is opposite Hilton Hotel. It cost RM92 ~ S$39 for 3 nights stay in a double room, definitely cheaper than hostel and yet there is an attached bathroom. I have to separate my bookings for 3 double rooms as the charge for the first room is cheaper. If I booked 3 rooms together, it would cost a bit more expensive.

Although most of the attractions in Kuching city are within walking distance, I decided to source for a van with a driver as my parents are travelling with us and we have a big group travelling together. Weather should be quite hot in Kuching so my dad will start to grumble if we walk too much. I enquired few tour agencies and I found that the rate quoted by Mdm Tan is reasonable. I have forgotten how I found her contact (hp: +6 016 575 7312). She quoted me a van inclusive of driver and petrol for RM270 per day. Mdm Tan explained that I can bring forward the unutilise time to the next day and it's up to my discretion on when I want the driver to pick us and send us back to the hotel. The condition is that the duration of the rental for the day has to be continuous. Hence I decided to rent a van for Day 2 - 4. One week prior departure, I called and confirmed. Mdm Tan told me that a deposit of RM200 is required, hence I asked Joe to help me bank in this amount into Ms Tan's bank account in Malaysia.

Itinerary for the trip: 
Day 1: Arrive @ 4.15pm, Kuching waterfront 
Day 2: Sarawak Cultural Village, Chinese History Museum, Tua Pek Kong temple, Sarawak Craft Council, Main Post Office, Textile museum, Cat museum, Satok Market 
Day 3: Serikin market, Bau Wind, Fairy Caves, Kuching Civic Centre 
Day 4: Astana, DUN, Buy Kek Lapis Dayang Salhah, Kuching South City Hall, Sarawak museum, Depart @ 4.45pm

Budget for 4 days 3 nights is S$200 ~ RM470
- RM70 for admission fees
- RM150 for transport
- RM100 for meals
- RM150 for shopping & souvenirs

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