Previous years I always longed to visit many places in Kuching whenever we were in town but since we didn't have our own car, I wasn't able to do so.

But now that we have our own car here, it is payback time. There's so many things to do and see in Kuching, and one of it is to visit the orang utans in their almost natural environment, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

This nature reserve centre has been a rehabilitation centre for orang utans especially the orphaned young, those confiscated from illegal poachers or injured due to deforestation activities with the aim to reintroduce them back to the wild.

I'm extremely impressed especially after visiting the gallery and reading about the systematic and massive efforts to help the orang utans. Do you know that the orang utans even have birth certificates just like a human infant? The only difference is their birth cert didn't have details of the father! LOL!


(Unfortunately we didn't manage to meet Delima, or Nora or any other famous orang utan figure today, since none turned up at the feeding platform)

Another interesting discovery is they have several stages of 'education system' starting from nursery school, to primary school, to secondary school before they are released to the wild. 

Our main goal of visiting this centre was to have some experience of being up close and personal with the orang utans during the feeding time (which was at 3pm in the afternoon).

Entrance fee is RM5 for Malaysian adult (free admission for children below 12). When we reached the waiting area around 15mins before the feeding time, there were already a crowd of foreign tourists waiting patiently at the designated shed. 

We decided to kill the time by visiting the crocodile enclosure area nearby. Khayla was terrified at first but soon got over her fear when she saw the reptiles were hardly moving - in fact we thought they were mummified because there wasn't any sign of movement. Even their open eyes were unblinking!

Before the feeding time, a guide gave a short briefing about the orang utan habits and some precautions like keeping our voices down, not bringing any food, and keeping safe distance from the orang utans.


(Visitors dilligently listened to the guide's explanation)

That was when I changed my mind about getting in close proximity with the orang utans - what if one of the maternal ones grabbed Khadeeja from my arms and ran up the durian tree with my baby? Then she grows up like Jane the Tarzan girl (for one, she already behaves like one of the baby orang utans, always climbing here and there, grabbing things and have no table manner whatsoever!). Ok, my imagination tended to run wild.

Still we joined the throng of visitors climbing up the jungle trail to the main feeding platform, me holding Khayla by the hand and encouraging her to walk steadily up the hilly path. Khadeeja was safely in hubby's arms. If ever one orang utans took a fancy on my baby, she would have to go through my hubby, LOL!



Luckily (or unluckily) no orang utan turned up and my worry dissipated. Throughout the time, we heard the rangers giving loud, long cries calling for the orang utans, signaling to them it was feeding time. It is fruits season, explained the guide, so the orang utans are able to feed themselves instead of relying on hand outs. It is a good sign for the wildlife centre because it means the orang utans are self-reliant, but not a good news to the eager and expectant visitors who came all the way from Europe or US to meet them!

However we did manage to sight an orang utan high above a durian tree at another location (deeper in the forest, and the climb was much steeper, it was incredible that I managed to climb there carrying Khadeeja in my arms).

After that we decided to go back because it looked like it was about to rain. 

For those who love the nature, do drop by this place. The nature is well-preserved, so if you can't sight the orang utans, you can also go for walks at the various nature trails and at arboretum within this centre. 

Just Google Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre for more details. My advice, if you really hope to snap that photo of you arms in arms with orang utan, come during the non-fruits season. Or go to Matang Wildlife Centre (but I'm not sure if you can feed them there because they are placed in enclosure).

Happy orang utan sighting!
Selamat Hari Raya everyone! I'm sure everyone has had a blast during the past few days, and so did we :)

This year we decided to go for a family vacation on the third day of Syawal. Our destination - Kuching's Damai Beach Resort.

Located in Santubong which is 45mins away from Kuching town, the resort is famed for its serene beach view and fantastic natural environment surrounding the resort.

We chose to go to this resort because our girls love playing in the water, and with the beach and swimming pool literally next to each other, the girls are sure to have a lovely time splashing in the water to their hearts' content!

The scenery along the beach

The swimming pool

The resort has separate pools for the adults and kids. The kids' swimming pool  comes complete with a water slide and waterfall. Love!

I purposely booked the superior room which is the closest to the swimming pool. There is a big cage full of cats (local, not high breed though) behind our hotel building and frankly, the cats look bored with nothing much to do.

When we reached the resort, I was expecting a well-established international standard resort because a lot of Western tourists happen to stay here. I was slightly disappointed to find the resort to be just average in terms of service and facilities.

First of all, at the reception counter, instead of immediately greeting guest, the staff continued to do whatever he was doing and ignored me. So did the staff next to him. Where else, when I checked in at Westin in KL a couple of months back, the staff did not only greet me with cheerful but respectful tone, she also greeted my girls asking them their journey and practically wowing me with their wonderful hospitality.

After waiting for 2 mins, finally the receptionist turned to me and proceeded to check us in. 

The lobby area

Our room was on the second floor and nearest to the staircase. The room is spacious (for a RM300++ rate, I would expect no less), but tired looking. Walking into the room made me feel like I've been transported to 2 decades ago. The amenities like the bed sheet, pillows, sofa, hair dryer and other fittings seem unchanged since the 90's. The only thing that looks new is the flat TV. 

The room comes with one queen bed

The bathroom and toilet

The bathtub

Toiletries

The resort didn't even provide tooth brushes, but luckily we brought ours. On the other side, I quite like the peppermint smell of the complimentary shower gel and shampoo.

Much to our annoyance, the housekeeping team forgot to place towels in the room which we only discovered after coming back from the swimming pool. The telephone in the room was not working (the receptionist explained that due to earlier thunder, they switched off the telephone line), so hubby had to go to the counter to request for towels. We had to wait for half an hour (and another trip to the counter) before the towels arrive, and my girls were already so cold. Hmmph.

Still, we are thankful for the cool room and having escape the scorching heat from the hot weather outside. The weather was quite good when we reached the hotel, slightly cloudy and breezy.

Immediately we all changed to our swimming attire and hubby brought the kids swimming while I chill on a deck chair with a Sidney Sheldon novel. I even dozed off after a while because the sea breeze felt and smelt deliciously cool. Ah, lovely vacation!

At night, we opted for buffet dinner at the resort's Satang Cafe (RM45++ per adult, kids below 12 eat for free). Sadly, the buffet was hardly appetizing and lacked choices. There was white rice, spaghetti carbonara with lumpy sauce, ayam masak merah, fish curry, mixed veggies in butter sauce, grilled lamb in blackpepper sauce, bun and butter, salad with few choices of dressing, and tomyam soup. Dessert was two types of layer cakes and some fruits. 

So I contented myself taking photo of the cafe interior.  

The hotel restaurant has interesting Sarawak nature painting on the ceiling (please ignore my daughter sitting on the floor!)

Fortunately the next day's breakfast (comes together in the room package) was better. Although there was no egg station (you only get fried egg to go with the usual baked beans, chicken frankfurt and whatnots), they offer nasi lemak, rice porridge with local Chinese condiments, an assortment of cereals, sliced cheese, an assortment of bread, croissant and buns to go with various jams and butter, waffle, roti canai, fried noodle and chicken curry.

To my amusement, the resort put a notice that any unfinished food weighing more than 100g will be charged additional RM10.

So peeps, don't waste your food here!

Overall, I think the resort management seriously need to buck up and upgrade the hotel services and facilities. Would I come here again? Maybe. 

Rating: 6/10