Kuching is a romantic city - 15th April 2015

I am blaming our early start yesterday for misnaming our lodgings. Its correct name is Kuching Water Front Lodge (not Riverfront as I reported yesterday). My apologies. 

Had tasty dinner last night in the open pavilion style James Brooke Bistro and Café overlooking the Sarawak River. Erica had Wild Borneo Laksa (yellow noodles, chicken, bean sprouts, curds and vegetables in a coconut curry broth) and I had Sarawak Tom Yum Laksa (Yam noodles, spicy soup, prawns, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and lime juice). Both were fabulous and tasted completely different. As usual we had two lime juices. Total cost was 27RM or $9.60 Australian. Sorry no pics as it looked so good we consumed them without thought of a pic!

James Brooke Bistro and Cafe

James Brooke Bistro and Cafe

Old bath used as chairs in Cafe Kuching

Old bath used as chairs in Cafe Kuching

Kuching is a romantic city with a fascinating history. At the beginning of the 19th Century Sarawak was under the control of The Sultan of Brunei.  An uprising against him started in 1836 and continued until 1839 when James Brooke a wealthy Englishman arrived with his well-armed yacht the “Royalist” and put down the rebellion for the Sultan. The grateful Sultan made Brooke the Rajah of Sarawak in 1841 and his heirs ruled until the Japanese invaded in the early 1940’s. When Australian Troops liberated Sarawak in 1945. Charles Vyner Brooke, the ruler at that time, decided Sarawak would be better off as a Crown Colony then ceded it to Britain. On 22nd July 1963 Sarawak gained independence and shortly afterwards joined the other Malay state to form Malaysia.

Enough of history. The wide Sarawak River bisecting the town is a typical large tropical river and the breezes flowing across it coupled with its many riverbank trees make it seem cooler than other parts of Malaysia we have been in. The old shop houses along the waterfront (of which our lodge is one) evoke a bygone era that somehow still lingers here. This area is pretty tourist orientated but today while walking we discovered another section of Old Kuching lurking farther back, away from the tourists eye. Erica had read about a hotel there called The Batik Boutique and after inspecting it today we may move there for the last 11 days of our visit.

We have decided not to revisit Sabah as we extensively toured it on our previous trip and to concentrate on Kuching. A company called Naim is developing condominiums in Kuching for MM2H (Malaysia My Second Home) 10 year visa holders and we just might take a peek!

There are also Medical clinics including the Chan Clinic 98 Main Bazaar Kuching that is skilled at treating foreigners and there are also some good private hospitals. Although not serviced by our “Trusty Buses” due to the South China Sea the 90 minute flight to KL would see a retiree in a KL Private Hospital in no time if the need arose.

Interestingly our comments on KL shopping were spot on as the news here ran a story last night saying a worldwide survey on shopping ranked KL fourth in the world behind Tokyo, New York, London and Singapore.

The Kuching Waterfront Lodge is a great inexpensive place to stay and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Our room number 121 is on the first floor at the back of the shop house and has been very quiet so far. The location is also perfect. Tomorrow the connection of Wi Fi to all rooms will be completed.

Our only problem is that we stayed in a similar shop house in Melaka recently and the combination of the steps there and all over Melaka has caused Erica’s knees to give her a lot of trouble. The lift in the hotel in KL helped them recover a little but unfortunately the stairs here have exasperated the problem.

We visited the Museums in Kuching today including the Textile Museum that had a very good exhibition on. The Chinese Museum was also very interesting and made us realise how much the Chinese have contributed to modern day Malaysia. Also made another visit to The Old Court House - Erica’s favourite building here so far.

Parliament looms over old shophouses

Parliament looms over old shophouses

Textile museum in Kuching

Textile museum in Kuching

Bought a packet of Ose Sesame Biscuits to snack on while out and about. They are made just behind the lodge in China Street. Ingredients are flour, dried winter melon, preserved bean curd and edible oil. They were yummy and did not last long.

32C° in Kuching today and it feels warm! May take a sampan along the river to cool off later today. We have our eye on a couple of places to eat tonight and will report back tomorrow.