Explore Kuching and Beyond On Your Runcation
With the Borneo Trail Classic coming up in about five weeks, runners would be at the peak of training for race preparations. These not only peaking for the race, but also logistics of flying into and out of Kuching, getting accommodation and slotting in a runcation too. There are lots of places to see and things to do in Sarawak. But the island of Borneo is really huge. ToughASIA has prepared a list of short trips you can have a day or two before and after your race.
Borneo Cultures Museum
This new museum is the landmark of Kuching city. The architecture of the five-storey building showcases Sarawak’s rich traditional crafts and cultural heritage. There is something for everyone: from children to adults. The Children’s and Arts and Crafts Galleries are interactive and uses the “Love Our Rivers” theme to educate on the concept of sustainability. There are also exhibitions exploring relationships between native communities and the local environment as well as the history of Sarawak from prehistoric era to the present.
If your friends and family tag along on your race trip, then this museum may be the one that ticks all the checkboxes to cater to kids and adults.
When racing on trails, there is a likelihood that you would pass villages and communities. You may be curious about them and want to learn more about them. But of course, in a race, you would not stop and interact as you chase a Personal Best timing or try to clear the cut-off timings. Thus, if you can spare a half-day pre- or post-race to experience about the lifestyles of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak, then this Sarawak Cultural Village is a good must-visit attraction for you.
Enjoy the cultural experiences at these local houses: Bidayuh Longhouse, Iban Longhouse, Orang Ulu Long House, Chinese Farmhouse, Chinese Pavilion, Melanau Tall House, Malay House, Penan Hut, Rainforest Music House, Persada Alam and Persada Ilmu.
Fairy Cave or “Gua Pari” is very near to the race site. It sits at the former gold mining settlement of Bau and is about 40km from Kuching. Believed to be over a million years old, this cave gets its name from the stalagmite structure at its entrance that resembles a Chinese deity. The inside of the cave is a photographer’s haven with its brown and grey rock hues while the rock surface outside caters to advanced rock climbers. In this case, you can actually touch the stalactites and stalagmites and see 14 types of bats, 12 species of snails and some rare palms including Arenga pinnata, Arenga undulatifolia and the gigantic Calamus ornatus.
You would need a torchlight to enjoy the views on this case. But as runners, you would likely have your headlamps anyway. Just make sure there is enough battery juice for this trip.
Matang Wildlife Centre
Orangutans can only be found in Borneo and Sumatra. So, a trip to Sarawak will be incomplete without a visit to his wildlife centre on the western corner of the Kubah National Park. Sprawe;ed over 180 hectares, this lowland forest is dedicated to protect, rehabilitate and then release these orangutans into the forests. Most of these orangutans were confiscated from the public; they were illegally kept as pets. In this centre, they would be educated on how to protect themselves in the wild. Thus, this is an ideal venue for you to get close to them in a safe environment.
Santubong National Park
If you can spare a full day of sightseeing, head towards Santubong National Park on the Damai Peninsula, 35km north of Kuching. Rest or go hike up the summit to 810m above sea level to enjoy the breathtaking views. This place is steeped with the legendary story of “Puteri Santubong” or princess of Santubong, so do ask the locals about it.
Do note that there are no accommodation nor cafeteria provided in this park. You would need to be self-sufficient. So, your trail running hydration pack and trekking poles will come in handy.
Curious to see the largest flower – the rafflesia – in person? Then, you cannot give Gunung Gading a miss. The rafflesia grows up to one metre in diameter and gives off a pungent smell that attracts insects. It takes nine months to mature but the flowering only lasts between 4 to 5 days. Although its flowers bloom throughout the year, the peak flowering season is between November to January. Gunung Gading is located at the Lundu area and is near to beaches at Pandan and Siar.
Gunung Gading also has a challenging jungle trek route; so if trail racing alone is not sufficient, then you can add trekking to your itinerary.
If you are into felines, then this World’s First Cat Museum is a must-do for you. Located in Petra Jaya in the Kuching City North Hall, you can enjoy over 4,000 cat artifacts including paints and memorabilia.
ToughASIA is an official media partner of Borneo Trail Classic. Please register at https://borneotrailclassic.com with promocode TOUGH20 for a discount.