Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weekend Getaway in Cat City

The Basaga boutique hotel courtyard rooms. (more in another post)

I've been meaning to try short weekend getaways but never really got around to it until last weekend. With AirAsia's cheap flights it's possible to just cabut off to a beach, forest, volcano on a Friday afternoon and get home by Sunday night, well in time to catch endless reruns of Desperate Housewives.

Acid from Kuching tempted me with a kayak excursion just outside Kuching. How could I say no to a weekend of kayaking down a tropical river surrounded by some of the oldest forests in the world?

The Basaga rooms and pool.

The entrances to the Basaga Courtyard rooms

Acid had recommended the VERY cosy Basaga hotel ( in Kuching. I loved the quaint boutique hotel nestled in the heart of the city amid huge trees and shrubs.

I have to admit the last time I hit Kuching town, dinosaurs were doing the Macarena around tar pits. The only radio station they had in East Malaysia was Blue FM. Wait, I think they only still have it now. (wahaha! joke joke only my Sarawak kakis).

The distant foggy memories of Kuching as our once every two months sales road trip of East Malaysia where we would start of in Kuching and head up towards Sabah, travelling by the old MAS turbo props hitting every town from Sibu, Bintulu, Miri, Labuan before flying into Sabah where KK, Sandakan and Tawau waited for us.

Kuching meant flying in early from KL and seeing dealers till the sun set. I know we would hit a bar somewhere somewhat close to the waterfront, this old dude would take bets in guessing the capital cities of the world. I lost one to many beers to him but at least I now know for life that the capital city of Sierra Leone is Freetown.

I was never impressed by East Malaysian food until Acid took me on a trail of gluttony through the City of Cats.

We hit Jambu, a really cool restaurant that would be at home in chic Singapore (go HERE for pics and info). They have the most decent tapas and of course the local Tuak. Great place for a romantic dinner or just get drunk at the bar.

After downing some beers and a coupla shots of home made local rice wine we head to....

where we catch up with Langkau, another blogger from Kuching. Tuak and beers flow freely as we commandeer the DJ consul - one must have U2 and Skynard as background soundtrack when one guzzles cold beverages. Ruai is sort of a local institution and it's very humble appearance belies it popularity among the older locals and tourists. The younger Lady Gaga crowd does make an appearance once in a while as Ruai is known to keep open past the official closing time of 2am in Kuching.

Langkau is sorta like an eco warrior of sorts spending considerable time among the local tribes and and learning about their issues while sampling the local langkau (rice wine) along the way. Thats a good way to save the planet dude!. An anthropologist by training, he teaches in a local academy while spending his weekends in the various villages around Kuching. Just like most Sarawakians I know, the Langkau-meister is one lean mean drinking machine and puts me to shame. I slink back to Basaga early to prep for the next day's watery adventure.

Saturday morning we head out early to the start of the Kayaking trip along Sungei Abang. (more on this trip in a later post). What a way to spend a saturday - paddling down a slow river, wandering around forested bends and long wide waterways, weaving through fallen trees while surrounded by towering trees ringed by mountains.

The whole trip along the river takes about 6 hours and we get back to Kuching about 4pm. It's a bright beautiful day in East Malaysia. It's been a great coupla hours in the countryside outside Kuching.

Early sunset in Kuching as I head out for an early snack while i wait for Acid to pick me up.

A different style of the Chinese egg/oyster dish. Damn, what's it called?

I have to say Acid fed me well in Kuching. We head to the Happy Garden Restaurant just opposite the road from Spring Mall. It's old school Chinese food and it is quite AWSM. I will never consider East Malaysia as The Desert of Delectable Cuisine ever again. The butter prawns here is especially fulfilling.

After gorging on the grub we head off down to Picadilly bar/club where we go on a whisky diet where some well known DJ spins some of those bass loaded songs that can only be entertained after a diet of E and booze.

View of the cobblestone courtyard from my room. Comes with outdoor bathroom for the inner exhibitionist in all of us :)

The outdoor dining benches at Basaga

Sunday morning is gorgeous as sunlight streams into my room. I spend the morning lounging in at the hotel lounge area reading a compilation of H.P. Lovecraft tales before breakfasting among greenery at the outdoor cafe at Basaga. Damn I just realized I forgot to pay the bill for breakfast.....

Acid, hospitable as ever, drops by to take me for lunch. I have to say that woman has excellent tastes. We go about town and hit a private marina where a grumpy security guard keeps me from taking photos. Kuching has come a long way over the past 15 years. The food is great and the people most excellently excellent. Of course it's still the heart of our forests and the jungle lives and breathes at the edges of our consciousness if you are willing to open up and listen to it's heartbeat.
View of airport from departure lounge

I get on my flight which is slightly delayed 6.30pm to 7pm. I arrive in KL at about 9pm and am home by 10pm.

I tell you, this is fantastic. One solid weekend of fun and relaxation, inner reflection, good company and some great local wine. The only thing missing was some mind blowing sex. Well maybe an Tickle Me Elmo to cuddle up to. I'm not fussy.

Costs for this weekend :

AirAsia flight tickets return - RM220
Cab return trip Subang to Airport - RM135
Basaga Hotel 2 nights - RM258
Kayaking Trip - RM150
Food and Bev - I leave that to your imagination but Acid was not allowing me to pay for dinner but the prices are quite good i think. Same as PJ prices. I felt like royalty.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! Next time, more awesome food! food food food food food and if you're lucky... Tickle Me Elmo ... LOL.

C. Andres Alderete said...

"Inner exhibitionist." Well crafted, sir.

Chindiana said...

Acid! anyway thanks for the hospitality! next round sea kayaking! and if you see Langkau thank him for the drinks! I can't get on his blog.

Thank you Carlos, you're too kind sir. Just stating what's obviously inherently lurking in all of us.