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Thursday, 02 February 2006

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Kayak In Kuching

Francis Ho is the coolest 49-year-old I know in Kuching.

When I met this guy at the Kuching Bloggers Meet about 2 weeks ago, I was wondering what the heck is this uncle doing with a bunch of 20-something/teenage bloggers. Dodgy right! After all, we live in a crazy world nowadays and sadly, not everything is as rosy as it's meant to be.

Turns out that Francis has more than enough reason to be there.

Francis is an architect by profession, and the author of Kuching Kayaking - possibly the only blog site dedicated to kayaking in Kuching.

Kenny: "What? You mean there are places to kayak in Kuching?"
Francis: "Eh hello friend, Sarawak is not nicknamed The Land of Rivers for nothing ok!"

According to Francis, Sarawak has boutique-quality rivers that rival some of the best in the world. It's a mystery why river sports aren't popular among Sarawakians, and a bigger mystery why the tourism industry never tapped into this potential of the state.

Francis and I agreed to meet up again on the 4th day of CNY (a Wednesday) to take me out for my virgin kayaking trip.

Of course lah, me being me, I had to go screw it up by confusing the 4th day of CNY with a Thursday (I knew it's the fourth day of something!) Ended up delaying the trip for a good one hour, and making everyone feel like hitting me with the kayak paddle.

We set out for Sungai Sarawak Kanan (Sarawak River East), departing from the town of Krokong and (hopefully) end up at The Wind Caves near Bau. Joining us were veterans Joseph and Danny, and fellow kayaking virgins Mary and Lau.

This is me getting all geared up. I regretted not wearing long-sleeve that day. My shoulders are getting all lobster-ized from the fierce sun rays as I'm typing this.

Charlie's Angels gone wrong: Lau and Mary, furniture shop owners; Francis, main guide; Danny, civil engineer/commando; Kenny, excess baggage; Joe, second-in-command

And that's our team before we set off!

I took the same boat with Francis, which is good for me but bad for him. Why? Because many times when the boat got so heavy it wouldn't even move! The 49-year-old uncle had to get off the boat and tug it to the deeper end.

#%^&*#@! I'll go on diet soon lah ok! Hehe.

Ten minutes into our journey, I realised why kayaking is such a passion for Francis Ho.

The view from the river isn't just amazing, it's simply breathtaking. The air here is as fresh as it can get. The sounds of birds and wildlife are like music to the ears. This is like entering your own private sanctuary. I never knew a place like this existed - right in my own backyard.

500m onwards, I began to see some unique wave-like rock formations by the river bank. These spectacular sculptures aren't even man-made, but the results of years of water damage and erosion.

The weather was almost perfect, though it rained briefly during our journey. Doesn't matter anyway, 'cos we're wet already. Err... wet from water splashes, not from orgasmic ecstacy ok. ;)

It was exhausting paddling non-stop, and we took many breaks along the way whenever we can. Francis was doing ok though. I can't believe I don't have the stamina of someone more than twice my age, old enough to be my father!

Actually I DO have the stamina, just not in the arms department. Somewhere lower lah.

There's no toilets around so when we had to go, we relieve ourselves into the river. Heh... hope no one is bathing downstream. Free urine shower gel!

We encountered some friendly people along the way, like this native kampung boy who was fishing with a spear gun.

And some crazy people doing back flips from the rocks into the water.

By 2pm, we could hear sounds of picnickers playing about in the water. A bend later, we finally arrived at our destination - Wind Cave National Reserve.

We conquered Sungai Sarawak Kanan! We departed from Krakong around 10am, so that makes it 4 hours to cover the distance of over 15km.

Download Kayak in Kuching Video here [MPG, 1m26s, 1.25MB]

It's my first time kayaking and I find it an exhausting but worthwhile experience. My fingers are still hurting from paddling too hard. It hurts so bad in fact that I'm typing this entry using my toes now.

The rivers of Sarawak are this state's best kept secrets, and the best way to enjoy them in all their splendour is by boat. I'm grateful to have met Francis through our blogs, otherwise I wouldn't even have discovered this hidden treasure in my own homeland.

Sarawak is the Land of Rivers, and Sungai Sarawak Kanan is just the first river I had the pleasure of kayaking in. After yesterday, I'm almost certain that it wouldn't be my last.

64 Comments

Unregistered

Nice photos. Makes me want to go kayak as well

Unregistered

Whoa! Sarawak river.. sooooo beautiful! I wanna go too!

Unregistered

I should go camping during CNY, better than going friends' house.

Unregistered

great sceneries!

Unregistered

Cool shots... wish I was there!

Unregistered

wow look at the photo n feel like i can smell the fresh air there...

Unregistered

OMG kenny i love kayaking!
just that i didn't do that for 10 years (24 right now)

Unregistered

Magnificent view!!

Unregistered

so now you just realized there's more to lives than just starbucks & discos hah! open eyes wide & see! also notice there are lots of "older" bloggers out there, not just pimply teenagers & post-graduates all gunho up ready to take on the world! hahaha! keong hee wuat jai! :)

Unregistered

mmm, beefy and strapping, i like~!

Unregistered

aiyoh...i really ter-rasa with your "I was wondering what the heck is this uncle doing with a bunch of 20-something/teenage bloggers"

if i say i am a 46 yrs old mother of 3 teenaged kids, would you be wondering why the heck is this auntie reading the blog of a 20-something handsome guy? :)

Unregistered

I wanna go oso... mid this year! Rainforest Musicfest!

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Any crocodiles in these rivers? ;p

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Whoa nice photos Kenny - what camera are you using?? Happy CNY btw...

Unregistered

This is the first time i read something good and great about kuching from your blog...i'm so proud..

Unregistered

finally another post!
cool rocks

Unregistered

Hello Kenny...

A good trip by francis and a good write-up by you. Bravo. Btw, can you pls email to me the photos (original size) taken during the trip. Cheers mate.

Regards

Unregistered

Wow ths is the most amazing entry I've read in your blog! The pictures you took were truly beautiful. Do keep us posted if there are any kayaking outings for tourist - that would certainly justify my trip from Singapore to Kuching (if the food alone is not good reason enough (: ). Keep writing man!

Unregistered

beautiful kayaking spot.

Unregistered

you are damn big size compared to the rest ok!

Unregistered

eh, kenny, cover urself up lar. dont scare the leeches away

my backyard also got river. sungai terranjang.

Unregistered

ah,
like they say, paradise is found at home.

Unregistered

How did you manage to take your camera with you with the risk of dropping your camera into the water? Do u have some kind of waterproof bag?

Unregistered

you look like you have boobies in pict 16...nice blog of Malaysia's hidden treasure..

Unregistered

Absolutely great photography and story. Me likey *thumbsup* I had a chance to go kayaking once, though it wasn't exactly a river... it was on the open sea. Yep. Really got tired of it, never knew it was so much hard work! But of course, I absolutely enjoyed it. Great experience (:

@chris : ...and I thought I was the only one .__.

Unregistered

ganbatte,try your best to do better,become an expert!so when i am back,you can advice me where to go kayak

Unregistered

Woah~ Now you made miss kayakking so so badly. And you are right, if you want to enjoy a river's beauty, nothing beats kayakking. It's just breathtaking!

Most of the beautiful places I had seen is while I am kayakking!

Lovely pictures. It made me wanna go to these river you had gone to.

Unregistered

wow....i dint know about this stuff....very intersting....neway, ive been to wind cave twice, have no idea bout such a cool activity that we can do there.... i mean, along the river....very very very interesting.... ^_^

Unregistered

i must admit that looks like a really beautiful place =) ... u never fail to make me laugh either... haha

Unregistered

seriously you need to head down to some serious exercise.

perhaps coming to Singapore and serve 2 years NS.

losing 20kg isnt a problem.

Unregistered

Thanks for writing up such a fantastic piece on one of Kuching's natural wonders. Looks marvellous. I wouldn't have known about it if not from reading it from Kennysia.com. Would look forward to my first kayak trip there too!

the wave-like rock formation is absolutely stunning!!

Unregistered

"We set out for Sungai Sarawak Kanan (Sarawak River East)..."

Is not KANAN the Malay word for RIGHT, as in right-hand side?

Unregistered

hey kenny, do u have any idea whats a kadasan (not sure the spelling) and wad they look like?

Unregistered

Hmmm...I was just imagining how different this post could've been if Spear Gun Kampung Boy had been fishing downstream during your little peeing session.

Unregistered

WALAO... so CHUN!
i mean the scenery ok?

Unregistered

shit...the HAHA song is now stucked in my head!

Unregistered

YOu sure you weren't paid by the tourism board?

Now i also want to go and see Kuching

Unregistered

Looks like some class 4 rapids!

Way to flex the guns, keeping the ladies happy, what a nice guy.

Unregistered

hey kenny!lovely pics=) aaah paradise=)

Unregistered

Nice scenery~ Would love to go, but I'm very very scared of unexpected crocodile :( How do you know don't have crocodile ar?

Unregistered

did ya meet any leeches? :P

Unregistered

Wow... impressive!
I miss Malaysia :'(

Unregistered

pls pls. not kayaking.
i kayaked during my National Service days and suck! i really suck big time!

my boat was turning and turning and it always got stuck at the side of the river. bad experience.

but my team eventually won the first prize in a team kayaking event. so, its not entirely the worst experience ever.

at least, we had kayaking experience to tell the whole world about. NS rocks!

Unregistered


Good pics, nice blog.

Unregistered

Great post!!! I've never tried kayaking before. I wonder if Francis would allow me to join when I go back Kuching. Hey, I think it's a great idea to expand kayaking in Sarawak into one of the tourist attractions. Maybe we should make it a reality. Interested?

Unregistered

This has got to be a zillion times healthier than your typical booze-and-smoke-filled-room post ;-)
Seriously, the whole of M'sia (even near KL) is full of beautiful natural wonders. And like you, I cannot imagine why so little of it is enjoyed by more people. Don't worry about the lack of stamina bit - if you go outdoors often enough, you'll develop the habit of keeping fit to keep up with the crowd.

Unregistered

One thing I've noticed about fat/obese kids who grow up watching wrestling is that they actually think their flabs are muscles and flex them for all to see...with reference to photo 16, eherm...hello, excuse me, you look FAT and STUPID in that pose ok? No need to flex your flabs, it's quite evident.

Unregistered

Great pictures dude. I would have liked to see you attempt a jump off the rock though. I know I would have jumped. How far was it away from the city or where you live? And how did you get back to where you started?

Unregistered

Did you meet Bujang Senang? Whats up with him now?

Unregistered

Hmm, new year 2006 resolution for you ... lose 15 kgs :P Good post!

Unregistered

It hurts so bad in fact that I'm typing this entry using my toes now.

Get some voice recognition software.

The rivers of Sarawak are this state's best kept secrets,

Really? If it's a secret, then why did a Perth boy like me blog about wanting to go rafting there???

I don't think it's a secret, I just think when you live somewhere, you don't know about everything in your local area, as you sort of take it for granted that you know most things.
Or, like me, you put off going to places nearby as you think, 'One day I'll go to Wave Rock' or 'One day I'll do the Timbertop Walk down south' and you never get to do it, as it's always there for you to do later.

Anyway, I'm glad you got to experience kayaking And stuff, hopefully Francis will take you down the Tsangpo next. :-)

*hits Kenny over the head with a paddle in a friendly way*

Unregistered

kenny would either look a bit beefy or drop dead gorgeous.. haha.. but anyhow, the kayaking bit seems fun.

Unregistered

In pictures 6 & 7,u looked rather sexy..but when it came to pictures 12 onwards...I changed my mind.
Hehe...good write-up btw...i've been to Wind Cave and that river...never thought kayakking was done there though...I know kayakking in Damai got lah...

I agree wit Teflon, when you live somewhere,you tend to take it for granted and keep putting it off going to places nearby.

Oh yea...belated Gong Xi Fa Cai! Angpow lai...=D

Unregistered

Mmm... This place looks nice.

Unregistered

Great post - will do a lot of good for Kuching and kayaking. Very nice pictures.

Unregistered

beautiful photos. :)

Unregistered

hey kenny, do u have any idea whats a kadasan (not sure the spelling) and wad they look like?
-Sher-

sher,it's kadaZan,not kadasan ya.kadazan ppl r from sabah btw,which is also part of east msia.they look like u & me lor,like normal human.hehehe..no la..i tink kadazan ppl have different features;sum look like chinese (small eyes),sum look like malay or the natives (if u've ever seen one).thats all i can share wif u cuz ive limited info bout them 2.im from kuching,u c..

anyway,very nice post kenny.my kampung is part of Bau area,but ive nvr been 2 that river.shame on me! i shall try 2 organize a trip 2 that river when i go home end of this year ho?

Unregistered

Thanks butterfly! Esp for the correction on the spelling!

Unregistered

enjoy reading your blog about malaysia!

Unregistered

The photos are nice and I would definitely try kayaking too one day.

Unregistered

nice very nice indeed

Unregistered

owh...Bau, my hometown.
Been to Wind Cave....but not Krokong.
Wind Cave i can go there everyday punya lah....
btw, nice pics u got there....

Unregistered

SARAWAK OS THE BEST.LOVE TOU SARAWAK.

Unregistered

Beautiful .

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