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.

Get your very own “Ha Ha Ha” MP3 ringtone today!

64 Replies to “Kayak In Kuching”

  1. 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! 🙂

  2. 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? 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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?

  6. 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 .__.

  7. 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.

  8. 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…. ^_^

  9. seriously you need to head down to some serious exercise.
    perhaps coming to Singapore and serve 2 years NS.
    losing 20kg isnt a problem.

  10. 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!!

  11. “We set out for Sungai Sarawak Kanan (Sarawak River East)…”
    Is not KANAN the Malay word for RIGHT, as in right-hand side?

  12. 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.

  13. Nice scenery~ Would love to go, but I’m very very scared of unexpected crocodile 🙁 How do you know don’t have crocodile ar?

  14. 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!

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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*

  20. 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

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

  22. 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….

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