Borneo Bound With a Little Boy

Jennifer Morton, her husband and their son, Tai were lucky enough to visit Borneo for a family holiday. Here is Jennifer’s story.

As a lover of travel and cultural experiences, I was very blessed to immerse myself in the beauty and bliss of Borneo with my husband and 4-year old son, Tai.

After spending the first four nights of our 10-day holiday in Kuala Lumpur, we shifted gears to the second and slower paced leg of the trip; Borneo.

Our two hour Air Asia flight was a breeze. Tai is a seasoned traveler but we’re always sure to bring along his trusty security blanket; a tattered old muslin cloth. He also loves to order a small drink and food item from the flight attendant, so we always allow a few extra dollars for this treat.

We arrived in Kuching to rain, lightening and no accommodation. Although we had researched a few budget hostels we didn’t book anything. We were lucky that our first pick had a suitable room for the three of us; even though it had only twin beds, the room was in a central location, just off the lobby and close to the roof top bar where a simple and complimentary breakfast of toast, fruit and coffee was served each morning. Even nicer, it only cost 88RM per night, which is equal to approximately $30AUD.

The big draw card to Borneo was to visit an Orang Utan sanctuary. Upon check-in we booked a trip to the Semenggok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre for the next morning.

After a 40-minute drive from the hostel, we arrived at 9am; on time for the morning feeding. We joined the 60+ other tourists and followed the rehabilitation guides into the rainforest. We respected the signage and verbal requests to stay on the path and be very quiet; a challenge with master 4-year old. We were lucky to see Ritchie, the large dominant male eating bananas as a few of his missus swung from above. It was exciting as more and more of the endangered animals gathered in the surrounding trees and slowly took turns to descend for a feed. Hubby went wild taking hundreds of photos while Tai got bored after 10 minutes. It was amazing to observe these gentle, hairy rangas in their natural habitat; surely a once in a lifetime experience.

Day two took us to the Sarawak Cultural Village at Pantai Damai, a mere 32km from the hostel. The tour price included door to door service and entry. The special thing about the village is that you can visit replica longhouses of every major ethnic group from Borneo. Upon arrival to the village each person is given a “passport” with facts and information about each ethic group/house to visit that you can stamp when you enter the house. What a great way to encourage guests to visit each place and a wonderful souvenir for kids to take home. This was a favorite thing to do not only for my child, but for the many other children I observed. My favorite part was watching the woman traditionally cook treats and buying a take home package for roughly $1 each. These snacks such as: rice biscuits, taro chips, mini sponge-like cakes and noodle cakes were delicious and kept us going all day. Tai loved climbing up the skinny pole staircases and over the skinny bamboo bridges. Hubby even had a go at a blow pipe, still used for hunting. After trekking around the village there was a fabulous cultural dance show in the more modern air-conditioned theatre. It truly was a feast for the eyes and ears to experience the cultural flavors of this beautiful place called Malaysian Borneo.

Kuching, also known as “Cat City” is lovely and has a relaxed feel. Tai was very keen to explore the Sarawak River by boat so we indulged him and went on a 90-minute cruise. It was relaxing and fun and we loved it when the hostess served green stripy cakes. Sometimes it is great to let the kids make the decisions and pick the activity. He did well and we all enjoyed ourselves.

We spent the rest of our time walking the waterfront, taking photos, shopping and eating in the small local eateries. Chicken rice and pork buns are easy to find and very cheap favorites in Malaysia and can provide a meal for my small family for around $10AUD.

We’ll always remember our time in Borneo with a daily reminder from Tai’s new best mate, a small toy kitten that he affectionately calls, Malaysia; brought home from Kuching – Cat City.

Jennifer Morton is a writer and will be sharing more of her wonderful travel stories with us in the future. We cant wait to hear about Tai’s next adventure - TWT