Get out of the Kuching city and within short travel distance of approximately 1 to 2 hours drive, you will be able to get access to several national parks & some attractive places worth visiting. There are listed as follow:
Annah Rais Longhouse – This is one of the traditional Bidayuh longhouse within 1.5 hours drive from Kuching. This longhouse is pretty old & still maintains its traditional structure since the good olden day. Most of the local people living here are still doing farming & living their life traditionally. You can just pay a day visit to the longhouse, which many local travel agencies in Kuching organize such trip to Annah Rais longhouse. If you really want to experience the longhouse traditional way of living, you will have to stay back, because the half an hour walk around the longhouse will never give you the real experience of longhouse communal life. So if time permit, consider to participate in the homestay program offered by the villagers there. For more information about the homestay program, you can visit this site – Annah Rais Longhouse Adventure.
Semenggoh Orangutan Wildlife Centre – As its name suggest, it’s a place which houses the endanger species apes called “Orangutan”. In Malay word, “Orang” means human, & “Utan” (correctly spelled as “hutan”) means jungle. “Orangutan” simply means jungle-man. This centre is located near to the Kota Padawan, about half an hour drive from Kuching. To get there you can either hire a taxi or a STC bus no. 6, or simply joined the tour organised by the travel agencies in Kuching. Please also be warned that the sightings of the Orangutan is not guarantee at all, because they are in the wild and set free in the surrounding jungle. They will only come out to the park HQ or feeding platform when they are hungry. The best time to spot them is during the feeding time at 9am & 3pm daily. If you are lucky enough you will see the big guy named Ritchie. He is the dominant male Orangutan and he looks extremely gigantic with the long soft fur. The entrance fee to the park is merely RM3 per person (at time of writing), much cheaper than the Sepilok one in Sabah, which cost RM30 per person. Compare to the Sepilok one, Semenggoh is less crowded and less touristy!
Jong’s Crocodile Farm – This is where more than a thousand of crocodiles has been kept here. The feeding time is at 11am & 3pm daily. During the feeding session, you will get to see the giant crocodile jumping off the water just to catch their share of meal. You won’t believe that such a bulky giant can jump so high from the water. In this farm, there’s many other wildlife too to be seen, such as giant freshwater fishes – Arapaima, some of them are about the size a shark if not bigger. The entrance fee to this farm is RM8 per person.
Matang Wildlife Centre – This is where you will get to see plenty of wildlife, such as Orangutans, Sambar Deer, Crocodiles, Sun Bears, Civets, hornbills and Bear Cats. There are many trails too for jungle trekking, and the waterfall trail will bring you the beautiful waterfalls. Visit their official website for more information.
Bako National Park – This is where you can get to see the endangered species – Probosics Monkey. They have many trails too for you to do some jungle trekking to spot more flora & fauna. On some trails you will end up at the beautiful beaches & waterfalls. You can stay overnight (2 nights stay is recommended) to see more wildlifes there & enjoy the beauty of the nature. For more information about the park & the accomodation, please visit their official website.
Gunung Gading National Park – This National Park is well-known for the rare giant flower – Rafflesia. The blooming time of rafflesia is unpredictable and if it blooms, it will last for few days only, so always check with the national park office for any blooming Rafflesia. Try to get there as soon as you can if the rafflesia is blooming. Park ranger should be able to guide you to where the Rafflesia is. There are some accommodations at the park HQ too, you can book through their official website. This park is located at the Lundu town, so you can take STC bus from Kuching to Lundu. Besides, the park also has several good trails to trek for you to better appreciate the flora & fauna there.
Talang Satang National Park – This is the only marine park in Sarawak for the purpose of turtle conservation, & the park consist of 4 islands called Pulau Satang Besar, Pulau Satang Kechil, Pulau Talang Besar & Pulau Talang Kechil. At the moment, only Pulau Satang Besar is open to tourist through the organized tour from the tour operators based in Kuching. From Sematan, you can visit to the surrounding places of the Talang island for snorkeling, and such trip can be arranged by Sematan Palm Beach Resort.