Off to East Malaysia (Borneo)
Mark and I debated where we should go for the 6-7 days we had before our next planned destination: Vietnam.
Original thought was Myanmar, Sri Lanka, or Borneo. Looking at the different areas, we opted for Sri Lanka. It was something we wouldn’t have thought to travel to but both our friends, Holly Schwartz and Sara Jefferson, who live in Hong Kong had been, and they loved it. In looking at prices, it also worked in our budget. We were ready to pull the plug and book the tour when Susan Shields, who is living in Chicago, heard there was a State of Emergency in the country and one of the areas which we were planning on visiting happened to be where the conflict between the Buddha’s and Muslims happened. Okay, plan B. Looked at pricing to get to Myanmar and Borneo, both places we said we wanted to visit, and after some quick discussions we determined that we would regret missing Borneo more then Myanmar at the end of our travels, so that sealed the decision. Since this was when we were in Melaka we visited some travel agencies to see about package deals, but helpful isn't something that these agents are - one even told us that all Malaysians book travel at least a month out and they couldn't help us on such short notice (3 weeks).
We did find one that quotes us an itinerary, but it was more then we wanted to spend and included a few stops that we just weren't interested in. A quick internet search while sitting at a riverside cafe and we decided that we could just fly in and then find a local agency there to book short day excursions. Decision made, and Borneo works because a) it was closer b) within our budget and c) we had the time. Typically when visiting Malaysia we are on limited time so we typically nix visiting Borneo. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, and we get to see the Orangutans as well.
After arriving into Kuching, it was a quick 20 minute taxi ride to the Margarita hotel. Although considered a 4 star, I would consider it more of a 3 star property. It needs a bit of a face lift, but it was on the river, and close to laundry facilities. Mark was quick to point out the Anniversary special one of the laundromats was having, so when we used them later it saved us about 10 cents.
The usual afternoon thunderstorms came rolling in so we decided to head to the hotel bar since it was happy hour and to wait out the storm. We had a drink since it was buy one get one free. Except when we got the bill, it seemed they charged us double what every other (we came to find out later) bar charged - half off of double not being much of a savings. Word of advice, there are much better Happy Hours around Kuching, always check prices and the special.
Wandered around a bit and grabbed a bite at a small restaurant overlooked by one of the many cat statues in the city before heading back to the hotel to catch some sleep.