The Kebun is an ideal base for sightseeing in the district of Kuching. Just 26 kms (30 minutes) from the City center en-route to some of Sarawak’s national parks like the Kubah National Park (great for the views from the top, a waterfall hike, possible opportunity (weather permitting) for frogging at night) and Gunung Gading National Park (best for the Rafflesia, waterfalls and plunge pools) and the Talang Talang, Satang and Sempadi Islands. The Matang Wildlife Center is just down the road. Below is a brief description of what you can do by yourself exploring with our personal cars which we will borrow you. All car’s are allocated based on your preferred accommodation and are equipped with a Garmin.
1. Matang Wildlife Centre – 1.2km, about 2min
Only a stone’s throw away and part of the Kubah National Park, this centre houses endangered wildlife in large enclosed areas of rainforest or spacious cages. The main attraction is the Orangutan training program, where young Orangutans, who were either orphaned or rescued from captivity, are taught how to survive in the wild. The best time to see the Orangutans is during feeding time. As well as Orangutans, the centre includes spacious enclosures housing Sambar Deer, Crocodiles, Sun Bears, Civets and Bear Cats. Also 3 large aviaries featuring Hornbills, Eagles, Kites, Storks, Owls and a host of other birds native to Sarawak.
There are some pleasant riverside picnic spots a short walk from the information centre and 4 jungle trails. The Pitcher trail, which follows a circular path through the forest, takes approximately 2 hours and trekkers should not have too much difficulty in spotting the various specious of Pitcher Plants that litter the forest floor at the sides of the trail. The Rayu trail leads to the Kubah National Park HQ, and takes roughly 3-4 hours. The Sungai Buluh Trail leads to 2 secluded waterfalls and takes about 2 hours (one way). A map is provided at the ticket counter.
2. Kubah National Park – 10.6km, about 11mins
This massive sand stone ridge with its 3 mountain peaks – the 911m high Gunung Serapi and the slightly smaller Gunung Selang and Gunung Sendok. Established in 1989, the park covers an area of 2,230 hectares, and comprises of heavily forested slopes and ridges of the Serapi range. At heights of between 150 – 450 meters, Kubah’s soft sandstone is punctuated with bands of hardened limestone which have created a number of beautiful waterfalls. Kubah’s most famous feature is its wide variety of palms species, with almost a hundred different varieties of the species can be found in an area of just over 22 sq km, making Kubah probably the richest palm habitat for its size anywhere in the world. Many of Kubah’s palms were first described by the great Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari (1843 – 1920), who spent 3 years in Sarawak from 1865 – 1868, and recorded his findings and experiences in a remarkable book, Wanderings in the Great of Borneo.
Kubah has many other striking attractions like its spectacular primary rainforest, its rich selection of orchids and ferns, its crystal clear jungle streams, waterfalls and bathing areas. The rainforest scenery has even caught the attention of Hollywood, like in 1987 Gunung Serapi was the principal film location for Farewell to the King starring Nick Nolte – As you approach the entrance to the park HQ, you will notice the film set on the right. Unfortunately abandoned and slightly ruined at this moment. As well as, The Sleeping Dictionary starring Jessica Alba, was shot in the nearby forest foothills adjacent to the park, which provided a stunning back drop for the film.
The forest at Kubah is mixed depterocarp (Family of 17 genera and approximately 500 species of mainly tropical lowland rainforest trees), with small areas of scrub forest and isolated patches of kerangas. The park’s proximity to the coastline and its general terrain all ensure that Kubah is home to variety of wildlife, including Bearded Pigs, Sambar Deer, Mouse Deer, Civets, Porcupines, Squirrels and numerous species of Amphibians and Reptiles, as well 50+ bird species (including Agus Pheasants and Black Hornbills). Another activity is a late night frog hunt at the Kubah’s frog pond.
3. Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple – 15.2km, about 15mins
Standing majestically on the slopes of Mt Matang with a beautiful panoramic view of the plains and jungle below, the approximately 150-year-old Sri Maha Mariamman temple is the earliest known Hindu temple in Sarawak. The history of the Hindu temple in Mount Matang is interlinked directly with the arrival of the forefathers of the present day Indians of Sarawak, principally to the South Indian and Sri Lankan tea and coffee plantation workers brought to Sarawak in the second half of the nineteenth Century. According to official records, Indian convicts had been banished to work in Sarawak in this era. The Matang Coffee Estate was opened by the Sarawak government in 1867. According to third generation survivors of persons born in Matang, 2,000 coolies were shipped to work in the estate from India and Sri Lanka. The early settlers were predominately Hindu, but found no place of worship, hence the construction of this temple.
4. Kampung Telaga Air – 22.5km, about 21min
This is a traditional Malay fishing village. Good for a lunch stop after Kuba national park or the Sri Mariamman Indian Temple.
The stalls offer samplings of local dishes like fried noodles, rice, cakes, fresh fish and so on. Weekends are busier with additional stalls opening on the water front.
As it is a local hangout for local anglers, you can also see the days catch for sale. Telega Air is also a fantastic place for photography opportunities. A playground has been built right by the waterfront, so it is a great place for the kids to go out and burn some excess energy they have stored.
5. Bako National Park – 53km, about 45mins
Situated to the northwest of The Kebun, Bako National Park is one of the best places to spot wildlife. Encountering the animals is much higher during the early mornings and dusk. The easiest and laziest way to see all the life is to watch from the park’s chalet and canteen. There are troops of macaques who come to steal and forage for food. Be warned, Leaving your personal belongings unguarded is an invite for them to be dragged off by these naughty cheeky monkeys. The better behaved silver leaf languor’s keep their distance, as are the proboscis monkeys who are equally shy. There are bearded pigs and monitor lizards are also hanging around the compound if you are lucky. Bird lovers will be glued to their binoculars as there is a record of 150 species of local and migratory birds in the park. On the mud flats there are mud skippers, fiddler crabs, hermit crabs and many other species.
There are 16 well maintained trails of which some pass through waterfalls and stream, others end on beaches or cliffs with panoramic views. Trails range from half hour treks to one that can give you a heart attack of 8 hours. The longer Jungle walking trails are quite strenuous, and unless you are fit, these should not be attempted. Some parts of the trails may require one to clamber like a dog on all fours, but no real climbing is required. The rocks can be treacherously slippery on rainy days, so chances of twisting ankles are high. Be careful. You will need a good pair of walking shoes.
An overnight stay is highly recommended as a day trip does not do justice to the many attractions that Bako has to offer. The only drawback is that the spartan canteen at the park does lousy food. Pack lots of water before the beginning of a trek as you will be sweating like pig buckets. Wear sport shorts instead of long trousers as the humidity of the jungle will make you want to get naked. There seems to be not too many mosquitoes, but do bring your repellent as a precaution. Sun block is an absolute must, as is a hat or cap.
6. Muara Tebas – 8km, about 10min from Bako National Park terminal
A village close by to Bako, it is known for 2 things, fresh sea food and 200 year old Chinese Temple overlooking the village. It takes about 10min to drive there and this is a place far from the city, many Sarawakians are crazy about their food, so if they hear about a good spot to eat, they will drive very far to try it out. Notably Sin Soon Lee Seafood.
The village itself is right in the coast, quite large and tightly built up. Most inhabitants are Malay, but there is also an ethnic Chinese minority. As in many other places in Malaysia, the Chinese settlers had no land and had to look to commercial activity to make a living. In this case they established a trading point on the coast.
Today the trading is not so important, although there is still a large jetty, commercial fishing boats come here to drop of their catch and top up their fuel and ice supply. Most of the Chinese inhabitants these days are involved in running the few sea food restaurants which are built on stilts out over the sea. It is a great place to come to, the food is fresh and the view of the temple on one side and the sea on the other is quite impressive but equally peaceful.
The temple was first built 200 years ago by Chinese migrants who were thankful to their gods for allowing them to safely arrive in Sarawak. It was built on a spot where they found a natural spring of fresh water. The spring is still there to this day and the water is freely available to all who visit the temple. The temple was built in several stages, for a while it was in poor condition until in 1979 a staff building was added and roof of the main building was repaired. In 1984, the local Hakka association took oer the caring of the temple. Over the next 14 years the temple was first renovate then also expanded. In the year 2000, a fountain and a “Buddha’s Footprint” was added to the temple. The temple has a fantastic peaceful feel. It is traditional in architecture and has a surreal view of the town. The statues of the following Bhudda’s are in the temple: Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Amithaba, Buddha of medicine and also a statue of the goddess of the sea and her 2 aides the mighty ears and mighty eyes.
7. Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre – 50.9km, about 55min
The centre was established in 1975 to care for wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets. Situated within the boundaries of the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, approximately 24km from Kuching.
When established, the three main aims of the centre were to rehabilitate wild animals who have been injured, orphaned in the wild or handicapped by prolonged captivity, with objective of release into the wild, to conduct research on wildlife and captive breeding programmes for endangered species and to educate visitors and the general public about the importance of conservation.
The centre has proven to be resounding success, caring for almost 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles from dozens of different species. However, it is the Orangutan rehabilitation programme that has made the centre famous. In one respect, Semenggoh has been too successful – so many Orangutans have been successfully reintroduced into the surrounding forest reserve that the forest’s carrying capacity has been reached, and rehabilitation activities have been transferred to the Matang Wildlife Centre, part of the Kubah National Reserve. As a result of it success, Semenggoh’s role has changed and it is now days a centre for the study Orangutan biology and behavior, as well as a safe and natural haven for semi-wild Orangutans, graduates of the rehabilitation programme. It is also home to numerous baby Orangutans, born in the wild to rehabilitation mothers, a further testament to the success of the programme.
A visit to the Semenggoh is a once in a life time experience – a chance to see semi-wild Orangutans, ranging from tiny infants and boisterous adolescents to dignified mature adults, enjoying life in a secure natural habitat.
8. Borneo Highlands Kayaking
After the morning feed at the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, treat yourself to a fun filled kayaking adventure in some of the most beautiful natural settings in Kuching! Paddle leisurely from the upper reaches of Sungei Sarawak. Savor the sights of unique limestone formations and towering riverine trees while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the rainforest. Discover the fascinating carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes in their natural habitat. Get to know some local herbs, spices, vegetables and fruits in a native Bidayuh village. Take a cool dip, eat lunch on the stream and relax. Ends at Kpg. Semadang, Borneo Highlands
9. Caving Exploration Padawan
There is a cave system which is an easy trek lasting about 4 hours on the way to Annah Rais Longhouse. Trek into 2 cave systems in between entering a hidden fertile valley where the villagers plant pepper. Marvel at the task these villagers take everyday to visit and tend to their gardens having to negotiate every time through these caves.
10. Annah Rais Longhouse – 48km, about 55min
Annah Rais Bidayuh Longhouse, the second largest ethnic group in Sarawak t, the Bidayuh tribe. Formerly known as the “Land Dayak” and were once also known as the ”Engineer’s of Bamboo”. When making a visit to the Bidayuh Longhouse, you will be able to see the splendid architecture of their Longhouse, which were built mostly by using bamboo.
Driving here you will pass through the beautiful limestone formation view, scenic countryside fringed by hills and farm, mountain ranges, palm oil estates and etc. It is a popular tourist destination and one of the nearest and easiest longhouses to access.
Besides discovering the unique local architecture of the longhouse, there are choices of activities that you could experience while on a trip to the famous village, and that is to enjoy a natural hot spa in the nearby hot spring, or relax at a nearby breathtaking 3-tier waterfall. Otherwise, you could hire local guides for a rainforest jungle trek, or just visit the nearby pepper and paddy field plantation.
11. Serikin Border Market – 68.8km, about 1 hour
Serikin is a small Dayak Bidayuh village in the Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia. The village is located about 15km from Bau town and 80km from Kuching City. Serikin is famous for its weekend markets to local tourists from Malaya and Sarawak. In the market one can find numerous items ranging from batik, handicrafts, fish, birds, turtle eggs, herbal products and jamu, electrical items, male and female workers, jungle produce and exotic meats. You can also enjoy services such as reflexology and a traditional massage.
For nature lovers, one can visit Ribuan Kangang (Kangang Waterfall), Ribuan Tuboh (Tuboh Waterfall) and do some jungle trekking.
From Serikin, one can peep into Indonesia by a bike-ride taxi (called ojek) of 15minutes via Jalan Gajah….take note, this is not recommended for the faint hearted.
12. Fairy Caves and Wind Caves – 65.8km, about 1 hour
The caves are about 8km to the nearest town called Bau, which used to be a gold mining town back in the day. The fairy cave is also known as Gua Kapor in Malay and is one of the most interesting cave to visit whilst here. Your trip to the caves will be very scenic where you will pass various pepper plantations, local villages and lots of greenery. Make sure you stop at Bau town to stock up on supplies, water and snacks, as there is absolutely nothing there at the caves except for a small canteen a few hundred meters on your right before the turn off to the cave road.
Upon reaching the Fairy Caves, you will be greeted by the local Sarawak Tourism signpost with the cave name on it. This way you can park just outside the entrance. Entrance is free, but you pay in kind by walking up a concrete staircase 5 floors high, 30m up…Sorry no lift service here. The Fairy caves are a much larger cave system than its nearby rival, the Wind Caves. Fairy caves get its name from the stalagmite formations inside which resemble ancient Chinese figurines of robed fairies.
You may wish to visit the Wind Caves on your way back as you will be passing the entrance. But these two caves are actually kilometers apart, and unless one is interested in groping in the dark, a visit to either one will usually suffice. The Wind Caves have the only added attraction of being located near a shallow river with a pebble banks and rest areas, making a picnic an excellent idea.
13. Gunung Gading National Park – 56.8km, about 50min
This Park has a very special attraction – the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower – and the park is one of the best places in Asia to view Rafflesia ‘s spectacular bloom. Gunung Gading sprawls across four jungle-clad mountain peaks, and its dense primary rainforest is criss-crossed by crystal clear streams and waterfalls.
Gunung Gading was gazette as a park on the 1st August 1983, primarily to provide a conservation zone for the protection of the Rafflesia. However, after extensive environmental impact studies, the Sarawak National Parks Department decided that this treasure should be shared with the public.It was opened to the public in 1994 and visitors can now view one of the most spectacular plants found on the planet. The park is easily accessible from The Kebun on a day trip. Those wishing to stay longer can enjoy Gunung Gading’s other attractions – particularly its primary rainforest scenery and Jungle trails leading through streams and cascading waterfalls. Some of these trails lead to the peaks of the mountains that make up the park, and offer challenging jungle treks.
14. Pandan Beach – 65km, about 55min
Pandan Beach is an idyllic stretch of beach untouched by commercialization located at the town of Lundu. Planning a trip to Pandan will be a delightful private escape that can either be a solemn retreat for a lone traveler looking for peaceful time with mother nature, families in search of fun and informative exploration trip, adventurous getaway for a group looking for some adrenaline rush, or a exclusive getaway for couples looking for a picturesque exclusive and serene place.
The Lonely Planet seem to claim that “this beach is often littered with flotsam and jetsam….”, which is not true! This beach fronts the South China Sea and is most times even free of litter. Avoid coming here on public holidays or weekends, as any day besides these, you may find yourself on a deserted beach. There is a canteen on the beachfront operated by a family. Simple snacks are available & the fresh coconut water is a must try.
15. Gunung Santubong Mountain – 51km, about 50min
Located on the Damai Peninsula, from sea level it’s rainforest covered peaks rise steeply to 810m, forming a catchment for numerous streams and a potential sanctuary for a variety of wildlife.Geographically, Gunung Santubong provides a spectacular backdrop to hotel resorts, local fishing villages and the Sarawak Culture Village. Its striking peak is visible from Kuching on most days.Popular among trekkers and climbers, the route involves some steep climbs, including up rope ladders, but the trail is well made, and it provides very rewarding views from the top. The trail passes through beautiful and diverse rainforest and offers a good opportunity for seeing wildlife, especially on weekdays when the trail is quieter. A pretty waterfall offers a great way to cool off at the end of the walk.
According to local legend, the two princesses who lived in the heavenly kingdom Kayangan. The Crown Prince fell in love with both of them, but they refused to be joint wives. The king of Kayangan banished them to earth, where they became Gunung Santubong and the nearby Gunung Seijinjang. According to another version, the mountain was formed when mythical Princess Santubong was speared by her jealous sister, Princess Seijinjang. Falling over, she gave the mountain its distinctive profile, like a pregnant belly.
16. Sarawak Culture Village – 56km, about 1 hour
Known as the “living museum”, the culture village was set up to preserve and showcase Sarawak’s cultural heritage. Located an Pantai Damai, Santubong. It is the perfect place to get introduced to local culture and lifestyle.Sprawled across 17 acres, there are about 150 people living in the village, demonstrating traditional daily activities from Sarawak’s diverse tribes like the processing of sago , the making of handicrafts and weapons. They wear traditional costumes and also put on a dance for visitors.
The village residents provide information on their various traditional cultures and lifestyles. You can see replicas of buildings that represent every major ethnic group of Sarawak, longhouse of the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu, a Melanau tall-house and a Chinese farm house among others. The village also has a theatre, where you can enjoy multicultural dance performances.
17. Kuching Wetlands Mangrove River Cruise – 52km, about 50min
This tour explores the many branches of the Santubong and Salak river delta system as the emerge into the South China sea. It focuses on the complex ecosystem of the mangrove swamp, which is an important breeding ground for many marine animal species, and a permanent home for small reptiles, mud-skippers, crabs, shellfish, and occasional mammals such as monkeys and lorises. The mangroves are also an important feeding ground for a rich array of bird life. Visitors will see many different types of mangrove, and learn how these uniquely adapted trees colonise the shoreline and develop a complex, symbiotic ecosystem.
The Cruise will criss-cross the mouth of the Santubong River in search of the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin, or snubfin dolphin, inhabits rivers, estuaries and shallow coastal areas. The Santubong area is the best place to view this unusual marine mammal. The dolphins are often seen swimming and diving around small fishing boats in the estuary. Included in this cruise is a stop at one of the many branches of the river delta system after sunset, and watch the rare beauty of the surrounding mangrove illuminated like a Christmas tree by thousands of fireflies.
18. Satang Turtle Island – 22km, about 40min to Jetty start point
Launched out of the Santubong village estuary where Sir James Brooke, more than 150 years ago sailed up its waters on his schooner, the Royalist. Head out to the South China Sea, the boat will go past Mount Santubong and you will see a great number of “kilong” structures along the shallow shores, the preferred and traditional style of fishing of local Malay fishermen. Arrive at Satang Island, traditionally a haven for turtles on their migratory journey around the world. Spend a few hours swimming and snorkeling in its pristine waters, well known for its beautiful corals, huge lobsters and colourful fish.
Satang Turtle Island National Park consists of two islands Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil just off Sarawak’s west coast. These protected islands, surrounded by the pristine waters of the South China sea, are a recognized sanctuary for Green and rare Hawksbill turtles who return to the islands each year to lay their eggs. You can visit the turtle conservation and hatchery area and learn about the conservation program on the island. Park rangers collect the turtle eggs, count them and replace them in a beach hatchery. When the hatchlings emerge from their eggs after 40 to 60 days, their numbers are recorded before they are released into the sea.
Talang-Satang National Park covers a total area of approximately 19,400 hectares (19.4 sq km), and comprises all lands below the high tide marks on the respective islands, and the surrounding seas for a radius of 4.8 km from the highest point on each island. Beautiful shallow reef areas surround all the four islands. The reefs generally consist of several species of hard coral and colonies of soft coral. They provide shelter and resting grounds for sea turtles, and are also important fish breeding areas.
19. Jangkar Waterfalls – 69.7 km, about 1hour 10min
A powerful, remote fall, located on the slopes of the Beramput range on the boundary between Sarawak and Indonesia, lies the Jangkar Waterfall, an unspoiled beauty set amid lush green surroundings. The waterfall is the largest in southern Sarawak. However due to logging and plantation activities since the 90’s, the villagers there are worried that their natural source of water and the beautiful waterfalls will disappear like the one in the neighboring village.
The waterfall is roughly the height of a five-storey building and along the length of the river it plunges into, there are several smaller waterfalls. These falls present visitors a wonderful opportunity to spend the entire day walking from one to another, taking their time to dip into the cool waters and soak in the beautiful surroundings. One of the pools on the upper tier affords one a bird’s-eye view of nearby hills, valleys and villages on a clear day.
At the bottom of the main waterfall is a deep pool that is perfect for swimming. However, swimmers are advised to avoid the deepest part near the base of the waterfall as there may be strong undercurrents and tangled fallen trees and branches at the bottom of the pool. Care must also be taken when exploring the different tiers, as one misstep could spell disaster. Personal safety must be observed at all times and never go against your better judgment.
The trail to the waterfall will take you across different types of terrain, first moving through a rubber plantation, then a fruit orchard and into a pristine jungle full of vines, rattans, tall trees and dense undergrowth, and finally hiking up the river to the fall. Finding one’s way is easy with the help of a local guide. The main trail is well maintained by the villagers and the village co-operative welcomes visitors to the waterfall, where the guides may be hired from.
MAP OF KUCHING CITY ABOVE
We also recommend you for a wildlife/leisure cruise on the Sungai Rayu River or the Salak River (depending on the sightings the previous day for Irrawaddy Dolphins) to go crocodile spotting, check out the proboscis monkeys and silver langurs, watch fire flies or do some jungle trekking, digging for fresh water clams, netting for prawns, fishing in our 2 ponds or go explore the many attractions in the area like Kampung Telaga Air, Matang Recreational Park, trekking up Gunung Serapi or onwards to Lundu and Sematan towns with its beaches and further on to the turtle islands and Tanjung Datu National Park all nearby when compared to visiting from Kuching City.
The Kebun’s location makes a comfortable return day trip to all these attractions.
Other attractions in and around us that we recommend you can do in and near Kuching are the Kuching Waterfront, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, the Jong Crocodile Farm, the Sarawak Museum, Fort Margherita, the Islamic, Chinese, Cat, Pua Kumbu and Textile Museums, the Tua Pek Kong Temple and so much more.
View POINT OF INTEREST NEAR THE KEBUN in a larger map
PLEASE CLICK ABOVE TO ENLARGE AND GIVE YOU A BETTER IDEA OF THE DISTANCE
The attractions above are where we usually recommend and our guest’s to go visit. Some might require an over night but most are possible to do with a day trip, even those off the beaten tourist trial. There are many other regular attractions which many local tourism related websites will have information of. We have listed some samples of day trips on our front page and all can be that you can do driving yourself.