Sunday, August 1, 2010

Road trip to Maludam – Day 2

This trip took place in June 2010



Sunrise over Sri Aman, Sarawak


Day 2 – an early start

We started day 2 early by checking out of our hotel around 6AM. I nearly lost my GPS for the second time by leaving it sitting on a window sill to try and get a satellite lock. Only when we reached the car and I felt for it did I realize my carelessness. The first time I nearly lost it was when it slipped out of my pocket while trekking in Bako NP!


It was still dark when we got on the road. About 20km later, we pulled over to walk up a small hill along a dirt track to take pictures of the sunrise.



Sun rising over the horizon.


To get to Maludam, we had to drive about 170 kilometers from Sri Aman, bypassing the small town of Pusa and then crossing the Batang Saribas on a ferry before continuing on to Kampung Maludam. The coastal road ends in Triso, a small kampung (village) by the sea.


We arrived at the ferry point after about 2.5 hours on the road. We were all looking forward to visiting the little known Maludam National Park, home of the highly endangered red banded langur (Presbytis chrysomelas cruciger). Here’s a simple map of Maludam (click).



Kuching-Sibu road. Still quiet with only a few cars and long distance busses passing by.



We reached the ferry point at about 8:30AM and took the Primrose III across the river. In the morning, there were storm clouds over the eastern horizon but later became quite sunny and hot when we reached our destination.



That’s the Primrose VII, carrying a full load of vehicles and passengers across the Batang Saribas. From the other side, it was another half hour before we reached Maludam. Along the way, we were quite shocked to see large areas along the road cleared for oil palm. The palm trees were still small and more peat swamp areas were being cleared. We had expected the area to be well protected since there is a national park here, home to one of the rarest primates in the world, the red banded langur as well as proboscis monkeys. Alas, this was clearly not the case as we found more land being cleared along the Maludam River.



Selamat Datang ke Maludam – Welcome to Maludam. From the ferry point, we drove for about 30 more minutes before reaching Maludam Bazaar.



Incidentally, the monthly farmer’s market (pasar tani Maludam) was being held the day we arrived. We therefore had to park by the roadside just like the other cars in the above pic and then made our way to the wharf on foot. Besides farm produce, clothing such as t-shirts, jeans and dresses were also sold here.


As we walked through the street market, an event emcee suddenly announced our arrival over the PA system, happily welcoming us to their little village. It was quite a surprise when we heard her saying “…dan pagi ini kita ada tiga orang pelancong yang sedang melintas sekarang. Selamat datang ke Maludam, terima kasih atas sokongan anda!” (“…and this morning we have three tourists who are passing through right now. Welcome to Maludam and thank you for your support!"). She waved at us as loud music blared in the background and we were suddenly made very self conscious! haha


I guess we were pretty conspicuous, with our dSLRs slung around our necks and snapping photos of people every now and then. haha  We did feel very much welcomed and people were also friendly and obliging when we asked for help with directions. The event MC in particular, went out of her way to find us a guide and boatman to take us to the national park. So to you, Puan MC, terima kasih seribu kali!



We walked around the village for a bit and visited the small bazaar which is really just a row of old, wooden shops by the river. Then we went to the wharf to take in the river scenery.



Lots of fishing boats were moored along the river side. This particular fishing vessel anchored next to the wharf is quite big. The Maludam river may appear small and narrow but our guide said it’s actually very deep, about 30 feet in some places. Perhaps deeper.






Ayam kampung – free range kampung chicken feeding on corn grits laid out on a piece of cardboard.


Maludam_Sarawak_17 \

Fruits and local veges for sale. Very cheap too! The two gourds on the left can be bought for RM1.50 (for both). The spiky fruits in the middle are sour sops or durian belanda. Right most, lemon grass at RM1.00 per bundle and just behind that, a young coconut “heart” which is the crown of a coconut tree. It is usually cooked in a vegetable curry. The Bougainvillea flowers in the bottom of the picture are for sale also.



While we waited for our boatman and guide to be ready, we ordered teh tarik which is a foamy milk tea (poured from one cup to another and repeated till the tea foams). While waiting, I also took the opportunity to take some candid shots of passers-by.



We were introduced to these two men, village chiefs, one from Maludam and the other from Triso. They were having their makan (meal) just next to us so we talked to them briefly. The man from Triso told us to visit his village, just 15 minutes away so we did when we got back from visiting Maludam National Park. We were told that Triso was a much nicer place with more to see but when we got there, I didn’t find a single thing worth photographing The only hill there, Bukit Triso (which shows up prominently in my GPS and topo map) was in the process of being flattened, soil taken out by the truckloads. No wonder we kept seeing huge soil trucks along the way!



A grandfather and his adorable granddaughter getting on his bicycle. Her granddad is a huge karaoke fan apparently, singing a few songs at the lone karaoke booth not far from us before leaving the market. :)



More vege stalls.



A vendor selling noodles, Sarawak Kolo Mee amongst other local delicacies.



This black goat came out of nowhere and started sniffing around. Some food sellers chased it away, and it went running down the street.



Passers-by staring at the disoriented goat.



Local karaoke fans at the karaoke booth singing their hearts out. It got real loud and jarring because music was also being played at the end of the street.


About a half hour later, our guide returned on a motorbike with a big tank of diesel for his boat. We followed him to where his boat was moored not too far away. It was at that moment I felt I had to take a leak but the only place to go was into the bushes, so off I went. Unluckily for me, I picked the wrong spot as big red ants started crawling out of the bush and onto my body, biting me all over. I was lucky none got into my shorts! Moments later, I was frantically brushing them off, getting them out of my hair, off my neck, arms, back, torso… I had to take off my shirt to rid myself of every single angry red ant!



After that funny (funny now, not then!) incident with the ants, my friends joined me at the boat and we took some quick snaps before donning our lifejackets, boarding the speedboat and making our way up the Maludam River. Maludam National Park, here we come…


Next entry in this series will be about Maludam National Park.

1 comment:

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Lovely lovely of Sarawak I haven't been to. Thanks.

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