Three weeks after returning from TPE, I was going out of SIN again. This time was to Kuching with two friends.
Two of us had bought our air tickets for S$100 during one of AirAsia’s promotion in January. The last friend only decided to join us a few weeks prior and his tickets was costlier at S$140.
One of my friends had arrived before me and printed the boarding passes from one of the self-service kiosks.
Despite having the boarding passes we would still need to get our documents verified.
AirAsia planes were docked at D gates, the far corner of SIN T1.
Boarding had commenced by then but I still had one last thing to do.
Flight: AirAsia AK 6674
Depart: Singapore (SIN) – 11:45
Arrive: Kuching (KCH) – 13:10
Distance: 439 miles (707 km)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 20 E
Got 20E from online check-in. My seatmates were a Chinese woman on 20F and a Malay/Iban man on 20D. He would be snoring rather loudly later during the flight.
Did my usual rummage through the seat pocket.
The inflight magazine didn’t disappoint as usual and there were some interesting read to keep me occupied during the hour-long flight.
The plane would take off from 20R and I actually spotted my house from the window.
As soon as the plane reached cruising altitude, the crew went around checking manifest and distributing pre-booked meals.
The chili and the chicken’s texture were surprisingly quite good; however it was let down by the rice which was too dry.
Despite the short flight time, I was getting restless. Am I spoilt by all the flights in J? Probably!
The descent was rather bumpy and I was glad to see the land of Borneo.
There were little action on the ground at arrival and I only saw one other plane (a MH 737) parked at the terminal.
Sarawak has its own immigration which even Malaysians from outside Sarawak have to go through.
The airport terminal looked newish but I didn’t bother to go through the shops.
While waiting for my travel mates to be done at the washroom, I snapped few shots of the baggage claim area.
Since there were three of us, we thought that it might be a good idea if we rented a car. We got a Hyundai Accent 1.6 from Hertz for 162 MYR (inclusive of zero excess insurance).
We had some issues with the GPS (powering it up and keying in the address) but we were soon on our way to our accommodation.
After a few turns within Kuching city centre, we stumbled upon our hotel: Limetree Kuching.
After payment (200 MYR for the room and 50 MYR deposit), we were issued the access card to our room, chits to redeem welcome drinks from the rooftop lounge and password to WiFi.
The security was pretty tight; one would need to tap his/her room card to press the lift button. There was only one card for the three of us which meant that we had to stick to one another within the building all the time.
Our room was a standard room with an extra bed. It had no window so without natural light it felt kinda dark. Although to be honest it didn’t feel as bad as the prison cell that I had at Citin Langkawi.
I thought that the room was not too bad for the price we paid. It was ranked number two in Kuching on Tripadvisor so it must be doing something right.
After the late lunch at a nearby Taiwanese porridge place, we headed to Kuching’s riverfront.
Managed to find a parking lot after going round a few times.
Dominating Kuching’s skyline was Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.
There were several operators offering boat rides along Sarawak River but we decided to give it a pass because of the hoe weather and my fear of getting motion sickness.
Turning away from the riverfront, we made our way to Jalan Carpenter where Kuching’s Chinatown is located.
We had a pit stop at a kopitiam in front of a Chinese temple.
There wasn’t anything interesting to us on the Saturday afternoon at Chinatown so we drove ourselves to Kuching’s Sunday Market which operate only on weekends.
Besides the fresh produce, there were stalls selling clothes and accessories as well.
Ended up having some cow’s liver; on hindsight should have just stick to hotdogs.
The market managed to keep us occupied for the most of half an hour before we were off again.
We took a wrong turn and ended up across the river to the north bank. Ventured into a shopping place which happened to have a 3-on-3 football tournament going on. We whiled some time away there before turning back to look for the seafood place recommended by the receptionist at our accommodation.
It took us some effort to find it but Top Spot was definitely the place to go for seafood in Kuching.
The seating were mainly alfresco and its atmosphere reminded me of the old steamboat places at Marina Bay.
We decided to follow the crowd and chose to dine at the most popular stall.
One would order by choosing whatever food that was on display.
Despite having to wait quite a bit for our food to arrive, we weren’t disappointed.
In all it was a pretty satisfying meal. The bill came up to be 75 MYR which was very reasonable IMO.
After the dinner we decided to drop by the cat statues.
After the mandatory photographs, we headed back to our hotel and straight up to the rooftop lounge to collect our welcome drinks.
Back in our room, it took quite sometime before all of us were done with our showers and washing up. With nothing much on TV (there was Malaysia FA Cup final which Kelantan won with a penalty), we turned in early in order to catch the Champions’ League final at 2.45am.
I was awakened by probably most annoying alarms ever and saw Bayern missed chances after chances. The dramatic finale proved that the trophy was destined to be Chelsea’s and the big man’s last kick for the Blues sealed it.
After watching all the celebrations, we all went back to sleep. My friend reset his annoying alarm so that we could wake up a few hours later, in time for the hotel breakfast.
The breakfast was more than adequate but I didn’t stuff myself as I was looking forward to local food later.
We checked out after we were done with showers and washing up. The reception returned our 50 MYR deposit and we were off to hunt down some local Sarawakian dishes.
Ended up at a coffee shop packed with locals having their brunches.
To be honest it was nothing to shout about. On hindsight we should do more homework and track down the famous stalls in Kuching.
With some time left we went back to do some shopping near the riverfront. All of us got some kek lapis for the folks back home. They cost 10 MYR for one; I would later learn from my colleague that the same cake cost S$15 in Singapore.
We remembered to top up the tank before reaching the airport.
Parked our car at the carpark and said goodbye to it.
I dropped the key at the unmanned Hertz counter at arrivals before making our way up to departures.
Two of us would be taking AK 6675; my other friend would be taking the later TR flight back. We printed out our boarding passes at the machine and then went to the counter and verify our documents.
We still had more than an hour to while away after getting our documents checked. Ended up at KFC where we shared a meal.
Parted company with my friend traveling on TR 2493 when it was time for us on AK6675 to go through immigration and enter the security area.
We would be leaving from Gate 4.
On closer inspection, I realized that it was the same plane who flew me in yesterday.
There were advertisements of free WiFi in the airport but I couldn’t connect to it at all. I occupied myself with a book instead.
Flight: AirAsia AK 6675
Depart: Kuching (KCH) – 15:40
Arrive: Singapore (SIN) – 17:05
Distance: 439 miles (707 km)
Aircraft: Airbus A320-200
Seat: 17 B
Boarding commenced slightly later than the scheduled time. Got yet another middle seat (17B). Take off was delayed for around 10 minutes due to heavy traffic over Kuching’s airspace.
The seat pocket’s content was identical as the inbound; although I didn’t recall seeing SkyShop on my previous flight.
As usual, the crew went around distributing meals after the plane reached cruising altitude.
Took the chance to snap a photo of the cabin on my way back from the washroom.
Realized that there were rows of empty seats at the back of the plane but couldn’t be bothered to shift my bag there.
Note to self: DO NOT CHECK IN ONLINE NEXT TIME!
Went back to my seat and entertained myself with the 3Sixty.
Didn’t know that AirAsia has angmoh crew
Due to the late take off our plane got caught in heavy traffic over SIN. Eventually we landed fifteen minutes behind schedule.
To my surprise, I saw a SQ plane beside us at the gate.
It turned out that our plane was assigned to Gate D40, located right at the end of T1.
Instead of turning right towards T1 arrivals, we turned left into T2 instead. T2 was very quiet at our time of arrival and we were through the immigration in no time.
Once again I reached home in less than an hour after exiting the aircraft. Impressed!
Two days were definitely too short for Kuching. There seemed to be plenty of attractions around the area (longhouse, Bako National Park, Santubong, etc). I wouldn’t mind going back again.