September 8th, 2007 – by: sissanoel
Mother and baby at Semenggoh Orangutan Centre.
Ended up walking quite a way again today. We got up early to catch the 7.30am bus to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre to see the orangutans. The actual rehabilitation is not done here anymore, the centre is where the orangutans come once they have been taught again how to live in the wild, so it is a big open range centre where a rustle above your head in the trees generally means a furry orange body can be spotted if you look close enough. Our bus driver forgot to let us off the bus until we were about 1km past the centre, so we had to walk back, which wasn't too bad, although starting to get pretty humid. You then have to walk another 1.2kms into the centre to the feeding area, so pretty hot by the time we got there. Just within the main area the rangers put out food for the mothers and babies, which have been born in the forest here.
Chief acrobat, Semenggoh Orangutan Centre.
They are so cute, the mums ambling along to grab bananas and other fruit, while the little ones clings to the backs. The mums then climb high up again to eat, generally sitting on the ropes above the spectators heads, while the little ones then start to do acrobatics, really showing off for the crowd. It's amazing, though, how they eat - they'll grab a whole hand of bananas, eat the fruit, and then drop the skins down, all still attached to each other! AFterwards, we went to the official feeding area for the 9am feed, and luckily got to see the huge male, George. He was into coconuts today, smashing them against the tree he was in and drinking the juice before starting on the next one.
The guide at Semenggoh told us the walk back into town to see the Pitcher Plant and Orchid Centre would take 20 minutes, so we set off.
Dominant male, Semenggoh Orangutan Centre.
About 50 minutes later we finally arrived, thinking we might have got ourselves lost. We went in to have a look, but were somewhat amazing to find that whilst the price to get in had been RM2 for tourists and RM1 for locals, the price was increased a couple of weeks ago to RM2 for locals and RM10 for tourists! Considering that the orangutan centre was only RM3, this did not seem good value for such a small site, and a blatant rip-off of the tourist dollar. We're quite happy to pay a bit more if the site is worth it, but price at 5 times the local rate was a bit much, we thought, because there really wasn't much there.
Once we got back to Kuching, we walked down the riverfront where a Malaysian Craft Fair was taking place.
Pitcher plant at the Pitcher Plant Centre.
It was pretty much the same stuff we'd already seen in the local shops, but generally more expensive! Had a bit of a rest at the hotel in the late afternoon and then headed out to the Sunday Market (which is apparently at its best on SAturday night!). It was raining but certainly not cold, so quite refreshing really. The market was primarily food, but interesting to wander around the stalls of local fruit and vegetables and try out some of the foodstuffs - we tried a kind of long doughnut, which tasted a bit like salty bread dough, but surprisingly good. Also got some Chinese sweets, which we also enjoyed! The mooncake was particularly good, almost like a gingerbread flavour.