It was a hot and humid afternoon as I was walking along the Kuching waterfront. Shooting here and there. Looking out for penambangs, those multicolored wooden boats that crisscross the Sungai Sarawak (Sarawak River) transporting passengers. And an old man called out from behind a wooden counter: “Sarawak river cruise, come…” His voice trailed. And called again. Being a visitor, I came close and listened to his offer. “Sarawak River cruise for an hour! Discounted at just RM 19…” and pointing to the time: 1430H. I smiled.
The Sungai Sarawak cruise is one of the touted tourism activities in Kuching. The river is wide, brown from all those sediments from upstream. And the old man was persistent. And why not try it for just RM 19 compared to the bigger cruise that is more than six times the cost? And riding a modified penambang at that? It would be a different experience.
I came back, as promised at 1400H and as I was waiting for other passengers, I chatted up with him. He’s Richard Yeo Ming Hui, 70 years old. Born and raised in the city of Kuching and a retired travel agent. But that didn’t keep him from just staying at home. For the past 15 years, he has been a freelance tourist guide and has been offering trips and tours around the city and beyond.
It’s very nice here. Kuching is quite and many foreign tourists wants to retire here. It’s a clean city and the cost of living is cheap
For this seasoned tourist guide, he stresses that Sarawak offers culture and nature and he recommends the following to a tourist visiting Kuching:
- Kolok mee
- Kueh chap, and
- Laksa Sarawak
- Sarawak Museum (the best in Southeast Asia, he attests)
- Bidayuh and Iban longhouses
- Baku National Park
- Gunung Gading
- and the many national parks in the state
Check him out.
RichardÂ Yeo Ming Hui
Freelance tourist guide
+012 899 9030