July 21, 2011

Getting out of Kuching : Town of Bau

Getting out of Kuching is simple and convenient. There is just so much to see and these places of interest are located within 1or 2 hour drive out of Kuching. 

On of the place to go is the small town of Bau. Why the name 'Bau'? According to the tour guide, its name came about way back in 1857. In the early 1800's the old name of Bau Town was 'Mau San' or 'Bukit Mau' and the settlement was establish due to the discovery of gold & antimony. However when James Brooke, the white Rajah was installed and he started imposing taxes on them, the Chinese Miners were unhappy and rebelled. End result, war and massacre. The remaining 100 miners took their family and tried to escape to Indonesia. The families whose men had died and unable to escape to Indonesia, hid in the Ghoast Cave. However the Rajah Brooke forces, showed them no mercy and set fires to the cave. A few hundred women and children died from either being burnt or suffocation. The bodies caused the whole place to smell for weeks and thus the name of the town came about - 'Bau' meaning smell/ smelly in Malay. Read more here.

Beautiful ain't it? 

There is a Lake in Bau Town called the Blue Lake or 'Tasik Biru' in Malay. It was a beautiful lake where people from all around picnic and family time. However, mining activities came in and when they left, the lake was tested high level of arsenic 40 higher then the permissible level allowed by the WHO (World Health Organisation). Now, the lake is still around but people are warned not to come in contact with the water. Read more here

So peaceful and calm... 

Mirror-ing the sky..
Leaving the town of Bau, we passed by pepper farms. As I have not seen a pepper plant up close, the tour guide stopped the van by the roadside and we sneak climb into a farm. He showed us the different stages and explain how pepper is cultivated. 

Rows and rows of pepper plant 
Close-up on how pepper looks like..
Did you know that white peppers are more expensive then black peppers? 

Travelling just 15 minutes, we arrived at a tiny entrance to the Wind Cave. Wind Cave is named for a draught of air that passes through the passage from one of the entrance. However, rocks have fallen and covered the hole. Previously, if one were to stand at the hole, you can feel the air blowing pass you like you are standing in front of an air-conditioner. :)

There are 3 different passage.. 

Before entering, we were given torchlight as it is pitch black inside. Once inside, I tried switching the torchlight off but even after my eyes got accustomed to the darkness, I couldn't see much. It was that dark.. There are wooden platforms and walkways. However, be careful as there are water dripping from everywhere and some places are slippery. We were also warned not to hold the handles as they are covered with bat shit *yuck*

I couldn't take much good picture due to the darkness. And I didn't want to use too much flash as I didn't want to wake the bats up :) Even before entering, I can hear the high pitch screeching of the bats. 

Entering the Wind Cave. Tiny fruit bats hanging from walls. 

Tiny fruit bats hanging from the ceiling. 
Closer shots of the bats. Look at how they hang themselves upside down. Check out their tiny feet and ears and nose. Cute right? They are just about the size of my palm. Tiny creatures.  
Common Swiflet . Peek-a-boo. 
2 tiny Swiflets sitting on a tree in a nest

Just a few minutes drive away, we arrived at the Fairy Cave. Fist thing that greeted us was this... Steps!!! Steps all the way up to the entrance of the cave... I was told that these are the new steps build to accommodate me tourists..

See the tiny cemented steps among the green foliage. Those are the old steps used by villages to climb up to the cave to offer prayers and offerings.

More dangerous looking steps taken from the top.. 
When I reach the entrance of the Fairy Cave, I was greeted with cool air blowing down on us... Bliss!! Its so nice and refreshing after a hot tiring climb... Worth the climb. However, walking into the cool exterior, I once again, see more stairs... This time a wooden vertically ascending stairs disappearing into a black hole among the rocks.. . Its quite hard trying to balance myself on the steps, climbing upwards, clutching my torchlight and camera to myself while not holding on to the handles as they are quite slimy and slippery due to the dripping water from the rocks.

Merging from the dark black hole, I saw ... BATMAN's CAVE!!! 

Haha... nah... it is a really huge cave with really high ceiling and there is an opening *the biggest cave opening in Kuching* where the sun lights shines though. 

Picture taken of the cave opening
There were many rock formations caused by stalagmites and stalactites. One of them is the famous 'Kuan Yin' lookalike statue. Kuan Yin is the Goddes of Mercy. Villages and people goes to the cave to pray to her. I could see many candles and joss sticks at the pillar of stone feet.

The 'Kuan Yin' statue.
The 2nd picture is a stature of a man praying. *I think* I can't remember the story behind it. 
The tour guide bought me deeper into the cave. *Please do not enter without an experience guide as you might end up lost.* He show me many different status and the story behind it. There was one that looks like a lady sitting on a horse from one angle and 3 princess from another angle. There was even one that look like a tombstone. The story behind it goes something like this. A man was asking god for something and he was instructed by the bomoh to stay in the cave for a 7 days without taking or seeing anyone... and I think without water or food. If he last for that long, god will reveal it to him. The story concluded with him disappearing and never seen again. There were many other interesing stories and folklore... 

Me holding the ceiling up
Me & Ah Ray, my Hong Kong tour partner posing in the dark of the cave

Picture taken from the cave opening towards the back of the cave. 

The picture doesn't do it justice. Its really huge. Can you see the steps? Looks  tiny but its actually the normal  4 feet width steps. 

Ah Ray, me and David, our tour guide.
We concluded the tour will a group picture just outside the cave. Can you believe that they are both in their 40's? Ah Ray is a teacher in Hong Kong teaching some science subject. David is a tour guide *obviously* who looks so young and is so fit despite his age. Actually he is closer to the 50's. It's been a great trip. I learn alot and David is a great tour guide. If you want to contact him, you can look for him under Kuching Tour & Holidays.

Good-bye, Sarawak. Till we meet again...

1 comment:

jan liew said...

Hi, I would like to get your permission to use the photo for my paper work. Is't ok?