Kuching, the city of cats and described in the guidebook as ‘a pleasant city, easy to traverse on foot’. Apart from if you’re pushing a buggy, in which case you’ll build up some excellent biceps from lifting it up and down the uneven pavements, shop fronts and many steps.
We’ve decided to base ourselves here for five nights. It gives us a chance to relax (as much as we can with a baby) and visit some of the many attractions in the surrounding areas. The guesthouse we’re staying in is superb. £15 a night including breakfast and one of the co owners kindly borrowed a cot from a family friend so we have some good nights sleep on the horizon. Hip hip hooray and all that!
Over the course of a few days we visit the cities museums, amble around the river front shops and sample lots of amazing food. The annual food festival was on when we arrived so an evening was spent sampling the many local dishes at amazingly cheap prices.
On Tuesday we visit the Sarawak Cultural village. It’s a really worthwhile day trip with eight replica longhouses built around a lake to represent the different tribal groups of Sarawak. The boy was a particular hit at the daily show where he was carried onto the stage by one of the female dancers and paraded around to the last dance. An unexpected and welcome baby free 10 minutes…
The highlight of our time in Kuching was the boy’s first birthday. He was of course oblivious to this, but we organised a day trip to see the orangutans (which he enjoyed almost as much as me) and a two-hour drive into the mountains to visit a traditional longhouse village, home to the Bedayu tribe. Although everything takes a lot longer with a baby the rewards when travelling are often greater. The village women were so welcoming and he was a real icebreaker when it came to having a chat with the local folk. We were welcomed to sit on one family’s veranda and ‘the boy’ made himself at home crawling around the wicker mats and making friends with one of the local babies. It was really relaxing until he decided to vomit his recently drunk milk all over the floor. Nothing that a few baby wipes couldn’t handle but I guess there’s another bad point to baby backpacking – unexpected and unpredictable baby sick!
The birthday highlight was the cake smashing. Presented with a yummy cake and free reign over the way he ate it ‘the boy’ sampled his first chocolate and cream sponge and absolutely loved it. After a year of healthy options I hope I haven’t undone all my good work and opened a can of worms!
Top tip of the day:
If you find a location you like schedule in an extra day to use as a play-day for your baby. We found that you can’t always be on the go and a day taking it easy and following your baby’s lead is really valuable for the whole family.