Sunday, June 08, 2014

Santubong - Ideal hideaway from hectic city life

For a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, staying the night at tranquil Santubong might be a good idea for a change of scene.

Santubong is well known for untouched natural jungle and sandy beaches, making it a popular tourist spot.

With plenty of attractions and activities such as hiking, mountain climbing, touring the Sarawak Cultural Village, sightseeing and enjoying the beach, Santubong offers a variety of choices to explore.

The legend of Mount Santubong is the tragic tale of two sisters – Santubong and Sejinjang, princesses believed to have descended from heaven.

Santubong was the expert weaver while Sejinjang an excellent rice thresher. When both princesses fell in love with a handsome prince, they began to quarrel over him and exchange blows.

To put an end to the quarrel, the King turned both princesses into mountains. It is said both mountains resemble women lying horizontally and the crack on Mount Santubong is said to be the scar on Santubong’s cheek left by Sejinjang’s fury.

Although only 810 metres high, the mountain is rather intimidating due to its steep slope towards the summit. Climbing to the top takes about three to four hours while descending is quicker.

So, it is advisable to start very early as the jungle can get dark as early as between 3pm and 4 pm.

Scaling the summit, you can enjoy the amazing view of the jungle and listen to the sound of Nature. Along the way, you might get cuts and bruises, a few encounters with insects and bugs and come across slippery and muddy pathways but once at the summit, it’s all worth it, knowing you have made it to the top on your own perseverance.

Dolphin sighting

If you live near the water, you might want the chance to at least swim in the sea or go for a boat ride.

Ask any villagers with a boat and they would be happy to take you out on a cruise to catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, especially between April and September.

Irrawaddy dolphins or snubfin dolphins are mostly found in rivers, estuaries and shallow coastal waters such as at Burman, India, Southern Thailand, Mahakam River in Kalimantan, the Philippines and North-eas-tern Australia.

Santubong also happens to be one of the best places to spot them. Due to increased human activities that threaten their existence, the population of these dolphins is slowing declining.

In 2004, WWF and TRAFFIC, the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring network, supported a ban on international live trade of Irrawaddy dolphins by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

However, visitors may have to keep a keen eye on these gentle creatures as dolphin sightings are not guaranteed on every boat trip. When you do see them, however, they can be seen swimming and diving around small fishing boats.

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