Travel Gears

November 25, 2008

Kalimantan Barat Expedition: In Search of Lost Kingdoms of Draculas

I found a free wireless internet in Hotel Orchardz in the City of Draculas.

We left Kuching at 7.30 am for Pontianak but stopped at Serian to refill the tank with more diesel. We reached the border post at Tebedu and Entikong at 1030 am for immigration and vehicle checks. Thanks to letters from our counterparts we had no problems at all. There were many changers hanging around the border post and some of us changed for rupiahs.

With the border formalities done, I thought we would have more pleasant journey. There were houses on the sides of the road, decent houses and good but narrow road. After reaching the Sanggau junction trouble began. Amin, our driver was not sure which way to turn and had to ask a small boy for direction. After an hour trouble began when we entered a dirt, rocky and rough road. It was very bumpy road and later after asking a passerby we were going to have hell for 3 hours. Rough, rocky and lonely road in the middle to thick and swampy rainforest jungle.

November 22, 2008

Kalimantan Barat Expedition: In Search of Lost Kingdoms of Draculas #1

I am organizing an expedition to Kalimantan Barat/West Borneo in collaboration with friend from there.  The capital city of Kalimantan Barat is Pontianak that literally means DRACULA.  A legend tells of a forest full of pontianak/draculas that terrorized the people in the villages nearby.  The forest was pacified by the arrival of a holy man from Hadramaut, now in Yemen, from the family of al-Qadri.  My expedition maybe be called In Search of the Lost Kingdoms of Draculas!

The past weeks I have been preparing another expedition to Kalimantan Barat, western Borneo. I can't call this one trekking because four friends and I will be driven in a van, Ford Econovan.  We had a meeting last Thurday to work out shorter and safer route from Kuching.  The plan is to go to the past in search of old Malay kingdoms in western Borneo such as Sambas, Mempawah, Landak, Pontianak, Montrado, Kubu and may be others.

This expedition to the past will be joined by Professor Abdul Halim Ali from University Malaysia Sarawak;  Raslie Sahran, a cultural activist;  Aswandi and Awang Abdullah from the Sarawak Museum.  Later Antoni and Hasyim from the West Kalimantan Museum will be our local facilitators.

In the meeting we studied several maps from various sources including from Google, Lonely Planet, West Kalimantan Tourist Office and Sarawak Tourism Board.  As I lost my Nikon Coolpix camera, the others will bring their compact cameras such as Sony Cybershot and Cannon.  Other important tools are our mobile phones; I have a Nokia and Blackberry Curve with GPS capabilities.  A laptop too to store videos and pictures from the compact cameras will be essential.  And do not forget to bring medicines and vitamins and a torch light with Everyday batteries.  Here we go; we will leave at 7.00 am on the 24th, Monday.

This expedition maybe more expensive as we will be staying hotels and lodging houses.  The old kingdoms have been replaced by human settlements.  What they are like today will be reported in this blog when we come back in a week time.  Cheerio...