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Many folks who travel to Kuching would want the natural nature and wildlife experience, an encounter with the Orang Utan, an excursion into or just being near the mysterious and healing rainforest.
Truth be told, it can be challenging to access the rainforest solo, without a tour guide because the Bornean rainforest is just… located deep inside the interiors!
Instead, Permai Rainforest Kuching is an alternative that can provide you with a close experience to a rainforest-based experience, on a day trip or overnight, as a Muslimah Solo Traveler, not too far from the capital city of Kuching.
In this article, Muslimah Solo Traveler Farihah will share her personal Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) experience at Permai Beach, the reality of coming in solo, and what else you can do in Permai for an enriching Muslim-friendly rainforest experience in Borneo.
Personal Experience doing SUP at Permai (What to Expect Realistically!)
If you’re looking for a Stand Up Paddle Board Lesson in Malaysia Borneo of Kuching, Permai is the place you should be to experience this.
My personal experience of doing solo SUP at Permai Beach, Kuching, was a mixture of feelings!
Also, I have never done SUP at the beach before. I’ve experienced it at a lake, where the breeze was so strong, but never at the beach so this was a new experience altogether.
Prior to the SUP, I did not expect the waters to be seriously choppy; this is coming from someone who has done SUP on a windy lake, where the water can be choppy too, but not so unpredictable with large waves like the beach.
This is even more expected towards the edges of the beach of Permai, where giant boulders and rocks are.
Be careful of coming near the rocks, as your SUP fin may get stuck there
One tip that the SUP guide told me was that I should be cautious when it comes to coming close to the boulders because the fin of the SUP may get stuck there.
And since the boulders are located near the edges, and the choppy waters there turn into waves, I made sure I was not gliding too near them at all times.
Unable to stand for the first 15 minutes
Because of how turbulent the waters were and how unpredictable the wind was, I could only kneel on the board for the first 15 minutes.
So, if you’re an absolute beginner, it is worth getting a lesson on SUP here.
What helped me to overcome the fear of standing up on SUP at the beach? Plunging into the water to be confident in the water. While I was making dhikr to stand up from kneeling, I remembered my SUP & surf coaches once said that we have to fall into the water to be water confident. If your body is all dried, the fear will creep in, especially with the cold breeze touching your skin. After the fearful 15 minutes, I managed to stand up alhamdulillah and cruise through from one end of Permai Beach to another.
It can turn into surfing at the edges of the beach
As mentioned above, towards the edges of the beach, when water meets the sand, your board can’t help but turn into a surfing experience instead.
So that’s what I did: tucked my paddle in the middle of the board, underneath the straps, and moved swiftly into surfing.
Now, if you read up till here, it all sounds impossible to SUP, but fret not because there are silver linings ahead! You must be aware of the challenges to be prepared for your safety while doing this solo spot.
Dolphin spotting – Why You Should Do SUP in Permai Beach.
One of the beauties of Permai Beach Bay is that you can spot Irrawaddy dolphins here!
According to the SUP guide at Permai, it is common to spot dolphins at the cape along the beach while I was doing SUP.
However, I did not spot them on my SUP exploration because.. well, who knows, nature is nature, and we can’t simply command these dolphins to show up in front of us, right?
Also, due to the nature of SUP as a manual board, with no engines, there’s a possibility that you would come close to animals at the sea.
Raised sea stacks
On the left side of Permai Beach, near the Damai beach border, I managed to come to a distance to some mini sea stacks.
They did not look as massive as the one you would be able to see in Bako National Park, but it was, indeed, a sight to behold, especially with the view of the sun setting on the horizon of the sea stacks.
Ethereal View of Mount Santubong as the backdrop and Treehouses dotted along the resort coast.
As I got further out into the beach with the SUP, I could take in the beauty of:
- Mount Santubong from a panoramic view, and
- The treehouses provided are covered with green rainforests (You can book a stay at these treehouses for an immersive rainforest overnight experience if you want to explore more in Santubong solo).
- The entire beach with people swimming, playing at the beach, kayaking, and so much more.
This surreal experience would top off your solo SUP experience at Permai Beach, Kuching.
Verdict on SUP at Permai Beach:
There are a couple of verdicts on doing SUP solo at Permai Beach.
1 – Perfect for Muslimah Solo Travelers looking to explore the waters solo and take in the rainforest beauty around the Santubong area.
2 – SUP at the beach is a different ballgame compared to SUP at a still lake. So adjust your mindset with the other natural scenarios.
3 – Absolutely doable on a day trip experience from Kuching city, if you do not wish to stay in Permai. But if you stay around the resorts in Santubong, or in Permai Beach Resort itself, this activity is more than doable since you are in close vicinity of the beach area.
4 – Get a lesson if you have never tried SUP before.
Things To Know About SUP at Permai
According to the SUP instructor at Permai, the best times to do the water sport are these two hours:
- 9-10 am
- 4-6 pm
These are times when the sun is not too high up in your face.
Also, if you’re coming in on a day trip from Kuching city centre (30 mins approx drive towards Permai), be sure to call in the resort first and check in on how’s the weather there. That’s what I did.
SUP (inclusive board and rental) starts at RM40 per hour, Lesson at RM80, and Permai’s entrance fee is RM10 per person.
Lockers, life jackets and washing rooms are available for you to store your belongings safely, and of course, change into fresh clothes post-SUP activities!
Surau (musolla) is available on grounds for your ease of discovery at Permai Rainforest Resort
While in Permai Rainforest Resort solo, check out:
Thinking of what else to do in Permai?
Because it is a rainforest eco-resort in nature, there are many things to do around there. Some Muslim-friendly activities to consider while in Permai Rainforest Resort are:
- Eat at the Halal-certified Rainforest restaurant. Be sure to try the Sarawakian dishes like Midin, Laksa, Teh C Special, and so much more when eating here.
- Other activities like ropes course
- Rainforest exploration – hiking (be sure to book your slot in advance) or evening mangrove tour
- Other water sports: kayaking, snorkeling, surfing
- The fantastic sunset and admire the view of Mount Santubong
- The Tree Houses – if you are staying over!
- Climb Mount Santubong
- Go on an ATV adventure on the beach
- Buy local handicrafts on sale. Made with love by Penan folks, the resort has everything!
You might even need to stay over for a night here if you have more than one activity to tick off at Permai!
What’s also great is that the resort is super self-sufficient. It has scarves, surfing clothes, water-based activities, local handicrafts on sale, and so much more, so you won’t need to go far to eat. Or buy the sunscreen that you forgot to bring.
If you’re thinking of only a rainforest getaway in Kuching, this is the place to be.
Permai Rainforest Kuching Opening Hours
Address: Teluk Penyuk, Jalan Sultan Tengah, Santubong, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak (directions)
Opening hours: Depending on the type of activity you’re interested in, might want to give them a call first because on google it says they’re open from 8:00 am till 5:00 pm, but when I called prior, asking for sunset paddle board experience, they said it’s available till 6:00pm.
Phone: 082-846 490
Entrance Fee: RM10 per person.
Besides going on a day trip to do SUP at Permai in Kuching, staying overnight solo at Permai is a great gateway to what Santubong has to offer.. you can just walk from the resort to Damai Beach next door, or Sarawak Cultural Village located opposite it. All these, without the rush of fetching a bus/grab/taxi back to the city.
You can walk from the resort to Damai Beach next door or Sarawak Cultural Village opposite it. All these, without the rush of fetching a bus/grab/taxi back to the city.
This will give u a glimpse of Bornean rainforest life, on a quick weekend without tiring you much compared to going deep into the jungles of Fairy Caves or…. Mulu.