EXPLORING SARAWAK : ANNAH RAIS HOT SPRING

I always tell people that I’m super adventurous and I love travelling but the truth is, I really am not. When I say travelling, I really mean travelling to cities with all those glamorous travel shows in mind. When my friends asked if I want to go to a hot spring in Padawan, about 2 hours from the centre of Kuching, I said immediately said no. I did not want to drive to the middle of nowhere and soak myself in water for no apparent reason. But since they insisted, I felt super duper lame and unadventurous so I eventually agreed to go anyway.

I ended up being the designated driver of the day so I got ready by 8AM, I picked my friends up and by the time we were at BDC, it was already a bit over 10AM. The drive to Annah Rais from BDC was less than 2 hours, with the help of Waze, of course. I did not expect it to be too far away but heck, it was crazy far. I wish I know how to describe the journey we had to reach the place but it really was like nothing I expected. Most of the time, the drive felt eerie and the rest were filled with “oohs” and “aahs” at the beautiful trees and mountain tops. I’ve never been that deep into the mountains before so I was pretty much in awe and fear at the same time.

When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a wooden hut and an impressive sign. The entrance fee is RM5 for adults and RM3 for “students” age 7 until 17. I was very amused by their definition of students, considering that I am 20 years old and still am a student. After paying, you would have to walk briskly to another wooden hut where you can sit and put down all your stuff. There are two changing rooms and two toilets, both gendered accordingly. Then you’ll walk down to a river and there it is, the hot spring.

There are three hot spring pools with 3 different heat levels; warm, hot and scorching hot. The pools and the river are separated by a bed of rocks so you can basically hang out there with drinks and snacks. I tried dipping my feet into all three pools and I think I could have died from the heat. The pools aren’t maintained very well so the water is quite murky and the warm pool felt like normal river water AKA cold. We ended up just hanging out in the river because the water was cooler and felt nice under the scorching sun.

I can’t suggest what you can do in the river or the pools because there’s really not much you can do. Here’s a short montage of what we did at Annah Rais for you to see :

A video posted by Hani Lutfi 하니 (@hanilutfi) on Oct 31, 2016 at 4:58am PDT

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After hanging out in the river, we changed into dry clothes in the very very dirty changing rooms. The rooms had moss all over the walls and smelled like pee. I didn’t feel safe and clean in those rooms, I changed in a hurry.

To conclude, there aren’t a lot of facilities like a proper canteen, a picnic area and lounging area and the facilities they do have are very poorly maintained and dirty. Here’s what I can suggest if you want to check this place out; bring extras of everything you’re wearing, bring your own snacks and drinks, and come with a bunch of your friends. If you’re planning on doing a picnic, scratch that idea. You’ll end up taking up the entire space at the wooden hut and you won’t feel very comfortable either since it’s so dirty.

I hope I don’t sound like a diva with my harsh review but I really don’t think this was worth the trip.

Out of five, my ratings are :
1. Facilities – 2.5/5
2. Cleanliness – 1/5
3. Experience – 3/5
4. Overall – 3.5/5

If you want to go on a roadtrip with your friends, go to the beach at Lundu or Sematan. If you want to go to a waterfall or a nice river, go to Matang. Again, I don’t think this place is worth the trip.

Talk again soon,
Hani Lutfi

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