Location : Pulau Lakei, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Pulau Lakei to most people in the city has always been synonymous with deep sea recreational fishing and to the anglers it is a safe haven during stormy weathers. Their spooky tales of this eerie island through the decades had always intrigued me. But to the Malay communities of Bako, Buntal and Muara Tebas it is legendary, mystifying and above all, a place of healing all thanks to a gentleman called Haji Ibrahim who led a hermit like life here some three centuries ago.
Nearby Malays would take the 20min boat ride from the Bako jetty to the tannin coloured Salamun pool to help remove their sicknesses. The Arabic letters carved out (heresay) by the bare fingers of Haji Ibrahim on the rock in the pool had supposedly empowered its water to perform spiritual healings.
On another note, the last couple of years Pulau Lakei earned the nickname of Pulau Tok Nan thanks to the frequent visits of the late Chief Minister. He was so fascinated by this island that he personally poured in some money to develop the place, building some bungalows for his getaway. Since his passing, the Sarawak Forestry Corporation has taken over the management and has park rangers stationed there.
We came to visit upon the invitation of a Facebook friend Mr Zulhi who happened to be the tour operator organizing daily trips to this island.
As our boat landed on the lagoon’s soft white sand, we disembarked to the loud noises from the silverleaf monkeys. But they quickly disappeared into the foliage before we could take a snap. Perhaps, fearful of hunters who use the backdoor to enter Bako National Park to hunt for wildpigs.
Zulhi gave a briefing before our group ascended the wooden staircase to first visit the grave of Haji Ibrahim, demonstration at the Salamun pool and a hike to 2 viewpoints to catch the stunning view of Mount Santubong and the South China Sea.
Kuchingites have Zulhi to thank for for managing to convince the management of SFC to allow him to come up with this brand new package and judging by the number of boats coming in later to join us, spoke loud and clear that Kuching folks are desperately looking for new places for a weekend break.
Zulhi’s package includes a visit to Bako NP either by hiking from Telok Pandan to the Park HQ or boat ride. Indeed, the new Lakei-Bako combo offers a new breath to the local tourism industry which lacks pretty much in product innovation.
Pioneers like Zulhi should be commended and given every support to further develop activities on the neaby peninsular side. He is currently working on the camping site at Telok Limau opposite Lakei.
My drone captured a very nice view of several lagoons obscured behind the rocks and trees at sea level. I am confident this product will evolve into something very exciting if more recce work is put into uncovering the secrets of the surrounding area.
Hopefully, in the near future, if the number of visitors justifies, a café be set up next to the gazebo. More gazebos need to be built, fresh water shower heads too. Longer trails need to be created too longer hikes. The current ones are too short. The 7 other fresh water pools need to be scouted and located. Lots more work need to be done by SFC before it can cater for the international market.
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