Kuching is the capital and the most populous city of Sarawak. Situated on the Sarawak River at the southwest tip of the state of Sarawak; it serves as the getaway to Sarawak.
A beautiful land coloured by peace, traditions and biodiversity.
With an unusual name; Kuching – which means ‘cat’ in Malay, there are some stories saying that because of numerous numbers of cat can be found there it gives the city the name, but it is not true. It has been said that Kuching’s got its name from the word kochin which means harbour in Chinese language.
This capital city has a lot to offer ranging from the local delicacies, history, culture and nature. One thing for sure, the city’s architectural heritage of Brooke era buildings and the 19th Century Chinese shophouses are well preserved and it is NOT only limited to that. There are more than hundreds of things that can be done and you can easily find all of it here (yes, it will be updated time to time) and find all those that cater or appealing enough for you.
Of course, the city itself is compact and well preserved. Because it was strategically located in the centre, almost everything that is worth seeing in the city can be reached by walking or sampan.
Let assume you will start at the heart of Kuching; we will list down the place of interest in Kuching and further from the city centre or in this case, from the historic centre – Main Bazaar or the Waterfront.
[We will keep this list updated from time to time]
0km – 30km
With an almost 900 m long esplanade, Kuching Waterfront once received a major restoration and land reclamation project and now, the most popular meeting spot in Kuching.
Beautifully landscaped, dotted with benches, food stalls and restaurants, the best way to enjoy the waterfront either at the morning, where you can clearly take some photo of the majestic State Assembly Buildings, the Astana or the Darul Hana Bridge or, you can enjoy the sunset or night atmosphere as well.
During the night, there are a lot of eateries that you can try. Most of them will offer varies menu of seafood or you can stroll and enjoy the view.
#Traveller Tips : Come jog in the morning and enjoy not so crowded area, come again 6 pm onwards for breath-taking sunset view and stay for the musical fountain show.
Darul Hana Bridge / Musical Fountain
This S-shaped pedestrian suspension bridge connected the waterfront area and the State Assembly Buildings.
There are two observation or viewing decks available and it offers a majestic panoramic view of the Sarawak River, the centre and the Darul Hana Musical Fountain.
The musical fountain of Darul Hana erupts from the Sarawak River in front of the State Assembly Building. Last for 15 minutes, this water, music and light show will be happening at 8.30 pm and 10 pm daily, with an additional show at 9.30 pm on weekends.
Note : Because of the current RMCO, the show has been suspended until further notice. Watch this space for the updates.
Running parallelly to the waterfront, Main Bazaar is the oldest street in the city. It consists of mixed business in a stretch of Chinese architecture shophouse. Amazingly, some of the shophouses have been occupied by the same family from generations.
Here lies the highest concentration of souvenir shops, handicraft and antique of Kuching. You might also want to have a sip of coffee or drinks that are available in old fashioned coffee shops here.
What to buy ?
Since there are so many things to buy from, you might get confuse. To be honest, go for Sarawak Batik; any food paste, pepper or if you want something unique, buy the ‘Penan’ basket or bag. You can get it around RM 46 per piece for the bag or somewhere around there.
#Travellers Tips : Try to bargain when you are here, you may compare from shop to shop, but normally they will agree at one similar ‘best offer’.
Carpenter Street or Jalan Carpenter extends to Jalan Ewe Hai, it runs parallel to the Main Bazaar and consists of similar establishment as Main Bazaar. There is a mixture of small traders, coffee shops and food stalls.
What I like the most about the area is the characteristic of buildings and the ambience here, since it consists of well-preserved 19th-century Chinese houses. There are a lot of places that can be used for your insta-moment.
What to look for?
Indah Café at Upper China street that connected to Carpenter Street.
There you can take a look at the unique café and art gallery. They serve food and of course coffee too!
Aladin Café – The best chicken rice I ever tasted so far!
They open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, there are 3 types of chicken you can choose from; fried, roasted or steamed. Go for the fried chicken!
It is so good that we only manage to eat here on our third visit! First two, they have sold-out their chicken.
Kai Joo Lane
The first things you’d notice are beautifully painted murals and two rows of 32 units of two-storey shophouses (if you are approaching from India Street). You might wonder why there are zinc pieces being attached to the murals which depict the lives of vendors in the lane during the early 1920s.
Yes, Kai Joo Lane has been around for 96-years. Build-in 1923 by a local businessman; Teo Kai Joo, it was named Kai Joo Lane by Charles Brooke himself.
There are two rows of 32 shops and its location should be appreciated for its cultural and historical heritage.
What to look for?
Hiap Yak Tea Shop – The shop has been pass generation to generation. It was registered in 1958 under the North Borneo and Brunei.
It serves arguably the best hot butter coffee in town for RM2 per cup.
Black or white coffee with a teaspoon of butter makes you crave for more. For many customers, the coffee must go with a toasted “kaya” sandwich.
Tua Pek Kong
This is the oldest Taoist temple in Kuching that dated back to 1843 and has been on official records since 1876.
Sitting on a foothill and commanding the view over the river and Main Bazaar, the ornately decorated Tua Pek Kong Temple, which was one of the few buildings that survived the 1884 Great Fire of Kuching, is said to have the best Feng Shui location in the city.
The Chinese History Museum
The museum was formerly the headquarters of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sarawak but was opened to the public in 1993 as a place where tourists can learn more of the Chinese people that resided in Sarawak from decades past.
There is no entrance fee to those wanting to take a look at Sarawakian Chinese history. It is open from Sundays to Thursdays and closed on Fridays.
The Court House Complex
Kuching Old Courthouse. The building was used as the administrative centre of the government of Sarawak after Charles Brooke was proclaimed as the Rajah of Sarawak. The construction began in 1868 and completed in 1874.
The building is equipped with various facilities and in 2003, the building was converted into the Sarawak Tourism Complex. There is also the Ranee Museum here. Curated by the Brooke Trust, the museum centres on the life, legend and legacy of Margaret de Windt, wife of the second Rajah Brooke, who became the queen of Sarawak at the age of 19.
Currently, there are several café and restaurant that occupied the area. One of them is ‘Commons’.
This is a cool place for your Instagram besides they have a few selections of cakes, coffee and food as well.
Masjid India Kuching / The Floating Mosque
Kuching’s one and only floating mosque situated by the Waterfront got its unique design inspiration from the Middle East. The best time to visit this iconic landmark is in the evening where the sun is setting and golden lights of the sunset flood this majestic architecture.
At dusk, the panoramic view surrounding the mosque when it is flooded with the light of the golden sunset accentuates the majestic architecture. In the evening, the Floating Mosque built on the Kuching’s heritage site will be illuminated by multi-coloured LED lights to increase the glow and ambience of the riverfront.
The mosque’s design inspiration is from the Middle East. It is also open to the non-Muslim public to give them an opportunity to see for themselves the unique interior designs.
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre (SWC) located within the Semenggoh Nature Reserve and it was established in 1975 to rehabilitate wild animals that are found orphaned and/or injured. This includes those that confiscated from the public.
Since all its wild animals have been released into the wild, the centre is now more of ‘release site’ and all orangutans that can be seen now is the results of rehabilitating young orangutans that been found in captivity. They are able to adapt to the wild and able to survive.
Feeding is still carried out to support since the forest reserve does not supply enough wild food for the orangutans. Currently, there are 35 orangutans been recorded sighted in the nature reserve.
There are 2 feeding times daily, 9-10 am and from 3 to 4 pm.
Entry Fees : RM10/ adult. RM7/child.
#Traveller Tips : Come 30 minutes before feeding time since they might be fed earlier if sighted. You might need to walk around 2km before reaching the centre from the car park because of the current road renovation.
Bako National Park
The park covers the northern tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula and it has been established as a national park since 1957. It contains a rich variety of wildlife as well. Unlike other park, visitors coming here are almost guaranteed to see wildlife since the area is quite small.
To get to Bako National park, you will need to drive about 37 km from Kuching and head to Kampung Bako. From there, take a chartered boat around 30 minutes to the park HQ.
The star of Bako National Park is undoubtedly the proboscis monkey, the big-nosed, pot-bellied comedian of the rainforest and if birds are your interest, more than 190 species live at Bako, including some rare varieties. The birds and animals are easy to find along the 18 colour-coded walking trails that offer full-day jungle hikes to gentle strolls.
Bako’s extensive trail system is made up of 16 colour-coded jungle trails which offer a range of walking and hiking options. The fit and adventurous can opt for full-day jungle hikes or overnight camping expeditions, whilst those who prefer to take it easy can opt for a relaxing forest walk. The following table provides details of approximate trekking times and distances and the colour codes used in the park.
As for now, there are only 2 trail available; which is the Teluk Paku trails that around 1.5km and a one-way trail, and the Jalan Lintang which is around 5.8km.
#Traveller Tips : Bring/wear along proper trekking attire and shoes, sunblock, swimming gear, insect repellent and basic first aid supplies.
IMPORTANT : You need to register at the park HQ before start hiking! Hiking without permission is not permitted and it’s for your safety too~
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