Author:
• Monday, October 11th, 2010

Kuching

Kuchingis the capital and largest city of the East Malaysianstate of Sarawakand the district of Kuching.

Kuching riverfront at dusk

Understand

Once the capital of the White Rajahs of Sarawak, now with a population of some 600,000, Kuching is small enough to walk around but interesting enough to keep you there for several days, and a good base for exploring Sarawak. It’s safe and relatively clean. The name of the city, Kuching, is thought to derive from the Malay word kucing, meaning cat. Many of the locals refer to Kuching as the “Cat City” but it more likely comes from the Chinese word for port (“cochin”) coupled with the Malay name mata kucing(cat’s-eye) for the longanfruit, a popular trade item.

Kuching Skyline

History

Sarawak was a part of the Sultanate of Brunei200 years ago but as a reward for help in putting down a rebellion, it was ceded to the British adventurer James Brookewho ruled it as his personal kingdom. Kuching was made his capital and headquarters. The Brooke Administration was given the status of Protectorate under Rajah Charles Brooke’s rule and was placed behind the Indian Rajs and Princes. The Brooke family ruled Sarawak until the Japanese occupation in December 1941.

Kuching was surrendered to the Japanese forces on 24 December 1941, and Sarawak was part of the Japanese Empire for three years and eight months, until the official Japanese surrender on 11 September 1945 on board HMAS Kapunda at Kuching. From March 1942 the Japanese operated a POW and civilian internee camp at Batu Lintang, three miles (5 km) outside Kuching.[5]

After the end of World War II the third and last Rajah, Sir Charles Vyner Brookeceded Sarawak to the British Crown in 1946. Sarawak and the British Commonwealth fought an “Undeclared War” with Indonesia to keep Sarawak from being absorbed into Sukarno’s Indonesia. The British gave Sarawak independence in 1963 and together with North Borneo, Sabah and Singapore, helped form Malaysia on 16 September 1963. Singapore became an independent nation in 1965.

People

Kuching prides itself on being one of the most multi-racial cities in Malaysia. The largest group are the Chinese, who form about 45% of the population. Among the Chinese, Hokkien speakers form the majority, while Hakka and Foochow speakers round out the top three. Other notable “dialect” groups among the Chinese include the Cantonese, Teochew, Hainanese and Heng Hua. The Malays, who are comprised of Kuching’s original inhabitants as well as migrants from neighboring Indonesia, form only slightly less of the population than the Chinese, while Ibans form about 5% of the population. There are also original Indian migrants who live in Kuching for many decades ago. The Indians are divided evenly to Tamils, Sikhs and Punjabis. The remainder are other indigenous races, most notably the Bidayuhs, Melanaus, Javanese and Orang Ulu settlers. What makes Kuching city unique from other towns in Sarawak is, Kuching city population does not reflect the true demography of the whole Sarawak.

Most people of Chinese descent live in South Kuching area, with some areas constituting more than 90% of the population as Chinese, like Padungan and Pending. The Malay mostly live at North Kuching area, and are spread evenly throughout South Kuching area. Other races like Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau and Orang Ulu are spread evenly throughout Padawan and some at South and North Kuching. Indian communities of Tamil descent mostly live at Batu Lintang and Gita area, while Javanese communities mostly live at Mile 20 Kuching-Serian Road, Rantau Panjang (Batu Kawa) and Kg. Kolong at Matang.

Climate

Kuching enjoys sunshine throughout the year as any other tropical cities. Rains and heavy showers occur occasionally which always due to precipitation and monsoon season. Hail might sometimes happen in Kuching. However, strong winds, tremors and heavy thunderstorms are very unlikely to occur. It is recommended to visit Kuching during hot season which is from March to October every year. Monsoon season normally occur between November to February. However, the monsoon does not hinder too much of the tourists’ activities.

Holidays

Kuching, and Sarawak as a whole celebrate all Federal holidays except Deepavali. Sarawak has also declared holiday for Good Friday (one day) and Gawai Day (two days). Unlike other states in Malaysia, most Islamic events are not being declared holiday, except Federal holidays of Hari Raya Aidilfitri (two days), Hari Raya Aidiladha (one day), Maulud Nabi (one day) and Awal Muharram (one day).

Avoid touring to Santubong area during first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri due to heavy traffic at Petra Jaya. Tourists can expect a grand celebration for every major holidays with big open houses such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai. Try to observe Gawai Day celebration since that Gawai Day is only being declared holiday in Sarawak.

Orientation

Kuching city can be divided into few areas:

  • Padawan- It’s a small town at the outskirt of Kuching city. It’s popular with its traditional Bidayuh kampungs and longhouses. This area is home for multiracial communities such as Bidayuhs, Javanese, Malay, Chinese and Iban & Orang Ulu settlers.
  • Kota Sentosa- Before being named Kota Sentosa, Kota Sentosa was called (now colloquially) ‘Batu Tujuh’ or 7th Mile. This area is a commercial hub for people from Batu Kitang, Kg. Haji Baki and surrounding areas. Sarawak Mental Hospital is also located here. Kota Sentosa has also grown its importance due to it’s vicinity of Army Camps.
  • BDC- BDC was long time ago a remote housing area. However, today it has grown importance as a commercial hub for Stutong and Tabuan Heights area and also a growing elite housing areas.
  • Tabuan Jaya- Tabuan Jaya, like BDC, was long time ago a remote housing area. Today, it has emerged into Kuching satellite city. It is also well connected to other important areas in Kuching such as Pending, BDC, Muara Tabuan Industrial Estate and Demak Jaya Industrial Estate.
  • Pending- Pending is an industrial area. Major industrial players here, among them are Komag, CMS Concrete, Gold Coin Fertilizer and Sarawak Clinker Plant. Pending is connected to Kuching city centre via Padungan.
  • Batu Kawa- Batu Kawa got its name from volcano crater found at Gunung Serapi. It has now emerged into important satellite city of Kuching, which consist of MJC Commercial Area (with condominium housing, elite housing areas and shoplots), Sg. Maong and Pekan Rantau Panjang.
  • Matang- Matang is another emerging town under Kuching. Among its prominent attraction is Matang Jaya and Gita.
  • 3rdMile- 3rdMile is also one emerging commercial area. It was home to first private school in Sarawak, Sunny Hill School and also old-fashioned cinema, Capitol Cinema. 3rd Mile was once an important train route in Kuching.
  • Padungan- Padungan is the oldest commercial hub in Kuching. Chinatown is located here. It’s also an important area for nightlife (clubbing and night outting), 4 to 5-star hotels (such as Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Holiday Inn & soon-to-be-opened Novotel), popular tourist spots (Kuching Waterfront, cat statues etc) and also shopping hub.
  • Simpang Tiga- Simpang Tiga is famous with its federal government complex, Swinburne university and newly opened “The Spring” shopping mall.
  • Satok- Satok is the most widely spoken place among tourists for its weekend market. It is also the smallest DUN (State Legislative) area in Sarawak.
  • Petra Jaya- Petra Jaya is home for majority of Malay population in Kuching, and most probably in Sarawak. It has a lot of Malay kampungs, low-cost housing schemes, housing estates and it is also a headquarters for Sarawak state government, which is an idea later copied by Federal Government for their Putrajaya. Petra Jaya consist of area from Kg. Tupong to Semariang to Demak Laut Industrial Estate.
  • Santubong- Santubong is located 30km away from Kuching. It is a tourist spot for beach and annual international events such as the World Rainforest Music Festival.

Talk

Kuching is very multicultural place, and most people speak at least Malayand their ethnic tongue, with quite a few speaking English as well. The ability to speak either Malay, English or Mandarin is usually enough for someone in Kuching to get by.

Speaking Malay in Kuching

Please notice some basic communication terms in Bahasa Melayu Sarawak.

  • Kamek- I
  • Kitak- You
  • Auk- Yes
  • Sik- No
  • Igek- Piece
  • Kamek Mauk Pergi Jamban Dolok- I Would Like To Go To The Toilet
  • Kitak Dari Siney?- Where Are You From?
  • Nyaman Juak Makanan Tok- This Food Is Quite Tasty
  • Kamek Ngupok/Mupok Dolok- I’d Like To Make A Move
  • Nama-Name
  • Maok-Want
  • Jamban-Toilet
  • Duit-Money

While standard Malay is well understood, the local dialect, known as “Bahasa Melayu Sarawak”, is different enough to be legally categorized as its own language. Malays from coastal part of Sarawak, especially the one from Sebuyau, Kabong, Saratok, Betong, Sri Aman and the surrounding areas speak different dialect called “Bahasa Orang Laut”. Malays from Sibu and Miri speak similar language with Kuchingites Malay, but they have some terms unique to their dialect, for example “Pia” in Sibu (in Kuching, they called it “Sia”, which means “there”), “Cali” in Miri (in Kuching, they called it “Jenaka”, which means “funny”). However, Bahasa Melayu spoken in Limbang and Lawas is a distant difference from Bahasa Melayu Sarawak spoken throughout Kuching-Miri.

Most Chinese in Kuching speak Hokkien(Minnan) as their native tongue, but Mandarinis the standard language of education and spoken by nearly all Chinese in Kuching.

The Iban languageis spoken by some Iban people in Kuching, but almost all of them also understand Malay. You may also encounter speakers of other tribal languages like Bidayuh, Melanau

The lack of a homogeneous language used by the peoples is also clearly reflected around the city. Signs such as road names are written in Malay and Chinese. Street signs are in Malay. Shop names and other private signs are usually written in Malay, English or/and Chinese.

Get in

As Kuching is in Sarawak, which retains control of its own immigration procedures, some additional complications apply and an ordinary Malaysian visa may not suffice. Most visitors, though, can get visas on arrival at Kuching International Airport. See Sarawakfor details.

By plane

Kuching International Airport(IATA: KCH) is Sarawak’s main gateway. There are near-hourly connections to Kuala Lumpuras well as frequent flights to Singapore, Johor Bahru, Labuan, Kota Kinabaluand other cities in Sarawak like Sibu, Bintuluand Miri. MASwings[1], which took over the rural air service from Fly Asian Express (FAX) on October 1, 2007, links Kuching with Mukah. International connections are rather limited, although there are a few weekly services to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Macauand Pontianak. Flights to Kuching are also operated by AirAsia. [2]International airlines operating in Kuching includes SilkAir, Royal Brunei, Tiger Airways, Jetstar Airways and Batavia Air.

The airport underwent a major facelift in 2005-2006 and is now modern and pleasant. When checking in, note that all flights outside Sarawak are considered “international”, even if you’re only going elsewhere in Malaysia. A restaurant is on ground floor at the far end and a 24-hour McDonald’s outlet, before security. There is also a KFC outlet and a Starbucks outlet on the 2ndfloor (departure level), left of the departure gates.

Getting there/away:Kuching city is about 20 minutes away by taxi, a fixed RM26.00 from the taxi coupon stand just outside arrivals. Ignore the touts, even if they show you price lists. From the city (Tune hotel) you can get a private vehicle (RM20.00) or catch a mini bus (RM8.00)leaving hourly from 8:30 to evening.

The Sarawak Transport Company (STC) Bus No. 12A no longer serves the 5 daily trips between the airport and the city centre. There is a series of other buses which can drop you off or pick you up approximatly 1 Km west of the Airport (turn left as you exit the airport and walk to the main T intersection, turn left again and walk until you reach the big roundabout (Have a look on google maps)and catch a bus heading north to town…3A, 6, 8g, 9). The most convenient place to catch these buses back to the airport intersection is at the main bus terminal located in the city.

By boat

The Express Bahagiaand Express Sejahteraexpress boats run an alternating once daily service from Kuching to Sibu, each boat returning the next day. RM38 (RM45 1st class) one way and the journey takes 5 1/2 hours, with stops at Sarikei and Tanjung Manis. The boats depart from the Pendingwharf to the east of the city at 8.30AM. You can usually buy tickets at the wharf. Getting there/away:Chin Lian Long buses No. 1A, 17 and 19 go to the express boat jetty. 60 sen one way. Taxis usually charge RM15.

By bus

Kuching’s regional express bus terminalis located along Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli, also dubbed as “3 and a half miles”, located south of the city, just before the Boulevard shopping mall. All long-distance express buses arrive from and leave for major Sarawak cities like Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, as well as Pontianakin Indonesia. Regional buses for some towns near Kuching such as Lundu (for the Gunung Gading National Park and Tanjung Datu National Park) and Sri Aman also arrive/depart from here. However, buses for some towns and destinations nearer Kuching, such as the Bako National Park, Bau and the Semenggoh Orang Utan Centre, leave from various locations in the city centre, depending on the bus company being used. See the individual destinations below for details.

  • To/from Bau:
  • To/from Bako National Park:Petra Jaya Transport(red) bus No. 1 departs from the open air market near Electra House in the city centre. RM3.00 one way, journey time 45 mins. There are also public mini buses, more expensive and a little bit faster and more regular. The buses bring you to Bako Bazaar where you pay your RM10.00 park entrance fee and transfer to a boat to reach the national park. Boat costs RM47.00 one way and can carry up to 5 people. See Bako National Parkpage for details.
  • To/from Lundu:Sarawak Transport Company (cream and green) express buses depart from the regional bus terminal at 08:15, 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00. Buses depart Lundu at 08:00, 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00. Travel time approximately two hours. At Lundu, take a taxi or van or walk approximately 2.5km (north) to the Gunung Gading National Park. For Tanjung Datu National Park, catch a connecting Sarawak Transport Company bus to Sematan where you will have to charter a boat to the park.
  • To/from Pontianak: Biaramas Express[3](Tel: +60 82456999 at the regional bus terminal, +60 82610111 headquarters) buses depart Kuching regional bus terminal for Pontianak via the Tebedu-Entikong border crossing daily at 07:45. RM45 adult one way. From Pontianak, buses depart daily at 21:00. Fare is Rp140,000. SJS Super Executive(Tel: +60 82456999) buses departs the regional bus terminal at 11:00 and cost RM70. Click Pontianak_to_Kuchingfor travel itinerary on this route.
  • To/from Semenggoh:Feeding times for the Orangutans are 9AM and 1PM so catch the 7:30 or 11AM bus. Sarawak Transport Company buses No.6 depart from their bus terminal (RM2.50, 1 hour) near the open air market in the city centre but are not so frequent (at 1 and a half hour or even rarely). Also there are plenty of mini buses at the open air market that can drive you there (public – RM5-10 per passеnger) and also more expensive mini bus taxies (bargaining starts from RM100 for the whole bus for return journey).
  • To/from Sibu:Various express buses depart from the regional bus terminal. Most of them go via Sarikei.

By car

From Indonesia

To travel by car from Indonesia is pretty straight forward. As a member of Asean, Indonesian driving license is legal and accepted in Malaysia.

Click Pontianak_to_Kuchingfor travel itinerary on this route.

Within Malaysia and From Brunei Darussalam

Sarawak is a huge state. The road networks connecting towns and places in Sarawak including Kuching are somehow quite satisfactorily maintained. However, long and winding roads with sometimes no rest stops in between might bore you or scare you. Here are the distance chart from Kuching to other towns:

Sabahan people as well as from Brunei can also commute freely to Kuching using Pan Borneo Highway network. However, it is subject to a lot of stopover at immigration checkpoints. Therefore, travelling to Kuching from Sabah is not advisable. Bruneian commuters should produce driving permit which is simply by filling a form at the Malaysian border checkpoint. Bruneian driving license is a valid, legal and accepted form of document in Sarawak/Malaysia.

By helicopter

In case you are in hurry or in the event to experience luxury, helicopter and other method of air transports are available by using Hornbill Skyways.

By cruises

There are some cruise liners operating daily between Kuching and Singapore. One of them is StarCruise.

Get around

By bus

Kuching stage buses nowadays have quite a sad reputation for a few reasons. The most obvious fact is that the bus companies are still using old chassis (half of the fleet is 15-20 years old) despite covering it up with (apparently) modern bodywork. It results in cheap fares, but passengers will have to bear with the inconvenience of noise (like you hear in old cars) and heat (for non-A/C buses). Although all buses show route numbers, most (if not all) buses neither show names of bus termini (the last bus stops) nor en routelandmarks or places of interest. Therefore, it is wise to ask the bus driver where the bus ends its route and whether your destination lies along that particular route beforegrabbing the seat of the bus.

Do not expect any brochures showing route information from the bus companies. It is best to just ask around if you really need a bus to wherever you want to go. To add things worse, the Kuching City Centre does not have a main bus terminal.

Local stage buses are run by 6 companies of colourful assortments, 5 of which are in a consortium, but there’s a reasonably logical route numbering system and bus stops usually have some signage indicating bus route numbers.

  • Sarawak Transport Company (STC)- these green and beige STC buses mainly serve downtown and along the protocol roads leading southbound out of the city centre.
  • Chin Liang Long Motor Vehicle Company (CLL)- these blue and white CLL buses serve almost all routes (fixed, radial dan cross-town) within the Kuching City South limits.
  • Matang Transport Company (MTC)- these orange and beige MTC buses serve the Kuching-Matang road and suburban settlements along the northern bank of the Sarawak River. This company is the only one not included in the Kuching City Bus Services consortium.
  • Petra Jaya Transport- these white buses with red, yellow and black striped livery serve the outskirts of Kuching City North (routes ending at Damai and Bako) and also the Kuching-Kota Sentosa-Kota Samarahan route.
  • Regas Transport Company- these brown and purple buses are rarely seen nowadays serving mainly downtown areas.
  • Bau Transport Company- these brown and red buses serve the Kuching-Bau route.

Bus drivers and conductors do not actually have Public Relations and Tourist Guiding as part of their training syllabi. Should the bus conductor exist, kindly demand for the ticket because some bus inspectors might just walk inside and do a surprise inspection of passengers’ tickets. There are some OMO (One Man Operation) buses that are equipped with a big coin box beside the driver’s seat. Ask for the fare first before inserting the exact change into the box. Sit in the front half of the bus so you have easy access to the driver or conductor. Cheating, pickpocketing and sexual harrassment might sometimes occur in public buses, so be watchful of your surroundings.

Kuching city hotels had once banded together to offer a free City Tram(really just a bus) service that shuttles around major sights once every hour. You would just ask for a City Tram sticker and route map from your hotel lobby. As of the year 2008, the service has been terminated due to “technical problems”.

Inconsistent passenger load along certain routes can lead to drops in frequency and thus, bus operators cannot comply to a fixed timetable and that results in frustrating delays.

By shuttle van

Yellow roofed kereta sewaor shuttle vans fill the void left by stage bus operators, offering somewhat more frequent trips throughout Kuching to as far as Tebedu and Bau. Each shuttle van has their own commuting routes so watch out the routes by reading the destination on the body of the van. Minimum fare for each trip is RM1 and increases with respect to distance. Fares also differ from one shuttle van to another plying the same route by commuting frequency, peak and off-peak periods and passenger load. If in doubt, ask the passengers, not the driver.

Travel Warning

WARNING: Van sapuor unlicensed shuttle vans also ply the main roads in Kuching, offering lower (if not the same) fares than their legal counterparts. If you are coaxed to board these vans, please do so at your own risk. Due to its illegal operations, van sapupassengers are not covered by insurance should an accident occur.

By taxi

Taxis are somewhat expensive in Kuching. Although taxis are metered, the drivers seldom use it and normally they will charge you any fare they like. Reasonable taxi fare from Kuching city centre to Santubong is RM42 (after considering June 2008 petrol price hike). Some hotels provide their own shuttle vans or buses to designated tourism spots and city centre. Kindly check with your hotel should they provide this kind of service.

By car

All major roads in Kuching city and suburban areas are well tarred and fairly maintained. Driving orientation is on the left (like most of the former colonies of the British Empire) and is generally slow-paced. Speed limits on dual-carriageway roads can reach a maximum of 90km/h and can be reduced to 80km/h or 70km/h during festival seasons.

Tourists from cosmopolitan cities may not appreciate the driving attitude of local road users. Some drivers tend to make a turn or overtake without using indicators, and others drive beyond the speed limit. You may also find a handful of road hoggers (cars, lorries and even motorcycles alike). Honk car horns and flash high beams with careful discretion.

Self-driving in and around Kuching can be challengingly fun. Directional signs in Kuching are so inadequate and it takes a good road map and a good sense of direction to get you around.

Car rental companies:

  • Kuching City Car Rental(Kuching Car Rental), Ground Floor, Terminal Building, Kuching International Airport(Walk up towards the domestic arrival hall exit), ☎+60128838318().  edit
  • Car Rental Kuching(Car Rental Kuching), (Opposite of the domestic hall exit area), ☎+6 0168621613(), [4]. Special rate starts from RM95/day, accept visa/ master card..  edit
  • Sime Darby Rent A Car(Hertz Malaysia Licensee), GL20, Ground Floor, Terminal Building, Kuching International Airport(Just walk up to the booth after you claim your luggage at the airport), ☎+60 82 450740(, fax: +60 82 450741). M-Sa 0800-1800, Sun & Public Holidays meet confirmed reservations. Rent starts from RM150/day, credit/charge cards only.  edit
  • Kuching Car Rental | Kereta Sewa Kuching(Kuching Car Rental, Kereta Sewa Kuching), AJ 205, 1st Floor,MJC Batu Kawah New Township,Jalan Batu Kawa,93250 Kuching., ☎+6082 376 030, +6082-455 022, +6016 888 4020(, fax: +60 82 455 422), [5]. M-Su 0800-2100, Call to confirm reservation or book online. Rent starts from RM98/day, credit/charge cards only.  edit

By motorcycle

  • Three Bikes Rental & Services. Operate at Singgahsana Lodge No.1 Temple St, Tel. +6082233835 or email us threebikesrental@yahoo.com
  • Teck Hua Motor. Motorbike rental at 68B Tabuan Road, Tel. +6082233957

By bicycle

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to rent bicycles in Kuching.

By river taxi

Tambangs or river taxis provide easy and cheap transport across the Sarawak River in the heart of Kuching.

For a leisurely commute across the Sarawak River, river taxis locally known as tambangor penambangoffers daily services at various points along the Kuching Waterfront, with a one-way fare at RM0.40. The fare hikes up to RM1 from 10.00PM to 6.00AM the next day. Kindly place the exact changeon the designated plate instead of giving it to the operator, as you disembark the river taxi at your destination.

By boats

Boats are sometimes available for visitors who wish to travel from one place to another along the Sarawak River.

By speedboats

Speedboats are available for people who wish to go to Taman Negara Bako, Satang Island and Layang-layang Island from Santubong. Rate differs according to hotels, and in regards to public holidays, peak hours and etc. Check schedule and rates at the respective hotels, such as Damai Lagoon.

By helicopter

In case you are in hurry or in the event to experience luxuriousness, helicopter and other method of air transports are available by using Hornbill Skyways.

By cruises

Cruised might not be available at the posting date. Previously, it was available for tourists who wish to go for sightseeing along the Sarawak River.

On foot

Kuching is unusually pedestrian-friendly for a Malaysian city, with tree-lined sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, and the city core is compact enough to cover on foot. Good walks include the Kuching Waterfrontand the pedestrian shopping street of Jalan India(Kuching’s Little India).

See

Jalan India

Kuching is a haven for tourists. It is one of the main tourist destinations in Sarawak.

In Kuching, you can enjoy various sightseeing activities. Among them are visiting museums, sightseeing of Kuching city and sightseeing for nature lovers.

  • Tua Pek Kong Temple, Jalan Padungan (east end of Main Bazaar). This temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Kuching and located strategically at the heart of Kuching. It was just at the opposite of Chinese Museum. It was built in 1843. Various festivals are held here for example The Wang Kang Festival (to commomerate the dead) and Ghost Festival.
  • Sultan Iskandar Planetarium. This first planetarium ever built in Malaysia is in the Kuching Civic Centre complex. This planetarium shows videos of astronomic adventures of every planets in the solar system.

One can enjoy sightseeing of Kuching City at various locations. What is unique of Kuching city in sightseers’ eyes is how the skycrapers built in the vicinity of lush green jungles.

  • Kuching Civic Centre, located at Jalan Taman Budaya. This is a 3-building complex, landmarked by its tower with an umbrella-shaped roof. This is the best place to get a 360° aerial view of Kuching City. Take a beautiful snapshot of Kuching concrete buildings in the assembly of lush green trees. The viewing platform is available for public access only during daytime, served mainly by two bubble lifts. Also at the top you can find a souvenir shop and the highest public toilet in Kuching. Just one level below, there’s a restaurant call Link. Meanwhile, on the ground, there’s the Sultan Iskandar Planetarium, some hawker stalls, a sports gym (which used to be a public library) and a multi-function hall.
  • Kuching City Mosque, located near the open air market. It was used to be the main mosque for Kuchingites and known as the Sarawak State Mosque (then it was re-labeled as Kuching Divisional Mosque). It was built back in 1968 (originally a site of a wooden mosque way back in 1852) with striking design, featuring a combination of Mid-western and Italian architecture. It is still now a perfect place for the Muslims visiting Kuching to stop by for prayers.
Travel Warning

WARNING: Visitors to mosques are requested to dress respectfully and remove their shoes. Non-Muslims may not enter during prayer times, especially on Friday afternoons.

  • Masjid Jamek, or “Jamek Mosque” is located at Petra Jaya. It was adjacent to the State Library and housed Dewan Hikmah, a multi-purpose hall, usually for Muslim wedding receptions. It has also some quarters for the hafizs and the ustazs. It was the most crowded mosque in the whole Sarawak thanks to the strategic area where majority of Kuching Muslims reside. However, it is still the most favourite place for Friday prayers due to the mosque being comfortable and air-conditioned.
  • Medan Raya Complex, located at Petra Jaya. Originally planned as the State Government Administrative Centre with a dual-carriageway boulevard linking the Kuching North City Hall and Wisma Bapa Malaysia, currently just having one building on the site called Baitul Makmur, which houses four state ministries. This area is perfect for jogging, walking and sightseeing of romantic (sometimes erotic) couples. A man-made lake lies in the centre of the complex, where locals usually race their RC speed boats after office hours, much to the annoyance of anyone living within the radius of a kilometre. At night, the fine stretch of road crossing the lake becomes an illegal dragstrip, at most times. Come at the wrong time and the long arm of the law awaits you. Be warned.
  • Kuching Waterfront. Any visit to Kuching is incomplete without taking a brisk walk at the RM1 milion per 10m strip of Kuching Waterfront. It is the most popular meeting (and mating) place in Kuching. It was once a line of old warehouses. During the daytime, the Waterfront is the best place to view the Astana, Fort Margherita, adjacent Malay kampungs of Kampung Sinjan and Kampung Lintang or even the newly constructed DUN complex. At night, it is the best place to see nightlife of lovers, youngsters and love-makers. Some food kiosks are also present here (but mind the expensive charges on food!). Some word of advice, don’t eat Laksa Sarawak at Waterfront kiosks, it tastes so bad that some people might puke once eating it! Having said this, ‘My Kampong’ have a small kiosk that serve Mee Mamak which is a tour de force of taste. If you do order traditional Malay food (i.e. grilled fish), be sure to ask them to warm it up!
  • Main Bazaar. It’s a very long row of shophouses for you to shop Sarawak souvenirs and handicrafts.
  • Taman Budaya, located at Jalan Taman Budaya. Literally meaning ‘cultural garden’ although the cultural aspect of it remains questionable. Once a reservoir for water storage (hence forever named the Kuching Reservoir) is a perfect place for jogging, walking and sightseeing of hilly nature decoration and big pond. There’s the Kuching Central Prison just next to this garden, just so you know.
  • Sunday Marketor Pasar Minggu, located at Satok. Fancy a traditional way of trading? Then head to Jalan Satok where the Sunday Market comes alive beginning Saturday afternoon till the afternoon of the next day. The market is so huge that it might break your legs to walk to every corner of this market. It is divided into many sections such as food, fruits, vegetables, fishes (some salted terubokfish are sold here too), potted plants, jungle produce (including wild honey), pets, bundle clothing, magazines and even toys. The market is like a huge hypermarket, without air-conditioning. Some word of advice, wear shoes when you are entering fish and chicken areas. Those areas are wet in nature and the traders might not be ashamed to splash some water to your feet! It is open almost every weekend. However, during big celebrations like Gawai, Chinese New Year or Hari Raya, some stalls at Pasar Mingguare closed. The Pasar Tamuhowever, which is part of the market with a permanent roofed structure, operates on a daily basis.
  • The Astana. Or the Palace in English, resides the current Yang di-Pertua Negerior the Head of State of Sarawak. The palace is situated on the north bank of the river, just across the river from Kuching Waterfront. It was built in 1870 by Charles Brooke as a bridal gift to his wife Margaret. Next to it is Orchid Garden and beautifully decorated garden with observation tower. A sampan deck, which is named Pengkalan Sapi is also situated within the Astana vicinity.
  • Friendship Garden, located at Tabuan Heights. The garden is developed to mark the symbol of friendship between China and Malaysia. The garden is beautifully crafted with small ponds and gardens. Perfect place for sightseeing, feeding the Koifishes and trying your luck at the two wishing wells.
  • Sarawak State Libraryor the Pustaka Negeri, located at Petra Jaya, near to Masjid Jamek. For sightseeing purpose, visitors can opt for aerobic sessions hosted every afternoon at the library compound. The lake in front of the library is the most suitable place for aquatic lovers. A lot of fishes from different species are bred here. They normally get foods from the visitors, so bring your fish food or breads here!

Museums

Kuching’s major sights are its museums. Clustered just south of the center, a program of refurbishment started in 2002 is shuffling up the exhibits.

  • Sarawak Museum, The Sarawak State Museum is the oldest museum in Borneo. It was established in 1888 and opened in 1891 in a purpose-built building in Kuching, Sarawak. Sponsored by Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah of Sarawak, the establishment of the museum was strongly encouraged by Alfred Russel Wallace. It was now called ‘Ethnology Museum’ which houses various ethnic displays and historical items of Sarawak.
  • Dewan Tun Abdul Razakor Tun Abdul Razak Hall, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg (opposite Sarawak Museum). Formerly the New Wing of the Sarawak Museum, now houses changing exhibitions, a rather good gift shop and the Sarawak Museum Department office.
  • The Sarawak Islamic Museum. It is located just behind the Tun Abdul Razak Hall and can be accessed via Jalan P. Ramlee. The museum consists of 7 galleries set around a central courtyard garden, each with a different theme. One of the interesting artifact showed here is a replica of sword used by Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Open daily from 9AM to 6PM (closed on Fridays).
  • Chinese History Museum, Waterfront (east end of Main Bazaar). A small colonial-era museum that used to be the courthouse for the Sarawakian Chinese, then the office of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, now houses a small permanent exhibition of Kuching’s many Chinese groups and regional worthies.
  • Fort Margherita, Completed in 1879, Fort Margherita resides at a breathtaking and strategic position at the riverside of Sarawak River. It is located a the strategic place due to the historical reason; it was once a defensive structure to protect Kuching from possible attack. At present, Fort Margherita has been converted into a Police Museum and many of its old cannons, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords and other vestiges of its artillery can still be seen. It can be accessed by road from the other side of the river, which is Petra Jaya, or by ‘tambang’ boat from Kuching Waterfront.
  • The Cat Museum. This is a large collection of cat memorabilia. Many souvenirs declare the fact that Kuching means “Cat”. It is located at Kuching North City Hall at Petra Jaya, on top of Bukit Siol (Siol Hill). Cat lovers will find all range of exhibits, photos, feline art and cat souvenirs. Some interesting cat characters like Felix The Cat, Garfield and Sonic The Cat also housed here. Free entry. Open daily 9AM to 5PM (closed public holidays).
  • Sarawak Timber Museum. The museum resides in the building of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) Building or Wisma Sumber Alam in Petra Jaya. It houses forestry, traditional wood displays, forest-based products and the exhibition of timber industry development in Sarawak. Open Mondays to Fridays 8.30AM to 4PM, Saturdays 8.30 to 12.30PM (closed Sundays and public holidays). Tel: +60 82443477
  • Sarawak Textile Museum. The museum is situated in the Pavillion, yet another historical building on its own right, just opposite of the General Post Office. Open Mondays to Fridays 8.30AM to 4PM, Saturdays 8.30 to 12.30PM (closed Sundays and public holidays).
  • Pua Kumbu Museum. The museum is located at Tun Jugah Complex. However, this museum requires early booking/appointment. Refer to Sarawak Tourism Board for contact.

Do

Kuching is a great home-base for jungle trekking and exploring Borneo.

  • Kuching Kayaking[6]. You can choose to kayak in the Sarawak river (in the city) for a leisurely and unique perspective of Kuching; or you can choose to kayak in the sea where you may bump into dolphins; or you may choose to kayak through the rainforest and experience the sights and sounds of the jungles of Borneo. Whichever you choose, its an experience you won’t soon forget!
  • Borneo Headhunter Tattoos[7]. Get a tattoo! Tattoo designs of Sarawak’s indigenous tribes are not only beautiful and unique, but are also world-famous[8]. Its certainly a special souvenir that’s not for the weak-hearted! There are a handful of parlours in Kuching that specialize in indigenous designs and are very clean and hygenic. Just ask around.
  • Bumbu Cooking Class, No. 57 Carpenter Street, tel no. 019 8791050 Email : bumbucookingclas@hotmail.com. Love Sarawak food? Than why not learn how to cook it at home? The setting is an old traditional shophouse and almost resembles a typical indigenous kitchen (but more modern and hygenic). The class includes a walk to a nearby wet market where you will learn to choose and buy the best natural ingredients. Bookings are essential.
  • Scuba Diving, [9]. If you love Scuba Diving, you will be anxious to find out what marine life we have in Kuching. You can choose to dive at beautiful Talang-Talang Island to see Turtles, or visit the World War II Japaneses ship wreck for more adventures!
  • Fish Feeding. If you love feeding fish, try bring those fish food at the lake of Sarawak State Library and also at the Friendship Garden.
  • Traditional Dance Lesson, [10]. If you have spare time for traditional Sarawakian dance, try the dancing class at Pusat Kemahiran Seni, Sarawak Cultural Village.
  • Traditional Music Lesson, [11]. Apart from dance, you can also try playing traditional musical instruments like Sape at Pusat Kemahiran Seni, Sarawak Cultural Village.
  • Traditional Craft Lesson, [12]. Craft lesson for beginners at Sarawak Cultural Village.
  • Traditional Batik-Making, [13]. Located at Jalan Stadium. You can try hands-on experience with making traditional batik-making. The special thing about the Handicrafts Centre is you can make batik motives based on Sarawak culture. The entrepeneurs of Perbadanan Kraftangan (Handicrafts Body) are also expert in Pua Kumbu making. So you can try to contact them to arrange for a lesson.
  • Bidayuh Spa and Massage. If you love traditional spa and massage of Bidayuh, you can head on to Borneo Highlands resort to arrange for the retreat.
  • Jogging and Brisk Walking. If you love jogging and brisk walking. There are plenty of places to do so. Among the popular places are Kuching Reservoir, Masja and Kampung Haji Baki Garden.
  • Sarawak Layer Cake Making. Fancy making famous Sarawak layer cakes? Head on to Kampung Lintang and go to any Malay houses there to savour the making of famous Sarawak layer cakes. Among the layer cakes you can choose from are Sabok (or Sampin in standard Malay) Tun Razak cake, Dangdut cake, Retak Seribu cake and Hati Pari cake. Local guides required to look for the housewives who make the layer cakes for sale and provide teaching lesson. Other places include Rabiah Amit’s house in Petra Jaya RPR Fasa II (not far from Kampung Lintang) and Dayang Salhah’s in Kampung Gersik.
  • Tringgus Tribal Experience, (only an hour from kuching city), ☎012-8950419/ +60105267669. Last of the original ‘Tringgus Tribe of Borneo’-In the days of old, they were a feared sub-group of the Bidayuh (Land Dayaks),warrior headhunters of interior Borneo, living a predominantly hunter-gatherers lifestlye. They were the people of the land who knew how to fully utilised the medicinal plants and poison saps, the edible plants and roots. In short, a true Borneo jungle warrior tribe. Come and experience their world and tradition, culture and way of life. Explore ancient rainforest with its myriad flora and fauna. Have fun with the many nature activities which you can indulge in like jungle & river trekking, climbing and exploring the nearby mountains, camping and traditional white water fishing, visiting ancient remnants and relics of Tringgus tribal villages and sites. Indulge yourself and stay overnight in one of our homestays…partake of the many norctunal wonders, sights, smells and music of the Tringgus world. edit
  • 71st skin slavery tattoo studio, 1st floor, no 75 jalan padungan 93712,kuching,sarawak.malaysia(jalan padungan), ☎+60138177227, [14]. located at jalan padungan opposite everise supermarket.we are specialize in custom tattoo works,cover up,colour and black and grey works.all needle and material is in single use and well sterilization.please visit us for consultation or email us at erickuehsy@yahoo.com edit
  • Funahouse, Tringgus wild adventure(about 30 km from Kuching City), ☎+6010-526 7669/ +010-9876653. Offering travelers with its all in one packages ranging from river cruising to jungle trekking and more natural adventure packages as well as homestay.Email address: funahouse@gmail.com edit

Buy

There’s some interesting shopping in Kuching. For a wide selection of tribal handicrafts and touristy gewgaws, head down to the aptly named Main Bazaarstreet on the Kuching waterfront. It’s worth going inside for a look, as many shops have larger and more authentic collections hidden away upstairs or in a back room.

Note that, in this mostly Christian city, some shops close on Sundays.

Markets

Fancy a banana at the Sunday Market?
  • Sunday Market(Pasar Minggu), off Jln. Satok (between Esso gas station and Wisma Satok). A Kuching institution, starting every Saturday afternoon and winding down by noontime Sunday. Very much a workaday market, with tourists few and far between, the emphasis is on fresh food of every description. Be sure to try some apam balik(pancake with nuts and margerine, very filling, absolutely delicious and only RM1 a piece). Bring along suitable footwear plus a tolerance for heat, crowds and powerful odors.
  • Two other local markets, more conveniently located and open daily, can be found at the west end of Jln. India.

Shopping Centres

  • Boulevard Mall, located at Mile 4 Kuching-Serian Road (not far from Regional Bus Terminal). Opened in late December 2007. It offers a Boulevard Hypermarket and Department Store plus a variety of shopping outlets like Sony Centre, Popular Book store and fast foods outlets such as Sushi King, Kenny Rogers Roasters and KFC. The management is currently expanding the mall.
Interior of The Spring
  • The Spring[15], located at Jalan Simpang Tiga (between the city centre and airport). Opened to the public in January 2008, The Spring is Kuching’s largest and 1st true lifestyle shopping mall. Shiny and new, it offers many international brands like Esprit, Elle, Mango, Charles & Keith, Starbucks, MAC and Quiksilver etc. The mall is spread over 4 stories including a carpark basement. The main tenants are Parkson @ tHe Spring, Ta Kiong Supermarket, Padini Concept Store, and MBO Cinemas.
  • Green Heights Mall, located at Jalan Lapangan Terbang, it is Kuching’s first suburban neighbourhood small mall, with an international Cold Storage Supermarket as the anchor tenant, over some 4,000 m² of leasable space. It opened on the 13th June 2008.
  • Sarawak Plaza, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (next to Grand Margherita Hotel). One of Kuching’s older malls. Lea Center is the anchor tenant, selling a wide variety of shoes from sportswear to fashion. Recently, the mall was renovated hoping to provide a better shopping environment for both locals and foreigners.
  • Tun Jugah, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (opposite Sarawak Plaza). Named after the first Sarawakian politician in Malaysian Parliament, the mall stands majestically twelve storeys tall at the commercial and financial hub of Kuching City. It comprises three levels of retail space, nine levels of office space, and two levels of basement car park. It also has one of the major local bookstores, Popular, as one of its main tenant.
  • Wisma Saberkas, located at the junction of Jln. Tun Abang Haji Openg and Jln. Rock, is a older cylindrical building on the outskirts of Kuching (approximately 15 minutes from the Waterfront) that offers a feast of hi-tech products based around mobile phones and computers.
  • Riverside Shopping Complex, Jln. Tunku Abdul Rahman (opposite Sarawak Plaza). One of the older malls in the city, it is home to the first Parkson in Kuching. Other anchor tenants include LFS Cineplex and Giant Supermarket. It is also home to Riverside Bowling – one of the two bowling centres in Kuching.
  • Kenyalang Park, Kenyalang Suburb. A very old place that consists of a cluster of shophouses and one enclosed area. It is the place to go if you want to find cheap items like clothes, accessories and especially DVDs/VCDs. When Chinese New Year approaches, many stores are set up here to cater to the event. Kenyalang would usually be crowded with people during these times.
  • Crown Square, Towards Pending, opposite Hock Lee Centre. A medium-sized, newly refurbished shopping mall. The tenants include Mr. Ho’s Fine Foods – which serves authentic fusion cuisine. The largest Mummycare and Kiddycare in the city is located here.
  • Hock Lee Centre, Jln. Abang Abdul Rahim. The place to find and buy cheap clothes and fashion accessories for the young females. There are electronics and a supermarket in the basement and Home & Living on the ground and 1st floor. One of the major bookstores in Kuching, Smart Bookshop is under the same roof. A Hock Lee Music Centre is also available on the 3rd floor(previously was on the 2nd floor) which sells a wide variety of musical instruments(be warned that these are not traditional instruments).
  • Wisma Satok, off Jln Satok, just a pedestrian bridge away from the location of the Sunday Market. One of the older malls in Kuching. Cheap items can be found here. There’s a departmental store and supermarket. A high concentration of mediocre cyber cafe is at the fourth floor. CIMB Bank is located beside Wisma Satok.
  • Wisma Hopoh, Jalan P. Ramlee, near Syaria Court. Just a walk away from Sarawak Museum. A small and old shopping centre yet still frequented by shoppers. Its tenant includes Lea Sports Centre, Jee Kwong Optics and the fast food restaurant franchise, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

Eat

Coffee, see, and tea, oh!

Coffee and tea in hawker centres and kopitiamgoes from 60 cents to RM3.00 per cup/glass, a steep discount on Starbucks prices, but you’ll need to learn the lingo to get what you want. If you order just kopi(the Malay word for “coffee”) or teh(Hokkien for “tea”) in Kuching, it will definitely be served with a heaped spoonful of sugar, and more often than not with a squirt of sweet condensed milk. Kopi-Cor teh-Csubstitutes unsweetened evaporated milk, while kopi-Oor teh-Omakes sure it’s served with no milk. To get rid of the sugar, you need to ask for it kosong(“plain”), but if you want a cup of thick black coffee, you need to ask for kopi-O kaw! If you want your drink cold, just add a pengto the end of the drink name, eg. kopi-O-peng, teh-peng, teh-C-peng, Milo-pengetc. and it will be served with ice. There’s a special thing about Teh-C. If you request for teh-C-special, you’ll get a Teh-C with ‘gula apong’ (coconut sugar) or sometimes with a little bit of honey. Some eating place come with different portion of drinks, such as Small, Big/Large and Jumbo. Choose based on your appetite. The bigger the portion, the more expensive the drinks.

Kuching Kolo mee
Umei

Eating out is the major pastime, with a huge variety of eateries and food available. Most places are pretty cheap with excellent service but the more “local”, the less English spoken. Be sure to sample some Sarawak laksa, but beware – it’s considered a breakfast dish here and the popular places sell out fast. For the local Chinese, kolo mee, a noodle dish served with slices of roasted pork, is also a daily staple. Although most places are quite clean, there are some which are not. A rule of thumb is if you’re not comfortable with it, then walk somewhere else. There are plenty to choose from!

Sarawakian dishes

Unlike fellow Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, the range of food and drinks in Sarawak, particularly Kuching is somewhat different. Here are the food you might never heard of when you browse through the food menu:

  • Sarawak Laksa. Sarawak Laksa is the most noticably Sarawakian food in Kuching. It was a favourite among Sarawakian from Chinese and Malay decent. It has a base of Sambal belacan, sour tamarind, garlic, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk, topped with omelette strips, chicken strips, prawns, fresh coriander and optionally lime. Ingredients such as bean sprouts, (sliced) fried tofu or other seafood are not traditional but are sometimes added. Non-Halal Sarawak Laksa can be found at most Chinese coffee shops while Halal Sarawak Laksa can be found at most Malay coffee shops (and some Mamak too). Halal and non-Halal Sarawak Laksa don’t have so much difference, except with the usage of halal chicken meat, and the cooking utensils used by the cook. Chinese-version of Sarawak Laksa has less thicker gravy but rich with condiments and toppings, while Malay-version of Sarawak Laksa has thicker gravy but more ‘taugeh’ (or beansprouts).
  • Kolok Mee. Kolok Mee is a type of noodle dish commonly found in Sarawak. It is served throughout the day – for breakfast, lunch or even supper (though some eateries only serve kolok mee until noon because supplies run out). It is made of egg noodle, blanched in water that looks like instant noodle and served in a light sauce with some condiments like sliced pork, chicken cutlets, minced meat or sometimes (quite rare) shredded beef. The difference between Kolok Mee and Wantan Mee, which is popular in the Peninsula, is that Kolok Mee is not drenched in dark soy sauce and water is not added to the noodles when served. Kolok mee comes in two common flavors: plain or seasoned with red sauce (cooks tend to seasoned kolok mee with red sauce when they are served with pork). Occasionally, diners can also request their kolok mee to be seasoned with soy sauce, to give the dish a darker appearance and enhance its saltiness.
  • Mi Sapi. Mi Sapi is a gravy-ish version of Kolok Mee. It is garnished and prepared just like Kolok Mee with a slight difference in cooking method. The noodle can be somewhat egg noodle been used in Kolok Mee, or Mee Pok (or mi sanggul – a curly type of noodle similar to Angelhair Spaghetti).
  • Manok Pansoh. Manok Pansoh is the most common dish among Iban. It is a chicken dish which normally be eaten with white rice. Chicken pieces are cut and stuffed into the bamboo together with other ingredients like mushrooms, lemongrass, tapioca leaves etc and cooked over an open fire – similar to the way lemang is cooked. This natural way of cooking seals in the flavours and produces astonishingly tender chicken with a gravy perfumed with lemongrass and bamboo. Manok Pansoh cannot be found easily in all restaurants and coffee shops. Some restaurants require advanced booking of Manok Pansoh dish prior to your arrival.
  • Manok Kacangma. Manok Kacangma is a Chinese type of dish which has grown popularity among all races in Sarawak. It is a chicken dish which normally be eaten with white rice. Kacangma is a type of herb which normally being used for medical and healing purposes. It is believed that woman who eat Manok Kacangma can enjoy ease menses. As for Malay, they normally cook Manok Kacangma without wine, while as for Iban and Chinese, they squinch in wine for more delicate taste. You can try Manok Kacangma when you eat ‘Nasi Campur’ during lunch hours in Kuching. However, it is extremely hard to find a coffee shop or restaurant who serve one.
  • Umai. Umai is a raw fish salad popular among various ethnic groups of Sarawak, especially the Melanaus. In fact, umai is a traditional working lunch for the Melanau fishermen. Umai is prepared raw from freshly caught fish, iced but not frozen. Main species used include Mackerel, Bawal Hitam and Umpirang. It is made mainly of thin slivers of raw fish, thinly sliced onions, chilli, salt and the juice of sour fruits like lime or assam. It is usually accompanied by a bowl of toasted sago pearls instead of rice. Its simplicity makes it a cinch for fishermen to prepare it aboard their boats. Umai Jeb, a raw fish salad without other additional spices, is famous among Bintulu Melanaus. However, it is rarely prepared in Kuching. You can try umai when you eat ‘Nasi Campur’ during lunch hours in Kuching. Most coffee shops, especially Malay/Bumiputera-owned one, served umai daily for ‘Nasi Campur’.
  • Midin. The locals greatly indulge in jungle fern such as the midin (quite similar to pucuk paku that is popular in the Peninsular). Midin is much sought after for its crisp texture and great taste. Midin is usually served in two equally delicious ways – fried with either garlic or belacan. You can try Midin when you eat ‘Nasi Campur’ during lunch hours in Kuching. Most coffee shops, served Midin daily for ‘Nasi Campur’.
  • Bubur Pedas. Unlike many other porridge that we know, Bubur Pedas is cooked with a specially prepared paste. It is quite spicy thanks to its ingredients, which include spices, turmeric, lemon grass, galangal, chillies, ginger, coconut and shallots. Like the famous Bubur Lambuk of Kuala Lumpur, Bubur Pedas is exclusive dish prepared during the month of Ramadan and served during the breaking of fast. So don’t expect to eat Bubur Pedas at anytime you want!
  • Mi Jawa. Mi Jawa in Kuching or Sarawak in general is somewhat different from the one served in Peninsular Malaysia, or even at its birthplace Java island. It is a thick egg yellow noodle served with tiny slice of chicken and a sprinkle of ‘daun sup’ (or bay leaves). Some coffee shops serve a ‘special’ type of Mi Jawa (which you need to add from 50 cents to RM1.50) with an additional few sticks of Satay (Chicken and/or Beef). Mi Jawa is normally served at Malay/Mamak coffee shops.
  • Roti Corned Beef. Roti Canai is a widely-known Peninsular-origin of Indian decent food of Malaysia. However, Sarawakian has modified one type of Roti Canai which you might not find it at Peninsular Malaysia, be it at Mamak stall or Malay coffee shops. It is Roti Corned Beef. It is a ‘roti canai’, with corned beef filling. Long before announcement of Gateway-brand corned beef as not Halal by local religious department, Roti Corned Beef is widely available at Malay and Mamak coffee shops. It can be bought for as low as RM2 per piece due to cheap canned corned beef. However, since the Gateway-brand corned beef was officially considered not Halal, Roti Corned Beef has lost its popularity and if it does exist, the price can shoot up, ranging from RM4 to RM5 per piece.
  • Nasik Aruk. Nasik Aruk is a traditional Sarawakian Malay fried rice. Unlike Nasi Goreng, Nasik Aruk does not use any oil to fry the rice. The ingredients are garlic, onion and anchovies, fried to perfection with very little oil and then the cook will put the rice in. The rice must be fried for longer time (compared to frying rice for Nasi Goreng) for the smokey/slightly-burnt taste to absorb into the rice. It is a common to see Nasik Aruk in the food menu list at Malay and Mamak coffee shops and stalls.

Sarawak, particularly Kuching, has revolutionized its food culture since it’s forming with Malaysia on 1963. Wide variety of Peninsular Malaysian food has been part of Sarawakian food for example, Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak, Murtabak and so on. Kuching has also slowly anticipate broader food selection to feed the challenging tastebuds such as Tom Yam, Nasi Paprik and Pattaya (originally from Thailand), Bakso and Soto (originally from Indonesia) and Nasi Ayam Singapura (originally from Singapore). Chinese restaurants have also been daring to try more exquisite cuisine from North China, Korea and Vietnam. Western food has also been widely accepted in Sarawak, especially Kuching. Fast Food chains are also growing, such as KFC, McDonalds, Kenny Roger’s Roasters, Secret Recipe and Marrybrown. America’s buffet has also taken place in Sarawakian’s heart such as Hartz Chicken Buffet. However, traditional Nasi Campur and traditional type of breakfast, high tea and dinner are always part of Sarawakian. It’s getting common to see more modernized and educated generation of Kuchingites slowly adapting Western food culture such as eating pasta or pizza for dinner.

Dietary restriction guides

As a guide to Muslim visitors, some of the restaurants serving Chinese food are non-halal, unless stated halal or appear to handover the food preparation to Muslim cooks or sellers. Restaurants who clearly stated pork or/and non-halal substances in their food menu (like using wine for cooking, frog and snakes) are the one you should avoid to. The easiest way to look for halal restaurants are by looking at their halal certificate. Ensure that they display halal certificate produced by JAIS Sarawak, JAKIM or HDC Malaysia. Sometimes the restaurant owners choose not to display it, so please demand the certificate if they claimed that they serve halal food.

For vegeterian visitors, always look for the one who clearly stating vegeterian food only. Some vegeterian meals served can still contain non-vegeterian substances like anchovies, chicken stock and lard. Please check with the restaurant owners for confirmation on their cooking substances.

Budget

  • Delicafe Patisseries, 88, Main Bazaar, Kuching.(Near Hilton, opposite waterfront and Cat Museum), ☎082-232788, [16]. Open 9AM – 6PM (Tu-Su) Charming staff, good coffee. Also does orange juice and cereal — a good change for anyone wanting a break from fried food. Wifi internet access. edit
  • Pure fish ball cafe, 214, jalan padungan(Kuching, sarawak), ☎082-235816. Halal. It is a nice and comfortable air-con cafe selling local food especially pure fish mee (noodle that made by 100% mackeral fish meat). edit
  • Finest Cafe, at 新时代广场 Travilion (located between the landmark of Kuching “Big White Cat” and HSBC building). Finest Cafe is at the same row as the Great Eastern Insurance Building. Kolo Mee and 色香味小档 stalls cook assorted hawker food, especially their ‘Curry Mee’ (very spicy) and Cantonese style ‘home-cook fast food 杂菜饭’, are all heavenly! Hazati stall offers halal ‘Malay-style chicken rice’ of juicy tender chicken meat that comes with 3 different sauces; black pepper, butter and salad. ‘Boneless steam chicken’ with home-made sesame sauce has just been added into the menu. Malay Corner stall offers great range of finger-licking halal good food and their ‘Special Laksa’ is a real treat for your adventurous taste buds!
  • Chong Choon, Jln. Abell (opposite Maybank). One of Kuching’s two famous laksa joints. Usually sold out by noon.
Typical Sarawak laksa
Tomato Noodles
  • Choon Hui, Jln. Ban Hock (near Grand Continental Hotel). The other famous laksa joint. Spicy and popular, get here before 10AM.
  • Bishopsgate Coffeeshop, Carpenter Street. Famous for what may be decades already, the Vinegar ‘Kolo Mee’ and Pork ‘Spare-part’ soup is what people line up for everyday. Also famous is the man who runs the stall – he is a colorful character who takes your order like a drill sergeant. It opens for breakfast and lunch, but to avoid the crowds, its best to go around ‘Brunch’ time. When you get a seat, expect to wait awhile for your food. And while you wait, try their excellent ‘Teh-C Peng Special’ (Strong iced milk-tea with a dark sweet syrup)
  • Suan Chicken Rice, Jln. Tunku Abdul Rahman (next to Pizza Hut). A popular lunch-time joint where the office-crowd go for Hainanese Chicken Rice.
  • Open Air Market, Jln. Market (opposite Electra House Shopping Centre and near ‘Padang Merdeka’ Police Station). Despite the name, the place is actually covered. It has a wide variety of stalls serving Malay and Chinese cuisine. Their most popular stall is the one serving Beef Noodles and ‘Sio Bi’ (pork dumplings). Also popular is the fresh porridge and seafood stalls. But beware, this area is not the cleanest of places so order your food from only the most popular stalls.
  • Lau Ya Keng Food Court, Carpenter Street (just after the Harmony Arch, opposite a Chinese temple). A simple food court that has been around for decades and is very popular with locals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can buy very decent Kolo mee and Sarawak Laksa here. But a lot of people come here for the fish-ball soup and famous pork satay that opens in the early afternoon.
  • Hock King Cafeteria* Jalan Ban Hock. Mr Hock and the staff serve up very basic, but quite generous meals though out the day. Mr Hock is one of the better hosts in Kuching and is fluent in multiple lanuages and will do almost anything to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Many local celebrities, such as LGBT Australian volleyballer and underwear model Ryan Jon Dunn stop by for lunch reqularly as Hock King is well connected in the local sporting & entartainment scenes.
  • KY Cafe, Sekama Road (A corner shop opposite Hollywood KTV Lounge, about 10 minutes walk from the Kuching City South Council building). Run by a band of three brothers, they serve what is arguably the best ‘Kolo Mee’ in town. Characterized by being served in an orange plastic bowl, this ‘Kolo Mee’ tastes a little bit on the sweet side and has the distinction of tasting much better towards the end. They also have excellent wanton soup.
  • Ceria Cafe, Satok. This shop served best halal Sarawak Laksa in the city. If you demand for omelette strips in your laksa, ask for special which is a mere RM1 addition to the regular price. You can try their Mee Jawa and ‘kopi keras’ too.
  • Bismillah Cafe, Satok & 7th Mile. If you love Indian and Mamak food, try this one. They serve good Nasi Beriyani, roti canai and teh tarik.
  • Sepinang Sari Cafe & Restaurant, Satok next to Carpet Shop sells the best Mi Sapi HjSalleh and usually operates from 6.00AM to 5.30PM daily. You will also find delisous Laksa Sarawak and Mi Jawa you tast once and always wanted. Bon apetite.
  • Singapore Chicken Rice, branch at Padungan, Satok and Kota Samarahan. They serve excellent chicken rice comparable to other established chicken rice shop (including food chain of The Chicken Rice Shop). Other side dishes are baby kailan in oyster sauce and beansprouts.
  • Benteng Satok, Satok. There are more than 30 stalls here and it’s open until 4AM. A wide variety of food are served here, mostly Malay food. Choose the stall wisely because many stalls tend to serve same type of food.
  • Jambatan Satok, Satok. This is the best place to try halal grilled chicken wings and grilled ikan sebelah. A total of 8 stalls make up the area with variety of Malay and Chinese food. Muslim visitors might not need to be afraid of their halal status because all of the stalls serve halal food.
  • Kubah Ria, Gita. This area comprises of more than 20 stalls. They serve best halal kolo mee and mi sapi of the town. Don’t forget to try the grilled chicken wings and local pizza chain of “Pizza Ria”. The pizzas served at “Pizza Ria” are so cheap that it costs only RM3.50 per quarter slice! It’s cheesy and delicious too!
  • Rojak Kuchei Batu Lintang, Batu Lintang. This place served the best rojak India and chicken rojak in the town. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of visitors during morning time because this place is constantly crowded with people from the nearby offices during breakfast time.
  • The Big Onion, Taman Sri Sarawak. This is quite a new place,
    The Big Onion
  • Ho Joo Café, 3rd Mile – The place where you can get the thick Hainanese-style bread, toasted in a small toaster oven before spreading butter and kaya on it. Nice to be taken during breakfast or high tea. Once appeared in a Chinese daily for this specialty.

Mid-range

  • Khatulistiwa, Jln. Tunku Abdul Rahman (next to Holiday Inn). This distinctive circular hut modeled on a Bidayuh skull house is popular with tourists, and with reason. There’s a nice, breezy open-air restaurant downstairs, serving up local and Western favorites including a decent Sarawak laksa and open 24 hours to boot. At night, the hut’s upper floors open up as a bar and club, with DJs spinning the night away, though you can also take your meal up there in the evenings.
  • Benson Seafood, No. 112 Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. 082-255262. A riverside restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood Chinese style. It is well-established and don’t be surprised to see them catering to groups of tourists.
  • Pinoy Grill Cafe, No. 143 Jln Pandungan (next to Pandungan Police Station), tel. 012-8965651. A nice and cosy place that serves delicious Filipino food. The fried whole pork leg is popular.
  • Hong Kong Noodle House, Jln Pandungan, (opposite Bing! Cafe). Standard HK fare like roast duck on rice or noodles. They also serve local Chinese dishes and is open for lunch and dinner.
  • SideWalk Cafe, Green Heights (Towards airport, on the right-hand side of the BDC flyover/roundabout). Alfresco style western food away from the city near the airport. Its only open in the evenings till late and is popular with locals.
  • Mango Tree. You can be sure of a truly authentic Thai experience from the moment you arrive here. Relax in their elegant air conditioned dining room, or dine alfresco in our traditional Thai garden, and choose from a menu that is simply bursting with the vibrant colours, flavours and aromas of the finest Thai cuisine.
  • Selera Asam Payak, Satok. If you like to try traditional Malay food, head on to this restaurant. They serve good traditional Malay food at reasonable price.
  • Oriental Kitchen, Satok. This restaurant serve variety of Malay and Chinese food. It’s halal so Muslim visitors can enjoy this one.
  • Hartz Chicken Buffet, Satok & Sarawak Plaza. This buffet restaurant is a franchise to All-American Chicken Buffet of Texas, USA. You can eat as much as you want for as low as RM17.70 per person! Savour the crispy & spicy fried chicken, wide range of salads, mashed potatoes, cakes, breads, ice-creams and fruits. Don’t exit the restaurant until you have fulled your stomach!
  • Tribal Taste Cafe, tringgus ,bau(about 30 km from Kuching), ☎+6010 526 7669/ +6010-9876653. The new cafe in town that offering all choices of tribal taste in Malaysia. The cafe offer all halal food but its traditional tribal taste is well-kept to make sure of its original taste. Foods ranging from Iban ,Bidayuh & other tribes such as Ikan pansuh ( fish in bamboo ) , Linut (sago) and more.Also taste of traditional bevereges such as ‘tuak’, ‘ijok’ and more of authentic taste.email:funahouse@gmail.com edit

Splurge

The interior of Bla Bla Bla restaurant
  • Dayang Cafe, Satok. It looks like a budget cafe place, but don’t be fooled by its looks. The food is a variety of Nasi Campur and roti canai. It might drain out your wallet, but if you love to splurge and being spendthrift, try this one. The old woman who guards the cash machine might look furious and loves to overcharge you, but sometimes can be helpful if you ask for something.
  • The Junk, Wayang Street (opposite Fata Hotel), tel. 082-259450. A great restaurant within walking distance from the waterfront that serves Western/Italian fare. It is very popular with both locals and expats alike for its imaginative deco that resembles a mix of Colonial Chinese with lots of antiques adorning the place. The portions are huge and the Lamb Shanks and Fisherman’s Basket seem to be the most popular. Bookings are advisable if you have a large group.
  • Bla Bla Bla, Wayang Street (a few shops down from The Junk), tel. 082-233944. A Chinese restaurant which is opened by the same restaurateurs as The Junk. It quickly became an institution for fine Chinese cuisine in Kuching shortly after it opened in 2005. The interior is designed with a Balinese theme and some of the dishes they are famous for are the Ostrich-rolls, Soft-shell Crabs, and Drunken Duck. Bookings are advisable.
  • The Living Room, Wayang Street (just beside Bla Bla Bla).tel. 012-8880827. 6PM – 12AM. A third chain by the same restaurateurs as The Junk. It has a nice backyard with fountains suitable for people who are just looking for some relaxation in a busy city. It is a must for people who are looking for pure relaxation. Food from The Junk and Bla bla bla can be ordered over here too. There are some good selections of wines as well. Remember not to miss the famous living room cocktail.
  • See Good Food Centre, Off Ban Hock Road (opposite Hua Kuok Inn), tel. 082-251397. A very casual and laid-back restaurant that serves excellent and very fresh seafood. It is very popular with the locals and doesn’t take reservations. Therefore it is best to get there early in the evenings to secure a table and minimize the waiting time.
  • Top Spot Food Court, Jln. Bukit Mata (Top floor of ‘Taman Kereta’ Carpark, opposite Tun Jugah Shopping Mall). Has a wide range of food stalls ranging from the budget to the pricey. Most locals and tourists come here for the fresh seafood stalls which are on the pricey side. Most of the stalls serve good food, but beware; always ask to see a menu with prices – some stalls have been known to ‘accidentally over-charge’ tourists.
  • Ristorante Beccari, Jln. Tun Abang Haji (inside Merdeka Palace Hotel), tel. 082-270808. This is Kuching’s best and most authentic Italian restaurant. The wood-fired pizzas are excellent.
  • Li Garden Chinese Restaurant, Jln. Abang Abdul Rahim (inside Hock Lee Centre, 1st Floor), tel. 082-340785. A popular Chinese restaurant that serves the best Peking Duck in Kuching.
  • Waterfront Kiosk, Jln. Tunku Abdul Rahman. If you love to have a drink or two while sightseeing the Sarawak River, this is the place to look up to. They have wide range of food and drinks, but be extra careful, the food are pricey due to influx of tourists who stay at the nearby luxurious hotels like Hilton, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn. Don’t try their Sarawak Laksa because it doesn’t taste good. However, other food tastes OK.
  • Restoran Barok, Kampung Sinjan. This is a place for the one who loves to eat in beautiful surrounding but doesn’t bother with the food taste and price. The place virtually don’t have any regular visitors due to their aweful service. The food are pricey and tasteless.
  • Serapi Corner, 7th Mile. Fancy a ‘sauna’ of a restaurant? This is a place you can head to. They serve Peninsular Malaysia’s Malay style of food. Their specialty is Ikan Keli Bakar Bersambal (Grilled Catfish with Sambal). They tend to overcharge you, so check for the price list. If you don’t mind waiting for hours, try this one too. They have a view of hilly road to kill your time.
  • Magenta, Jalan Nanas. Beautiful colonial building with restful oriental ambiance with dreamy romantic atmosphere. Good menu with large portions. Speciality is lamb shank with mashed potato which sounds bland but is very tasty. Bit on the pricey side so is good for a treat once in a while. You will need a taxi to get there as it’s a bit outside the city centre.

Drink

Be sure to try Sarawak coffee – it is delicious and can be found in any local ‘Kopi-tiam’ (coffee shop). Also, try a drink called “White Lady”. It usually consists of evaporated milk and a syrup base with fruit and a slice of lemon within. The colors vary from yellow to pink.

The local favourite of “White Lady” is made by Ah Meng’s stall at Hui Sing Hawker Centre at Hui Sing Garden. Another of the stall’s signature drink is “Metahorn”, made with jellies, syrup and local fruits. There are various knock-offs in Kuching but the taste is different.

There are plenty of good bars and are usually grouped together in areas around Kuching.

Bars

Mojo@Denise in the Pandungan area

Kuching has a large number of clubbing districts.

Padungan Roadis in the city centre, in the Chinatown area. There are a handful of bars along this stretch that mainly cater to the working-class Yuppie crowd.

  • Kilkenny’s( ipanema before ). A nice place for a relaxing drink. The kitchen serves good meals and tapas and they have Kilkenny Irish beer on tap.
  • Soho. Loud, packed to the rafters dance club. Be sure to try the special Soho cocktail, the Maui Mudslide.
  • The Office.
  • MOJO@Denise. Famous for what is now known as “The De Leon Inccident”, in which famous fillipino Rugby player Tom De Leon claimed to be ‘a man’ yet was unable to finish Mojo’s favourite cocktail, the lamborgini. Locals still have a laugh about the incident to this day.
  • Grappa. A young and fun club bar located at 58 Padugan Road Kuching. It has a riveting sound system that literally shakes the dance floor playing all drum and bass, hip hop, R&B etc.
Amoeba'r

Travillionin Petanak, just after Padungan Road, is home to many newer bars and mainly caters to the Young College crowd. It has bright signage, cheap alcohol, and Techno music. This area used to be infamous for gang-related brawls and other trouble – however the number of incidences have decreased significantly and while its generally considered safe now, it still pays to be a bit careful.

  • amoeba’r. Ambient/chillout music, self-proclaimed “retro-modern” decor.
  • BarZing!. Probably nicest place at the Travillion mall. Friendlier than the other establishments.
  • Jungle.
  • Fire. One of the newest joints to open here. A good crowd that dances to Chinese Pop-Techno. Opens from 2.30PM for happy hour everyday.

Taman Sri Sarawakis opposite the Hilton Hotel. This area is the closest to the Kuching Waterfront and mainly caters to the Tourist Crowd.

  • Latino.
  • Cats City.
  • Rainforest.

Bukit Mata, a short stroll from Taman Sri Sarawak, . It is still popular with Tourists and the local regulars. Bars include:

  • GOAL CAFE.
  • The Cottage.
  • Piccadilly’s Music Cafe.

And a few more scattered elsewhere:

  • Link. Kuching Civic Centre 22F, Jalan Budaya [17]. Located 22 stories up the Civic Centre (press Level 2 in the lift). Its very posh, classy, and expensive – but has stunning 360-degree views of Kuching City. You will need to grab a taxi to get here as it is located outside of the City centre.
  • The Living Room. Wayang Street (opposite Fata Hotel, a few shops from Blablabla Restaurant). A nice and very loungey Tapas bar that’s decorated with a Iban/Balinese theme. Be sure to sit outside in the ‘longhouse’ area where you can lie on comfortable cushions and gaze at the night sky while sipping Mojitos. The food is also excellent.
  • Senso. Inside Hilton Hotel. Very modern and chic design with chill-out music and the occasional live band. It is one of the nicest bars in Kuching and they have an extensive cocktail list. Unless you’re somebody important, expect a dress-code policy to be enforced.
  • Jackies. This place is one of the finer establishments in Kuching. It is quite regular to see amazing live performances from local singers and dancers. Be sure to dress stylish as Jackie’s enforces strict rules to ensure the trendy, classy, inner urban feel remains.
  • Victoria’s Arms. Inside Merdeka Palace Hotel. The only true ‘English Tavern’ in Kuching. Its a big place with live bands, English pub food, and expensive wooden interior. They have a cover-charge and dress-code for non-hotel guests. Fridays are ‘Ladies’s Nights’ and are very popular.
  • B3Two. Jalan Central Timor. Originally a spot which catered for large house parties, B3Two turned itself into on of the crazier night spots. Expats, who own the business, organise drinking games where locals and foreigners come together for wild after dark adventures. For 18-30 yr olds seeking a fun night out, be sure to head there. Has been recently announced that B3Two won the bidding to host Ryan Jon Dunn’s 21st where LGBT people from all around the globe are expected to attend.
  • Rentap. 3rd Mile Area. One of Kuchings more refined venues, chilled out Rentap is a great place to enjoy a cocktail. The only thing classier than the clientel is the slick decor. However, be sure to dress up – if you’re not wearing a collar, don’t even bother. Every Saturday is Latin Jazz night, so bring your dancing shoes! Free entry, closes at 1AM sharp.
  • Ruai Apai, Green Hills. Very cultural with Iban and Bidayuh influenced decoration. Probably the only bar that serves locally brewed tuak (rice wine). A definite must go for the experience.
  • BasagaOutdoor bar with a beautiful courtyard.

Cafes

  • Bing!, Padungan Road. A laid-back cafe with a Balinese theme that serves excellent Lattes and fresh fruit juices. They are also popular for their cakes, deli-style gourmet sandwiches and light meals.
  • Black Bean Coffee&Tea Company, Jln Carpenter. Small cafe which serves excellent home-roasted Sarawak Liberica, Sumatran Arabica and Javanese Robusta. If you’re a coffee addict, you just cannot miss this one.
  • Cafe 175[formerly known as Tao], Padungan Road. A cafe with a funky Buddha theme, and a free fish spa inside. They serve espresso coffees, fruit juices, cakes and sandwiches. They also have a private art gallery upstairs. Before 5PM, you can enjoy lunch promotion with prices as low as RM1.40 for lemonade and lime juice.
  • The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, inside Sarawak Plaza Shopping Centre and departure lounge of Kuching International Airport. That popular franchise.
  • Starbucks, inside Kuching International Airport, next to KFC; and inside The Spring. Another popular franchise.
  • Frappe, Travillion area. A small cafe with contemporary furnishings. They have excellent coffee and cakes.
  • Caffe` Cino, Inside Hilton Hotel. They serve good coffee, desserts and meals. But the prices are a bit on the high side.
  • Scoops, Taman Sri Sarawak (opposite Hilton Hotel). A cool joint that opened in 2006. They specialise in a range of Gelatos and change the flavors daily. They also serve coffee and cakes. Very good ambience and nice atmosphere.
  • Kluang Station, Inside The Spring. A franchise offering old-school ‘kopitiam’ coffee with toast and half-boiled eggs in a relaxing and clean setting reminiscent of indo-china colonial coffee shops.
  • Kaya & Toast, Satok. If you love classic but classy ‘kopitiam’ to enjoy toasted breads with wide range of filling, try this one.

Sleep

Budget

  • Threehouse Bed & Breakfast, 51 Upper China Street, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Tel.: +60-82-423499, http://www.threehousebnb.com. Native Iban and Scandinavian ownership, located in the middle of the city (directions: if you come from the main post-office in town you have a chinese arch (gate) on the left of the building which leads to Carpenter street. you walk straight up that street passed a red temple on your right side, in the first junction you turn to your right and you are now on Upper China Street. Walk the street up and watch out for the sunflower windmill and the only red facade building on this street).
  • Tracks Bed & Breakfast, 1st Floor,No. 5, Jalan Green Hill, 93100, Kuching, Sarawak, Eastern Malaysia. Tel: (+6) 019-6407372, http://www.tracksbnb.comTRACKS is a new modern concept of B & B at the heart of Kuching city center, in the ‘Golden Triangle’ area near the Kuching Waterfront. We are glad to help you out if you need assistance or advice, since this B & B is runs by young generation Ibans with travel knowledge and experience of local customs.
  • Nomad Bed & Breakfast, 1st Floor, No.3, Jalan Green Hill 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Tel: +6082-237831 or 016-856 3855. http://www.borneobnb.com
  • Berambih Lodge, No.104 Ewe Hai Street, 93100 Kuching (behind Main Bazaar). Tel.: +60-82-238589 [18]New guesthouse, clean and friendly. Longhouse style. Breakfast included.
  • Brookes Terrace, 1st Floor, 231 Jalan Abell. 93100 Kuching.(Above AirAsia ticketing office), ☎+60-82-427008, [19]. Clean and fresh B&B with very nice rooms. Friendly and welcoming staff. Large LCD-TV and fridge in room.Double deluxe RM80. (1.556819,110.354895) edit
  • Bidayuh Traditional Chalet and homestay(Funaborneo), Kg Tringgus ,bau(30km from Kuching city), ☎+60105267669/+6010-9876653. A relaxed traditional bidayuh chalet with nice views of virgin forest and cooling touch of fresh water riverfrom MR38 onwards.  edit
  • The Fairview, No.6 Jalan Taman Budaya, Tel.: +60-82-240017, +60-13-8011561, [20]. Colonial House with tropical garden, a nice place that feels like home.
  • Lodge 121, Lot 121, 1st Floor, Sec.33 KTLD, Tabuan Road, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak.(Opposite Borneo Hotel and next to Kuching Prison along Tabuan Road ). Tel.: +60-82-428121 [21]New guesthouse, Come to Lodge 121 to experience the ‘home-away-from-home’ ambience. With our vast hospitality background, our primary objective is to provide visitors a Clean, Cozy, Comfortable and Safe place to stay when they visit the Land of the Hornbills. Friendly staff. Breakfast with Kaya included.
  • Panovel Kuching, 2nd FLR SL.24 LOT 4370, Jalan Simpang Tiga, tel.: +60-16-866 7000 / +6-016-8666 999. Newly established self-service accommodation. Targeted at near by swinburne unversity student, 10 min drive from Kuching Airport and short walk to The Spring Mega Mall, Kuching’s biggest shopping Mall. Feature: wireless internet, air-conditioning, huge room space and bargain room rate. Long-term/daily available.
  • Pinnacles Kuching, Level 1, Lot 21, Block G, Taman Sri Sarawak Mall, Jalan Borneo, 93100, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, Tel.: +60-82-419100, [22]. Located right smack in the middle of Kuching’s golden triangle which comprises Hilton, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza Hotels, so rest assured that you will be strategically and conveniently located in close proximity to the best amenities and services the city can offer. Reasonable price and CLEAN.
  • Singgahsana Lodge, No.1 Temple Street, 93000 Kuching (opposite Harbour View Hotel). Tel.: +60-82-429 277, [23]. A hip Back-packers lodge that is centrally located at the Kuching waterfront. Complete with longhouse decor and artifacts. The staff are a bit smug and self-important, but it is clean, safe and very reasonably priced.
  • Tune Hotel, Lot 281, Section 48, KTLD, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching(Opposite Hilton Kuching), [24]. Newly opened budget hotel operated by chain linked to AirAsia edit

Mid-range

  • Harbour View Hotel. Lorong Temple, 93100 Kuching. Tel: +60-82-274 666, [25]. A two-three star business-class hotel that is centrally located in front of the Kuching Waterfront. The standard rooms are actually quite basic and is nothing to shout about. Despite that, its still usually occupied by Tour Groups.
  • Hotel Grand Continental. Jln. Ban Hock, 93100 Kuching. Tel: +60-82-230 399, [26]. A comfortable 3-star hotel located about 15 minutes walk from the Kuching Waterfront.
  • The LimeTree Hotel[27]- A 50-room & suites boutique hotel in city center adjacent to Chinatown and minutes away from the Waterfront and malls.
  • Kuching Park Hotel. Lot 606 Pandungan Road, Kuching. Tel: +60-82-239 888, [28]. A standard 2-3 star hotel located a short drive away from the city centre.
  • Kingwood Inn. Lot 618 Pandungan Road, Kuching. Tel: +60-82-330 888, [29]. Another standard hotel that’s probably abit better than Kuching Park Hotel.
  • Damai Puri Resort & Spa[30]. Teluk Penyuk Santubong P O Box 3058, 93762 Kuching. Tel: +6082 846900. This resort fronting Damai Beach has 207 beautiful rooms and a Spa Village, which has secluded massage villas, a yoga pavilion, hair spa, and a tea house that serves organic gourmet. Damai Puri Resort & Spa also has 2 outdoor pools, tennis courts, a 600-cap ballroom, and meeting rooms, and organizes jungle treks and water sports. Wi-Fi Internet is available.
  • Damai Beach Resort, ☎+60-82-846999, [31]. Beach resort with private beach and 2 swimming pools, tennis courts and restaurant. Can organise trips such as diving and snorkeling.Prices start from RM206.  edit
  • Basaga Holiday Residences[32]. Tel:+60-82-417 069. Lot 69-70 Tabuan Road, Kuching 93100.

Splurge

  • Riverside Majestic Kuching, Formerly known as Crown Plaza Riverside Kuching, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. +60-82-247777, [33]. Despite the name, this is the one riverside hotel that isn’t actually riverside (although it’s just across the street).
  • Hilton Kuching, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. +60-82-248200, [34]. Probably the top digs in town, with great riverside location. Make sure you get a river view, extra but well worth it.
  • Grand Margerita Hotel, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. +60-82-423111, [35]. Formerly known as Holiday Inn Kuching. Visitors can gain access to the Sarawak Plaza, a shopping complex situated adjacent to it. You can also go to Tun Jugah and Parkson conveniently. International franchise outlet such as Starbuck, Kenny Roggers, KFC and McDonald’s are nearby.
  • Merdeka Palace Hotel, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, tel. +60-82-258000, [36]. Kuching’s oldest luxury hotel, its rooms aren’t quite as spectacular as the lobby, but the hotel has infinitely more colonial character than the riverside set. Located right next to the Sarawak Museum, yet still within striking distance of the riverfront. The rooftop pool has a great view over Kuching. Rack rates steep at around RM300, but steep discounts in the off season can chop that in half.
  • Somerset Gateway Kuching, Jalan Bukit Mata, tel: +60-82-250958 [37]. Part of the Ascott group of hotels, they offer comfortable serviced-apartments in the city centre.
  • 360 Hotel. Hock Lee Centre, Hotel Tower, Jalan Datuk Aband Abdul Rahim. Tel: +60-82-484888, [38]. located beside Hock Lee Shopping Centre.
  • Four Points Hotel by Sheraton,Jalan Lapangan Terbang Baru, Tel.+60-82-280888,[39]. A brand new four star business-class hotel, located at Jalan Lapangan Terbang, 5 minutes away from Kuching International Airport.

Hotels coming soon includes:

  • Pullman Kuching
  • Marriott Kuching
  • Cititel Express
  • The Batik Boutique Hotel

Stay safe

Kuching is practically safe from natural disasters: no earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes or volcanoes. Aside from the (very) occasional flood, the biggest hazard is hazeduring the dry season, caused by fires in Sarawak and neighboring Indonesia.

Stay healthy

Kuching has often been declared as one of the cleanest cities in Asia and still can hold the record for the cleanest city in Malaysia. The air pollution is minimum, while the Sarawak River is constantly being cleared from rubbish. Some part of the city might be a little bit dirty and messy. However, tourists spots are always being maintained clean.

Public toilets are easily available throughout Kuching with entrance fee of 20 cents. The public toilets are generally sanitized and clean. However, some public toilets might be lightly vandalized with gay ads and cigarette burns.

Public smoking is still allowed, except for areas like hospitals, government offices, public bus stops and supermarkets. Although the streets are clean and well-maintained, some Kuchingites are prone to litter their cigarette butts and candy wrapping once in a while. However, litter bins are available at most of the places.

Contact

Consulates

  • Australian Consulate, Suite 504, 5th Floor, Wisma Bukit Mata Kuching, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuching, ☎+6082 233350, [40].  edit
  • Bruneian Consulate, No. 325, Lorong Seladah 10, Jalan Seladah, Kuching, ☎+6082 456515/458515.  edit
  • General Consulate of the People’s Republic of China, Lot 3719, Dogan Garden, Dogan Road, Kuching, ☎+6082 238344.  edit
  • Consulate General of Indonesia, Lantai 6, Bangunan Binamas, No. 1 Jalan Pandungan, Kuching, ☎+6082 241734/421734.  edit

Get out

If you’re looking for a change of scenery – but don’t want to stray too far from the city, then Kuching is the ideal place to be in. Most of the National Parks and other outdoor activities are not located far away. In less than an hour, you can be transported into a world of lush rainforests and fresh air, and than be back in Kuching before dinner time!

  • Sarawak Cultural Village[41], at Santubong. This living museum depicts the heritage of the major racial groups in Sarawak. Here, it is possible to see Sarawak’s ethnic diversity at a glance. The handicraft is both bewildering and tempting. You can also try hands-on with making of these handicrafts. The 45-minute cultural performance of songs, dances and entertainment is something you will not want to miss out during your visit to Sarawak. It is also the site of the annual Rainforest World Music Festival [42]. Besides all this, you can also join their traditional dance and music classes. Contact SCV for more details.
  • Jong’s Crocodile FarmTel no.: 6082-24 2790. Located 30 kilometers from Kuching on the Kuching-Serian road. The best time to visit is during feeding time. It is open daily from 9AM – 5PM, and Sundays from 10AM. Admission Charges are RM16.00 for adults and RM8.00 for children under 12.
  • Gunung Gading National Park, at Bau. Gunung Gading is home to the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, which can grow up to one metre in diameter. Visitors can access Gunung Gading road by taking a road trip down from Kuching to Lundu via Matang Road. For enquiries, visitors can check with the park HQ (Tel: 082-735714) or the National Parks and Wildlife Booking Office in Kuching (Tel: 082-248088).
  • Kubah National Park, at Matang. This park is famous of its beautiful rocky streams and small waterfall. People from all over Kuching love to gather here especially on hot and sunny days for refreshing and cooling themselves. You can try jungle trekking here where you can see encaged deers and wild boars.
  • Matang Wildlife Centre, at Matang. Matang Wildlife Centre, which is part of Kubah National Park, is home to endangered wildlife such as Orang Utans. Visitors can come here to see wild Orang Utans and also other animals in spacious enclosures such as deers, crocodiles and bear cats. Visitors can also catch a glimpse at flying hornbills and sea eagles.
  • Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, at Semenggoh. The Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is a place where you can enjoy sightseeing of wild plants and animals. Some species of Orang Utans such as Mawas and Mayas are also on display. The jungle trail is very visitor-friendly that you can even bring your children along for a walk. Admission Charges are RM3.00 for adults and RM1.50 for children under 12.
  • Bako National Park, at Bako. Bako is a place where you can see various natural sculptures of rocky beach and cliffs. The beach is perfectly clean and have that ‘untouched’ feeling. People can opt to stay at the park or have a brisk walk along the beach or for more adventurous visitors, they can do jungle trekking at various trails provided by the park.
Travel Warning

WARNING: Book a return boat journey immediately after you arrive at the Park. Walks in the Park are exposed, so come prepared for hot and humid weather. Fishing is not allowed in the Park.

  • Pulau Lakei, at Bako. This small island has a superb white sand beach. The National Parks Department has a small guard house located on the island. Trips to the island can be arranged with your boatman. There are some mysterious rock paintings just a short walk from the beach. You need to go to Bako National Park first before going to Pulau Lakei.
  • Fairy Cave, at Bau. There is a concrete enclosed stairway allowing visitors to climb to the cave. There is, however, no lighting in the cave and bringing a strong light source is recommended. The cave has designated walkways and a few benches for people to sit on. There are some bats in the cave. For nature lovers who just love brisk walking, try Wind Cave instead.
  • Wind Cave, not so far from Fairy Cave. A small entrance fee (RM 3) is charged for this show cave. It has a designated plankwalk for visitors to walk in. Not far from Wind Cave is a beautiful stream where visitors can swim in.
  • Tasik Biru, at Bau. This lake is famous for its jetskiing activities. It was once a gold mine where Brooke dynasty brought a lot of Chinese immigrants to work.
  • Talang-Satang National Park. This is the first National Park in Sarawak to consist primarily of a marine area. It has been created for the primary purpose of marine turtle conservation. It consists of two sections: the Satang Section and the Talang-Talang section. A permit from the Forest Department is necessary for entry to the Park.It can be reached by taking speedboats from Damai Lagoon or from Sematan.
  • Serikin, at Bau. This town borders with neighboring Indonesia province of West Kalimantan. It houses a market with wide range of products from handicrafts to laces. It is popular among visitors from Peninsular Malaysia for its exquisite and cheap Indonesian products. Open throughout weekends and can be reached by using shuttle van or taxi. Custom and police might be on patrol to check your purchases, so just pick the right and legal stuff to buy there.
  • Mount Santubong. This is a good 810m climb to the summit. It is about 40min from Kuching City. Trail are well laid out and easy to follow. Bring plenty of water.
  • Annah Rais Longhouse[43]. If you want to experience life in a authentic tribal longhouse, this is the place to go. The accommodation is clean, the hosts are very friendly, and there is a fantastic hot spring nearby. You can even join the hunters on a short hunting trip or relax under a cold cascading waterfall at the rock pool. It’s a must for the travelers who can’t make it to the longhouses at Skrang or Lemanak area.
  • Borneo Highlands. It is a highland area at 1,000-metre above sea level, perfect for chilling yourself on the mountainous region of Kuching. There is a chalet to stay in (Borneo Highlands Resort) and if you love golfing, you can try one as the package of staying at the resort. There is also a cursed stone of ‘Batu Panggah’ where you can see when you walk through the jungle trail. For a refreshing dip of waterfall, try ‘Simangas Pool’ when you explore the jungle.
  • Damai Beach. About 30-40 minutes away from Kuching by car, Damai Beach is Kuching’s nearest public beach. There is a small section of beach which is free to use by the public and has nice sand with funny little crabs who rush about and burrow under the sand when you approach them! The water is very warm but not particularly clear but gently sloping for safe swimming. Beware of rocks at high tide, though. Parasols and kayaks can be hired. Busy at weekends.

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