Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak, which is located on the wider island of Borneo and is part of East Malaysia. The city is well-known for being the home of a number of indigenous groups, including the Iban and the Dayaks, and visitors come to learn more about the unique culture found in this region of Malaysia.
If you plan to visit Kuching in the near future, continue reading this article to learn more about travelling in Kuching, Sarawak.
Where to Stay
1. Damai Beach Resort
Damai Beach Resort is an all-inclusive property with 90 acres of sea frontage in the foothills of Mount Santubong, ideal for getaways away from the city. Damai Beach Resort has 242 rooms as well as a private beach and two outdoor pools. Guests can also use shuttle buses and taxis, as well as engaged in daily indoor and outdoor recreational activities.
2. Imperial Hotel Kuching
Imperial Hotel Kuching is a 4-star business-class hotel located atop Boulevard Shopping Mall, not far from Kuching’s downtown. Guests can take advantage of a variety of amenities, including 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi, and luggage storage. The hotel has a sauna, fitness centre, and outdoor pool on-site, as well as easy access to the city’s most popular attractions.
3. The Waterfront Hotel
The Waterfront Hotel, strategically located in the heart of Kuching Waterfront and on the roof of Plaza Merdeka shopping mall, offers one of the best views of the Sarawak River and sprawling Merdeka Park (Padang Merdeka). Suites have separate living rooms, and Club Floor guests have access to the Iridium Lounge, which has the best views in the hotel.
4. The Culvert Hotel Resort Kuching
One of the most unique and reasonably priced resort hotels in Kuching and is also environmentally friendly. Tubular guestrooms highlight the natural environment of the region and serve as mini sanctuaries for visitors seeking refreshment and peace and quiet. The resort in Santubong, about 45 minutes north of Kuching, has eco-friendly infinity pools, a sauna, self-service laundry, a spa, gym, and even a sunset-view library.
5. Grand Margherita Hotel
The Grand Margherita Hotel, Sarawak’s first international hotel, is located on the Kuching Waterfront, making sightseeing as easy as relaxing. The hotel features 288 luxury rooms, on-site eateries, a pool, and proximity to some of the city’s most popular attractions.
Things to Do
1. Visit the Sarawak Cultural Village
A 35-minute drive from Kuching will take you to the Sarawak Cultural Village, where you can learn about the various indigenous groups that live in this part of Malaysia and see a variety of local crafts and buildings. You can watch live demonstrations of ancient arts like weaving, bamboo cutting, and bead manufacturing, as well as take a tour of the model village and admire the architecture.
2. Stroll along the Kuching Waterfront
Without a doubt, the most iconic part of Kuching is its scenic waterfront, which is where all the main action takes place. There is a lovely walking path that runs alongside the water and provides stunning views of the city’s main attractions, including the Astana and the majestic Fort Margherita.
3. Check out the Cat Museum
Kuching means “cat” in Malay, and as you’ll see on your visit, this is a city obsessed with cats. Make your way to the Cat Museum, where over 2,000 cat-related exhibits will teach you everything you need to know about the historical and cultural significance of these felines. Some of the highlights include a mummified cat from Egypt that is said to be 5,000 years old, as well as a mounted example of a Bay Cat, a type of wild feline native to the island of Borneo.
4. Discover Semenggoh Nature Reserve
Semenggoh Nature Reserve is around 40 minutes outside of Kuching, making it a convenient day trip destination. Visitors come to see the orang utans, and the centre had a rehabilitation programme that lasted about 30 years. The orang utans in the centre have been released and are considered wild, but there are several feeding sessions per day during which the animals may come to one of the main feeding platforms, and this is your best chance of seeing them on a trip here.
5. Explore Fort Margherita
Fort Margherita was built in 1879 and is one of Kuching’s most iconic structures. It was built to protect the city from an impending attack, and today it houses the Police Museum, which accommodates an intriguing collection of ancient weaponry such as cannons, swords, pistols, and cannon balls. The fort and museum are located across the river from the main Kuching Promenade, and getting there requires a picturesque boat ride, which is half the fun.
Food Hunting Spots
1. The Dyak (Classic Dayak Cuisine)
The Dyak is a highly recommended place to try traditional Dayak cuisine. This popular cafe, tucked away in a corner of Panovel Commercial Complex, serves stunning authentic Dayak-Kenyah cuisine in a modern, ambient setting. The Dyak is a popular eatery among both locals and tourists, serving up delectable dishes such as succulent Manok Pansuh and terong asam.
Address: Sublot 29, Panovel Commercial Complex, Q5A, 93300 Kuching, Sarawak
Business hours: 12pm – 9pm (Monday to Friday) & 12pm – 9:30pm (Saturday)
2. Song Kheng Hai Hawker Centre (Kompia)
Kompia, also known as the Foochow burger, is typically made of savoury minced pork sandwiched between crusty baked buns with a fluffy texture.To taste the best kompia without travelling to Sibu, go to Song Kheng Hai Hawker Centre and look for stall number 7. (Rihga). The stall, which is well-known among the locals, sells four types of kompia: traditional minced meat, ham, cheese, and garlic.
Address: Jalan Song Kheng Hai, 93100 Kuching
Business hours: 11.30am – 5pm
3. Choon Hui Café (Laksa)
Those of us who followed Anthony Bourdain’s adventures may recall the episode in which he went to a little kopitiam in Kuching and fell in love with the bowl of Sarawak laksa that he ordered. That same bowl of laksa is still served at Choon Hui Cafe today! Just get there early because the laksa runs out by 10:30 a.m.
Address: 34 Jalan Ban Hock, 93100 Kuching
Business hours: 6.30am – 10:30am (Tuesday to Sunday)
4. Noodle Descendants (Kolo Mee)
Kolo Mee is typically served with springy noodles, minced meat (usually pork), and char siew slices. After that, the noodles are tossed in an aromatic sauce and topped with spring onions. Head to Noodle Descendants on Jalan Padungan for Kolo Mee. Operating since 1957, many locals said that it is one of the best stalls in Sarawak for Kolo Mee.
Address: No. 188, Jalan Padungan, 93100 Kuching
Business hours: 7am – 2pm
5. Mira Cake House (Sarawak Layer Cake)
Sarawak layer cakes are the quintessential take-home souvenir. They’re also one of Kuching’s must-try local delicacies. Mira Cake House’s moist layer cakes are incredibly addictive, with intricate designs and a kaleidoscope of colours and ingredients. Their original flavours are among their best-sellers, and they also offer more innovative flavours like chocolate cheese and Famous Amos cookies!
Address: 43, Jalan Brooke, Kampung Gersik, 93050 Kuching (Flagship store)
Business hours: 8am – 12am