Kuching, the capital city of the State of Sarawak, is a charming city located on the island of Borneo in Malaysia. Kuching offers visitors a unique blend of rich cultural heritage and natural scenery. With its diverse mix of Malay, Chinese and indigenous cultures, Kuching is a melting pot of traditions and customs that are reflected in its food, architecture, and festivals. In this travelogue, we share our personal experience in exploring Kuching’s attractions and cultural landmarks. Read on for travel insider tips and recommendations to make the most of your trip.
We used Grab (ride-hailing app) for all of our local travels as it was cheap, convenient and abundant. For travellers looking for car rentals to get around Kuching, Klook might be a good option. We stayed at a boutique hotel which was smack in the middle of many main attractions in Kuching (The Ranee Boutique Suites) – RM 315 including breakfast. The Standard Suite was clean and located just in front of the Kuching Waterfront – we would highly recommend the hotel.
1. Kuching Waterfront
The Kuching Waterfront is a popular tourist destination which spans over 1.7 km along the Sarawak River, offering visitors great views of the city skyline and the river. The area is bustling with activity during the day and comes alive at night with a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river, dine at the numerous restaurants and cafes or shop for souvenirs at the local markets.
2. Street Mural
The Mural Street in Kuching is a colorful street art destination that has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years. Located in the heart of Kuching’s historic Old Town, between Jalan Power and Lorong Ban Hock (about 500 m west from our hotel), the street is adorned with murals and graffiti art that reflect the city’s rich culture. One of the most famous murals here is the Orang Utan mural.
3. The Old Court House Kuching
The Old Courthouse in Kuching is an iconic heritage building located in the city center (located next to our hotel). Built in the 1800’s the courthouse served as the seat of Sarawak’s judiciary for over a century. Today, the building has been converted into the Sarawak Tourism Complex, which houses a variety of exhibits and galleries that showcase the state’s rich cultural heritage. Located within the courthouse is the Ranee Museum which features the legacy of Margaret de Windt, wife of the second Rajah Brooke, who became the queen of Sarawak.
4. India Street Pedestrian Mall
India Street Pedestrian Street is a shopping destination located beside the Old Courthouse. This vibrant street is lined with a variety of shops and stalls selling a wide range of goods from traditional handicrafts and textiles to modern fashion and accessories. India Street Pedestrian Street is also a great place to sample local delicacies and street food with a variety of food stalls and eateries dotted along the street.
5. Malaysia-China Friendship Park
The Malaysia-China Friendship Park in Kuching is a beautiful park located about 7 km south of the Waterfront. This park is dedicated to fostering closer ties between Malaysia and China and serves as a symbol of the enduring friendship between the two nations. The park features a variety of traditional Chinese architectural elements including Chinese pavilion, bridge and a rock garden. Visitors can stroll through the lush greenery, admire the beautiful plants and flowers and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the park.
6. Siniawan Old Town
Siniawan is a small town located about 20 kilometers from Kuching’s city centre. This rustic and quaint town is well-known for its rich history and cultural heritage which is reflected in its well-preserved old buildings and traditional way of life. The town has been transformed into a charming heritage destination with its narrow streets, wooden shop houses and old temples providing a glimpse into the town’s fascinating past. Visitors can stroll through the town, take in the sights and sounds of the bustling night market (Siniawan night market) and sample some of the local street food.
7. Sarawak Cultural Village
The Sarawak Cultural Village is a living museum located about 35 km north of Kuching. It is an open-air museum that features the traditional lifestyle, customs and crafts of the various ethnic groups that call Sarawak home. The village covers an area of over 17 acres and features seven different traditional houses representing the major ethnic groups of Sarawak including the Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Penan, Orang Ulu, Malay and Chinese. Visitors can witness traditional dances, music, and crafts demonstrations as well as sample local food and drinks. A highly-rated half day tour of the village from Kuching can be booked through Klook using this official link.