Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak, stands on the banks of the Sarawak River, 32 km from the sea. There are beautiful landscaped parks and gardens, elegant colonial buildings, bustling markets and a beautiful promenade. And the local museum is one of the best in Asia. Check JIBIN123 for Malaysia customs regulations and visa requirements.
How to get there
Malaysia Airlines flies to Kuching Airport from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. Flights of Royal Brunei Airlines (the airlines of the neighboring state of Brunei) land in Kuching three times a week.
Shopping in Kuching
Kuching is a great place to shop for handmade traditional Malay souvenirs. A large selection can be found in shops at Main Bazaar, Lorong Wayang and Jalan Temple. Prices are quite high, but bargaining is appropriate.
If you want to buy more civilized goods, you should walk through the numerous shopping centers of the city: Wisma Saberkas on the street. Jalan Green, Sarawak Plaza and Tun Jugah Complex on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Wisma Hopoh on Jalan P. Ramlee, Wisma Phoenix on Jalan Song Thian Cheok) and Kuching Plaza on Jalan McDougall.
At Jalan Satok, during the Sunday fair, you can find antiques, rare herbs, fruits, plants and animals (for example, such banal dishes as wild boar or turtle meat). Trading starts at 5:00 am.
Cuisine and restaurants
Kuching is the best place to try Sarawak cuisine, which is very different from the “pan-Malaysian” dishes. One of the most popular dishes is sarawak laksa, a stew of everything that grows and floats nearby: vegetables, fruits, herbs and seafood, generously flavored with gravy. Another traditional dish is “kolok-mi”, noodles with pieces of pork, chicken and beef meatballs in the entourage of sweet and sour sauce. From exotic dishes, you can dare to try “umai” – a salad of chilled fresh fish, onions and chili peppers, seasoned with lime juice.
You should definitely drink a cup of delicious Sarawak coffee and a glass of White Lady drink: milk, fruit syrup and a slice of lemon.
Entertainment and attractions in Kuching
Astana Palace, consisting of three bungalows with verandas, was built in 1870 by Raja Charles Brooke as a gift to his wife, Rani Margaret. The palace stands on the northern bank of the Sarawak River and is clearly visible from the Pangkalan Batu pier. Now it houses the official residence of the governor of the state, where all the most important state events are held.
Fort Margherita, which is located next to the Astana Palace, is also dedicated to the wife of Raja Charles Brooke, Rani Margaret. The fort currently houses the Police Museum.
The Courthouse is another legacy of Brook’s empire. The doors, window bars and vaulting of the building’s imposing façade are decorated with intricate ornaments in the traditional style of the peoples of Sarawak. Formerly the seat of the state government, it is now the Supreme Court of East Malaysia.
The city’s Square Tower, like its prototype in London, was originally erected as a place of detention, with a dungeon at the bottom. The tower itself was built on later, where at one time they even rolled up real balls.
A magnificent structure with golden domes, this is the main mosque of the state, which now stands on the site of the old wooden Masjid Besar (“Great Mosque”).
Also worth seeing: the Kuching embankment (Jalan Gambier Street, Jalan Gambier) – one of the favorite places for walking locals, Kuching’s main post office (a unique Greek-style portico supported by Corinthian columns). The first major highway of Sarawak originates from the post office.
As well as the temples of Kuching: the oldest in the city of Tua Pek Kong, which is famous for the holiday of commemoration of the souls of the departed Wang Kang. And the temple of Kuek-Seng-Ong, where Chinese fishermen-khenhua pray, asking for a rich catch and a safe return to shore.
The building of the Sarawak Museum is considered one of the most beautiful in Asia. The extensive collection includes ethnographic and archaeological artefacts, permanent displays of state traditional handicrafts, Chinese porcelain, and tribal collections. A model of the Niah Caves is shown, where traces of a man were found, the age of which reaches 40 thousand years. Admission is free, opening hours: Mon-Thu, Sat 9:30-17:30, Sun 9:30-18:00.