Considered one of the most beautiful, cleanest, and livable cities in Southeast Asia, Kuching is the capital city of the State of Sarawak in Malaysia. A fascinating balance of modernity and tradition, Kuching is an interesting mix of heritage structures and modern buildings. It has a bustling economy and yet still has that charming, old world vibe.
An underrated travel destination, Kuching is clearly not as popular as Kuala Lumpur, George Town or Malacca, but it has a lot to offer. Great year-round weather, delicious Sarawakan food, contemporary facilities, and a wide range of tourist attractions are just some of the things you’ll enjoy in the city.
Below is a list of the best things to do in Kuching.
1. Visit cultural and historical attractions.
A city that is as culturally rich like Kuching offers a long list of cultural and historical attractions that would impress even the most discerning world travellers. Kuching has many well-preserved mosques, temples, and colonial buildings. There are museums for you to explore, where you’ll learn a thing or two about Kuching’s people, history, culture and traditions. Not to be missed during your trip is the Sarawak Museum, the oldest museum in Borneo and one of the most noteworthy museums in Asia. Built in 1891, it is also one of the oldest buildings in Kuching.
Other museums in Kuching you might want to visit, namely the Islamic Heritage Museum, Kuching Cat Museum, Sarawak Timber Museum, and the Sarawak Textile Museum.
Aside from the cultural attractions, Kuching is also home to historical sites like the Astana, Fort Margherita, the old courthouse, as well as the collection shophouses on Main Bazaar that line the city’s waterfront.
You might also want to visit the temples on Carpenter Street, especially the Tua Pek Kong Temple, the oldest temple in Kuching. There are also a few mosques in town such as the Kuching City Mosque and the Masjid Jamek or the New State Mosque. However, when entering temples and mosques you must remember to observe proper etiquette at all times. Dress appropriately and remove your shoes upon entering the building. It is also advised that non-Muslim visitors refrain from visiting the mosques during worship times.
2. Explore the bustling food scene.
Thanks to it being one of the most multi-racial cities in Malaysia, Kuching has a diverse and bustling food scene. There are so many affordable options available and be prepared to be spoilt for choices. Some of the local dishes you need to try are Sarawak laksa, kolo mee, stir-fried midin, kueh chap, and manok pansoh (chicken cooked in bamboo). To sample the best of the local cuisine, check out the Hui Sing Hawker Center in Stampin and the Top Spot Food Court in Bukit Mata Kuching. The food at these places is so affordable you’d want to try everything!
Another can’t-miss when in Kuching is Sarawak coffee. Grab a steaming cup of this flavourful coffee at Ah Meng’s at the Hui Sing Hawker Center. The stall is also one of the best places to have iced desserts such as White Lady and Matterhorn.
3. Enjoy the nightlife.
Kuching has an awesome nightlife scene that offers many different options to suit every budget and taste, from music lounges to the most fashion-forward clubs. Whether you’re in for casual drinks or all-night partying, you will find the best spot to hang out in Kuching. Some of the places worth checking out include Picadilly Pub, Grappa, Terminal 1 Club, Soho and Junk.
4. Be captivated by Kuching’s natural attractions.
There are many nature attractions worthy of a day trip in and around Kuching. To escape the hustle and bustle of city life, visit any of its leisure spots, parks, animal sanctuaries, and conservation areas.
Head to Bako National Park, Kuching Wetlands National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, and the Kubah National Park. Bako is where you can spot endangered proboscis monkeys while Gunung Gading is where you can find the giant rafflesia, the world’s largest flower. Or you might want to visit the Semenggoh and Matang Wildlife Centres to see the organgutans being cared for under their orangutan rehabilitation program.
5. Shop the Main Bazaar and the Sunday Market.
Kuching has a plethora of shopping malls and shopping complexes like VivaCity Megamall, Giant Petra Jaya Mall, Genesis Parade, Plaza Merdeka, and Riverside Shopping Complex. But for a more interesting shopping experience, test your haggling skills at Main Bazaar, the oldest street in Sarawak. The street is lined with rows of beautiful 19th century shophouses packed with antique furniture, souvenirs, crafts, artworks, and even books.
Another must-visit is the Sunday Market, Kuching’s most popular market. Located on Jalan Satok, the local market is open from Saturday afternoon until Sunday noon. It is the best place to buy food and fresh produce.
Planning your Kuching and Sarawak vacation? Make your trip more memorable with the tours and excursions on Travezl.com.
By: Brendelyn Balaga