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Kuching
 
Related Link: Kuching Package | Kuching Hotel | Kuching Destination Guide

Kuching Destination Guide

OVERVIEW
Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, is a riverside town in the west of the state, located on the banks of the Sarawak River.

It is approximately 32 km inland from the South China Sea. The town has landscaped parks and gardens, some elegant colonial buildings, colorful markets and a bustling waterfront.

There is also a state mosque, Christian churches and Chinese temples.

It has one of Asia's finest museums with an excellent collection of Borneo's ethnological and archaeological artifacts.

ATTRACTIONS
Cat Museum
World's first museum devoted to cats. Here you can find a large range of exhibitions of cats including pictures, books, souvenirs and etc.

Chinese History Museum
Originally a Chinese Court House and then the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, it now houses artefacts donated by leading Kuching families on the history and culture of the Chinese community in Sarawak.

Sarawak Museum
Originally built in 1891 to house and display arts and crafts of the indigenous people of Borneo, the Sarawak Museum has gained a reputation for having the single most comprehensive collection of Borneo artifacts to be found anywhere. After massive extension, the Sarawak Museum now straddles both sides of Jalan overhead pedestrian bridge. The original 1891 building was designed in style of a Normandy townhouse and was extended to its present structure in 1911. The new wing, just across the road, was built in the 1970s and has a reconstruction of life in the prehistoric Niah Caves. There is a bookstore and souvenir shop here as well.

Batang Ai National Park
Batang Ai National Park is the situated on one of the main heartlands of the Iban people whose longhouses are set around a picturesque lake.

Main Bazaar
Located facing the Kuching Waterfront – shops selling handicraft and local products.

FUN & ENTERTAINMENT
As the capital city, Kuching offers a number of pubs and bars. You can find them in and around Taman Sri Sarawak, across from Hilton; Jalan Bukit Mata and the Riverbank Suites, that face the river opposite Crowne Plaza.

Karaoke lounges are also popular. Most major hotels have lounges with karaoke facilities. They can also be found around Taman Sri Sarawak.

SHOPPING
There are several modern shopping centres in Sarawak. In Kuching, there is Wisma Saberkas at Jalan Green, Sarawak Plaza and Tun Jugak Complex at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Wisma Hopoh at Jalan P.Ramlee, Wisma Phoenix at Jalan Song Thian Cheok, and Kuching Plaza at Jalan McDougall. All these offer practically anything a shopper may need.

Handicraft and Antiques

Sarawak has a vast array of traditional handicrafts. The native-made woodcarvings, beadwork, weaving, pottery, bamboo and rattan baskets boast an intricate design and fine craftsmanship, and come in vibrant colors.

Kuching is an excellent place for buying tribal artifacts and the best selection can be found in the antique shops along Main Bazaar, Wayang Street and Temple Street. Prices are high, but bargaining is normal.

It is recommended that visitors should spend a few hours at the Sunday Market at Jalan Satok which, besides market produce, may have antiques on sale.

Jalan Satok Sunday Market
A place for unusual herbs, fruits, plants and animals, the Sunday market at Kuching's Jalan Satok is a colorful place to which the villagers bring their fresh jungle herbs and fruits not available elsewhere. Traders bring their goods in on Saturday afternoon and the Sunday market begins at 5 am.

DINNING
Once visitors get a taste of Sarawakian food, they will realise that the state is not only famous for its caves and national parks. In terms of food, Sarawak has many of its own specialties that are unique and delicious.

Coffee shops, food centres, Chinese, Western, Indian, Indonesian and Japanese restaurants, as well as restaurants that serve seafood, steamboat and vegetarian food are found in Sarawak, particularly in Kuching.

One Sarawak specialty is Umai, a traditional dish of the Melanau people, which is a spicy salad of raw marinated fish, limes and shallots. Visitors can taste it at Penrissen Inn, Tapanga Tree and also at hotel buffets and Malay food stalls in Top Spot (Taman Kareta). For vegetables, try two types of crispy jungle fern called midin and paku. Some Chinese restaurants serve good venison (deer meat).

The Iban also have their own fine delicacies such as Pansoh Manok, which is chicken with rice wine cooked in bamboo. This technique is also used to cook fish. Visitors can savour this dish at Penrissen Inn and the Cottage. Some Hotel buffets also serve this dish.

For seafood, try steamed pomfret or manchong fish. Other local favourites include asam prawns, sambal prawns and slipper lobster.

Another unique dish in Sarawak is ambal or bamboo clam. It is usually cooked in a mild curry or steamed in Chinese wine. Though it looks like worms in a bamboo shell, it is very delicious.

GETTING THERE
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights are available from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Kota Kinabalu to Kuching and Miri.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies to Kuching three times a week. Merpati Airlines flies through Pontianak. There are two international airports in Kuching and Miri. There are also airports and airstrips at Sibu, Bintulu, Kapit, Belaga, Marudi and Limbang.

GETTING AROUND
Taxis don't seem to drive around but rather congregate in a few key positions and there are also some unfortunate locations where not all taxis can go as regular taxis only service on some roads or parts of the town. This makes it hard to just flag a taxi and expect to be taken where you want. Most taxis do not have meter, you must agree on the price before getting in!

Buses are by far the best option. Although most places are walking distance, it is too hot to do so. Taking buses is economical, comfortable and reliable but since most buses are not air-conditioned, sitting beside an open window is what you ought to.

Car rental is relatively expensive but is certainly convenient to get around especially if you plan to get out of the city.
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