Kuching – Borneo’s Most Stylish and Sophisticated City
Cosmopolitan Kuching, Malaysia. Capital of the state of Sarawak, and nestled on Borneo’s west coast very near to the equator, this is the most popular city in Borneo! Travelers to Kuching are advised to set aside at least a few days when traveling through remarkable Kuching, in order to capture at least a fragment of the city’s spectacular and fascinating appeal. Better yet, plan an entire holiday around this wonderful city and see for yourself why open-minded Kuching is considered to be Borneo’s most fun and worldly city, packed with fashion, culture, excitement and world-class cuisine.
Renowned for it’s beautiful sunsets, Kuching is a city that likes to stay up late, as its locals and tourists mingle in the many clubs, restaurants and cafes that line the city’s waterfront. Kuching is split into the north side, and south side, by the Sarawak River, and the people of Kuching take pride in their clean, friendly, multicultural and welcoming city. To get around in Kuching City, you can rent a car, take a bus or hire a taxi. Kuching’s main bus terminal is located just opposite to the city’s old mosque. However, the most unbeatable ways to go sightseeing in Kuching is either by bicycle or by foot.
Kuching – whose name literally translates to “Cat City” is a very balanced city – busy without being too frantic like many major cities can be, and just the right mix of rural culture and downtown big city action. Endowed with a multitude of architectural and cultural treasures, Kuching is one of the world’s holiday destinations that has so much to offer the modern traveler and the history buff alike – and with such a variety of cultures and wide assortment of cuisine, your senses are given the ride of their lives!
Hungry? Let’s grab a bite to eat in Kuching!
Kuching has such a diverse cultural and ethnic history that it’s no wonder the local food is so diverse. Many foods combine various cuisine, ingredients and techniques to create unique fusions of different cultures’ dishes. There are traditional dishes of all kinds, as well as western cuisine – you can find just about anything in Kuching if you know where to look!
The Dyak, Jalan Simpang Tiga, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
Tel: +60 12-988 0996
When The Dyak opened not too long ago, the new restaurant caused quite a stir – it was the first establishment in Borneo to take traditional Dayak foods that would otherwise be regarded as home-cooking or basic street food, and transform them into sit-down restaurant cuisine. With a stunning dining room decorated in traditional artifacts, The Dyak is one of the most sensational culinary experiences in the city of Kuching. Every dish on the menu can be sourced back to a local ethnic recipe. The tempoyak is recommended: fermented durian, an intensely pungent fruit with anchovies, followed by the manok gulai upa kelapa, braised chicken and coconut palm in a creamy and rich broth. No visit to The Dyak would be complete without sampling some of the ice cream dessert smothered in tuak, the region’s local rice wine.
Jambu, 32 Crookshank Road, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia,
Tel: +60 82-235 292
Kuching is well known for its practice of fusion cuisine – taking locally sourced Borneo ingredients and using a variety of different cultural techniques and recipes or combining various cuisine, and many upscale restaurants in Kuching have caught on to the art of this fusion but none do it as brilliantly as Jambu. The experience of visiting Jambu itself is amazing; the grand mansion, high ceilings and comfortable ambience with low lighting was historically the number one place for glamorous and elegant colonial gatherings. Superb French starters such as garlic-soused escargots and homemade chicken pâté are followed by with steaks or delicious locally sourced grilled fish. Jambu’s sea bass is complimented with flavours of Bornean coconut and lemongrass while the Sarawak chicken is served with a side of local beans and a Mediterranean sauce. Enjoy a glass of fine wine and unwind to the sounds of jazz, evoking the building’s 1920s heyday. The restaurant’s adjacent lounge features a romantic garden terrace, serving tapas and drinks. Come enjoy what Jambu has to offer!
Ling Loong Seafood
Ling Loong Seafood, Top Spot Seafood Centre, off Jalan Green Hill, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
You simply can’t come to Kuching and not have the seafood! Kuching’s delicious, fresh and uniquely prepared varieties of seafood are sourced from the local Sarawak River and the Pacific Ocean. Quality fish can be obtained all over the city of Kuching, but if you want to opt for best of the best, go straight to the Top Spot Food Court located at Jalan Bukit Mata Kuching, 93100. Just follow the neon light-up lobster five storeys up to the roof of a garage, and you’ll discover a bounty of seafood stalls – of the stalls, Ling Loong Seafood is known by locals as the best you can get. If the catch of the day doesn’t interest you, you can try the sea’s most delicious fruits. Red snapper fried in garlic and grilled pomfret are Kuching’s favorite fish dishes, but the tastiest treat is the Ling Loong Seafood shellfish. Try chili crab, peppered squid and oyster omelet, with some chili-drenched bidin (fern) and a side of kai-lan (Chinese kale). And never fear – if Ling Loong Seafood stall is exceptionally busy, the other stalls, such as the Bukit Mata Seafood Centre, come highly recommended as well. So get here and get some great seafood!
Let’s go shopping in Kuching!
With so much to see and do (and eat!) in Kuching, don’t forget there are also so many places to browse Sarawak’s most inspiring fashion, arts and local crafts.
Siniawan Night Market
Address: Siniawan, Kuching, Malaysia
Night markets are an omnipresent part of everyday life in Southeast Asia, and Siniawan in Kuching is everything you would expect from a great night market! Situated along the Sarawak river, the hundred year-old market region may appear to be sleeping by day, however come nightfall it ignites with life, lights, food, music, drinks, singing, and souvenirs. It has a nostalgic, and rustic old Chinatown vibe, and it’s a great way to spend a few hours in the evening while grabbing a bite to eat from one of the many market stalls offering wide varieties of different types of food.
Satok Weekend Market
Address: Jalan Satok, Kuching, Malaysia
This market is widely considered a must-see when visiting Kuching. There’s an astounding variety of great quality local produce at amazing prices. The colourful sights are feast for the eyes, and the delicious foods and music from the live buskers will leave your senses satisfied. It truly is a vibrant location to behold, and you can pick up a souvenir or two while you’re here.
Address: Kg serikin, Kuching, Malaysia
Come to this market and be prepared to haggle for a great bargain on textiles, clothes, handbags, food, and local handicrafts. It’s a bit out of the way so you’ll need to arrange transportation, but it’s worth it if you want to enjoy a morning of browsing inexpensive goods.
John Gallery Dayak Arts
Address: Lot 62, Main Bazaar, Kuching 93000,Malaysia
A terrific stop for all budgets – find a unique treasure here! Arts and crafts galore, wooden statues, antiques, and a knowledgeable and helpful staff.
Address: No.1, Jalan Song, Kuching 93350, Malaysia
This enormous mall will take you all day to explore! Lots of takeaway food options, a wide variety of fashion, a cinema, even lazer tag! Jewelry, home furnishings and just about anything else you’d expect to find in a modern mall are all available here.
Borneo Artifact Asian Arts Antiques & Cultural Heritage
Address: 464, Lorong 14 | Taman Hui Sing, Kuching 93350, Malaysia
Tel: +60 12-888 2040
Said to be one of the best places for finding genuine fossils and antiques from the island of Borneo, the Borneo Artifact Asian Arts Antiques and Cultural Heritage location is situated in a house, all you need to do is give them a call to arrange a viewing time. They are friendly and have a terrific reputation for quality artifacts.
Let’s take in some culture while we’re in Kuching!
Tua Pek Kong Temple
Address: Jln Temple, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
Prominently located near the waterfront, Kuching’s Tua Pek Kong Temple is a very important part of the lives of the city’s Chinese community. The proper name of the Chinese temple is Siew San Teng Tua Pek Kong, and it is regarded as being the city’s oldest Chinese temple. There are varying sources citing different dates of construction of the temple, with the Tua Pek Kong Temple’s own brochure listing it as being built in 1770. Nevertheless, all agree on the fact that the temple was constructed here before the 19th century. You can find the relatively small temple at the oftentimes bustling intersection between Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Padungan, and it can truly seem like a juxtaposition of eras with modern cars passing by the old temple.
Kuching City Mosque
Sitting near the open air market, the Kuching City Mosque used to be the main mosque for locals and known as the Sarawak State Mosque. The mosque was later redesignated as the Kuching Divisional Mosque. Built in 1968 on a previous wooden mosque site from around 1852, the Kuching City Mosque features a unique and striking design, marrying mid-western and Italian architecture. It regarded as an ideal place for Muslims visiting Kuching to visit for prayers, and an interesting cultural must-see for anyone touring Kuching.
The Cat Museum
What would a visit to Cat City be, without stopping by the Cat Museum? This venue features a very large collection of the city’s cat memorabilia, as “Kuching” means “Cat” in Malay. You can find the museum located at Kuching North City Hall at Petra Jaya, on top of Bukit Siol (Siol Hill). Cat lovers will find the museum exceptionally enjoyable, with a range of displays, exhibits, photos, feline art and Cat City souvenirs. It’s a quirky place to stop, and particularly fun for families with children. Best of all, the admission is free! Open daily, 9 am to 5 pm.
Where to stay when you’re visiting Kuching?
Fortunately there is no shortage of accommodations in this bustling capital, and a great many of them are conveniently located! Here’s a brief list of just a few of the options you have when you’re staying in Borneo’s most exciting city:
Holiday Inn Resort DAMAI LAGOON
Teluk Penyuk, Santubong, Kuching 93762, Malaysia
The location is great, and the beach is lovely!
The LimeTree Hotel, Kuching
Lot 317 Abell Road, Kuching City Center, Kuching 93100, Malaysia
The breakfast served here is top notch, also a terrific bar. The location is nice too!
Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites
Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, P.O. Box A298, Kuching City Center, Kuching 93000, Malaysia
Great proximity to all sorts of sightseeing opportunities, and a nice vibe overall.
Furama Lodging House
4 Jalan Green Hill, Kuching 93100, Malaysia
Close to the Chinese History Museum, and shopping!
3411, Block D, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuching City Center, Kuching 93450, Malaysia
Internet access, great service, and a terrific value.
Lot 2812, Block 195, Rubber Road West, Kuching 93400, Malaysia
Lovely ambience, convenient location!
Marco Polo’s Guest House
1st Floor, 236, Padungan Road, Kuching 93100, Malaysia
Internet access, comfortable rooms, great food, great service and a fantastic location!
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