Saturday, August 24, 2013

What to do in Kuching, Sarawak

As many travelers may be asking 'What to do in Kuching?', there are actually quite some interesting things you can do in Kuching town or the outskirts. Many who have been here will instantly brand Kuching as a not so active place but if you have been here enough times, there are actually quite a few things to explore here. Anyway, I have created this list for the first times or those who have a few days in Kuching, Sarawak.

Before I go there, Kuching is the capitol of Sarawak and is well known as a gateway to all of Sarawak's nature and wildlife. Kuching is also a great place to try local Sarawakian food for the foodies or food lovers. Another popular thing many locals like to do is go shopping for handicraft and antiques here.

1. Take the Sarawak River Cruise - Only for those who want to see the mighty Sarawak River. Cruises are available from the main Kuching Waterfront area where huge ferries take passengers on a cruise down the river. What can you see here? In the beginning get to see popular monuments, heritage buildings, the old dock traders area and locals taking the common river taxis to get across the other side. As you go further, you will see the simple river life of the locals who have homes by the river and everyday life here.

The common cruise is via the larger ferry-like boat that charges about RM60-RM70 per person for a one and a half hour cruise while there is one more much smaller one that charges about RM20-RM25. I would recommend you take the larger one as it is more comfortable with full facilities with orange juice and local layer cakes served complimentary. The smaller one is is a wooden sampan or traditional boat and only takes you around for about 30 minutes.

2. Visit the Sarawak Museum - And you thought museums were boring? This amazing museum located next to the Merdeka Hotel at Dataran Kuching is noted to be one of the best museums in the world. Established in 1891, this is hands down the oldest museum in Borneo. If you ever wanted to learn about the Sarawakian culture, tattoos and so on, this is the best place to start. And the best part - Admission is Free!
Sarawak Museum Address - Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, 93566, Kuching, Sarawak

3. Explore the Main Bazaar and Carpenter Street - These are one of the oldest trading streets in Kuching where nowadays, you get a myriad of shops selling all sorts of local souvenirs. The Main Bazaar in Kuching is a well known area for buying souvenirs, antiques and the much talked about Sarawak Layer Cakes (Kek Lapis Sarawak). Best time to visit this place is in the mornings till about after lunch. Most of the shops here will close by 5pm. For Malaysians, there are shops that sell the famous Sarawak Mats (Tikar Sarawak) where after purchasing them, they are air-flown to your home, at a cost of course.Some new budget hotels have recently opened along the Kuching Main Street Bazaar while towards one end, you will find numerous goldsmith shops.

At the back of the Main Bazaar is Carpenter Street, a well known road that offers budget hotels, popular coffee shops, restaurants and cafes and also stores selling souvenirs and so on. Many locals like to come here for the food as there are some notable restaurants like Aladdin Chicken Rice and also the Temple Hawker Centre which has a few local Sarawakian dishes. This place is best visited from mornings till about lunch.

4. Visit the Cat Museum - Yes, they have an amazing Cat Museum. If you don't already know, Kuching is Cat in the Malay language so a Cat Museum is appropriate in this case. Located in the north of Kuching town at the city hall building, you can simply grab a taxi here but tell him to wait for you to send you back. The Kuching Cat Museum houses over thousands of cat memorabilia from around the world. Famous cats like Garfield and even Disney popular cats. If you're a cat lover, this is one place you must visit.

5. Go to the Satok Weekend Market - Only if you are here in a weekend, you can pay a visit to the famous Jalan Satok Sunday Market which is vibrant, colorful and interesting open air market. Exceptionally fresh fruits and vegetables are offered while you can also find unique wild ferns and exotic vegetables from the interiors of Sarawak. Besides fresh groceries and raw food sold in the market, there are also handicraft and handmade souvenirs available. Don't forget to try the famous sago worms which can be found here - yes, the worms that can be eaten. Other interesting things at Satok include pets such as rabbit, puppies and fish. Avoid if you dislike crowds and markets.

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