Thursday, June 12, 2014

Things to do in Kuching (Borneo, Malaysia), and ideal for kids

So, where exactly is Kuching?

Kuching is the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, which is located on the north west of the island of Borneo.

This part of the world is severely underrated in my opinion. Everyone includes Peninsular (mainland) Malaysia in their whistle stop tour of South East Asia, and of course, Thailand and Singapore are well visited by both holiday makers and Backpackers. But what about the Malaysian portion of Borneo?

Sarawak is known for the indigenous tribes who live in long houses, as well as it's British colonial heritage. The Chinese and Indian migrants have also made quite an impact in this area, and particularly in Kuching.

The city of Kuching is quiet and calm in comparison to places on Peninsular Malaysia, and somewhere I found myself feeling at ease. In fact we ended up staying 2 weeks here exploring the area, and would have stayed longer.

I highly recommend Kuching as a destination when travelling with kids, as although the heat can be difficult at times, children will find something to enjoy at almost every one of my recommended activities.

If you want to see Orangutans without the crowds, Kuching is a good base to visit Semmengoh National Park and I've heard that it's much less touristy than the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation centre in Sabah.

The river setting of Kuching, where people say hello and smile for reasons other than to sell you stuff, is also renowned for its cat statues and the rather quirky cat museum (Kuching means cat in Malay)

There is a reasonably good bus network, just don't try and travel after 5pm as it shuts down early. If you're brave, the unlicensed buses will save you even more, and give you an experience of local life.

So what else is there to do and see whilst in Kuching? Here's my recommendations:

1. Semenggoh wildlife centre - this is one for the kids and the rest of the family, but head there early to catch the orangutans feeding time, as it's a short walk from the entrance. Read all about my visit here: Orangutans of Borneo: Semenggoh nature reserve, Kuching.

2. The city itself - offers a picturesque riverside, bustling Chinatown, shopping centres and museums. Drop by the very informative information office to get info on everything and anything and you will not be disappointed. This is one of the best information centres we have ever been to!