Sunday, 1 April 2018

8 Things To Do In Kuching, Sarawak

I'd been waiting to go to Kuching for umpteen years. Kuching was one of the few capital cities of Malaysia that I had not set foot on and it didn't seem right that I was flying to places around the world but not getting a proper overview of my own home country. 

Then, came the opportune time.... my friends called for a reunion in Kuching and that became an instant catalyst for a Kuching trip to materialize.

It took just less than 2 hours to fly from KL to Kuching and guess what? To know Kuching is to love it. Yes it is indeed a gem of a find and one which I should have discovered much earlier!

I love walking the streets and lanes of Kuching. I also love its food. Its people are simple and friendly and I had a great time in Kuching thanks to and old friend living there who gave my friends and I such a comprehensive orientation of the place.

I have listed 8 interesting things I did in the hub of Kuching which can easily be executed on foot if you are staying in the city itself.

1. Jalan Main Bazaar
Jalan Main Bazaar is a 500 meter stretch of road running parallel to the Sarawak River bank. This is where you find the biggest concentration of authentic make in Sarawak products on display and for sale. It is therefore the best place to shop for souvenirs to bring home.

The shop houses lining this street may be old but they are not devoid of charm. If you'd care to look at the ceiling along its five foot way you'll be surprised by the lovely murals painted on them.

The theme and design appeared to be aboriginal, depicting the lifestyle of the indigenous people of Sarawak.

As far as souvenirs is concerned, you'll be spoilt for choice. There is a myriad of them, hand crafted items that are very reasonably priced! There are food items as well. Sarawak Laksa paste, local snacks and a variety of Sarawak layer cakes can be found along the five foot way of the shops.

2. Kuching Waterfront
Kuching is built around Sarawak River and a 900 meter stretch of the southern river bank has been turned into a recreation space. This riverfront esplanade is a great place to spend one's leisure. You can stroll, jog or sit on one of the benches sporadically placed along the walkway. 

You can see modern sculptures or enjoy the vista of the Malay kampungs across the river. You can also get a full view of the beautiful Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building or see the entire length of the new Sarawak bridge 

Walking along this esplanade you will also come across a few heritage monuments like the Square Fort, the Old Court House building and Chinese History Museum. There are cafes and bistros along the way too. At night the esplanade becomes a hive of activities with stalls set up to sell food and other things. Music would ring through the air creating an ambiance akin to a carnival.

3. Water Taxis Of Kuching
If you are in Kuching, you must try taking its water taxis or 'bot tambang'. This city is separated from the kampungs (villages) by just the width of a river and these water taxis provide a convenient means of transportation between the opposite banks. The boat fare is unbelievably cheap. For just RM1 pp, the boatman will bring you across the Sarawak River to the village. The boat will normally take off once it is almost full and can also be chartered for a lengthier cruise along the river.

Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city is just a river's width away. Once you arrive at the opposite bank, take a walk around the serene kampung or shop for Sarawak's Kek Lapis (Layer Cake) for which the village is famous for or even buy some preserved salted fish at the riverfront stall! When you're  done visiting these places, hop onto a boat to take you back to the city for the same rate of RM1 pp.

4. Kuching Street Art
I am a fan of street art and wherever I go, artistic pieces of murals, sculptures or other forms of creativity are usually appreciated. It is nice to see walls and corners spruced up by these artists' work. Walking around, I found a few.

5. The Cat Statues
Kuching is a Malay word for cat, so Kota Kuching can be translated as 'Cat City'. Even though the origin of this name may not be related to the feline, the cat symbol has become iconic in Kuching. There are three (probably more) venues where you can find statues of cats around the city. These statues have attracted a fair bit of visitors who'd come to pose with them.  

This family of cats statues can be found at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, directly opposite Grand Margheritta Hotel.

This '4 white cat statues' can be found along Jalan Padungan.

This solo cat statue can be found at the Padungan Roundabout next to the Chinatown Gateway.

6. Kuching's Chinatown

Jalan Padungan is commonly referred to as Kuching's Chinatown. Stretching 500 meters from one end to the other, Jalan Padungan features mostly Chinese owned shops, restaurants and other businesses. At one end of the road you can find the Chinatown Gate and separating its two parallel roads is a landscaped elongated pavement with flower shrubs and beautiful trees.

This is a good place to eat some renowned Kuching food and shop for authentic Sarawak foodstuff like, preserved sarawak noodles, confectionery and other delicacies. Some of the restaurants are so popular you'll have to wait a long queue before getting your food.

7. Darul Hana Bridge
A tour of Kuching would be incomplete without visiting its latest attraction, Darul Hana Bridge which is also known as the Golden S Bridge. Just opened in November 2017, this pedestrianized bridge has a total length of 336 meters, a width of 3.25 meters and looms 12 meters above the river surface. It links the southern bank of Sarawak River (the city area) with the northern bank (where the villages and  prominent government offices are located).

We visited this bridge several times, both in the morning and at night. It has a groovy s-shaped curve with sophisticated design and is said to be more a tourist attraction than a bridge built for the convenience of commuters between the opposite banks.

There are two viewing decks to enjoy the panorama of the city.

At night the changing colours of LED light will get the visitors bedazzled. 

And from the bridge you can get a spectacular sight of the state legislative building which looks like a shining gemstone.

8.The Glorious Food Of Kuching
Among all the things I did, tasting some of Kuching's best food is probably my favourite!. There's the mee kolo, sarawak laksa, kueh chap, sarawak kompia and lots more. Even looking at these pictures of the food I ate makes me drool all over again.


Special Appreciation
This is me posting with my friend Gim Suan who made my stay in Kuching such a memorable one! Thanks for being such an excellent host GS!


gim suan yeoh said...

Wow good write up li cheng! I must recommend to the sarawak tourism to make you an ambassador for kuching!

Lily... said...

Thanks GS. I'll gladly be an ambassador for Kuching as I love the place.

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