Kuching is located in Malaysia on Malaysian Borneo (Malaysia Timur) and is the capital of Sarawak province. Not only the surroundings of Kuching are beautiful, with no less than two of the most beautiful national parks in Malaysia. The city itself is also nice to stroll around for a few days. What to do in Kuching? In this articles we take you to the best sights in Kuching on Malaysian Borneo.
#1. Stroll around the city center
The most beautiful part of the city can be found along the Sarawak river that flows through the city, where it is especially good to stay in the evenings. In the center you will find most of the Kuching attractions, such as the Heritage Walk. In addition, in Kuching you will find the colorful India Street where you imagine yourself in India for a while. Quite a strange idea, because the majority of the inhabitants are Chinese-Malaysian. You see them everywhere. In the Chinese spice shops, the Chinese restaurants (one of the only places where you can drink alcohol cheaply) and the many Chinese residents you meet.
Another highlight of the city is the beautiful Masjid Bandaraya Kuching mosque. An impressive pink mosque with golden domes. Near the mosque you will also find the largest bus station in the city.
#2. Enjoy the best breakfast among the locals
Of course there is a wide choice of fine restaurants in Kuching. For example, the food court “Top Shop” is a popular place for dinner. If you want to have a local breakfast among locals, Chong Choon Cafe is the place to be. Here you will find several stalls where you can order local dishes such as Kolo Mee, but also thick toast, bread with kaya or garlic, for example. Chong Choon Cafe is only open in the morning and was recommended to us by several locals.
Address Chong Choon Cafe: 275, Jalan Chan Chin Ann, 93100 Kuching
#3. Kuching Waterfront Bazaar
In the evenings it is wonderful to stroll along the Sarawak River where you will find several restaurants and food stalls, cozy lights and locals recovering from a long working day. The night market in Kuching is called the Kuching Waterfront Bazaar. At the night market you will find dozens of cozy bars in the city where you can drink beers among the locals, or more luxurious bars where you can enjoy a delicious – but expensive – cocktail. For the backpackers among us: The cheapest beers (from 3.50 RM) can be found at the Chinese restaurants. Our favorite is the restaurant and cafe at Tai Pan hotel.
Tai Pan Address: 93, Jalan Padungan, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak
#4. Watch a movie at the ‘Haunted Cinema’
Another option for your evening is to go to the cinema. Not very exciting in itself, but close to the waterfront you will find the so-called “haunted cinema” of Kuching. This cinema is located on the top floor of the Riverside Shopping Complex. Although there are nicer cinemas in Kuching, this one is the closest to the center. The cinema is now called “haunted” due to the fact that few people go to this cinema. We saw the movie Sully with only six other visitors. A ticket to the movie cost us 12 RM per person.
Address Lotus Five Star Cinemas: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
#5. Kuching: Cat City
It may sound a bit strange, but did you know that Kuching is also called Cat City? Kuching means cat in Bahasa. You will find statues of cats at various places in the city and a lot of roundabouts are decorated with cat statues. You will also find a cat museum where you will find everything that has to do with cats and where you can enter for free. Another interesting museum is the Sarawak museum where you will find a lot of information about the history of Sarawak.
#6. Bako National Park, one of the Malaysian Borneo’s highlights
An absolute highlight of our trip to Malaysian Borneo is the visit to Bako National Park. Bako National Park is located north of the city. You can easily travel here by bus which leaves every hour from the city or you can choose to book an organized tour. However, I recommend the first option, as the park can be perfectly explored on your own. The park is mainly known for the impressive proboscis monkeys that you can spot, but there are many more beautiful animals, such as: the Flying Lemur, mousedeer, macaques, silver leaf monkeys, wild boars, (poisonous) snakes, spiders, scorpions and many other animal species.
In addition, in Bako National Park you will find no less than seven different seven eco-systems. Unique! You can choose to book a day trip to Kuching, but an even better experience is spending the night in Bako National Park. An absolute must. This gives you an even greater chance of spotting wildlife and (weather permitting) you can join the night tour in the evening.
Price: The entrance fee for Bako National Park is 20 RM per person. You can only reach the park by boat. A return ticket for the boat costs 40 RM per person.
#7. Kuching Wetlands National Park
Another popular national park near Kuching is Wetlands National Park. Twice a day you can book a tour that takes you across the river in search of wildlife. The tour at the end of the day is said to be the most fun, as you can immediately enjoy a beautiful sunset. In Wetlands National Park you can spot – with a little luck – crocodiles, Irrawaddy dolphins and proboscis monkeys.
Price: A tour costs between 180 and 200 RM per person and can be booked at various offices in the city.
#8. Orangutans in Semenggoh
Bako National park and its many special animal species is not the only good reason for a trip to Kuching. In the vicinity of the city there is also an opportunity to stand face to face with semi-wild orangutans. The place to be is Semenggoh, about thirty kilometers south of Kuching. Semenggoh is originally an orangutan wildlife center where currently 26 orangutans are living. Although the animals are fed twice a day, the orangutans live in freedom and can come and go wherever they want. Unfortunately you still don’t have the guarantee that you will actually spot orangutans during your visit. Fortunately, the chance is quite high.
Price: Entrance fee for Semenggoh is 10 RM per person.
#9. Relax at one of the beaches
Although you will encounter nicer beaches on Sabah, you can also spend a day relaxing on the beach close to Kuching. The most popular beach is Damai Beach, which is about a thirty-minute drive from the city. The most convenient way to discover the coastline is to rent a motorbike in town.
#10. Discovering the most amazing street art in Kuching
During your city trip to Kuching, keep your eyes open for the most beautiful street art. In many places in the city center you will come across a number of beautiful works of art.
Traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching
The only way to visit Malaysian Borneo from Kuala Lumpur is to book a flight. You can book plane tickets to Borneo for less than 20 euros per person. The cheapest airlines to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching are Air Asia and Malindo Air. The most convenient option for finding the cheapest flights from Kuala Lumpur to Borneo is through Skyscanner or Momondo. For our return flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur we only paid 22 euros per person including luggage.
Best places to stay in Kuching
In Kuching there are plenty of options to spend the night. You will find a number of hostels, guesthouses, but also more luxurious accommodations, such as luxury resorts and, for example, the Hilton Kuching Hotel. Are you traveling on a budget? Then we recommend that you stay at Check in Lodge. A super nice and cozy guesthouse where many travelers come together. In addition to dormitories, a number of private rooms are available. From Check in Lodge, all sights in Kuching can be reached on foot. Below you will find a list of other nice accommodations in Kuching.
Read more about Malaysia: