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The best of Southeast Asia

Kuching Mini-Guide

Kuching is the capital of Malaysia's largest state, but it still has a rather small town feel to it. Unlike the colonial cities of the peninsula, Kuching was not under colonial rule until World War II. Prior to then, it was governed by the so-called White Rajahs external link.

Sarawak Museum
The Sarawak Museum in Kuching

Kuching is a surprisingly laid-back city, where you can easily find yourself immersed in one of its many museums or spending the afternoon down by the riverside, watching the world slowly glide by.

When To Go

Unlike the cities of the peninsula, Kuching has a more pronounced rainy season, which lasts from December to February. The driest months are June to August. However, there's a good chance of rain at almost any time of year, so don't let that alone deter you from visiting. See the Kuching Weather external link page for charts and current forecast.

Getting To Kuching

You'll most likely get to Kuching by air. There are domestic flights from several major cities around Malaysia, as well as international flights from neighboring countries. The airport is the main hub for Sarawak, so there are plenty of flights to choose from, both budget and full-service carriers.

How Long To Stay

You can see the main sights of the city in a full day, but if you're interested in museums or colonial history, then you'll want to have two or three whole days to be sure to take in all the city has to offer. Kuching makes an excellent base for exploring the area. There are plenty of day-trips on offer to see some of the tribal villages or national parks nearby. Lastly, Kuching is one of those places where it's just nice to linger for a nice relaxing holiday.

Where To Stay

The Hilton is the old favorite place to stay. Located right on the waterfront, it is definitely a good location. However, I would personally favor the much newer Pullman, opened in 2010. It's located on a small hill right behind the Hilton, so the location is almost as good, and thanks to the hill, it has much more commanding views of the area as well. If you're looking for something smaller and less ordinary, then definitely have a look at the award-winning Batik Boutique Hotel. The location is still very good for sight-seeing, and there are many good restaurants along the street near the hotel.

Getting Around

Most of the sights are within a short walk of the waterfront area, so if you pick the right hotel, most everything should be within walking distance. You will only need a taxi to get to and from the airport. There are taxis available in the city, but they have a reputation for not using meters and cheating customers, so they're best avoided.

What To See & Do

Most of the sights of Kuching revolve around its past as a major industrial trading port under the White Rajahs. The waterfront area is now mostly a nicely landscaped promenade, but here and there you will see the signs of the past, such as Fort Margherita external link, the Astana external link, and the Square Tower external link. You can also see Kuching's 'future' as it were, in the shape of the fantastical Sarawak Legislative Complex external link.

Moving away from the river a little, you'll find the old Courthouse external link, and then the impressive Sarawak Museum external link complex. You'll also want to poke around the city's Chinatown along Carpenter Street external link, as well as India Street external link. Finally, facing the river is the Main Bazaar Road external link, the place to find souvenirs and local handicrafts.

 

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