A city which has retained and treasured its historic buildings and cultures, Kuching is the place to discover Malaysian Borneo’s past. The nearby national parks will lead you on a journey through Borneo’s ecology, from wetlands and rain forest, to a primate rehabilitation center.
To find your bearings in the “Cat City” (kuching is Malay for cat), follow the city’s waterfront trail that winds along the Sarawak River. This trail takes you past a 19th-century fortress, a Chinese Pavilion, a Buddhist temple, and street food vendors and restaurants where you can try everything from oyster omelettes to a local dry noodle dish, kolok mee.
Discover the oldest existing street in the city, Main Bazaar, where the two-story shops are a great place to hunt for bargain antiques, wooden folk crafts, ceramics and jewelry.
Spend a day or two exploring Kuching’s many museums. The Sarawak Museum was opened in 1891 and has exhibitions of tribal artifacts and extensive natural history collections. Investigate the influence of Islam on Malaysia at the nearby Sarawak Islamic Museum, where you’ll find exhibits dedicated to weaponry, architecture, literature and costumery. The Chinese influence on the city is proudly displayed at the flamboyant riverside temple Tua Pek Kong, built in 1843.
Nature tours are also a prime reason to base yourself in Kuching. Just 30-minute bus ride from the city is the entry to the Bako National Park. Hike the short or long trails through the jungle while keeping an eye out for the endangered proboscis monkeys and flying lizards. Join a boat tour of the Kuching Wetlands National Park to see otters and Irrawaddy dolphins.
Come face-to-face with Borneo’s most famous primates at the Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary, which is also rehabilitating a number of other endangered species.
Kuching offers year-round sunshine and is compact and safe enough to comfortably explore on foot or by bicycle.
river, temple and festival
Take a tour through the world of rare species and lush rainforest on the cliffs and headlands of Bako National Park. This journey lets you admire the pristine scenery of land and water around Sarawak's oldest national park, along with the remarkable diversity of plant and animal life within.
Venture out of the city for a day spent among the adorable animals of Matang Wildlife Centre. Spot orangutans, binturongs, and civets being rehabilitated to survive in the wild, and then set out for a rainforest hike to see jungle waterfalls and exotic plants in Kubah National Park.
Head away from the bustle of the city to visit the biggest orangutan rehabilitation center in Sarawak, and learn about the lives of these remarkable creatures. Rescued from captivity and trained to survive in the surrounding forest, these animals can teach you the enduring power of nature.
This full-day trip showcases the natural beauty of Kuching with a visit to the Semenggoh Nature Reserve and a kayaking journey on the Sarawak Kiri River. See native orangutans in the nature reserve before taking to the water and exploring picturesque landscapes on your way to Kampung Semadang.
Set a course for Satang Island as you take a leisurely boat trip to the tropical wonderland that is home to a turtle conservation program. Visit the hatchery to learn all about these relaxed reptiles, and then jump into the water for a swim or snorkel.
Get the perfect introduction to Sarawak's historic capital with this tour through the best sights of Kuching. From the Chinese Temple's vibrant colors to the grand former palace of the White Rajahs and the city's lively storefronts, you can experience the remarkable history and energy around you.