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Kuching

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in kuching

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Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, East Malaysia.

kuching Travel Guide :

Kuching

Understand

Kuching riverfront at duskKuching riverfront at dusk
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Kuching riverfront at dusk


Once the capital of the White Rajahs of Sarawak, now with a population of some 500,000, Kuching is small enough to walk around but interesting enough to keep you there for several days. It's safe and relatively clean. The name of the city, Kuching, is thought to derive from the Malay word kucing, meaning cat. Many of the locals refer to Kuching as the "Cat City" but it more likely comes from the Chinese word for port ("cochin") coupled with the cat-eye fruit that was a popular trade item

Kuching

Get in

Kuching

By plane

Kuching International Airport (KCH) is Sarawak's main gateway and, in East Malaysia, second only to Kota Kinabalu in size. There are near-hourly connections to Kuala Lumpur on both Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia, as well as flights to Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu and points elsewhere in Sarawak. International connections are rather more limited, although there are a few weekly services to Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Perth, Sydney, PontianakPontianak and Singapore.

As of 2005, the airport is undergoing a major facelift and expansion, and unless you enjoy construction noise it's advisable to minimize time spent there. Kuching city is about 20 minutes away by taxi, a fixed RM17.50 from the taxi coupon stand just outside arrivals. There are also rather intermittent (once every hour or so) buses to the city center for RM1.

When checking in, note that all flights outside Sarawak are considered "international", even if you're only going elsewhere in Malaysia. There is a basic restaurant on the 2nd (top) floor before security.

Kuching

By boat

Express Bahagia and Express Sejahtera express boats run once daily each from Sibu to Kuching and back (4 hours, RM36).

Kuching

By bus

The long-distance bus terminal located along Jalan Penrissen; also dubbed as "4 and a half miles".

Kuching

Get around

Tambangs provide easy and cheap transport across the river in Kuching.Tambangs provide easy and cheap transport across the river in Kuching.
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Tambangs provide easy and cheap transport across the river in Kuching.
Kuching

By bus

Kuching's hotels have banded together to offer a free City Tram (really just a bus) service that shuttles around major sights once every hour. Ask for a City Tram sticker and route map from your hotel lobby.

Other local buses are run by a colorful assortment of companies, but there's a reasonably logical line numbering system and bus stops usually have some signage.

Kuching

By boat

Tambang boats shuttle across the river at various points, all charging a fixed RM0.30 per passenger.

Kuching

On foot

Kuching is unusually pedestrian-friendly for a Malaysian city, with tree-lined sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, and the city core is compact enough to cover on foot. Good walks include the Waterfront and the pedestrian shopping street of Jalan India (Kuching's Little India).

Kuching

See

Jalan IndiaJalan India
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Jalan India

Kuching's major sights are its museums. Clustered just south of the center, a program of refurbishment started in 2002 is shuffling up the exhibits.

  • Chinese History Museum, Waterfront (east end of Main Bazaar). A small colonial-era museum that used to be the Chinese Court of Kuching, now houses a small permanent exhibition of Kuching's many Chinese groups and regional worthies.
  • Dewan Tun Abdul Razak, Jl. Tun Abang Haji Openg (opposite Sarawak Museum). Formerly the New Wing of the Sarawak Museum, now houses changing exhibitions and has a rather good gift shop.
  • Fort Margherita, across the river. Built on the orders of James Brooke to guard his fledgling capital.
  • Sarawak Museum, Jl. Tun Abang Haji Openg. Housing the largest ethnographic collection in Borneo, the Old Building of the Sarawak Museum was originally the residence of James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak. The first floor now houses a rather ordinary collection of stuffed and mounted animals as well as an oil industry panegyric sponsored by Shell; the second floor is more interesting, with a walk-through longhouse model and extensive displays of tribal artifacts. Spot the small case documenting palang, the penis piercing jewelry worn by Iban men. Free entry, open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM daily except holidays.
  • Tua Pek Kong Temple, Jl. Padungan (east end of Main Bazaar). Ornate Chinese temple.
Kuching

Do

Kuching is a great home-base for jungle trekking and exploring Borneo.

Kuching

Buy

There's some interesting shopping in Kuching. For a wide selection of tribal handicrafts and touristy gewgaws, head down to the aptly named 'Main Bazaar street on the Kuching waterfront. It's worth going inside for a look, as many shops have larger and more authentic collections hidden away upstairs or in a back room.

Note that, in this mostly Christian city, some shops close on Sundays.

Kuching

Markets

Fancy a banana at the Sunday Market?Fancy a banana at the Sunday Market?
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Fancy a banana at the Sunday Market?
  • Sunday Market (Pasar Minggu), off Jl. Satok (between Esso gas station and Wisma Satok). A Kuching institution, starting every Saturday afternoon and winding down by noontime Sunday. Very much a workaday market, with tourists few and far between, the emphasis is on fresh food of every description. Be sure to try some apam balik (pancake with nuts and margerine, very filling, absolutely delicious and only RM1 a piece). Bring along suitable footwear plus a tolerance for heat, crowds and powerful odors.
  • Two other local markets, more conveniently located and open daily, can be found at the west end of Jl. India.
Kuching

Shopping malls

  • Sarawak Plaza, Jl. Tunku Abdul Rahman (next to Holiday Inn). One of Kuching's older malls.
  • Tun Jugah, Jl. Tunku Abdul Rahman (opposite Sarawak Plaza). New, shiny and rather boring.
  • Wisma Serbakas, located at the junction of Jl. Tun Abang Haji Openg and Jl. Rock, is a round tower on the outskirts (approximately 15 minutes from the Waterfront) that offers a feast of hi-tech products based around mobile telephones and computers.
Kuching

Eat

Eating out is the major pastime, with a huge variety of eateries and food available. Most places are pretty cheap with excellent service but the more "local" the less English spoken. Be sure to sample some Sarawak laksa, but beware — it's considered a breakfast dish here and the popular places sell out fast. For the local Chinese, kolo mee, a noodle dish served with slices of roasted pork, is also a daily staple.

Kuching

Budget

  • Black Pepper Burger, Jln. Haji Taha 111. A simple stall dishing out very peppery burgers (RM1.40) and a gruesome-looking but tasty chicken gravy hotdogs (RM1.50).
  • Chong Choon, Jl. Abell (opposite Maybank). One of Kuching's two famous laksa joints. Usually sold out by noon.
  • Choon Hui, Jl. Ban Hock (near Grand Continental Hotel). The other famous laksa joint. Spicy and popular, get here before 10 AM.
Kuching

Mid-range

  • Khatulistiwa, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (next to Holiday Inn). This distinctive circular hut modeled on a Bidayuh skull house is popular with tourists, and with reason. There's a nice, breezy open-air restaurant downstairs, serving up local and Western favorites including a decent Sarawak laksa (RM8.90) and open 24 hours to boot; at nights, the hut's upper floors open up as a bar and club, with DJs spinning the night away, though you can also take your meal up there in the evenings.

Also check out the Harbor View hotel, it has an excellent restaurant with very friendly service open to non-guests.

Kuching

Drink

There are a number of good bars. Be sure to try Sarawak coffee, it is delicious.

Kuching

Sleep

Kuching

Budget

Kuching

Mid-range

  • Chong Lin Plaza Hotel and Suite. RM 75 Per night (Last known price).
Kuching

Splurge

Kuching has three international chain hotels, all by the riverfront, plus one home-grown grande old dame set a little further back.

  • Crowne Plaza Riverside Kuching, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. +60-82-247777, 1 (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/6c/1/en/hd/kchrs). Despite the name, this is the one riverside hotel that isn't actually riverside (although it's just across the street).
  • Hilton Kuching, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. +60-82-248200, 2 (http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=KUCHITW). Probably the top digs in town, with great riverside location.
  • Holiday Inn Kuching, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, tel. +60-82-423111, 3 (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/6c/1/en/hd/kchmy). Getting a bit old, with a dumpy pool area — although guests can also use the facilities at the Crowne Plaza across the road.
  • Merdeka Palace Hotel, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, tel. +60-82-258000, 4 (http://www.merdekapalace.com). Kuching's oldest luxury hotel, its rooms aren't quite as spectacular as the lobby, but the hotel has infinitely more colonial character than the riverside set. Located right next to the Sarawak Museum, yet still within striking distance of the riverfront. The rooftop pool has a great view over Kuching. Rack rates steep at around RM300, but steep discounts in the off season can chop that in half.
Kuching

Get out

  • Sarawak Cultural Village5 (http://www.scv.com.my), located 35 km away from Kuching, is a "living museum" that showcases the different races and cultures of Sarawak. It is also the site of the annual Rainforest World Music Festival 6 (http://www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com/).
Kuching

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