The capital city of Malaysian Borneo is perhaps the most alluring city in the Eastern Hemisphere. It has the attractions of new hotels and terrific food with none of the time-consuming traffic found in other cities.
Where to Stay
Kuching has no shortage of five-star accommodations sprinkled throughout the hotel zones, but the Ranee is a charming and popular B&B with fairly suitable prices and an exquisite boutique located in former Chinese shophouses. Then there is an, even more, cost-effective option right next door the Waterfront Lodge that features a traditional courtyard. Then you will find a host of other inexpensive accommodations for backpackers including the Singgahsana Lodge, which features a rooftop bar and pool tables.
Another popular accommodation option is the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley Conservation Area. At this resort, you will find the rainforest at your doorstep, without compromising the luxury – providing you with a unique experience!
What to See and Do
Kuching is most characterized by a beautiful and historic waterfront that makes the perfect introduction to the wonders of Malaysia as you walk the mile-long promenade along the Sarawak river. Across the river, you will view the serenity of many Malay Kampongs. There is also the Fort Margherita and the White Raja’s Palace the splendour of both these impressive structures is dwarfed by the sky-high modern parliamentary buildings that appear like a golden spaceship.
There are various cruises available, but there is nothing as traditional as a relaxing sampan ferry which will charge about M$1 per person.
Kuching is not loaded with sights but there is a fabulous Sarawak Museum that features a fascinating collection of historical and cultural attractions that basically remains unchanged 1981. There are also flora and fauna native to the island of Borneo that remains unspoilt and certainly worth exploring during your stay here.
Where to Eat
For those foodies looking for delightful delicacies, the food scene here in Kuching is varied and exciting and you will find an unlimited selection of tastes that cost less than half a pound. Begin your foodie trek at Chinatown Seng Kee on Carpenter Street. Try out the famous fish ball soups, pork satay or Sarawak laksa, a Chinese rice porridge with salted eggs and preserved vegetables. For the even more adventurous there is keuh chap, a feast made of slow braised pork ribs with pig intestines.
There are many other fine dining locations as well. You can try authentic Asian fusion at the Bla Bla Bla on 27 Tabuan street or the finest pizza in this corner of the globe at Junk on 80 Wayang Street. Here you will also find eclectic antiques from the famous chef George Ling.
Where to Drink
If you are looking for some excellent views of the waterfront, an evening at the James Brooke Bistro on 7 Tunku Abdul Rahman Street is the best place for tranquillity in a cup. But the locals usually flock to the robust and energizing flavours of coffee from the abundant plantations that fill the surrounding landscapes.
From early evening and happy hours till well past the early morning there is fun to be had at the drunken Monkee Bar on 12 Song Thian Cheok Street. This attraction is owned and operated by the NGO conservation project and much of the proceeds go to preserving the natural habitat of these amazing creatures. For hours of live music including Reggae and Hard Rock, visitors should check out The Canteen on 7 Tun Haji Openg Street every weekend.
Trips Out of Town
A trip to the nearby Semenggoh Wildlife Center will provide visitors with a once in a lifetime opportunity to view orangutans coexisting in their natural surroundings. It is important to understand that this is a rehabilitation centre for animals who are in severe danger of extinction and not a tourist attraction. There are currently 26 orangutans living in Semenggoh’s jungle and enjoy feedings from a forest warden twice daily. Visitors will be allowed to watch these spectacular feeding habits from a safe distance.