Sarawak’s capital city of Kuching is a compact melting pot of cultures on the banks of the Sarawak River. Crumbling colonial mansions are a nod to Kuching’s days under the Raj, and today these rub shoulders with Chinese hawker stalls, cocktail bars and buzzing local markets. Coupled with some interesting sights in and around the city, Kuching is well worth a few days of exploration.
Strolling through Kuching’s relatively small city centre is both a pleasant and interesting experience as you pass orient influence from the Chinese occupancy mixed in with remnants from its days under British colonial rule. The name “Kuching” means ‘cat’ in Malay, so also expect to see plenty of feline paraphernalia dotted throughout the city streets. The state’s rich history can be viewed in the celebrated Sarawak Museum.
Opened in 1891 and the oldest museum in Borneo, it offers a fascinating insight into the flora and fauna of the state, as well as some splendid exhibits about cultural traditions and the indigenous tribes of this ancient jungle state.
Located just outside of the city is Bako National Park, the oldest national park in Sarawak. The result of millions of years of erosion, the coastline has developed into steep cliffs, rocky headlands and stretches of white sandy beaches. With abundant wildlife including the long-nosed proboscis monkey, jungle streams, waterfalls, secluded bays and over sixteen trekking trails of varying lengths, Bako is a fascinating place to visit and a worthy addition to any Borneo itinerary.
Just a thirty-minute drive from the city, Kuching is also well placed for visiting Semonggok Wildlife Centre, offering the chance to see orangutans who have been rescued from captivity.