Known as the capital city of Sarawak, Kuching is a playground of sights and sounds that are waiting to be discovered. Brimming with character and laid-back charm, it also earned the nickname, the City of Cats, thanks to its moniker that means 'cat' in Bahasa Malaysia. If you're in town for a short trip, here are the best things to do in Kuching on your next getaway.
1. Take a snapshot in front of Kuching's famous cat monument
You can't say you've travelled to Kuching until you've taken a photo in front of this famous Kuching Cat Monument
. Situated in front of McDonald's Kuching on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, it is THE cat statue to go for the ultimate postcard-worthy snapshot. You might bump into a group of tourists who are eager to take the same photo, so wait patiently and your turn will come.
2. Step into the world's first Cat Museum
Once you've taken a photo in front of Kuching's popular cat monument, it's time to embrace your love for your feline friends at the Kuching Cat Museum
. Not only is this museum a unique attraction in Sarawak, but it is also the world's first cat museum of its kind. Situated in the Kuching North City Hall, explore the exhibits to find out how Kuching got its name and the symbolism of cats in Malay, Chinese, and Orang Ulu community.
3. Walk along the Kuching Waterfront
Ask any locals about their favourite gathering spot in Kuching, and they're likely to mention the Kuching Waterfront
as one of their top five spots. Spanning along the south bank of the Sarawak River, spot the beautiful colonial buildings that have been repurposed into the Chinese History Museum, Sarawak Steamship Building and Square Tower. While you're here, be sure to walk on the Darul Hana Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge that also makes an awesome Instagrammable spot in Kuching.
4. Learn about Bornean history at the Sarawak State Museum
Situated on Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, the Sarawak State Museum
is the oldest museum in Borneo that was founded in 1888. So not only do you get to learn about the rich cultures and traditions of Borneo, but you get a chance to explore this historical landmark. The Sarawak State Museum has many galleries to visit, ranging from Niah archaeology to Sarawak Islamic heritage.
5. Spend an afternoon at the Sarawak Cultural Village
Another attraction in Kuching you shouldn't miss out on is the Sarawak Cultural Village
. Dubbed as Sarawak's only living museum, sign up for the half-day experience to get to know more about Sarawak's diverse ethnic groups.
Step into the Sarawak Cultural Village and you'll see replicas of buildings that represent the ethnic groups of Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu, Penan, Melanau, Malay, and Chinese. In each building, you'll be greeted by ethnic group members who are ready to host various traditional activities and entertain you with a multi-cultural dance performance.
6. Pray at the Kuching City Mosque
When you walk along the Kuching Waterfront, you might spot the beautiful Kuching Mosque
. Also known as Masjid Lama (Old Mosque) by the locals, the original wooden mosque was actually built in 1852 before it had been refurbished into the stunning mosque that you see today. The most recognisable features of the Kuching Mosque is the gilded cupolas that look absolutely striking during sundown.
7. Say hello to the proboscis monkeys at Bako National Park
Perfect for nature lovers, spend some time at Bako National Park
on your next trip to Kuching. It may be the smallest national park in Sarawak, but this nature paradise is brimming with diverse wildlife, and it's also home to the famous proboscis monkey and silvered leaf monkeys.
You'll spot them when you venture on a 30-minute hike or 7-hour hike at Bako National Park's hiking trails. If you're lucky enough to spot them, be sure to take some photos because you can only find them in this region!
8. Meet the orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
Make a trip to the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
to see the famous orangutans! You can only spot these friendly primates in the rainforest of Borneo and Sumatra, so don't miss your chance to see them at their daily feeding sessions. Since orangutans are critically endangered, visitors are not allowed to get up close to them, but you can still catch them eating bananas and playing on the wooden platform from afar.
9. Plan a hiking adventure to Mount Santubong
If you're up for a hiking adventure, there's no better place to go than Mount Santubong
! Just a 35-minute drive from Kuching, it's amazing to witness the lush rainforest of Mount Santubong as well as the surrounding mangrove forests, rivers and mudflats. For those who are not keen on hiking, you can always opt for a scenic kayaking experience or spot the rare Irrawaddy dolphin while you're there.
For travellers who are looking to explore the capital city of Sarawak, we hope you've discovered the best things to do in Kuching! To explore the best of East Malaysia, you can check out the recommended reads below.