Last December I had a chance to visit Kuching in the state of Sarawak for a friend’s wedding. Since it was my first time there, we decided to spend a few days there and try to explore Kuching as much as possible. Here are some of the highlights from the trip that I think you guys should check out.
As Kuching also stands for Cat in Malay, it is fitting that Cats are the symbol of the city. So I believe the Cat Museum was created in conjunction with that. The Cat Museum is located at the the hilltop building for the Kuching City Council. With the RM3 entrance fee, you’ll be treated to all things related to cats. The artifacts were interesting, but I wished that the displays were taken care of better as they were collecting dusts and some places needed better lighting. Overall however, it was an educational experience.
Semenggong Nature Reserve
The sole reason for a visit here is the chance to see Orangutans in person. The entrance fee is RM5 per adults. From the information center area, you’ll get to first meet the young orangutans that are part of the family taken care of at the park. Next you will be taken into a deeper part of the woods in hopes of seeing more members of the family during its feeding time. Unfortunately, we were unable to see any there. I guess they were shy from the crowds of people gathering. Our frustration was turned around as one of the elder Orangutans made a visit back at the information center so we rushed back there to get a glimpse. The background of the family of Orangutans taken care of there were quite entertainingly presented at the information center.
Bako National Park
The best part of our trip was the hike we went at Bako National Park. From the Kampung Bako jetty, we waited for the river water to rise before we can make our boat ride to the island park. The water levels only rised enough after 10am and we still got stuck on the way. Once we reached the park at about 11am, we only had about 3.5 hours to hike so we decided to take the trail that could accomodate the time we had which was to Teluk Pandan Kecil. It was quite a fun and challenging trail. At times, it was an open trail and the sun was already above our heads, so you can imagine the heat we faced. The trail ends at a cliff overlooking a bay below. We even hiked down to the beach but couldn’t swim as it was not allowed. It was a worthwhile hike as the view is beautiful. By the time we finished and ready to go back to the mainland, the water has risen so high that the beach we initially reached when we started was no longer in sight.
The waterfront is the centrepiece of Kuching city. Here you can walk along the Sarawak river and have a view of the elegant State Legislative Assembly of Sarawak building, Astana as well as a view of the Margherita Fort hidden in the jungle across the river. There were stalls along the river serving delicious food from Sarawak right up to western fares. Try your hand at the 5 layer tea consisting of tea, brown sugar, a bit of pandan, creamer and more. Desserts are served as well. My friend also got a cheap haircut and coffee soap at one of the stalls.
Kampung Boyan is located just opposite the Kuching waterfront. A preserved Malay village, it’s just a 5 minute boat ride away to cross the river versus driving a whole half an hour over to the other side. Here, you can visit the many cake shops to buy the famous Batik cake Sarawak is known for. There are now so many designs of cake made on a daily basis here. You can even have a try for some of them to get a taste. We also had dinner at the famous wooden restaurant My Village Barok to try out its famous Nasi Ayam Penyet, Ayam Pansuh and the vege dish Midin Belacan. The atmosphere of eating in a wooden house really gives you that unique Kampung feeling.
Food to try
We had a taste of a few famous delicacies in Kuching. We tasted Laksa Sarawak and Mee Kolok at RNR Food Court. Our initial plan to just have breakfast turned into having early lunch just to try the different food they serve here. We also went to Pak Amit 3 to try out Kolok Mee, Pok Mee and Satay which was prepared differently from what we’re used to in Kuala Lumpur. We also had a try at Ayam Penyet and Bakar served with rice or noodle at RJ Ayam Bakar.
There were definitely a lot more places to see in Kuching such as the Cultural Village and another hike spot at Santubong hill which has an interesting fictional story behind it. I’ll be sure to check them out when I return someday.