The beating drums blared on arrival in Kuching, the largest city in Sarawak, at how wonderful this city presented itself to the visiting world.
From its bustling city-centre to the iconic Kuching Waterfront, and the epic hikes in the National Parks, what do in Kuching for a fulfilling vacation is endless.
You can visit quirky museums, enjoy a sunset river cruise and discover the culture of a region that dates back to centuries in time.
It’s all on display with stunning Kuching Tourist attractions and after a few days exploring the city and beyond. You’ll look to extend your stay into an already busy schedule of Malaysia.
Let’s dive into it, all the fun things to do in Kuching, because you’ll you want to get your Borneo Itinerary ready for this trip and begin with all the fun Kuching activities.
What to do in Kuching – Sarawak
For this edition for what to do in Kuching, key activities are divided into different parts.
From the action along the waterfront, the best heritage buildings to visit, a snapshot of the national parks for a day tour and many other fabulous Kuching tourist places to explore.
The Action Heats up along the Kuching Waterfront
The Kuching Waterfront takes centre stage, especially during the evening hours, when people flock to the area for an evening stroll, a dinner view and a picturesque cruise along the Sarawak River.
With many of the popular Kuching hotels nearby to the Waterfront, it becomes easily accessible to take in the daily events.
For further incredible Kuching things to do along the Waterfront, check out the following activities.
The fountain Show
The night time fountain show lights up the Kuching sky spectacularly and particularly the Sarawak River section in front of the iconic Bangunan Dewan Undangan Negeri.
The crowds gather in numbers every evening to catch a glimpse of the fifteen-minute event for the dazzling colours, the effects and sounds of the Kuching Waterfront Musical Fountain.
The session of the fountain show begins at 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm daily and on the Friday to Sunday nights there is an extra 10:30 pm edition.
A Gorgeous Riverside Kuching Walk
It can’t be helped when you visit Kuching, the walking paths along the Sarawak River are inviting, and every day you’ll go on a riverside walk to capture the best Kuching attractions.
The best time for a river walk is when the sun begins to fade away to end another memorable day.
When the weather starts to cool, the fitness fanatics take advantage of the refreshing change in temperature with a daily stroll or jog along the banks.
During the day the stalls are usually empty, and it appears not a lot is happening. However, deep into the afternoon, food stalls are opening throughout the Kuching Waterfront, and an affordable feed is available at your mercy.
For fine dining in Kuching Waterfront, it’s mainly a mixture of Malaysian and other Asian Cuisines with alternate options of grilled steaks, and other Western foods.
Don’t forget to order your cold beverages at the nearby drink stands and refresh your thirst with Riverside views.
Bangunan Dewan Undangan Negeri
The Bangunan Dewan Undangan Negeri stands with an almighty for everyone to see, and its towering presence can’t be ignored upon reaching the Waterfront.
The Bangunan Dewan Undangan Negeri is a State Legislative Building which has a significant reflection on Kuching city, for there are many souvenir items of fridge magnets and key rings showcasing the iconic Kuching sightseeing attraction.
Enjoy a Sarawak River Cruise at Sunset
A river cruise is simply a must while exploring the Waterfront and you’re looking for things to do in Kuching City.
There are many individual cruises available for various budgets, whether you need a short ride to the other side of the Sarawak River or a Kuching sightseeing cruise.
The most popular cruise is the Signature Sunset Cruise. It departs the waterfront every evening at 5:30 pm and comes back into the dock at 7:00 pm. The ticket price includes finger food, soft drinks and a journey past the best historical places in Kuching.
View the mesmerising Sunset on the Golden Anniversary Bridge (Darul Hana Bridge)
If you wish to bypass the cruise and still view a majestic sunset. The 2017 established Golden Anniversary Bridge or locally known as the Darul Hana Bridge, is the ideal spot to saviour your Kuching travel experience with a fantastic sunset.
The expansive bridge allows you to capture many of the fabulous Kuching Tourist Places from the vantage points. In the evening, many tourist and locals ascend to the bridge to witness the best views in town.
Visit Epic National Parks for an adventurous trek
National Parks and Sarawak go hand in hand, with a few picturesque parks easily accessible from the City Centre.
Bako National Park
Bako National Park is a Tourist attraction that captures every traveller’s attention, and you’ll need a whole day to see the best bits of Bako Kuching.
You’ll need to reserve plenty of energy for a day of hiking and sightseeing in the picturesque National Park and bring plenty of water.
The best way to get to Bako is to catch the Red Number 1 bus for 4-ringgit or order a GRAB driver, and they’ll get you to the boat terminal in less than half an hour.
Once at the Terminal, you pay your fees for the shuttle boat and National Park entrance fees, and before you know, you’re in beautiful Bako.
What follows is several hours of sightseeing through different trekking paths which usually leads to a gorgeous coastline or beach. To save time and energy, at the end of most trekking points, you have the option of catching a boat to another beautiful location and hike back to the central point of Bako.
While the boat trips cost a small fee, it certainly is the best way to go about seeing as much of Bako National Park in the short time available. Meaning, you don’t have to see the same thing twice during your day trip.
Kubah National Park
The Kubah National Park is another scenic Sarawak attraction that gathers tourists for hiking and sightseeing with mesmerising waterfalls the highlight of the National Park.
Kubah is only a short drive from the Kuching city centre which is accessible by GRAB, or regular bus services. It’s particularly popular at night, with the Frog Nights Tour a popular choice for travellers to want to see the best of the wilderness in the night sky.
Orangutan sightings at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve
The Semenggoh Nature reserve is a primate rehabilitation centre for orangutans and various species of birds.
It’s the ideal place to visit for a half-day tour with Orangutan feeding times happening at 9 am and 3 pm. In that specific time frame, you have the best chance to see a few of the mighty Orangutans.
It’s a Cat City Kuching
It’s a cat thing in Kuching, and that’s obvious from your arrival in Sarawak City.
The word Kuching translates to ‘cats‘, which in turn gives the city’s it’s appropriate nickname as the ‘City of Cats‘.
Where the affection for the cats came about is unsure, but for me, I find it rather refreshing that a significant Asian destination can have such a fixation about cats.
Visit the Iconic Cat Museum
If any city around the world was going to have a dedicated Cat Museum, it could only be Kuching.
The museum is a reasonable distance from the city centre; therefore, you’ll need to get the smartphone out and order a GRAB driver to get to the iconic museum.
The Cat Museum is what it is, a representation of cats in many ways, shape and form. Inside, there is information on the cat species from your stay at the domestic feline, to yellow and black tigers and roaring lions.
There is information on various cat foods, famous cats who have played a part in the entertainment industry, and many more cat stories worth checking out.
It’s a quirky museum you must see for yourself when on vacation in Kuching.
Kuching wouldn’t be the same without a quick trip to Cat Café where the domestic pets are roaming about while you’re enjoying a coffee.
The best Cat Café to visit is the Meow Meow Cat Café, not far from the city centre. The café has several cats playing about on their toys, while cat lovers can escape the heat and watch the friendly feline wander at will.
Check out a Cat Statue in Kuching
Cat statues are well represented in Kuching, and when you’re walking the streets, a few figures of the famous feline will appear on street corners.
It’s an ideal opportunity to stop for a minute during your busy day and take a few photos of a cat statue in Kuching.
Head on over to Damai Central for a beach, resorts and a village
Damai is a little out of the Central Kuching, with a GRAB driver the best way to get there. From there, you take the half-hour journey to the popular attraction known for beaches, luxury resorts and a beautiful Cultural Village.
Explore Tradition at the Sarawak Cultural Village
I loved my time at the Sarawak Cultural Village, a wonderful Kuching Attraction to explore the traditions of Sarawak with their longhouses and traditional buildings.
Inside the Sarawak Village, there are plenty of workshops available to the guest, from learning about the arts, hunting skills, local cooking, and discovering the proud heritage that lies within the people of Sarawak.
A must-see during your time at the Culture Village Kuching is to watch the magnificent Cultural Show. It takes place twice a day at 11:30 am and 4 pm and showcases a variety of dances and acts of the local traditions.
Stay at a Damai Beach Resort
If lifestyle while on a Sarawak vacation means the world to you and you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the City, but still want to have the best of both worlds.
There is a variety of places to stay in Damai which include luxury to bungalow-style accommodations, and below is a list of places to consider for your Damai Resort Kuching Booking.
- Damai Beach Resort
- Damai Puri Resort
- Permai Rainforest Resort
- Nanga Damai Homestay
- BB Bunkers
- The Culvert Hotel Resort
It’s only a stone throw from the Culture Village and the perfect place to visit after exploring the traditions of Sarawak. It’s the ideal opportunity to enjoy a swim in the calm waters, and if you stick around till dusk, watch a majestic sunset.
Other things to do around Damai Beach include eating out at the Mangotree Terrace or the D’Sea, enjoying a refreshing drink at the Escobar and relaxing on the grass overlooking the beach and listening to the sounds of the ocean.
Receive a Sarawak Education at a Kuching Museum
Museums in any city are an ideal opportunity for further education about a city’s proud history.
It’s no different in Kuching who has three separate museums in the same vicinity. However, in my visit, a majority of museums were receiving a makeover and weren’t opened to the public.
However, when the museums reopen in late 2019 – early 2020, there is no excuse not to explore the detailed history of Sarawak.
Sarawak State Museum
Established in 1891, The Sarawak Museum is the oldest museum in Borneo and known to be one of the best museums in all of ASEAN.
Upon reopening, check out the stunning architectural building of the museum and explore the historical relics and artefacts of Sarawak.
Sarawak Art Museum
The Art Museum showcases the best contemporary and artworks of Sarawak, as well as displaying beautiful sculptures and traditional crafts.
Extravagant Malls for Shopping in Kuching City
Every tourist loves a dose of retail therapy, especially in a Southeast Asian Destination where the instant relief of the air conditioner is appreciative after walking the humid city streets.
There are few dazzling Malls which cater to your shopping desires, a need for a coffee hit and to find a quick feed in a food court or fast food restaurant.
Below are a few of the best Malls for your convenient Kuching Shopping Guide.
Riverside Shopping Complex
The Riverside Shopping Complex is nearby to many of the popular Kuching hotels and the Waterfront location. It hosts various retail stores for browsing and a few family amusements with a Bowling centre within the mall.
Jugah Shopping Centre
A laidback mall within the heart of the city centre that comes with a fantastic Coffee Garden Café, retail outlets and an ideal spot for currency exchange in Kuching.
Plaza Merdeka is the premier Mall in Kuching and perfect for those who love to wander through a variety of retail chains, a busy food court and a host of amusements for the whole family to enjoy.
A Kuching Food Guide for the best food and drinks in town
The best food in Kuching is easy to find while walking the city streets. From the iconic food courts, water view dining and the everyday restaurants you pass on a whim, you’ll find good food in Kuching.
Unwind in a Kuching Café
Kuching cafes are the premier palace to hang out, and why not, they have everyone’s favourite things. The café has got your best coffee in the hot or cold variety, a quick bite to eat and free WIFI that has you spending hours on the laptop.
Enjoy a cold beer in a Kuching Bar
When the evening pops around, you ditch the cafe and head straight to a Kuching Bar for a refreshing Tiger lager or Carlsberg beer.
Check below for a list of the best bars to visit in Kuching and refresh the first, however, there are plenty more drinking bars to stumble upon in the process.
Best Bars in Kuching
- Bear Garden
- Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar
- The Granary Kitchen
- Borneo Redneck’s Bar
- The Wayang
Food Frenzy at the Top Spot Kuching
If you love a food court, you will love the Top Spot Food Court, and for a good reason too, it’s the best Kuching Food court to go to when desiring the best seafood in town.
The crowds gather to Top Spot Kuching every night for the fast action pace and to taste the most delicious Malaysian Cuisines of seafood, a variety of meats and the freshest vegetables.
The Waterfront and other Kuching Restaurants
I have already mentioned the Waterfront and its array of Kuching food choices for an elegant sit-down meal with mesmerising views.
However, throughout the city, you’ll many fantastic and affordable places to go for a great feed of Malay, Indian, Chinese and Western Cuisine, because in Kuching, they understand great food.
A Kuching Restaurant Guide
- Bla Bla Bla
- James Brooke Bistro and Café
- Life Café
- Lepau Restaurant
- Zinc Restaurant and Bar
Places of Interest in Kuching you must check out
Heritage is alive with many beautiful things to do in Kuching for education about the history, traditions and values that lie within Sarawak Malaysia.
Fort Margherita is one of my favourite places to visit in Kuching. To get there, you need a boat trip for one-ringgit from the waterfront, and you’ll get to the other side of the Sarawak River.
This iconic Kuching tourist attraction is an old fort constructed in 1879 by Charles Brooke, and it’s a landmark into Sarawak’s history, dating back to the Brooke family Dynasty.
It’s a great way to learn the timeline of when James Brooke discovered Sarawak and until the exile of the Brooke family in 1946.
Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple
Tua Pek Kong Temple lies in the heart of Kuching and situated across from the Waterfront. It’s the oldest temple in the city and is an iconic part of the Kuching Heritage Trail.
The temple offers a fantastic photo opportunity to appreciate the excellent, articulate design of the buildings. Usually, you’ll spend half an hour within the walls to admire the structures or to worship by lighting a candle.
Kuching Floating Mosque
The Kuching Floating Mosque is best seen from the Golden Anniversary Bridge or on a fabulous river cruise. From those vantage points, you’ll get the best opportunity to take the best pictures of the unique Kuching Mosque.
The Floating Mosque is the newest attraction to the Waterfront, along with the bridge, and while it captures the heart of many tourists from the outside the walls every day, worshippers of the Islamic belief come to the mosque for prayer time.
Another popular waterfront attraction seen by people passing by every day is the Square Tower, it was once a prison & a fortress which was built back in 1879.
Kuching Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse is a beautiful landmark in the heart of the city, and upon establishment in the 19th Century, it was used as a courthouse.
Nowadays, it’s an area for cafes, bars, a museum and the home of the Kuching Visitor Centre for all your tourist needs.
It’s vibrant, it’s hip, and it sells a whole lot of clothes, textiles, hats, belts, wallets and other local souvenirs.
India Streets is a vibrant place to visit for local and affordable shopping and is located near the Merdeka Plaza, which leads to the Waterfront, where further Kuching sightseeing continues.
Enjoy the great outdoors in Parks and Gardens in and around Kuching
The outdoors of Kuching is not only refected to the National Parks and within the city limits, but you’ll also find a few boutique parks and gardens to appreciate the nature of Kuching.
The colours of the rainbow come alive at the beautiful Orchard garden, situated on the opposite side of the Waterfront and nearby to the Golden Anniversary Bridge.
The Orchard Park is free entry to wander the boutique gardens and to browse many types of plants with delicate colours. Anyone with a green thumb will love to explore the bountiful orchards, water features and the careful garden setup.
The Reservoir Park on my visit was found by accident when departing the Heroes Monument through the back streets.
The Boutique park is quite hidden, and mainly local workers were lounging about during my brief trip to the park.
Inside the Reservoir Park, there is a walking track surrounding the main lake, a wooden bridge and a gazebo to add to the of the city park.
Not only that, there is plenty of shade to escape the hot weather in Kuching and to have rest from bustling city streets in the quiet.
The Heroes Monument is a beautiful stroll in the outdoors and with very few people around to spoil the mood, and it gives you extra quiet time to marvel the featured monument.
The main Memorial, which takes centre stage in the parklands, is in dedication to the brave soldiers of Sarawak who died defending the sovereignty of the country.