Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kuching 2

Second day, from Waterfront, we accessed the old Court House, Textile Museum, Kuching State Museum, Post Office, Little India, China Town, and a lot of shoplots selling indigenous souvenirs by foot. We took around 20 minutes walk from our hotel to the state museum, passing by the post office and Textile Museum,then taking the rest of the tourist's spot on our way back to the hotel.

Left: Main Bazzar, located just opposite to the Waterfront. Right: Shoplots at Little India.

Served as the museum premiering most exhibit items in South East Asia, Kuching State Museum is really a place that we should not miss. The museum was established since 1891, divided into several sections, held thousands of artifacts and specimens collected across Sarawak, and the factor of surprise, the admission is free! We visited the old museum building and the T.A.R. hall, which located just beside old building (linked by overhead bridge). Started as the first building for the museum, the old building holds vast amount of specimens (including two whales' skeletons), petroleum exhibition, and ethnographics. T.A.R. hall was convereted to gallery for museum in 1973 (previously served as State Legislative Assembly), the hold temporary exhibited items, such as pre-historical potteries, Chinese furnitures, archaeological materials excavated and so on. We spent around three hours, just walking around without close observation to all the exhibited items.

Left: "Batu Gambar", which means rock with picture on it is a replica of the artifacts found dated more than 600 years ago. Right: Sand crocodiles was built by locals as icons of protection for crops, before the modern agriculture means were introduced.

Across the road in front of Waterfront (don't cross the river), Main bazaar, with rows of really historical shoplots (built more than hundred years ago) offers all types of local handicrafts: sculptures, potteries, musical instruments, purses, etc. We really enjoyed the hunting over the souvenirs. There are a wide variety of choices, and there are high probability of multiple shops offering the same products. So, our advice, don't make up your mind too early before comparing the prices (of course, time is a factor here). The prices offered might be reasonable, but still, don't you ever give up without a tight bargain.

We took a chance to visit Chinese Museum at Waterfront.  The museum however, in our opinion, was not like a museum, but more to the Chinese Ethnics information center. There was a lot of information there, but not properly organized. There were some displayed items such as dragon and lion for the tranditional Chinese dances, unique ivory sculptures, tea drinking table, and so on. There are still a lot of room for improvement for that museum.

Performance in Sarawak Cultural Village (left). Want to play a song with traditional music instrument? I did have the chance to do so (right).

Sarawak Cultural Village was a stop for us on our third day in Kuching, which might be a must for all of you. Sarawak Cultural Village can be accessed by taxi or chartered bus. Join a group tour might be a better idea as we might get a tour guide with extra local knowledges (ours package was offered by Matahari Tours located inside Hotel Margherita). 40 minutes of car trip brought us right to the front gate of the village. The village is a really well maintained "living museum". We could see real live performance from the workers with traditional customs- cooking, dancing, singing, playing music, and working in the houses that represent the main ethnics in Sarawak, namely Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Iban, Penan, Orang Ulu, and Melanau. Most of the workers in respective houses came from that respective ethnics (except for Chinese). The traditional industries for living also being displayed, such as pepper production, 'parang' (big knife)  making, sago processing, and the making of pottery.We could even join the dance and sing, and play (top and blowpipe) with them too! We spent almost half a day in the village.

One of the houses displayed- house of Orang Ulu (Inland people). We tried old fashioned way of processing paddy.

Then, we visited Pasar Tamu Satok (Weekend Market) on our way back from the cultural village. The market offered a lot of local food and fruits, such as mountain durian, midin and dabai. The prices for the souvenirs were a little bit cheaper, but with less variety compared to the Main Bazaar area (opposite the Waterfront). It took us 25 minutes to walk from the market back to our hotel.

Dabai (left) is a kind of fruit and midin (right) is a kind of fern. Both of them are widely available throughout Sarawak and serve as food for locals. However, we never see these two kinds of food outside Sarawak. Dabai is seasonal. Midin is available whole year long (although it might be lesser during raining season).

About the food, Kuching hosted many local delicacies, which the name, well-known nationwide. Kolok mee (smooth noodle in local dialect),  Laksa Sarawak, Red-wined chicken rice, and layered cakes (sorry about the translation) are just a few of them. A great way to get information about the good food here- ask the tour guides, especially the Chinese tour guides. They are really good in finding good food. Most of the great food in Kuching can be reached within walking distance from Waterfront. However, long queues and early close down (some of the shops closed around 2 pm) are common for these stalls. Talking about must try, well, midin and laksa Sarawak might be the two for us. We tried the seafood near Batu Lintang food stall (beside Saberkas). The seafood there was good, but the place can only be reached by car. The seafood stalls on the top floor of the multi storey carpark (behind Riverside Majestic and beside Pullman Hotel) might be a better choice if you stay somewhere around the Waterfront.

Local food recommended by tourist's guide, clockwise from upper left: Different types of chicken rices; noodle with tomato sauces; layered cakes; kolok noodle (sorry, we finished up the laksa and the seafood before we pressed the shutter on our camera :-0).

The historical buildings and monument in Kuching: Kuching State Museum (upper left); Astana, the palace for Charles Brooke (lower left); Residence Office of Kuching beside town square (Upper right); Textile Museum (middle right); and Charles Brooke Monument, backgrounded with the Square Tower and new State Legislative Assembly Building (lower right). Build in 1879, the Square Tower (white in colour) firstly served as City Jail, later converted into defensive fortress, then a dance hall, and it had being used as information center for tourists recently. All of these historical buildings are located within walking distance from Waterfront (20 minutes from Hotel Margherita to the state museum; we can only see Astana from the other side of the river, in front of the old Court House).

The new contemporary buildings in Kuching: State Legislative Assembly (left); Civic Centre in futuristic design (upper right); and Town Hall (lower right).

Kuching is really a good place for a peaceful vacation. Most of the people here can speak or understand simple English, the taxi fares for most of the places are fixed (especially if you take taxi from airport or hotel), and, the complete tourist's map can be obtained free of charge at the airport. Can you imagine how peaceful our mind will be if we visit such a place like that? If you need more information about the city, you can visit Sarawak Tourism Board and Tripadvisor more information.

Back to Kuching 1 page.

Take a look on our sharing about other places in Sarawak


  1. I am just planning for a Kuching tour and reached here while browsing. Excellent Blog and I am sure it will be helpful for me . keep going :-)

    best Regards
    SayaN Mahalanobis

  2. I am just planning for a Kuching tour and reached here while browsing. Excellent Blog and I am sure it will be helpful for me . keep going :-)

    best Regards
    SayaN Mahalanobis

  3. Thanks for your blog, it's very detailed and full of useful tips ... good one and keep it up! :)

  4. Thanks for the information, Me and my wife are planning a trip there and your blog and pictures are very detailed and has useful tips.

  5. thanz for sharing, going there in November // at least I know where to go..

    Thanz again


  6. thanks for sharing. gonna visit Kuching this week!

  7. thanks a lot for the very informative blog..i will be in Kuching this thursday..and ur information will be very useful to me..

  8. You are most welcomed. It's always our pleasure to share :)

  9. I got what you mentioned last Friday. I will follow and thank you :-)