Sarawak River Sunset Cruise

Things To Do In Kuching – See, Eat, Stay – Sarawak

Do, Eat, Stay – Kuching

Monica Tindall

Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, is known as the city of cats, and as such has an incredible number of cat statues in public places. While this might be a drawcard for some, Kuching and its surrounding area hold so much more! Here we highlight some of the best:

Things to Do in Kuching

Do

Sunset River Cruise

A sunset river cruise gives you a panoramic view of Kuching City from the river. Many historical and modern landmarks dotting the riverbanks, such as Malay houses on stilts, Brooke Dockyards, Kuching Waterfront, Fort Margherita and the Astana (Former White Rajah’s Palace) are all seen from the comfort of a boat gliding over the gentle waters. It’s a great way to orientate yourself to the city when you first arrive.

My tip is to sit on the top deck, about mid-way down so you are away from the speakers (the mood music is rather loud) and also away from the smell of greasy foods cooking in the snack bar. In the evenings, a light breeze drifts off the river making the temperatures bearable. Hilton Kuching arranged our cruise but there are many providers and it’s easy to get tickets at the dock.

Things To Do In Kuching
Sunset Sarawak River Cruise
Things To Do In Kuching
Sunset Sarawak River Cruise

Walking Street Food Tour

If you’re reading The Yum List, you are no doubt a foodie and will want to try some local recipes. A walking street food tour is a fantastic way to further see the key cultural and historical sites such as the Kuching Waterfront, Main Bazaar, temples and colonial buildings while hunting down some of the most delicious food in the city at the same time. We were pleased with our guide from BORNÉO À LA CARTE who ensured no tummy pocket was left unfilled.

Kuching Walking Tour BORNEO A LA CARTE
Sarawak Laksa – A Must-try

The Brooke Gallery

“In a joint project with the Sarawak Museum, the Gallery highlights the people, places and history behind the birth and development of Sarawak during the Brooke era.” Besides being an informative 45-minutes, it also offers splendid views over the city and river.

Kuching Walking Tour BORNEO A LA CARTE
The Brooke Gallery

Semenngoh Nature Reserve

The highlight of any travel to Kuching is a chance to see the orangutans. On the critically endangered list, and with some predictions saying they will be extinct in less than 10 years, a sighting could be a once in a lifetime experience and a chance to contribute to their conservation. Located about a 40-minute drive from Kuching, the reserve rehabilitates orangutans rescued from captivity or orphaned. An informative guided tour can help you become more aware of their plight and see these semi-wild creatures in their natural habitat.

Semenggoh Nature Reserve Tour
Orangutan at Semenngoh Nature Reserve

Bako National Park

Second, only to the orangutans, the proboscis monkeys are another high point of travel to Kuching. These long-nosed primates are also endangered and one of the last places left to see them in the wild is at Bako National Park. Besides these fascinating creatures, the park holds an abundance of flora and fauna and its small area contains just about every type of vegetation found in Borneo. On top of that, its seaside position offers some fantastic secluded bays and stunning beaches, along with rugged rock formations that are sure to keep cameras snapping.

Bako National Park Tour
Bako National Park

Eat

The street food tour mentioned above is an excellent way to try a whole bunch of local recipes with the assistance of someone in the know. Of course, Sarawak laksa and kolo mee are two must-try dishes and sweet tooths should definitely check out the pretty layer cakes (kek lapis Sarawak) that the state is known for. For me, however, the great fascination lies in the diversity of ingredients due to the surrounding ancient rainforest. Midin (jungle fern), buah keluak (tastes similar to black olive paste but requires a lengthy preparation to remove the toxins) and Bario rice (a highly prized medium grain rice grown in the highlands) are just three of hundreds of ingredients you are not likely to find elsewhere in the world. A long list could also be founded on fruits alone: giant mangoes, wild red starfruit and the dabai known as the local black olive (only it tastes more like avocado) are guaranteed to draw at least a little excitement.

Kuching Walking Tour BORNEO A LA CARTE
Kueh Samples from the Market

Coffee addicts should be sure to get their fix at Black Bean Coffee & Tea Company. The team at the cafe specialize in roasting Sarawak liberica and robusta beans in house. It has proven quite popular with both locals and tourists alike, so I recommend attempting to visit in off-peak times.

Things To Do In Kuching
Black Bean Cafe

If you’re done with the street food and are looking for a good night out, ZINC Restaurant & Bar offers a vibrant atmosphere. A stylish setting, Mediterranean menu, craft cocktails and a darn good happy hour make it one of the hottest restaurants in Kuching. For those seeking something quieter and a great steak to cut their teeth on, The Steakhouse promises a menu of house-dry-aged steaks with a glass of fine wine to match.

ZINC Restaurant & Bar Kuching
ZINC Restaurant & Bar
fine dining restaurants Sarawak
Feta and Sundried Tomato Crusted Tenderloin

If you’re willing to take a 40-minute drive out of the city, you will be well-rewarded with a beautiful meal, scrumptious desserts (including hand-churned ice cream) and a creative cocktail at Kechala – the signature restaurant and bar at the stunning Cove 55 luxury boutique hotel.

Kechala Cove 55 Kuching
Kechala – Cove 55

Stay

Hilton Kuching

For business and leisure travellers, Hilton Kuching has been an icon for decades. Overlooking the river and only footsteps from the waterfront, it offers location, location, location. Its position is very attractive and one of the best ways to enjoy the sunset over the Sarawak River is with drinks in the executive lounge.

HIlton Kuching Hotel
Hilton Kuching
Hilton Kuching Five-Star Hotel
Sunset Drinks at the Hilton Kuching Executive Club Lounge

Cove 55

While Hilton Kuching is the grand old dame of the city, Cove 55 is the contemporary seaside newbie. Offering clean crisp accommodation at the foot of Mount Sanbutong (about 30 minutes from the airport), this luxury private hideaway is just what the soul ordered for a refreshing getaway.

Cove 55 Kuching
Cove 55

What are your favourite things to do, see and eat in Kuching? Where do you recommend staying?

Find more recommendations of things to do in Kuching and Sarawak here.

You may also like:

11 Comments

  1. Did you buy any peppercorns from Sarawak?
    But you can actually get them from the Peninsula.
    I always pack some and bring them back to London whenever I go home.

  2. A great itinerary of things to see and eat while in Kuching! The cruise looks like a great outing.

  3. More or less you cover on what to do in Kuching. Nice itinerary.

  4. I’d really like to go over to East Malaysia. My main focus would be the “eat” part hee..hee…

  5. Just the tip of the iceberg!!! Lots more places with really good food, local delights to savour and enjoy. You gotta go again and stay longer next time. LOL!!!

  6. Caning Alexis Jaramillo

    I love this trip! I totally recommended 🙂

  7. I didn’t know there’s orangutan in Kuching… I like to walk along the old town of Kuching to discover old shoplots and good food. I hope that I can visit Kuching again… for the food of course! HAHA

  8. Sarawak Laksa and hand churned ice cream for me!

  9. What a charming place ❤

  10. Now all I have to do is find my way to Kuching…….. Have a good weekend, cheers, Diane

  11. The views look fabulous and the food looks delicious 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.