Places to visit in Kuching, Sarawak

The Kuching town is small enough to walk around in less than a day to 2 depending on how much you want to see. Here are some places we went around the town that took us about half a day.

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  • Cat Statue

You cannot miss taking pictures with cat statues in Kuching. Kuching or Kucing means cat in Malay. They can be located at a few inter-junctions but the main one is located in front of the Grand Magherita Hotel.

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  • Chinatown at Carpenter Street

Chinatown, one of the oldest streets in Kuching, welcomes you with an arch facing Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg. This street continuously connects to Jalan Ewe Hai where you many Chinese owned shops, such as shops that sells furniture, jewelries, pawn shop, café and restaurants. The funny thing to me is that if you see a shop selling jewelries, you will see a few more nearby. How competitive.

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  • Tua Pek Kong Temple

Siew San Teng Temple, more famously known as Tua Pek Kong Temple, built in 1770 which survived Japanese invasion time in 1941. It is easily spotted at the inter-junction of Jalan Main Bazaar, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Leboh Temple.

If you wish you make light offering or offer incense, walk through the doorway beside the altar to the back to purchase. Also, inside the temple area, there is an old water well that is now beautifully protected.

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  • Main Bazaar

At the Main Bazaar, you can see many souvenir shops. Sarawak being one of the place that produce birds’ nest and pepper, you can also see many shops along this road selling them as well. The other famous item at this street is the Kuih Lapis (layered cake). The original layered cake is brown in colour but here, they sell them in many different colours, decorations and tastes. You are allowed to try them before buying.

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  • Waterfront

Opposite Main Bazaar shops is the waterfront where there lies a long walkway gives you a chance to stroll by the Santubong River. It’s quite in the morning and a few fruit stalls opens from afternoon. It is the most lively at night when colourful lights light up, restaurants open, and street musicians play. There are also river cruise that give you a short tour to sightsee from the river.

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  • Square Tower

Physically matches its name, was initially a detention camp built for prisoners but was then converted a fortress and then a dance hall. At the time we were there, it is not open for public.

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  • Old Courthouse

At the end of Jalan Main Bazaar, after Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, sits on old courthouse that was built in 1874. It now houses the tourist information centre, café, and museum.

In front of the clock tower at the old courthouse, you can view in line the Charles Brookes monument, Square Tower and the New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building.

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  • Sarawak Textile Museum

This building being named The Pavilion was previously a General Hospital up to 1947. Now, this two-story building tells the story of textile production in Sarawak with exhibits of old decorative cloths and clothes made using many different types of textile and metal strips. They also show the traditional clothes of different ethnics in Sarawak.

 Operating hours: Monday – Friday 9.00am – 4.45pm; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 10.00am to 4.00pm

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  • General Post Office

Being built in 1931 with Corinthian styled columns is now a post office. Its grand outlook stands out to attract from afar with the expectation of it being a museum rather than a post office.

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  • Wall art by Ernest Zacharevic

Located at Jalan Power near the India Street, a group of wall-painted orang utans welcome you to pose with them. Another beautiful art by Ernest, other than those at Penang and Ipoh.

 

Some of the recommended places outside of Kuching town that we didn’t have time to go. It would take about 1 day each.

  1. Sarawak Cultural Village
  2. Bako National Park

There are many more places to visit. For more information, visit the tourist information centre at the Old courthouse or log on to the Sarawak Tourism website.

Food around Kuching town

Food is one of the attractions in Kuching where some of its unique taste could not be found in Peninsular Malaysia. The main dishes that you can find it almost everywhere is Kolo Mee and Sarawak Laksa with each stalls special taste. It’s all up to your taste bud on which is the one you like best.

Here are some of the stalls that we tried and some other food. Price range per bowl is about RM3.50 to RM5. The price can go up to RM10 and more depending on any request for additional ingredients to be added such as big prawns, clams, etc.

 

Seng Kee Coffee Stall

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This shop is located at Carpenter Street, also known as Chinatown. Beside this shop is a sheltered area with a Chinese theater stage. It seems like every food at this shop is recommended to try.

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Kolo Mee

Curly yellow noodle topped with pork slices, fish cake, char siew, minced pork and pork liver. Full of ingredients but what you can’t see from the photo the taste that put this noodle to a more preferred taste that is pork lard. Remember to put in the vinegar that comes with the sliced chilli. It’s not soya sauce.

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Sarawak Laksa

I’m a person who can’t take too spicy laksa and also love sourish stuff. So, I like this laksa. Add in the chilli (nice) and lime, it becomes a taste full of spices with less santan and sourish. Sarawak laksa usually serve with meehoon. This bowl tops with prawn, chicken slices, bean sprouts, egg slices and some raw vegetables. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the raw vegetable.

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Pork Satay (Available only from around 2pm to sold out)

When most of the satay stalls you can’t get pork, as a Chinese who eats pork, it tends be an attraction. Each satay stick is RM0.60 but with a minimum purchase of 5 sticks (RM3). It’s meat is tender and juicy, plus its satay sauce is not spicy for me but has a nice peanut and chilli taste.

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Fishball noodle

If all the above food are too “heavy” for you, you can try the fishball noodle soup. It’s glass noodle topped with fishballs and Yeong tau foo 釀豆腐. The clear soup is lightly taste but good enough to finish it. Rather tasty.

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Teh C Special and Bakolong juice

The C Special or 3 layer milk tea 三色奶茶 is one of specialty drink in Kuching. It contains tea, evaporated milk and brown sugar. Bakolong juice is refreshing fruit drink. At Peninsular Malaysia, we call this Buah Long Long. You can get the peeled fruit only at the fruit stall next to Seng Kee Coffee Stall but it’s limited per day.

Another food to try here but we did not is Kway Chap, braised or stewed pork meat and internal organs. This is also recommended by some friends.

Location: Carpenter Street (opposite Shang Di Temple)
Operating hours: opens for breakfast to dinner, each food stalls has its own operating hours. Most of them opens for lunch.

 

Black Bean Coffee and Tea company

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This is one of the famous places to have coffee. They have different types of Arabica and Robusta beans but being in Sarawak, we tried the Sarawak Liberica bean. We ordered the cappuccino which is nice without a strong aftertaste and is served with a piece of butter cookie. If you are the strong “kao” coffee lover, you will need to ask them make you something strong.

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Location: 87, Ewe Hai Street, 93000 Kuching
Operating hours: Monday – Saturday 9.00am – 6.00pm

 

Song Kheng Hai Ground Food and Recreation Centre

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This is a hawker centre that serves many different types of food and drinks. Here are some specialties that we tried.

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Gong Pia 光饼

A Fuzhou dish of small rounded donut topped with sesame with fillings of your choice. The original filling is minced pork, while choices can be garlic, ham or cheese. Sold by stall No.7 Rihga 麗佳.

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Belacan Bee Hoon

This is an interesting dish that I’ve not tried before. There are 2 stalls that sell this but we randomly tried Stall No.26 Padungan Belachan Bee Hoon. It’s bee hoon in belacan and prawn paste gravy topped with squid, cucumber slices, bean sprout and sweet chilli sauce. Unfortunately, we didn’t like the taste as it has a distinctive fishy taste. I’m not sure from the prawn or the squid. We added few rounds of sweet chilli sauce so that it’s spicy enough to cover the taste. Sorry, not a taste we can adapt.

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Tomato Crispy Noodle

Deep fried noodle with tomato gravy topped with fish cake and char siew (pork). I like the crispiness of the noodle but the gravy is a little salty. As we tried both belacan bee hoon and tomato crispy noodle at the same time, we built a preference over the tomato crispy noodle.

Location: Jalan Song Kheng Hai, 93100 Kuching
Operating hours : Breakfast and lunch. There will still be a few stalls open for afternoon tea but some items may sold out.

 

Sin Hwa Yen Café backlane

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After around 6.00pm, we went to the backdoor of Sin Hwa Yen Café for kolo mee. You can either sit at the footpath or inside the shop where you enter from the back door. This time we ordered the thick noodle instead and it’s topped with soya sauced minced pork, wanton and char siew (pork). It doesn’t have the strong pork lard taste which we didn’t mind but we think that it was wrong to have chosen the thick noodle as it made it less different from a normal dry noodle that we can get from Peninsular Malaysia. Still, we enjoyed it. We saw that at this stall you can request for broiled pork meat to be added which we found out only after we finished our noodle.

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Location: backlane of Jalan Main Bazaar (between Leboh Wayang and Leboh Temple)
Operating hours: Dinner and Supper

 

Teresa Laksa

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Another food location for night “cats” behind Tune Hotel. The Sarawak laksa with a heavier santan (coconut milk) taste. Yet, it was still better than many that you can get in KL.

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Location: Jalan Bukit Mata, 93100 Kuching
Operating hours: Dinner and supper