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Sarawak ~ Kuching

History & People Kuching Longhouse & Visits Bintulu & Sibu Sarawak National Parks Miri Mulu National Park

• History • The City • Getting There •

Kuching, the capital (which means "Cat" in Malay), Kuching is the most populous city in the state of Sarawak and the fourth largest city in Malaysia. With a population of about half a million people, it is without doubt the most pleasant and interesting city in Borneo. It is hilly, leafy and has a very pleasant riverside area.

Kuching stated as a riverine mining settlement established initially by Brunei chiefs to oversee the mining of antimony in the Sarawak river valley, which was used as an alloy to harden other metal particularly pewter – which was then exported to Singapore, where the tin plate industry was developing.
the fist stamp of Sarawak with potrait of James Brooke
When the James Brooke first sailed in 15 Aug 1839, the settlement, 32 km upriver was described as ‘a very small town of brown huts and longhouses made of wood or the hard stems of the nipah palm, sitting in brown squalor on the edge of the mudflats. By the time James Brooke became Rajah in 1842, the town had a population of local Malays, Dayaks, and Chinese traders, with Chinatown dominating the south side of the river while the Malay kampungs out along the riverbanks to the west. Under Charles Brooke the second ‘White Rajah’, as Kuching began to flourish, the towns main public buildings were built.

The City
Kuching is said to be one of the most liveable and people-friendly city in the region. It is a green and clean city that has all the modern amenities without losing its old world charm where multi-storey buildings blend well with structures from its colonial days. As its river front remain a focal point of the city , Kuching Waterfront was developed to give the city its own character.

Sarawak’s Capital is divided by the Sarawak River; the South is a commercial and residential area, dominated by Chinese, while the North shore is predominately Malay in character with the old kampung houses lining the river. The two parts of the city is very different in character.

In Kuching, there are old Chinese temples, Brooke era buildings with unique architecture, waterfront park, observation towers and museums. The city contains many beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, historic buildings, traditional Chinese shop houses, colourful markets, various Chinese temples, a striking state mosque and has one of Asia’s best museums. The river, which is a focal point of the city, separates the northern and southern part of the city which features a graceful, European style esplanade- the Kuching waterfront, with views across to the Astana (the Palace), and Fort Margherita.

The colourful Sunday Market is where household items, souvenir items and exotic jungle produce are sold in various forms. The Market was started in 1980 by the Kuching Municipal Council to allow unlicensed hawkers to sell numerous consumable items like fish, meat, clothing, flowers and jungle produces of various kinds. The Sunday Market has become so popular over the years that one looks forward to it.

One of the highlights of Kuching is a visit to one of the few ceramic factories just outside town. Sarawak is famous for its unusually decorated earthenware vases of all shapes and sizes. Kuching pottery incorporates the ancient Dayak designs with a blend of modern colour and technique. Small vases with traditional designs make good souvenirs and are popular with tourists who visit many handicraft shops or directly purchase them from factories. The pottery-making factories have now become a regular souvenir-hunting place for tourists who depart with Sarawak pottery to remind them of their delightful stay in Kuching.

Getting There
The airport 10 km south of Kuching and there are daily flights from Kuala Lumpur as well as regular flights to other destinations in Borneo and the rest of Malaysia. International connections are limited to Bandar seri Begawan (Brunei), Singapore, Hong Kong (via Kota Kinabalu) and Perth.

Other than the sights and places to visit in Kuching, within easy reach is the Semmengoh Orang Utan Sanctuary and the rainforest parks of Gunung Gading, Kubah and Tanjung Datu National Park. North of Kuching is the Damai Peninsula and the Bako National Park


Kuching - Sightseeing

Waterfront / Main Bazaar / The Sarawak River Cruise / Civic Centre and Planetarium / Tua Pek Kong temple

Kuching – The Museums

The Pavilion and The Textile and Costume Museum / Sarawak Museum / Cat Museum / The Chinese Museum

Kuching – Historical Sights

The Astana / Fort Margherita / The Court House / Round Fort / Square Tower

Around Kuching – Sights & Visits

Sights and Places of interest to visit with easy reach of Kuching

Sarawak Cultural Village
Orang Utans & Crocodiles
Bako National Park / Kubah National Park
Gunung Gading / Talang Turtle Islands

Batang Ai National Park




[History & People] [Kuching] [Longhouse & Visits] [Bintulu & Sibu] [Miri] [Mulu Park] [National Parks]

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