Earlier in December, I was offered by Royal Brunei Airlines and Sarawak Tourism Board for a weekend away in Kuching, Sarawak. Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak and as the last time I was there I was barely out of diapers, I accepted the sponsorship with some trepidation – siuk kan? Apa ada? Macam Miri kah? Happening kah sana atu?
History of Kuching
Many people probably don’t realise how closely intertwined Brunei’s history is with Sarawak, particularly Kuching. Sarawak was actually part of Brunei eversince the reign of our first Sultan – Sultan Muhammad Shah (Awang Alak Betatar).
In 1500s, Sarawak actually had one Sultan – the son of Sultan Muhammad Hassan (ninth sultan of Brunei). He was the one and only Sultan of Sarawak, and his mausoleum remains in Santubong (the main administrative centre of Sarawak then), till this day.
In 1842 however, Sarawak was “gifted” to the infamous James Brooke in exchange for suppressing a rebellion. The Brookes ruled for almost 100 years until the World War II in when the Japanese took hold and Kuching was ruled as part of the Japanese Empire for 3 years. When they left, Kuching was then surrendered to the British Crown as a colony and finally joined Malaysia in 1963.
Kuching was under Brunei’s rule the longest and this lovely city, it reminded me of home ever so slightly – perhaps even Brunei in another parallel universe.
Where to Stay in Kuching
I recommend staying in Kuching city, preferably on the Waterfront. There are few hotels in the area:
- Grand Margherita Hotel (This was where I stayed – extremely central, and right in front of the hotel entrance is the iconic Kuching cat statues)
- Waterfront Hotel
- Hilton Kuching
- Pullman Kuching
- Riverside Majestic Hotel
OR if you prefer further from Kuching City:
- Damai Beach Resort
- Borneo Highlands Resort
- The Culvert
Get good deals for these hotels from Agoda!
How to Get Around in Kuching
Unfortunately, public transport is not a big thing here and it’s a mostly driving kind of city. So my recommendation is to:
- Hail a Taxi (be prepared to negotiate)
- Rent a Car and WAZE your way around Kuching!
*Recommended cause cheap!
What to Buy in Kuching
- Sarawak Pepper
- Kek Lapis Sarawak
- Handwoven Baskets
- Terubuk Masin
3D2N Weekend Getaway in Kuching for First Timers
- Check in to hotel
- Breakfast of Mee Kolok at Restoran Haji Salleh
- Walking Tour of Kuching City Centre* – 2 recommendations here (starting at the cat statue) or here (starting at the Main Bazaar)
- Reward yourself with a seafood dinner at Topspot Seafood Restaurant, or since you’ve been in the city the whole day, drive out to Telaga Air.
*Wajib! Kuching is littered with colonial themed buildings and greenery which makes the city highly Instagrammable!
- Visit Sarawak Cultural Village – Adult: RM60**, Kids: RM30
- Followed by Lunch*
- Cool off with retail therapy in a mall of choice (Kuching has a few to offer) – my personal favourite is The Spring pasal ada Sephora sekian!
- Sarawak River Cruise won board the MV Equatorial while enjoying the Sarawak Sunset (Adult: RM62, Kids: RM31)
- Fine Dining at the best Kuching has to offer
*Entrance can be bought with Lunch (only RM76 per adult if you buy online). Must order is the Umai, Midin and Ayam Pansuh. Food is surprisingly good and homey here despite being touristy.
** Buy online for only RM50
*** Van Shuttle to transport u to Sarawak Cultural Village is available from Grand Margherita Hotel. Check out their website for more info.
- Check out the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre (Adult: RM10, Kids: RM5) and adopt an Orang Utan
- Enjoy Sarawak Laksa at Mom’s Laksa even if you are not a laksa person!
- Take a RM1 boat across the river to Mira Cake House and buy Kek Lapis Sarawak for colleagues at the office
- Serikin Border Market
- Bako National Park
- Satang Turtle Island National Park (Snorkelling and dolphin sightings!)
- Fort Margherita
- Cat Museum
To Kuching with Love
On top of everything, a Kuching holiday is so murah! Resorts, high end hotels starting from BND55 per night, delicious fine dining and seafood, and plenty of free activities to do. So to answer my own questions:
Siuk kan? Apa ada? Macam Miri kah? Happening kah sana atu?(Soalan yang semua orang tanya)
YES SIUK! Can’t wait to visit Kuching again!
- From Borneo Bulletin: https://borneobulletin.com.bn/kuching-purrs-with-pride/
- From United Daily News (Chinese): https://eunited.com.my/163777 & https://eunited.com.my/161285
- From The Bruneian: Coming Soon
- From BIG Magazine: Coming Soon