Blake Walsh

18 Best Things to Do in Kuching, Sarawak

  • Published 2022/03/28

Kuching City, the capital of Sarawak, is home to the Serpentine Sarawak River and a unique national park that blooms the world’s largest flower throughout the year.

It is a city known for its rich cultural heritage, with indigenous communities such as Dayaks and Iban, along with Christian, Chinese and Tamil Indian communities.

You may have been to Malaysia before; but if you haven’t been to Kuching in Sarawak, you are missing an opportunity to truly get to know and experience Malaysia and its amazing longhouses, beautiful national parks, bustling market streets, and perhaps most uniquely, a Cat Museum.

Here are some of the best things to do in Kuching, Sarawak:

Encounter Animal Wildlife at Bako National Park

Long nosed monkey at Bako National Park

gualtiero boffi /

Bako National Park is situated just 29km away from Kuching International Airport.

At this tourist attraction, experience the quiet divinity along the tranquil Telok Pandan Kecil Trail or revel in the meditative calm of hours-long boat rides.

Kuching’s Bako National Park is unbeatable for its wildlife encounter rate compared to other parks in the region.

Landscape of Bako National Park

Elena Odareeva /

Enjoy the waterfalls along the way—or why not take a dip in a pool for a bit?

These trails in the park are not lacking for things to do.

You could even call for a boat service to pick you up after you’ve hiked to your heart’s content.

Pulau Lake Island is the national park’s main attraction.

If you haven’t seen the sunset from here, you truly are letting an unforgettable moment pass through.

Breath-taking view of the Tajor Waterfall at Bako National Park

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The best way to enjoy Bako National Park is by taking an evening hike in the park.

During this time, the quiet cacophony and natural ambiance will embrace you until you eventually relax and feel at peace.

A tip: Avoid visiting the park during the rainy season, as a long walk on a trail and a drenching downpour do not go hand in hand.

Experience Cultural Heritage at the Sarawak Museum

Amazing architecture of Sarawak Museum

Damian Pankowiec /

Founded in 1891 by Charles Brooke, the Sarawak Museum in Jalan, Tun Haji is the oldest museum in Borneo.

Although it is exhibited in a traditional Normandy house, its style is that of Victorian-era structures.

Exterior of Sarawak Museum

Anna ART /

Sarawak Museum houses a collection of memories of Borneo’s ancient tribal times.

It’s filled with antique tribal weapons, stuffed animals, and everyday things ranging from fishhooks to household tools.

Experience an Actual Cat Museum

Entrance of Cat museum in Kuching

Anna ART /

Yes, you read that right—Kuching is home to the world’s first-ever Cat Museum, wholly dedicated to the cute and ferocious little things and filled with all things feline.

The museum has everything ranging from cat arts to galleries full of cat souvenirs.

Cat museum's entrance

Patrick Liu from Stockholm, Sweden., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is a one-of-a-kind museum that revolves around different aspects of cats and their history.

If you are a cat lover yourself or want to take home souvenirs for any cat lovers, make sure to visit this place; you will not regret it.

Learn to Weave at Sarawak Cultural Village

Weaving at Sarawak Cultural Village

Yusnizam Yusof /

If you’re fascinated by cultural heritage and the daily lives of those from ancient times— especially in places where technology knocked a bit later than almost anywhere—you have to check out Sarawak Cultural Village.

Here, things you can do include watching and learning ancient techniques like bamboo carving or weaving used by indigenous tribal groups.

These live demonstrations can captivate your curious heart.

Women weaving bamboo at Sarawak Cultural Village

Damian Pankowiec /

In Sarawak Cultural Village, you’ll learn about various indigenous groups that reside in that local area of Malaysia.

You can check out the model structures built on this site, including a Penan hut, a traditional Chinese farmhouse, Iban longhouses, and more.

Closer view of the crafting at Sarawak Cultural Village

Damian Pankowiec /

Experience the Scenic Rainforest at Kubah National Park

Waterfall in Kubah National Park

Norman Ong /

If you wish to experience beautiful trails, waterfalls, hot pools, and the scenic beauty of the rainforest, then Kubah National Park is a must-visit for you.

A woman walking on the narrow wooden trail amidst the green plants at Kubah National Park

Fabio Lamanna /

When venturing on an adventure here, make sure to bring the essentials: a towel, some strong insect repellent, spare clothes, and drinking water.

There are a few guided tours that you can join to get here.

Waterfall at Kubah National Park

Fabio Lamanna /

Witness the World’s Largest Flower

Largest flower in Gunung Gading National Park

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Are you a botany enthusiast?

Gunung Gading National Park is famous for its focus on flora.

This national park is home to the world’s largest flower, rafflesia.

Closer view of the World's Largest Flower

zulazhar /

As this flower blooms all year round, you will most definitely get a chance to see it no matter what time of year you happen to visit.

Gunung Gading National Park is situated around two hours away from the city center, so make sure to plan the trip well ahead of time.

Visit the Ancient Fort Margherita

Fort Margherita, Kuching

Damian Pankowiec /

If you’d love to see a display of ancient weaponry and take scenic boat rides, then you should add Fort Margherita to your itinerary.

Sometimes the journey is as incredible as the destination, which holds true at this particular attraction.

Castle style building at Fort Margherita

imranahmedsg /

Here, one needs to take a boat ride to get to the fort—and the trip is already a lot of fun in itself.

Built to protect the city from attacks, Fort Margherita is home to a display collection of cool ancient weapons that include pistols, swords, and even canons.

It is a police museum of a kind.

Beautiful white building of Fort Margherita

Norman Ong /

Watch the Orang-Uutans at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Orangutans at Semenggoh Nature Reserve

R.M. Nunes /

Are you a wildlife enthusiast or curious about wildlife rehabilitation programs?

If so, then you might find this place fascinating, just like all the other visitors that swarm to this place as if spellbound.

This place is popular amongst travelers for one very unique specialty: orang-utans.

Orang-Uutans eating bananas at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve

imranahmedsg /

You can’t just see them any time of the day; but during the feeding times in the day, orang-utans may gather around the platforms on the trees.

You may find other animals in the area, but orang-utans are this nature reserve’s undisputed main attraction.

Mama and baby Orang-Uutans eating coconut at the Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Mazur Travel /

Take an Evening Stroll Around Kuching Waterfront

Waterfront walk way in Kuching

KYTan /

If you fancy an evening stroll after having traveled around many places, Kuching Waterfront is the place to relax and walk around leisurely.

Enjoy the views of Fort Margherita and Astana while walking around the waterfront area.

Kuching Waterfront during night

KYTan /

Some of Kuching’s best cafes are here, too, if you want to have a look.

This is the perfect spot to take your partner for a romantic walk.

Bird's eye view of Kuching Waterfront

fiz_zero /

Find Religious Solace at St. Thomas Cathedral

Exterior view of St. Thomas Cathedral, Kuching

JaniceKuan /

For those of Christian religion seeking solace in Kuching, be sure to visit the St. Thomas Cathedral.

This cathedral has a rich history; it started as a small wooden church surrounded by the forest on the hill it was first built on.

The church has seen much history, including the Chinese resurrection, which destroyed it at that time.

Sign board of St. Thomas Cathedral

JaniceKuan /

It was later rebuilt, expanded, and upgraded to a cathedral.

There is a big enough Christian population in Kuching that visits this cathedral regularly.

Regardless of your faith and religious views, you can still visit the site.

Beautiful interior view of St. Thomas Cathedral

Matyas Rehak /

Buy Antique Souvenirs at the Main Bazaar

Antique souvenirs from the main bazaar

Fadhli Adnan /

If you wish to buy antique souvenirs for your folks back home or just want to purchase something to remember the place by, the bazaar at Main Street is where to go.

It came about because of its venue at the Main Street facing the water.

The Main Bazaar features a row of shops filled with traditional tools, antique souvenirs, indigenous crafts, and various things you might want to take home.

Colorful fabrics with traditional prints at Main Bazaar

Fadhli Adnan /

Have Fun with Family at the Borneo Samariang Water Park

This waterpark is one of Kuching’s significant attractions.

Kids, families, and groups Kuching’ss get to enjoy various fun-filled activities at the site.

This place is filled with tourists and local families in the summer season, but that is also the best time to be in a waterpark.

Hornbill Island is a fun part of the park that focuses on kids’ activities; some significant features are the kid’s pool, restaurant, and water slides.

Santubong Tower is dedicated to rides, both tube-related and otherwise.

If you want to experience the beach and the ocean waves while in the waterpark, check out the Salak Beach Wave Pool area and enjoy the ocean waves from the safety of a pool.

Enjoy Boating in the Sarawak River

Boating in Sarawak river

alphonsusjimos /

Whether or not you are a boating enthusiast, you won’t want to miss boating in this beautiful river that runs through the city.

Take some time to sit back in the traditional boat and gaze around the vicinity of the Sarawak River.

Aerial view of boats sailing at Sarawak River

Nora Yusuf /

Boat ride durations depend on your arrangements with the drivers, so make appropriate negotiations before the ride.

Kayaking in the Sarawak river is also an alternative many tourists prefer over boat rides.

Closeup view of a boatman rowing his boat at Sarawak River

Faiz Zaki /

You can enjoy watching various views that you would otherwise miss while traveling around the city.

Experience the Rich Cultural Marvel That Is Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple

Entrance of Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple

Norman Ong /

If you have already been to a Chinese temple before, you should be familiar with the colorful walls and beautiful carvings the antique structures are made of.

The ancient Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple has a rich history and is claimed to be from around 1770.

Beautiful lantern decoration at Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple

Damian Pankowiec /

Kuching has a significant Chinese population, and they visit this temple from time to time, along with a host of tourists who find this place interesting.

Lit up candles at Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple

Dreamer Company /

Celebrate the Mooncake Festival at the Harmony Arch

Colorful Harmony Arch

Dreamer Company /

Forming part of the Kuching Chinatown district, the colorful and ornate Harmony Arch is a landmark that provides a point of access for visitors.

The Harmony Arch symbolizes the cooperation between Sarawak’s Chinese and Malay communities and is located in a neighborhood that hosts the annual Kuching Inter-Cultural Mooncake Festival.

The Mooncake Festival is the perfect avenue for locals, tourists, and mooncake fanatics to celebrate this traditional Chinese tradition in a modern Sarawakian setting.

With many non-Chinese people joining in on the festivities not only as audience members and patrons but also as vendors and participants in the competition, the multiracial atmosphere is sure to show Sarawak’s inherent multiculturalism at work.

From lantern-lit streets and delicious local cuisine to incredible performances from local musicians and dancers, this mid-autumn festival is packed with fun for all ages.

Snap a Selfie with the Orang-Utan Murals Along India Street

The Orang-Utan Murals along India Street Pedestrian Mall are extremely worth taking pictures of, especially if you’re into street art.

There are a number of them around, and they are something you surely shouldn’t miss if you happen to walk the area.

What you’ll see here is not just any mural, but rather a whimsical painting of adorable orang-utans—and in fact, half of the wheelbarrow in the mural is real!

It’s well worth seeing this street art along with its fine meaning, which is to bring awareness about the conservation and rehabilitation of these amazing creatures.

The orang-utan artwork has taken on a life of its own in the city, as people from around the area have started commissioning their own murals depicting these special apes in spots that are both eye-catching and accessible to many people.

To this day, the original Orang-Utan Mural along India street has been preserved and hasn’t been painted over like the others throughout the city.

Enjoy the Incredible Batu Kawah Riverbank Park

The Batu Kawah Riverbank Park covers an area of 15.6 acres, with a 2km walkway from the Chinese temple at the Batu Kawa Old Bazaar to Kampung Rantau Panjang on the other end.

This park has a great selection of scenic areas to walk and sit in, and seven fairies are depicted in a sculpture built into the park’s shady riverbank.

The Sky Bridge—or as locals prefer to call it, The Sky Window—offers a 360-degree magnificent view of the Sarawak River and Batu Kawah atop its sky deck that’s thirty tons in weight and 100 feet high.

Surrounding this soon-to-be icon is a collection of interesting objects and buildings, including the Seven Fairies art, wetlands, and the majestic Galaxy Bridge.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Grab a Bite at Siniawan Night Market

Tables lined up at Siniawan Night market

yanatul /

Why not take a look at the eateries of the famous night market of Siniawan

Lemang periuk kera, also known as pitcher plant rice, is one of the area’s specialties.

It can be enjoyed here alongside other traditional Malay and Chinese delicacies.

This weekend night market is not only filled with eateries that give off mouth-watering aromas but also rows of hawkers selling traditional things that make perfect souvenirs.

People enjoying their food at Siniawan Night Market

Cneo Osman /

Final Thoughts

The city of Kuching is renowned for being one of the most picturesque areas in all of Peninsular Malaysia.

With its strategic location on the snake-like Sarawak River, Kuching offers an experience that is quite a world away from other tourist destinations in South East Asia.

If you love felines and primates, then be sure to visit all the cat statues and museums, and orang-utan murals that decorate the city.

Plan your next visit to Kuching, Malaysia with this handy guide, so you don’t miss the best places for scenic attractions, the local cuisine, market streets, and gorgeous national parks!

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