Kuching Things to Do Tips by Wild_Orchid Top 5 Page for this destination
Kuching Things to Do: 378 reviews and 800 photos
This is Gambier Street lined by shops built in the 1930's.
It's still a very busy commercial street with dark musty shops selling all kinds of food stuff - rice, spices, canned foods, dried foods and everything local. The shops shown here face a vegetable market, meat market and a poultry market where you can buy and bring home live chicken.
Best time to visit is on a weekend morning when street vendors bring in jungle produce to sell. The sights, smells and sounds are really something!
My second picture shows a bird's eye view of Gambier Street. I'd like to have said that I trained a pigeon to use my camera, but I didn't! LOL This picture was taken from the Watchtower at the Waterfront. The old mosque is in the background.
Address: Gambier Street
Directions: If you're strolling the Waterfront from the direction of the Hilton hotel, Gambier street begins where the Waterfront ends.
The Astana - Governor's residence
Located across the river, the elegance of this beautiful white building attracts every eye. Built as the home to the White Rajah in the 1800's it is now the Yang Di-Pertua (State Governor)'s official residence. The gardens are always open to the public while the building itself is only open to the public during official ceremonies and functions.
At night, it's all lit up and makes for a nice sight from across the river, as shown in my second picture
Address: Jalan Astana
Directions: Across the river from the Holiday Inn hotel.
Try taking a boat across - it's cheaper, faster & more fun!
Waterfront by night
The Kuching Waterfront is a place that is popular with locals and tourists alike.
In its early days, the township of Kuching was set up along the riverside because it facilitated the transportation of goods (spices, rubber and daily neccessities) and people. In recent years, recognising the potential of the riverside as a tourist attraction, the authorities and local town planners tore down some of the old godowns along the river to re-develop the waterfront into a casual entertainment center, with cafes, pubs and restaurants and foodstalls.
Pleasant during the day, the Kuching Riverside comes to live in the late evenings, when the sun has lost some of its fierce noonday heat and office workers from nearby stroll over for a drink with friends and colleagues. On weekend evenings, it is especially popular with courting couples and families out for a stroll.
May 2005 Update: I was in Kuching for a business trip and took some pictures of the beautiful Waterfront at night and during the day time. I have also placed one of the night pics on my Malaysia travellogues. There's a musical fountain at one end though I found the music rather loud when I was there and fortunately, the music only plays for 15-20mins or so every hour at night.
Address: Kuching Waterfront, along the riverside
Directions: You're at the Waterfront if you're staying at the Hilton, Holiday Inn or Crowne Plaza.
The Merdeka Palace hotel is a 15 min walk away.
One of two old temples located along Carpenter Street. For a moment of solitude, you are welcome to enter it's dimly lit interior. Be prepared for the scent of the incense and burning joss-sticks though.
An example of various religions co-existing in harmony, in the background of the picture, you will see an old wooden building on a hill.
That is a christian diocesan centre, sitting on a prime piece of land belonging to the Anglican church. That building used to be the town house of a prominent chinese leader of the early 20th century, until he donated it to the church.
Address: Carpenter street
One of the older streets in Kuching, it's name suggests that carpenters ply their trade here and indeed there are still a number of carpenters who can make anything you want.
This street is worth a walk through. it's always lifely with bustling local cafes (my favourite kolo mee stall is located here), and an old temple or two nestled here and there.
Directions: Carpenter Street is located behind the row of shops facing the Hilton end of the waterfront.
The Central Post Office is located at one end of the street
Central Post Office
When you visit Kuching, and want to send a postcard to friends, then drop by this building.
The Central Post Office in Kuching is a commanding old building with a certain charm that all old buildings have.
It's located opposite one corner of the "Padang" (grass square) in the heart of the city.
Central Police Station
I hope that none of my fine VT-er friends or visitors to Kuching would ever need to visit the Kuching Central Police Station for any reason. LOL ! However, as you can see from the picture, the building is very eye-catching and built in a style that dates back more than 30 years and is worthy of a picture.
Done up in striking white and blue you won't be able to miss it. It is located in a prominent location facing the Padang (grass square) where parades are often held.
Directions: Near the Padang at the centre of town
The Sarawak river is still used for commerce and many people commute across the river on a daily basis to the other side using tambang boats like the one in the picture. You can choose the normal shuttle where the boat sets off when it's full (it's not a long wait) or you can "charter" the boat as you would with a taxi for a very small fee.
It's worth a go if you have some time, as the total Kuching experience is not complete without a ride across the river. Not only is it an interesting experience, as once across the river, you can stroll to several attractions with historical significance among them Fort Margarita (now a Police musuem), the Astana (home of the Governor) and a flower garden.
The Astana gardens are open to the public all year round, but on special occasions, such as the Governor's Birthday, the residence itself is open as well.
Address: Board at the Jetty, Sarawak River
Directions: The Holiday Inn hotel is situated right on the bank of the river and you can also see the river from the rooms at the Hilton. To get to the jetty, walk along the waterfront towards the old town centre and the jetty is just across from the old Court House.
Main Mosque in the old quarter
The old and the new sit side by side in Kuching. One centrepiece of Kuching is the Main Mosque which is featured at the background of this picture. The foreground shows part of the Old Shopping area of India Town that features shops that sell Indian spice, Chinese herbs, general merchandise, clothing and groceries.
Located in the old quarter of town, along Jalan Masjid, it sits on the site of an even older mosque that had been there since the late 1800's. When a bigger mosque was needed to fill the needs of a growing population, the previous mosque was replaced by this one. The current mosque was completed in 1968.
It is a striking landmark, with moorish style bright minarets that can be seen from all parts of the city.
Although there is now a bigger and newer mosque at the town of Petra Jaya, outside of Kuching city, this mosque continues to be a favourite.
Address: Jalan Masjid, Old Quarter of Town
Street shopping: is a must -do for the bargain hunter who can at the same time explore Kuching on foot to get a feel of what this remarkable city is really like. Instead of the same-ole, ubiquitious and unremarkable semi-branded clothing and electrical items you would find everywhere else in the world, these Kuching shops are proudly owned and run by shop owners themselves. (Yes, for your information many Sarawakians speak English very well so you would not have a problem to communicate!) If you have more time, they would gladly tell you the history of their shops and throw in something about their family history as well!
The Main Bazaar is the oldest street in Kuching and dates back to 1864. It faces the riverfront and is where you will find many interesting shops (tourists and female shoppers take note!) Old and new antiques, Iban and Bidayuh carvings and handicraft, curios & collectibles, antique & modern jewellery (brass, copper and silver are the most common), souvenior items and everyday items (plastic pails, wooden clogs, iron woks, good morning towels, brooms, woven mats, etc.) are available here at non-tourist prices.
For the antiques and native handicraft items, you may try to bargain a little. I bought an interesting silver belt made out of old one-sen coins joined together, and it looks simply great. It can be worn as a necklace or a belt.
Address: Main Bazaar, by the Kuching Waterfront
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