Travel to Kuching on your own is not as difficult as you may think. Here I’m going to list down the top 10 places or attractions that you should not miss when traveling in Kuching.
1. Kuching Weekend Market
The locals simply call it “Sunday Market”. It really more than a Sunday’s market, because the market start operating from Saturday’s afternoon around 2pm. The crowd is forming from 3pm onwards, 99% are local shoppers & traders, and you will be that remaining 1%. At this weekend market, you get to see all kind of stuffs people are selling & buying there. Goods been traded ranging from cloths, home accessories & supplies, local produces, meat & fresh vegetables, foods, so on and so forth. Basically everything you can think of that can be found at Kuching, but definitely not the branded merchandise of course. This is the most traditional market that you will ever find in Kuching, which remain never change since some 20 years ago, or longer. You can easily hire a taxi from your hotel and will never cost you more than a RM15, unless you are staying somewhere off the Kuching city.
2. Sarawak Museum
Your Kuching travel will never be completed if you miss the Sarawak Museum. It’s free entrance anyway, & it has so much to tell you about Kuching and also the story of entire Sarawak. Some says that by just visiting Sarawak Museum alone and spend an hour walk through the entire museum is as good as travel ling to the whole of Sarawak for a week. It’s located next to Merdeka Palace Hotel in Kuching.
3. Malay Village across the Sarawak River
Another highly recommended place to visit and the best part is, it won’t cost you much to get there too, perhaps around RM2 per person only for the boat transfer. The small boat (called Tambang) transfer you from Kuching Waterfront across the Sarawak river already half of the fun. In the village itself, you won’t get to see a lot of tourist there, and I also must say this is not a place for tourist, but an authentic local Malay village. Take short walk around the village, you will find that it’s so much different from the Kuching city centre right just across the river. Try their local “Kampung” (mean village in Malay) Malay’s food, cheap and delicious, but be caution, almost all of them are spicy, just in case you have problem a taking spicy food. Just my 2 cents, do not leave Kuching if you haven’t visit this village yet.
4. Main Bazaar
This is where most tourists like shop for local souvenirs. At Main Bazaar, not only souvenir shops you can find there, but also lots of other shops selling other stuffs, just like a carpenter shop selling traditional handmade goods. Just stroll along the conservation old shop lots you will discover lots of interesting things, so I will leave it to you to explore them. Trust me, there are lots of interesting stuffs can be found there, such as tribal handicrafts, antiques & etc. Please bargain the price right, or shop around first before making your purchases.
5. Annah Rais Longhouse
If you really don’t have time and budget to travel inland to places like Rejang river’s Iban longhouse, then Annah Rais Bidayuh Longhouse is your best choice. This is a very real authentic Bidayuh longhouse located at some 90km away from Kuching city. It is patronised by the tourists daily and many say that it has become a tourist place. Nevertheless, the local people still carried on with their traditional life there, despite lots of tourist visiting the longhouse everyday. Rest assured that you will not see the local people are trying to sell you the tourist piece stuffs. Although the longhouse itself has already equipped with satellite or antenna, the main longhouse structure still remain pretty much original. They are working very hard to preserve the way it should be. If you prefer to stay back and to experience yourself the local way of living there, you can opt to stay with one of the local villager there who run a homestay program called Annah Rais Longhouse Adventure.
6. Semenggoh Orangutan Wildlife Centre
This is one of the most important “Must Go” place among all places in your Kuching travel destinations plan. You get to see the Orangutan in the wild and not caged. They roam freely in the surrounding jungle & will appear at the Park headquarter during the feeding time. Interestingly, they know the timing better then you do. So remember the feeding time, 9am & 3pm daily, if you miss it, you got to find them in the jungle then. The entrance fee cost you RM3 per person, a fraction of cost compare to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sabah that cost you RM30 per person, and you get to see pretty much the same thing, but only with the better facility.
7. Sarawak Cultural Village
This is a very well-built and well-maintained Sarawak various ethnic house’s model. They were built in a real human’s size (not a mini size model), and the best thing is they even employ the real people to live there in a traditional way of living. This is a very good concept of living museum, which you will get to see how various ethnic in Sarawak live the traditional way. They have lots to offer to visitors, even a very interesting cultural dances show.
8. Bako National Park
I can’t stretch enough that this is the only place that will get you excited every moment when you are in the park. The journey on the boat transfer alone already part of the adventurous trip, because you will get a chance to see the wild crocodiles when you are on the boat, however, this is not a guaranteed sighting though. When arrive at the park, you will most likely be greeted by the long-tailed macaque or the wild bearded pig. The wildlife is almost everywhere. This is also a good place for jungle trekking too. You will find a lot of trails, some offering you a good chance to see the endangered species of flora & fauna, such as proboscis monkey. Opt for the night jungle trekking too, the ranger can arrange for you and you will get to see the different creatures at night. Remember to bring mosquito repellent, lots of mosquito in the park though and they are simply, wild too!
9. Jong’s Crocodile Farm
Lots of people like the idea that the crocodiles are kept in the huge piece of land that form pretty much like a swampland, the crocodile natural habitat. The crocodiles are not caged, but you do! What a good idea right. This crocodile farm is well worth your visit, as you get to see thousands of crocodiles that are kept pretty much like they are in the wild. Moreover the entrance is barely RM8 per person, highly recommended!
10. Jalan Song Eatery Place (Must Go)
Again I need to mention, this is another non-tourist place, but it is very important for you to know that this is the most popular eatery place in Kuching for the local Kuching people. If you are a good food lover, this is the place for you to sample all kind of Kuching’s local dishes, such as Kolo Mee, Sarawak Laksa, and etc. Only visit this place for your dinner, because during the day, it’s just like a ghost town, but it gets very happening when the day turns dark. Since you are travel ling in Kuching and you got to try the local dishes, this place have put everything together for you. I would say it’s a “Must Visit” place in your Kuching travel destinations plan.