Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and the largest city on the island of Borneo. Affectionately known as Malaysia’s cat city, Kuching is famed for Bornean flora and fauna, its tasty Sarawakian dishes, as well as its rich history and diverse multi-racial culture. Despite being the largest city in Borneo and the fourth largest city in Malaysia, tourists are met with very little of the usual hassle as they stroll the spotless waterfront; locals instead pass with a smile and a friendly hello. Although Kuching is considerably smaller than major cities in the peninsula, it is the main holiday destination in Sarawak because it has many interesting places to see and visit.
Kuching International Airport is Sarawak's busiest airport. There are daily flights to and from Singapore by Scoot, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air. Malaysia Airlines' regional subsidiary, MASWings, connects Kuching with other Sarawakian towns such as Bintulu, Miri and Sibu. Direct flights from Singapore to Kuching will take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes fares ranging from SGD100 – 500 depending on the airlines. Kuching city is about 20 minutes away by taxi. Travellers can purchase a taxi coupon at SGD8.50 from the taxi coupon stand just outside arrivals. Your pre-paid taxi can take you directly to your hotel or intended destination in Kuching city. You can also use a ride-hailing app like Grab to get to the hotel. Other transportation alternatives from the airport to the city is a minibus which costs SGD3.30 per ticket or a rented private vehicle.
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Kuching has a tropical rainforest climate, receiving both sunshine and rain all year long. Considered as the wettest, most populated area in Malaysia, Kuching has an average of 247 rainy days a year. Therefore, the best times to visit Kuching are during the hottest and driest months of April to October. Music lovers should consider attending the annual Rainforest Music Festival which is held every year in July just outside of Kuching. Travelers interested in attending this festival will need to plan and make bookings in advance as hotel rooms would be fully booked and traveling costs will soar. Another not-to-be-missed event in Kuching is the famous Gawai Dayak festival usually held on June 1.
1. Annah Rais Bidayuh Longhouse – Annah Rais Longhouse is a Bidayuh settlement about 100km south of Kuching, at the foothill of Borneo Highlands near the mountains marking the border to Kalimantan. Other than the authentic longhouse experience, it is also famous for the hot springs nearby. The settlement is centered around a centuries-old bamboo longhouse, one of the finest still in existence.
2. Bako National Park – A National Park since 1957, Bako offers the perfect introduction to Sarawak’s forests and wildlife. The park covers the northern tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula, an area of 27 sq km. Despite its seemingly small size, Bako contains a wide range of vegetation – swamp forest, scrub-like Padang vegetation, mangrove forest, dipterocarp forest, delicate cliff vegetation and more. In fact, at Bako, it is possible to see almost every type of plant found in Borneo. Bako also contains a rich variety of wildlife and a coastline covered with small bays, coves and beaches. The park has several well-marked trails offering interesting walks ranging from short pleasant strolls to full-day severe hikes.
3. Kuching Waterfront – The tourist scene in Kuching is mainly centered around the meticulously maintained waterfront and adjacent bazaar in Chinatown. The wide walkway is free of touts, hawkers, and hassle; simple food stalls sell snacks and cold drinks. A small stage is a focal point for festivals and local music. The waterfront stretches from near India Street — a shopping zone — and the open-air market (on the west end) to the luxurious Grand Margherita Hotel (on the east end). Across the Sarawak River, the impressive DUN State Legislative Assembly Building is highly visible but not open to tourists. The white building is Fort Margherita, constructed in 1879 to guard the river against pirates. Farther to the left is the Astana Palace, built in 1870 by Charles Brooke as a wedding gift to his wife. The current Head of State to Sarawak currently resides in Astana. Tourists can take a river cruise to see all that the riverfront has to offer.