Kuching isn’t high up on the travel radar for a lot of people but this small city on the island of Borneo has a lot to offer. It’s easy to get to, it’s crazy affordable, the food is great, and there is even some good nightlife. So what are you waiting for? Here are eight things to do in Kuching.
1 – BAKO NATIONAL PARK IS JUST UP THE ROAD
An easy day-trip from Kuching, Bako National Park is relatively small but super accessible, and is the home to lots of wildlife from proboscis monkeys to (fairly friendly) bearded pigs. The boat ride from the entry gate (the park is is only accessible by boat) is lovely and there are some decent hikes on the island when you arrive. Totally worth spending a day exploring.
2 – IT HOSTS ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST MUSIC FESTIVALS
In July, Kuching plays host to some of the world’s coolest and most diverse music. The Rainforest Music Festival celebrates world music in a beautiful setting, surrounded by (you guessed it) the rainforest, mountains and the ocean. It has the friendliest and most positive atmosphere of any festival I’ve been to, it’s size (around 5-10 thousand people) is perfect, and the music is just so wonderfully varied. One minute you’re watching a Serbian folk/techno fusion band, then next up, it’s a Chinese traditional folk/death metal band. And they are all brilliant.
3 – IT’S A GREAT CITY FOR HAPPY HOUR
Kuching has several cool bars, but the Drunk Monkey is my favourite. It’s in a nice location in the centre of Chinatown near the waterfront, and has a lovely courtyard which is a great spot especially at sunset when the light is low. It’s unpretentious but the drinks are good and well priced. A great place for happy hour.
4 – KOLO MEE TASTES BEST IN KUCHING
Kolo Mee – a delicious mildly spicy dry noodle dish usually topped with pork and shallots – is a Sarawak speciality and you have to down (at least) one bowl when you’re in Kuching, it’s spiritual home. Lots of places do it all over the city and tbh I haven’t had a bad bowl yet but Noodle Descendents was probs one of my faves.
5 – THE WATERFRONT IS SUPER PRETTY
The Waterfront is Kuching’s most iconic area and is a fairly lively (by Kuching standard) spot that has great views of the Astana. It’s a lovely stretch to take a stroll – but cut into Chinatown before you eat as in my experience the restaurants and bars do have lovely views but are are overpriced and the food is not the best.
6 – THE WEEKEND MARKET IS COLOURFUL AND TASTY
Kuching’s weekend market (at Medan Niaga Satok) is vibrant and full of energy, and a nice place to take a wander if you happen in Kuching on the weekend. The best thing is that as well as lots of clothes, toys and fresh food, there are also some hawker stalls selling street food. Defo a good place to grab some snacks and experience some real Sarawak culture.
8 – IT’S A FRICKIN BARGAIN
AirAsia flies to Kuching from Singapore and KL for under $150 USD return and a night at The Hilton Kuching will set you back as little as $70 USD. Not bad for a sneaky weekend getaway!
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