Kuching is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Located on the enormous island of Borneo, Kuching is often said to be one of the cleanest cities in all of Asia.
Known as the City of Cats, there are plenty of moggie-related attractions to keep furry feline-lovers happy! Museums aplenty, a beautiful and lively waterfront, historical buildings from colonial times, and stunning religious buildings combine to make this a lovely city for a few days’ stay and as a base for exploring the surrounding delights.
Here are six top picks of things to do and see in cat-crazy Kuching:
1. Spot large cat statues dotted around the cityKuching is home to a number of large statues of cats. One of the most famous can be found close to the waterfront in the middle of a roundabout on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. In front of the McDonald’s fast food restaurant and the Grand Margherita Hotel, the cute fountain statue shows mummy and daddy cat standing proudly with their brood of playful kittens. Each kitten is shown doing something different so make sure that you wander around the statue and admire it from all angles.
A smaller bronze statue of a cat on top of a post with several smaller kitties on the ground below can be found next to the waterfront close and close to James Brooke Bistro and Cafe. A lamppost surrounded by four white felines and topped with rafflesia flowers is located on a roundabout at Jalan Padungan, and there is a grinning duo in the Malaysia-China Friendship Garden.
2. See the Great Cat of KuchingAnother large cat monument, this gleaming white kitty with its deep blue eyes is the oldest cat statue in Kuching. It stands proudly on a roundabout on Jalan Padungan. Sitting in front of an ornate and colourful Chinese archway, it offers the purr-fect welcome to the city!
3. Stroll along the pretty waterfront and soak up the viewsKuching’s riverside is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Lined with food sellers of an evening, it is also a great place to sample some tasty local fare, such as the noodle dish of Kolo Mee. Across the river you can see the elegant Astana, a white castle-like palace that is home to the state’s governor, as well as the tall pavilion-esque New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building complete with its golden umbrella-like roof.
On the same side as the long riverside walkway, you will see the historical Square Tower, a once important guardian and protector of the city, and the Sarawak Steamship Building, now home to a shopping centre.
4. Shop ‘till you dropAs well as the various city malls, such as The Spring, Wisma Hopoh, and Plaza Merdeka, you’ll find some excellent gift and souvenir shopping along the vibrant stretch known as the Main Bazaar. An array of treasures spills out from the lower levels of the shop houses, with stalls set up ready to entice buyers and attractive displays hanging from the rafters.
With t-shirts, handicrafts, ornaments, musical instruments, pictures, postcards, spices, jewellery, bags, and more, you are sure to find something tempting to take home. The colourful carved geckos would look great on your home’s walls!
5. Visit tranquil and revered religious buildingsKuching Town Mosque was formerly the main mosque in the state and is still today a popular place of worship. A beautiful building from the outside, admire the pinkish façade with its contrasting yellow domes. The large Muslim cemetery is also interesting and there are several other attractive mosques throughout the area.
Amongst the city’s Hindu temples, one of the most impressive is the colourful and ornate Sri Srinivasagar Kaliamman Temple. The tiered tower above the entrance features intricate carvings of Hindu deities, people, animals, and symbols.
There are several spiritual and decorative Chinese temples around Kuching, including the historic Tua Pek Kong Temple. Perched on top of a raised piece of land, the outer wall is particularly bright and impressive. Inhale the aromas of incense and see many traditional symbols and statues.
6. Discover the city’s thriving museum sceneKuching boasts several excellent museums that are dedicated to a variety of themes, and many offer free admission.
The Sarawak Museum / Ethnology Museum is a terrific place for visitors that would love to know more about the local culture and history. The ground floor has an assortment of tools, machinery, and stuffed animals, whilst the upper level has a fantastic collection of tribal carvings and a replica of a traditional home. The Natural History Museum, Islamic Museum, and Art Museum are all close by.
The small but interesting Chinese History Museum details the customs and lives of the various Chinese groups that have made Kuching their home, and the Textile Museum is actually a lot more exciting than it may sound! And, of course, the city also has a museum dedicated entirely to cats! Within a complex on top of Bukit Siol, you’ll find anything and everything to do with felines in the unusual and quirky Cat Museum.
Even more things to do in Kuching
Look out for the large pieces of street art that adorn the sides of buildings around the city; a jumping cat, tribal children, and an iconic hornbill are amongst the striking images. Relax in the pretty Kuching Reservoir Park, pay a visit to the oldest Planetarium in Malaysia, and take excursions to beautiful natural gems, such as Bako National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, and deserted caves, and places of cultural interest like the Sarawak Cultural Village and Bidayuh Longhouses. Book your trip to Kuching and experience the diverse magic and charms of Malaysian Borneo.
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