Kuching & Southwest Sarawak
Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo, is a bustling, diverse city of old colonial buildings and modern towers. Along its Sarawak River waterfront are shophouses selling handicrafts, food vendors and an esplanade with views of 19th-century landmarks: the Astana, former palace of the White Rajahs, and Fort Margherita, built to thwart pirates.
The city’s main thoroughfare is the broad, meandering Sarawak River. In days gone by its banks were a hive of trading activity, watched over by the White Rajah from his palace. The river remainsthe focus of city life even today. The beautifully landscaped Kuching Waterfront – popular with visitors and locals alike – provides an excellent starting point for a stroll around the city centre.
Most of the main attractions are close to the Waterfront and the central business and hotel district, so a walking tour is the best way to really appreciate the city, soaking up the sights, the sounds and the atmosphere. It is very easy to cover the city center on foot or in one of the small ferries, or perahu tambang, that ply across the river. The old town consists of row upon row of 19th century Chinese shophouses, fanning out from Main Bazaar, Kuching’s oldest street, These bustling streets are a browser’s paradise, crammed full of restaurants, food stalls, and art and curio shops. Mosques, temples and churches are also dotted throughout the city center.