KUCHING - Straddling the Sarawak River and known as ‘Cat City’ to some, is the capital city of the state of Sarawak. It is steeped in history that is so recent that a visitor can almost reach out and touch it! From the ‘Wild Man of Borneo’ days in the 1840’s, Kuching has evolved into a modern vibrant metropolis, very rich in history and culture.
Geography & Climate
Sarawak is located on the island of Borneo, the third largest land mass in the world. Borneo consists of two East Malaysian states, Sabah and Sarawak, Kalimantan Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei. Sarawak is the largest state of Malaysia covering an area of 124,450 sq. km. It has large areas of forests and is abundant with natural resources and wildlife. The climate is equatorial with daily temperatures ranging from 23o to 32o C.
Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific Standard Time.
Sarawak’s rich natural resources include petroleum, LNG and timber. Oil palm is fast becoming a main commercial crop besides sago and pepper. The tourism industry also generates a huge revenue for the state.
Kuching City, which is the capital of Sarawak, has a population of about 817,887. The inhabitants are mainly Malays, Chinese, Bidayuhs, Ibans and other indigenous people. There are some 28 different tribes in Sarawak all living and working in harmony.
Although Bahasa Malaysia is the official national language, English is widely spoken in Sarawak. Besides the Malay language and English, several Chinese dialects, Bidayuh, Iban, etc are widely used in daily activities. For the tourist, language is not a problem at all when they visit Kuching. Most of the locals here speak English.
All visitors to Malaysia must possess a valid Passport of internationally recognized Travel Document valid for travel to Malaysia. The documents shall be valid for more than six (6) months from date of entry into Malaysia. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits. For further information, please contact the nearest Malaysian diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office. Alternatively visit the Malaysian Immigration Department’s website (www.imi.gov.my)
Kuala Lumpur International Airports (KLIA & KLIA2), Singapore’s Changi Airport, Kota Kinabalu Internatioal Airport and Supadio International Airport in Pontianak, Kalimantan with flights from all over the world are the gateways to Kuching. Brunei Airlines is currently in talks for a restart of the Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan-Kuching flight service.
The best way to get around Kuching city centre is perhaps by walking. Buses are limited and can be irregular. Taxis and now with ‘Grab’ are also another common means of local transportation. Tour operators also provide transport to places of interest.
What to Wear & Bring
Light casual clothing, walking/running shoes, mosquito repellant, camera, etc.
Kuching has a wide range of accommodation available at affordable rates. They include international standard, medium and budget standards hotels. They are also hostels, home-stay and serviced apartments.
The monetary unit is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM). One Ringgit Malaysia (RM) is equivalent to 100 cent in coins. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks, moneychangers and at most hotels.
Voltage is 220 – 204 volts. Standard 3-pin square plug and sockets.
Weights and Measure
Malaysia follows the metric system in weight and measures.
Shopping is extremely varied with the Main Bazaar in Kuching specializing in traditional handicrafts and souvenirs of Borneo. A range of modern shopping malls is also available in and around Kuching offering, among other items, designer label products at reasonable prices.
Mondays – Fridays 9.30am to 4.00pm
Opening hours are from 8.00am to 5.00pm daily except Sundays and public holidays.