We recommend to hire a sampan to slowly move up or down the river for a first impression of Kuching. From here you will see the picturesque Malay villages (kampungs), a golden-domed mosque, a Victorian fort, a whole street of 19th century Chinese shop houses and an imposing wooden-roofed palace all set against the backdrop of the distant mountains.
As Kuching’s city centre is very compact so virtually everything can be reached by foot or sampan. Streets are crammed with shops selling everything from the mundane to the exotic. Traditional arts and crafts by the ethnic tribes like beadworks, weaving and pottery are of exceptional beauty. There are ornate Chinese Temples, many fine examples of colonial-style architecture, a beautiful waterfront and a number of interesting museums.
Kuching is an ideal base from which to go exploring. There are a number of national parks nearby including Bako, the home to the rare proboscis monkey, Gunung Gading, where the giant Rafflesia flower blooms, the Kuching Wetlands, Kubah with its rare palms and orchids and the Matang Wildlife Centre. In the rainforest you will come across hundreds of longhouses inhabited by the local and very welcoming Iban and Bidayuh tribes where you can get a glimpse of this traditional way of life.
For those travellers who want to experience more nature and adventure in Sarawak, drive approx 40 minutes from Kuching to Damai on the Santubong Peninsular where Sarawak’s main resort area is located. From the resort hotels you can depart on jungle hiking trails, mountain bike on various tracks, kayak through the rainforest, go rock climbing and abseiling at the Fairy Caves, experience diving of the coast, visit the orang utan at Semmenggoh Centre, or simply enjoy some relaxing time surrounded by nature.
Kuching is a great place to explore and make your own discoveries.