If you happen to fly into Kuching from Kuala Lumpur you will immediately appreciate Kuching's relaxed atmosphere. The capital of Sarawak has plenty to offer, at a leisurely pace!
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The crazed traffic of KL is nowhere to be found, people aren't rushed and things are just flowing in the right speed for someone who is on holidays.
With plenty of activities and attractions, Sarawak's state capital shouldn't be missed on any trip to Borneo. If you are interested in sight-seeing and city life, Kuching is certainly the most diverse and interesting city in Eastern Malaysia. Even though it has a lot to offer, Kuching is still not on the map of many tourists, and has none of the crowding of busier Malaysian cities. Even the Rainforest World Music Festival, hosted in the nearby Sarawak Cultural Village is free of lineups.
The two major tourist destinations around Kuching are Bako National Park and the Sarawak Cultural Village. Both are about an hour away from town. Buses to both destinations leave frequently all throughout the day from the central bus station.
The square next to the central bus station accommodates a large roofed food court whose hawker stalls offer a wide variety of local delights. You certainly should have at least one lunch or dinner there to get a taste of authentic Eastern Malaysian cuisine. Your digestion walk after this could lead you to the pink Divisional Mosque which is located only a few hundred meters away. The mosque is surrounded by an old cemetery and behind the building you will have a great view on the villages on the other side of Sungai Sarawak.
Kuching is located along the Sarawak River. A stroll along the river promenade in combination with a sunset dinner should be on every visitor's itinerary. Close to the square tower at the waterfront you can grab a boat which drops you off in front of the newly built and very impressive Parliament Palace. From there, conveniently located within walking distance, you can reach the orchid garden, Fort Margherita, and the Istana Palace. Fort Margherita was build to prevent pirate attacks. Today, what with the decline in pirate attacks, the fort hosts the police museum instead. The Istana Palace is the official residence of Sarawak State's president and not open to the public. You can still get a good view from the outside though. The nearby Sarawak State Museum offers a glimpse into typical village life in the rainforest, as well as local art and crafts.
Kuching is also a prime destination for craft shoppers. Have a walk along Jalan Gambier if you are looking for local produce and fabrics. The best selection of gold, jewelery and crafts can be found on Jalan Main Bazaar located at the waterfront.