In Malay, Kuching means ‘cat’. It’s the the symbol of this city on the Sarawak River. This is one of the largest cities in Borneo and its location make it attractive as you can enjoy the quiet city of Kuching and diverse outdoor activities in the area such as treks, caves exploring, Orang Utans watching, beach, etc. The city itself is not very beautiful and is more a base to discover the region.
You can go there for 2 days if you plan to only visit to Bako National Park or another site. You will neeed more time if you plan to visit more sites.
Connections from Kuching
You can combine your trip to Kucing to another trip in Borneo such as the ascension of the Kota Kinabalu if you are ready for a tough hike.
Getting to Kuching from Singapore
Getting there: Silk Air: 6:55 PM – 8:10 PM (1h15 flight)
Coming back: Silk Air: 8:55 PM – 10:20 PM (1h25 flight)
Return ticket from SGD 245
You can find cheaper flights with Air Asia (SGD 215) but they take-off earlier on the way back.
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares. Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight.
Getting from Kuching airport to the city
The airport is 12 km away from the city center. Here are the options to reach the city center:
- Taxi: Taxis are available at the airport. You will need to buy a ticket at the counter outside the terminal (around RM 25).
- Tune bus: Take the Tune (AirAsia) bus (RM 8 / pax) that will drop you at the Tune hotel (close to the Grand Magherita, Riverside Majestic, Hilton and Pullman hotels in the city.)
- Bus: There is no direct bus to the city. Walk 500 meters to the left on the road and cross the street to catch a bus that goes to the city. It is slow but will cost you only RM 1.
- Rent a car: This can be a good option if you plan to travel around on your own as roads are easy to handle. From SGD 150 for a 48h rental. Check the availability with the following car rental agencies and make sure someone will wait for you at the counter if your flight is delayed or if you arrive past 7 PM. Here are a few agencies in Kuching. They all have counters at the airport. Car Rental Kuching, RG Car Rental Kuching, Kuching Budget Car Rental Services.
Where to stay in Kuching?
There are many hotels in Kuching. From budget hotels (Tune Asia Hotel) to the new Hilton or the renovated Pullman, you will find a large choice of accommodations. Book your hotel with Agoda now to enjoy the best rate
or, if you prefer, book with
To see & to do in Kuching
Bako National Park
Bako National Park is 45-min drive from Kuching followed by a 20-min boat ride. You can only reach the park by sea, on the way to the National Park Head Quarters you’ll enjoy a picturesque coastline of steep cliffs, rocky headlands, and stretches of sandy bays. You’ll be thrilled by the Bako National Park fauna and flora. During your trek you’ll find a wide range of vegetation (pitcher plants, wild orchids…) and animals (long-nosed proboscis monkey, long-tailed macaques, silver-leaf monkeys, giant monitor lizards, bearded wild boars and mouse deers). There are 16 color-coded jungle trails which offer a range of walking and hiking options, from 30-min walk to 7-hour treks. Have a look to the various options here. There is no need for a guide as the paths are well indicated.
To get there
- By private car you will need to drive to Bako Village, which is 37 km from the city center, via Jalan Bako (Free car park in Bako Village).
- By bus, you can take the Petra Jaya Bus No. 6 to Kampung Bako / Bako Village. (from the city near the Mosque, 1st bus at 7:20am, every hour. For the way back the last bus leaves Bako Village at 5PM).
At Bako Village jetty, you need to pay an entrance fee (RM 10/pax) and charter a boat to the Bako HQ, where the trails start (~ RM 50 /one way boat if you ask for a small detour to the Bako Sea Stack, emblematic rock). Nearby the Bako HQ, you can have a local meal; this is the only place selling water and food.
If you want, you can stay overnight in the Bako National Park – accommodation being rough-and-ready. You can book online here. If you just plan to walk for a few hours it’s probably best to stay in Kuching.
Semenggoh Orang Utan Wildlife Centre
Semenggoh Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre offers a rare opportunity to be close to the “Wild Man of Borneo”, there are approx 20 Orang Utans in the park. There are some trails from 5min to 30 min, you’ll see the orang utans wondering in towering trees before coming down for a free meal. Feeding takes place between 9AM – 10AM and between 3PM- 3:30 PM.
Location: 24 Km south from Kuching – 30 min drive by private car / taxi or 40 min by bus STC n°6 but there are only 2 buses a day.
Visiting Hours: Daily from 8AM to 12:45 PM and from 2PM to 5PM (closed during lunch time).
Entrance fees: RM 10 / pax.
On the way to or from Semenggoh Orang Utan Wildlife Centre you can stop by the Kampung Benuk Long houses (which is closer from Kuching than the Annah Rais located 100 km from Kuching). You will be able to see the astonishing architecture of the Bidayuh longhouses which are mainly built of bamboo. During your visit, you will also be able to view the villagers with their own daily routine like rice pounding and winnowing, basket weaving, bamboo carving, etc.
Location: 35Km South from Kuching and 10Km South from the Orang Utan rehabilitation center. At the entrance of the village you can find a small local restaurant.
Visiting Hours: Daily during day time.
Entrance fees: RM 10 / pax.
Kuching city tour
You can visit the quiet city of Kuching wandering in the city, you’ll need half a day. Don’t miss: to wander around Chinatown (Jalan Carpenter), to visit the Serawak Museum (free admission – daily from 9AM to 4:30 PM), have a look at the Mosque and the Main Bazaar area, to give a glimpse at the Great Cat of Kuching – The city’s emblem, enjoy sunset at Kuching waterfront facing the former Colonial Law Court House, Clock Tower & The Charles Brooke Memorial (which are not open to public).
Kuching being a small city you can easily walk to all places mentioned above.
Fairy Cave & Wind Caves
The Fairy Cave is 3-storey high. After a quick climb through the cave with a torchlight, the cave opens up into a main chamber. Sunlight streams into the chamber, enabling you to view limestone formations of several types. You can see some eerie shape of nature creations, the stalactites and stalagmites. The tour will last approximately 45min.
From there you can get to the Wind Cave – 10 min drive from the Fairy cave. Walking along the platform, you will find that this dark tunnel cave is filled with bats.
Location: 30 km (40 min drive) South East from Kuching. Don’t forget to bring your torchlight to visit the caves.
Visiting Hours: Daily from 9AM to 5PM.
Entrance fees: RM 5 / pax.
More info to prepare your trip
What to pack for Kuching
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
Wifi is available in most hotels, bars and restaurants in Kuching. It is not available in the jungle of Bako National Park…
- Language: Bahasa Malaysia
- Time zone: Kuala Lumpur GMT +8 hours, no time difference between Malaysia and Singapore
- Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
- Phone: + 60
- Electricity: 220V 50 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
A lot of nationalities are exempt of visa to enter Malaysia. You can check on the Malaysia Immigration website. If you are arriving by:
- By air: On busy weekends, expect to wait for quite a while at the immigration counter
- By land: If you are driving from Singapore remember to have your fuel tank full to 3/4 when crossing the border. Buy a Touch & Go card (to pay for taxes, tolls and fees) and remember to take it with you when going to Malaysia. More details on the card on the Touch and Go website.
National Public Holidays in Malaysia
|Wednesday||January 01||New Years Day||All regions except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Terengganu|
|Tuesday||January 14||Mawlid||Birthday of Prophet Muhammad|
|Tuesday||January 14||Birthday of The Sultan of Negeri Sembilan||Negeri Sembilan only. Always celebrated on 14 January|
|Friday||January 17||Thaipusam||Hindu festival. Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Selangor only|
|Sunday||January 19||Sultan of Kedahs Birthday||Kedah only. Always celebrated on 19 January|
|Friday||January 31||Chinese New Year||1st day of 1st lunar month|
|Saturday||February 01||Chinese New Year||2nd day of 1st lunar month|
|Monday||February 03||Federal Territory Day (observed)||Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Putrajaya only. Anniversary of the formation of the Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory in 1974|
|Tuesday||March 04||Anniversary of Installation of the Sultan of Terengganu||Terengganu only. Always celebrated on 4 March|
|Tuesday||April 15||Declaration of Malacca as a Historical City||Malacca only. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7 July 2008|
|Friday||April 18||Good Friday||Friday before Easter Sunday. Sabah, Sarawak only|
|Saturday||April 26||Birthday of the Sultan of Terengganu||Terengganu only. Always celebrated on 26 April|
|Thursday||May 01||Labour Day||International Workers Day|
|Wednesday||May 07||The Sultan of Pahang Hol||Pahang only. Marks the death of a state Sultan|
|Sunday||May 11||Mothers Day||2nd Sunday in May. Not a public holiday.|
|Tuesday||May 13||Wesak Day||Birth of Buddha. Observed on the day of the full moon in May|
|Saturday||May 17||Birthday of the Raja of Perlis||Perlis only. Always celebrated on 17 May|
|Tuesday||May 27||Isra and Miraj||Kedah, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan only|
|Thursday||May 29||Public Holiday||Perak only. Mark the passing of the Sultan of Perak|
|Friday||May 30||Harvest Festival||Sabah and Labuan only|
|Saturday||May 31||Harvest Festival||Sabah and Labuan only|
|Sunday||June 01||Harvest Festival||Sarawak only|
|Monday||June 02||Harvest Festival||Sarawak only|
|Saturday||June 07||Birthday of SPB Yang di Pertuan Agong||Kings Birthday. 1st Saturday in June|
|Sunday||June 29||Beginning of Ramadan||Johor, Kedah and Johor, Kedah, Malacca only|
|Monday||July 07||Georgetown Heritage Day||Penang only. Georgetown was given Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2009|
|Saturday||July 12||Birthday of the Governor of Penang||Penang only. 2nd Saturday in July|
|Tuesday||July 15||Nuzul Quran||All regions except Johor, Kedah, Malacca, Sabah, Sarawak|
|Monday||July 28||Hari Raya Aidilfitri||Eid Al-Fitr|
|Tuesday||July 29||Hari Raya Puasa Holiday||Second day of holiday for Eid Al-Fitr|
|Sunday||August 31||National Day||Independence Day|
|Saturday||September 13||Birthday of the Governor of Sarawak||Sarawak only|
|Tuesday||September 16||Malaysia Day||Became a Federal Holiday in 2010|
|Thursday||September 25||State Holiday||Kelantan only. Allow voting in by-election|
|Saturday||October 04||Birthday of the Governor of Sabah||Sabah only. 1st Saturday in October|
|Sunday||October 05||Hari Raya Haji||Festival of Sacrifice|
|Monday||October 06||Hari Raya Haji Holiday||Holiday in lieu. Second day of Festival of Sacrifice|
|Friday||October 10||Malacca Governors Birthday||Malacca only.|
|Wednesday||October 22||Diwali||The festival of lights. Except Labuan, Sarawak|
|Friday||October 24||Birthday of The Sultan of Pahang||Pahang only. Always celebrated on 24 October|
|Saturday||October 25||Awal Muharram||Islamic New Year|
|Sunday||October 26||Awal Muharram (in lieu)||Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu only.|
|Monday||November 03||Public Holiday||Pahang only. Marks football team winning the Malaysia Cup final|
|Tuesday||November 11||Birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan||Kelantan only. Always celebrated on 11 November|
|Wednesday||November 12||Birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan||Kelantan only. Always celebrated on 11 November|
|Saturday||November 22||Birthday of the Sultan of Johor||Johor only. Always celebrated on 22 November|
|Thursday||November 27||Birthday of the Sultan of Perak||Perak only. Always celebrated on 27 November|
|Saturday||November 29||The Sultan of Johor Hol||Johor only. Marks the death of a state Sultan|
|Thursday||December 11||Birthday of The Sultan of Selangor||Selangor only. Always celebrated on 11 December|
|Thursday||December 25||Christmas Holiday||Internationally observed Christian holiday|
* check the exact date as it varies from one year to another. When a public holidays falls on a Sunday, the following day will be Public Holiday. There might be some special public holidays in some states. Please refer to this website.