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How to get to Kuching?

As Kuching is in Sarawak, which retains control of its own immigration procedures, some additional complications apply and an ordinary Malaysian visa may not suffice. Most visitors, though, can get visas on arrival at Kuching International Airport. See Sarawakfor details.

By plane

Kuching International Airport
 is Sarawak`s main gateway. There are near-hourly connections to Kuala Lumpur as well as frequent flights to Singapore, Johor Bahru, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and other cities in Sarawak like Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.MASwings links Kuching with Mukah. International connections are rather limited, although there are a few weekly services to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Pontianak. Flights to Kuching are also operated by AirAsia and Firefly. International airlines operating in Kuching includes SilkAir, Royal Brunei, Tiger Airways, and Batavia Air.

The airport underwent a major facelift in 2005-2006 and is now modern and pleasant. When checking in, note that all flights outside Sarawak are considered "international", even if you`re only going elsewhere in Malaysia. A restaurant is on ground floor at the far end at the right, `OldTown White Coffee` kopitiam restaurant at the other far end at the left and a McDonald`s outlet beside the escalators. There is also a KFC outlet and a Starbucks outlet on the 2nd floor (departure level), left of the departure gates.

Getting there/away: Kuching city is about 20 min away by taxi, a fixed RM26 from the taxi coupon stand just outside arrivals. Ignore the touts, even if they show you price lists. From the city you can get a private vehicle for around RM20 or catch a mini bus (RM7.99 for Tune guests); RM10 for others. must be booked at least 1 day in advance leaving hourly from 8:30AM-evening.

The Sarawak Transport Company (STC) Bus No. 12A no longer serves the 5 daily trips between the airport and the city centre. There is a series of other buses which can drop you off or pick you up approximately 1 KM west of the Airport (turn left as you exit the airport and walk to the main T intersection, turn left again and walk until you reach the big roundabout and catch a bus heading north to town namely 3A, 6, 8G and 9. The most convenient place to catch these buses back to the airport intersection is at the main bus terminal located in the city.

By boat

The Express Bahagia and Express Sejahtera express boats run an alternating once daily service from Kuching to Sibu, each boat returning the next day. RM38 (RM45 1st class) one way and the journey takes 5.5 hr, with stops at Sarikei and Tanjung Manis. The boats depart from the Pending wharf to the east of the city at 8.30AM. You can usually buy tickets at the wharf. Getting there/away: Chin Lian Long buses No. 1A, 17 and 19 go to the express boat jetty. 60 sen one way. Taxis usually charge RM15.

By bus

Kuching`s regional express bus terminal is located along Jl. Datuk Tawi Sli, also dubbed as "3 and a half miles", located south of the city, just before the Boulevard shopping mall. All long-distance express buses arrive from and leave for major Sarawak cities like Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, as well as Pontianak in Indonesia. Regional buses for some towns near Kuching such as Lundu (for the Gunung Gading National Park and Tanjung Datu National Park) and Sri Aman also arrive/depart from here. However, buses for some towns and destinations nearer Kuching, such as the Bako National Park, Bau and the Semenggoh Orang Utan Centre, leave from various locations in the city centre, depending on the bus company being used. See the individual destinations below for details.

  • To/from Bau:
  • To/from Bako National Park: Petra Jaya Transport(red) bus No. 1 departs from the open air market near Electra House in the city centre. RM3 one way, journey time 45 min. There are also public mini buses, more expensive and a little bit faster and more regular. The buses bring you to Bako Bazaar where you pay your RM10 park entrance fee and transfer to a boat to reach the national park. Boat costs RM47 one way and can carry up to 5 people. See Bako National Park page for details.
  • To/from Lundu: Sarawak Transport Company (cream and green) express buses depart from the regional bus terminal at 8:15AM, 11AM, 2PM and 4PM. Buses depart Lundu at 8AM, 11AM, 2PM and 4PM. Travel time approximately 2 hr. At Lundu, take a taxi or van or walk approximately 2.5 km (north) to the Gunung Gading National Park. For Tanjung Datu National Park, catch a connecting Sarawak Transport Company bus to Sematan where you will have to charter a boat to the park.
  • To/from Pontianak: Biaramas Express [4] ☎+60 82 456999 at the regional bus terminal, ☎ +60 82 610111 headquarters. Buses depart Kuching regional bus terminal for Pontianak via the Tebedu-Entikong border crossing daily at 7:45AM. RM45 adult 1 way. From Pontianak, buses depart daily at 9PM. Fare is Rp 140,000. SJS Super Executive ☎ +60 82 456999) buses departs the regional bus terminal at 11AM and cost RM70. See the Pontianak to Kuching for travel itinerary detail of this route.
  • To/from Semenggoh: Feeding times for the Orangutans are 9AM and 1PM so catch the 7:30AM or 11AM bus. Sarawak Transport Company buses No.6 depart from their bus terminal RM2.50, 1 hour, near the open air market in the city centre but are not so frequent (at 1 and a half hour or even rarely). Also there are plenty of mini buses at the open air market that can drive you there, public RM5-10/passеnger) and also more expensive mini bus taxies, bargaining starts from RM100 for the whole bus for return journey.
  • To/from Sibu: Various express buses depart from the regional bus terminal. Most of them go via Sarikei.

By car

From Indonesia

To travel by car from Indonesia is pretty straight forward. As a member of Asean, an Indonesian driving license is legal and accepted in Malaysia.

Please see the Pontianak to Kuching for travel itinerary on this route.

Within Malaysia and From Brunei Darussalam

Sarawak is a huge state. The road networks connecting towns and places in Sarawak including Kuching are somehow quite satisfactorily maintained. However, long and winding roads with sometimes no rest stops in between might bore you or scare you. Here are the distance chart from Kuching to other towns:

Distance Table from Kuching to other towns in Sarawak
FromToDistance/Accumulative Distance From Kuching (in Kilometre)Rest Stops
Kuching Sri Aman 193/193 Siburan, Tapah, Beratok, Tarat, Serian, Balai Ringin, Lachau
Sri Aman Sarikei 179/372 Engkilili, BetongSaratok
Sarikei Sibu 90/462 Meradong, Julau, Pakan, Jakar
Sibu Bintulu 202/644 Stapang, SelanguaTatau
Bintulu Miri 198/842 Suai, Batu Niah, Sibuti, Bekenu, Bakam
Miri Limbang 230/1072 Sg. Tujuh, Kuala Belait (Brunei), Seria (Brunei), Tutong (Brunei),Bandar Seri Begawan(Brunei)
Limbang Lawas 128/1200 Bangar, Temburong (Brunei), Sundar, Trusan

Sabahan people as well as from Brunei can also commute freely to Kuching using Pan Borneo Highway network. However, it is subject to a lot of stopover at immigration checkpoints. Therefore, travelling to Kuching from Sabah is not advisable. Bruneian commuters should produce driving permit which is simply by filling a form at the Malaysian border checkpoint. Bruneian driving license is a valid, legal and accepted form of document in Sarawak/Malaysia.

By helicopter

In case you are in hurry or in the event to experience luxury, helicopter and other method of air transports are available by using Hornbill Skyways.

By cruises

There are some cruise liners operating daily between Kuching and Singapore. One of them is StarCruise.

(This info is extracted from WikiTravel. For more info about Kuching, please visit http://wikitravel.org/en/Kuching)


Must-go places in Kuching

Travel to Kuching on your own is not as difficult as you may think. Here I`m going to list down the top 10 places or attractions that you should not miss when traveling in Kuching.

1. Kuching Weekend Market

The locals simply call it "Sunday Market". It really more than a Sunday`s market, because the market start operating from Saturday`s afternoon around 2pm. The crowd is forming from 3pm onwards, 99% are local shoppers & traders, and you will be that remaining 1%. At this weekend market, you get to see all kind of stuffs people are selling & buying there. Goods been traded ranging from cloths, home accessories & supplies, local produces, meat & fresh vegetables, foods, so on and so forth. Basically everything you can think of that can be found at Kuching, but definitely not the branded merchandise of course. This is the most traditional market that you will ever find in Kuching, which remain never change since some 20 years ago, or longer. You can easily hire a taxi from your hotel and will never cost you more than a RM15, unless you are staying somewhere off the Kuching city.

2. Sarawak Museum

Your Kuching travel will never be completed if you miss the Sarawak Museum. It`s free entrance anyway, & it has so much to tell you about Kuching and also the story of entire Sarawak. Some says that by just visiting Sarawak Museum alone and spend an hour walk through the entire museum is as good as travel ling to the whole of Sarawak for a week. It`s located next to Merdeka Palace Hotel in Kuching.

3. Malay Village across the Sarawak River

Another highly recommended place to visit and the best part is, it won`t cost you much to get there too, perhaps around RM2 per person only for the boat transfer. The small boat (called Tambang) transfer you from Kuching Waterfront across the Sarawak river already half of the fun. In the village itself, you won`t get to see a lot of tourist there, and I also must say this is not a place for tourist, but an authentic local Malay village. Take short walk around the village, you will find that it`s so much different from the Kuching city centre right just across the river. Try their local "Kampung" (mean village in Malay) Malay`s food, cheap and delicious, but be caution, almost all of them are spicy, just in case you have problem a taking spicy food. Just my 2 cents, do not leave Kuching if you haven`t visit this village yet.

4. Main Bazaar

This is where most tourists like shop for local souvenirs. At Main Bazaar, not only souvenir shops you can find there, but also lots of other shops selling other stuffs, just like a carpenter shop selling traditional handmade goods. Just stroll along the conservation old shop lots you will discover lots of interesting things, so I will leave it to you to explore them. Trust me, there are lots of interesting stuffs can be found there, such as tribal handicrafts, antiques & etc. Please bargain the price right, or shop around first before making your purchases.

5. Annah Rais Longhouse

If you really don`t have time and budget to travel inland to places like Rejang river`s Iban longhouse, then Annah Rais Bidayuh Longhouse is your best choice. This is a very real authentic Bidayuh longhouse located at some 90km away from Kuching city. It is patronised by the tourists daily and many say that it has become a tourist place. Nevertheless, the local people still carried on with their traditional life there, despite lots of tourist visiting the longhouse everyday. Rest assured that you will not see the local people are trying to sell you the tourist piece stuffs. Although the longhouse itself has already equipped with satellite or antenna, the main longhouse structure still remain pretty much original. They are working very hard to preserve the way it should be. If you prefer to stay back and to experience yourself the local way of living there, you can opt to stay with one of the local villager there who run a homestay program called Annah Rais Longhouse Adventure.

6. Semenggoh Orangutan Wildlife Centre

This is one of the most important "Must Go" place among all places in your Kuching travel destinations plan. You get to see the Orangutan in the wild and not caged. They roam freely in the surrounding jungle & will appear at the Park headquarter during the feeding time. Interestingly, they know the timing better then you do. So remember the feeding time, 9am & 3pm daily, if you miss it, you got to find them in the jungle then. The entrance fee cost you RM3 per person, a fraction of cost compare to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sabah that cost you RM30 per person, and you get to see pretty much the same thing, but only with the better facility.

7. Sarawak Cultural Village

This is a very well-built and well-maintained Sarawak various ethnic house`s model. They were built in a real human`s size (not a mini size model), and the best thing is they even employ the real people to live there in a traditional way of living. This is a very good concept of living museum, which you will get to see how various ethnic in Sarawak live the traditional way. They have lots to offer to visitors, even a very interesting cultural dances show.

8. Bako National Park

I can`t stretch enough that this is the only place that will get you excited every moment when you are in the park. The journey on the boat transfer alone already part of the adventurous trip, because you will get a chance to see the wild crocodiles when you are on the boat, however, this is not a guaranteed sighting though. When arrive at the park, you will most likely be greeted by the long-tailed macaque or the wild bearded pig. The wildlife is almost everywhere. This is also a good place for jungle trekking too. You will find a lot of trails, some offering you a good chance to see the endangered species of flora & fauna, such as proboscis monkey. Opt for the night jungle trekking too, the ranger can arrange for you and you will get to see the different creatures at night. Remember to bring mosquito repellent, lots of mosquito in the park though and they are simply, wild too!

9. Jong`s Crocodile Farm

Lots of people like the idea that the crocodiles are kept in the huge piece of land that form pretty much like a swampland, the crocodile natural habitat. The crocodiles are not caged, but you do! What a good idea right. This crocodile farm is well worth your visit, as you get to see thousands of crocodiles that are kept pretty much like they are in the wild. Moreover the entrance is barely RM8 per person, highly recommended!

10. Jalan Song Eatery Place (Must Go)

Again I need to mention, this is another non-tourist place, but it is very important for you to know that this is the most popular eatery place in Kuching for the local Kuching people. If you are a good food lover, this is the place for you to sample all kind of Kuching`s local dishes, such as Kolo Mee, Sarawak Laksa, and etc. Only visit this place for your dinner, because during the day, it`s just like a ghost town, but it gets very happening when the day turns dark. Since you are travel ling in Kuching and you got to try the local dishes, this place have put everything together for you. I would say it`s a "Must Visit" place in your Kuching travel destinations plan.

Kuching, Malaysia Local Weather

One Point Hotel

Ground Floor, Lot 5385, block 16,
R.H. Plaza, Kuching Central Land District,
93350 Kuching,
Sarawak Malaysia.
Email: amma@onepointhotel.com
Tel: 082-577799 fax: 082-576828