10 Must-Visit Attractions in Kuching, Malaysiaairport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar

10 Must-Visit Attractions in Kuching, Malaysia

View of the legislative building from Kuching Waterfront
View of the legislative building from Kuching Waterfront | © yanatul / Shutterstock
Sarawak attracts tourists for jungle-related activities, cities with a small-town feel and its rich and diverse ethnic culture and traditions. Kuching, the state capital, is often the first port of call. Here are Culture Trip’s must-visit attractions in Kuching for first-time visitors.

Admire The Astana: Residence of Sarawak’s White Rajahs

Building
Save
clock towers in malaysia
The clock tower is located inside the complex | © Jan S / Shutterstock
The Astana, or ‘Palace’ in English, always features on lists of the must-visit attractions in Kuching. Sitting elegantly on the banks of the River Sarawak, the 1870 colonial palace exudes grandeur. Formerly the residence of Sarawak’s White Rajahs, it’s now the Governor of Sarawak’s seat and isn’t open to the public. Manicured lawns and a fence surround the palace with ‘Astana’ spelled out in giant white letters. Stand on the opposite side of the river for the best photographs. Return after dark when the palace lights up.
More Info

Stroll Along Kuching Waterfront

Natural Feature
Save
Kuching city waterfront walk in Sarawak, Malaysia
Kuching city waterfront walk in Sarawak, Malaysia | © KYTan / Shutterstock
Kuching Waterfront hugs the southern banks of the Kuching River which divides the capital. The walkway provides views of the river, access to hotels and restaurants as well as vendors hawking snacks and street food. Stretching for almost one kilometre (0.6 miles), visitors can watch the sunset, snap a photograph next to the First White Rajah of Sarawak and visit Kuching’s oldest Taoist temple at Tua Pek Kong.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Local, Photo Opportunity
Sun - Sat:
12:00 am

Kuching's Oldest Temple: Tua Pek Kong Temple

Buddhist Temple
Save
Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple in Kuching, Malaysia
Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple in Kuching, Malaysia | © Elena Odareeva / Shutterstock
Dating back to 1843, Tua Pek Kong holds the title as Kuching’s oldest Chinese temple. Located in the heart of the city centre near the Waterfront and Chinese Museum, the colourful façade welcomes curious visitors. While the Taoist temple might not be an obvious entry into the list of the must-visit attractions in Kuching, it does provide cultural insights into the city’s past and hosts several annual festivals.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Local, Photo Opportunity, Historical Landmark

Learn About the White Rajahs at Fort Margherita and Brooke Gallery

History Museum
Save
Fort Margherita in Kuching, Malaysia
Kuching's Fort Margherita and Brooke Gallery | © Anna ART / Shutterstock
The prominent Fort Margherita stands on the northern banks of the Sarawak River. The Second White Rajah Charles Brooks built the fort in 1879 to defend the city against pirate attacks and named it after his wife, Margaret. Today, it houses the recently opened Brooke Gallery with relics, artefacts and historical documents detailing Sarawak’s early Statehood under the White Rajahs. Fort Margarita sits inside the police barracks and tourists might need to show ID before entering.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Outdoors, Historical Landmark

Embrace Local Culture at Sarawak Cultural Village

Living Museum
Save
Iban ladies Sarawak
Ladies wearing the traditional Iban costume | © Yusnizam Yusof / Shutterstock

Embrace Local Culture at Sarawak Cultural Village, 35 kilometres (21.7 miles) north of Kuching in Damai, it offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Sarawakian tradition. The open-air museum features a collection of longhouse replicas such as ones the infamous former headhunting Iban tribes lived in, Malay kampung-style dwellings and Chinese farmhouses. Stroll through the village and see traditional instruments inside the Rainforest Music House or follow jungle trails to the foot of Mount Santubong. Families and tourists interested in Sarawak’s rich cultural and ethnic heritage rate this as one of the must-visit attractions in Kuching.

More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Local, Touristy, Photo Opportunity

Visit the Cat Museum in the 'City of Cats'

History Museum
Save
cat museum kuching
Some old and historical displays inside the Cat Museum | © Thomas Quine / Flickr
Sarawak’s name translates as ‘Cat’ in English, giving the nickname ‘City of Cats’. The world’s first cat museum covers four galleries inside the City Hall buildings. With over 4,000 items covering everything related to felines, this is a must-visit attraction in Kuching for cat lovers. Since opening in 1988, the Cat Museum gets thousands of annual visitors. Expect to find figurines, photographs, posters and a rare Egyptian mummified cat.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Touristy
Sun:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Photograph Orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Forest
Save
Borneo orangutan
Best time to visit if during the Orangutan's feeding time | © Attila JANDI / Shutterstock

Approximately 21 kilometres (13 miles) south of Kuching sits the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. The Orangutan rehabilitation centre takes care of baby and orphaned orangutans since opening its doors in 1975. Orange-haired primates roam semi-wild inside the protected area. Visit during either the morning feeding time between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. or in the afternoon at 3 p.m.

More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Touristy, Local, Photo Opportunity
Sun:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Sun:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Mon:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Mon:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Tue:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Tue:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Wed:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Wed:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Thu:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Thu:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Fri:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Fri:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Sat:
8:00 am - 10:00 am
Sat:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Oldest Museum in Borneo: Sarawak State Museum

History Museum
Save
sarawak state museum
The oldest museum in Borneo founded in 1888 | © Yeo Jiun Tzen / WikiCommons

Borneo’s oldest museum first opened in 1891. The White Rajah at the time, Charles Brookes, had a passion for natural history and commissioned the Sarawak State Museum. Several displays cover all aspects of Sarawak from ethnographic exhibits and traditional longhouses to Neolithic artefacts, natural specimens and both Chinese and Islamic art. The grand three-storied colonial building housing the museum is a masterpiece in itself.

More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Historical Landmark
Sun:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 4:45 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

See Proboscis Monkeys at Bako National Park

Forest
Save
Proboscis Monkey
Proboscis monkey or some call it the long-nosed monkey | © Gypsytwitcher / Shutterstock
Holding the title as Sarawak’s oldest and one of the state’s smallest, Bako National Park can be reached within an hour to the northeast of Kuching. After taking a boat to the park entrance, visitors can hike along colour-coded trails, visit beaches and go wildlife-spotting in the many habitats. Highlights include its resident population of endemic proboscis monkeys, slow loris and pangolins, as well as 190 species of birds, lizards and other mammals. Bako National Park is an ideal place to go wildlife-spotting and experience Sarawak’s rainforests.
More Info

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Touristy, Photo Opportunity, Scenic

Count the Cat Statues in Kuching

Given the city’s name, it’s quite fitting Kuching has several cat statues decorating public spaces. Kuching South City Council Cat Statue, a white feline posing in front of Little Chinatown, became the first of many sculptures in the city. A favourite activity for visitors is to stroll along the streets in search of the statues and pose next to the giant felines.

Cat monument in Kuching city center © Alexander Mazurkevich / Shutterstock