Top 9 Best Kuching Day Trips – Wildlife Cruises, Orangutans And More

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One of my favourite places in Malaysia is Kuching, the capital of the Borneo state of Sarawak.

It has a gorgeous central waterfront area by the Sarawak River, a great collection of museums, temples and more. But what really makes Kuching stand out among cities in Malaysia is that it has some absolutely awesome day trip options to get out and enjoy the culture, wilderness and wildlife that Sarawak is famous for.

It’s also quite easy to go on Kuching day trips to explore thanks to many Kuching day trip package options which are affordable and make it easy. It’s also possible to have some of these experiences independently. The choice is yours!

You can go on a wildlife spotting cruise, trek through national park while looking out for proboscis monkeys, see Borneo’s famous orangutans up close or visit a local longhouse. There are many other great day trip Kuching options as well.

Kuching riverfront area
Kuching riverfront area

I recommend you leave at least one day in your itinerary for a day trip from Kuching. Even better would be to have multiple days available because there is a lot to explore.

In fact, the hardest part when thinking about day trips Kuching is working out what to pick as the options are that great. But that’s why we are here!

In this guide to the best Kuching one day trip options, we have everything you need so you can work out your own fabulous day trip whether you are hoping for a Kuching orangutan tour, a Kuching Wetlands National Park tour or a longhouse tour, you have everything here to make your decision.

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Why Consider Kuching Day Trips?

Kuching is a lovely city but the main reason to visit Kuching is all the fabulous experiences that exist in its surrounds.

There’s nothing better than seeing an orangutan in the wild, hiking through the jungle as a proboscis monkey swings by, learning more about Sarawak’s different cultural groups, being surrounded by fireflies or watching dolphins swim past.

These experiences (and more) are easily accessible on the best day trips from Kuching Malaysia.


Why Book A Kuching Tour Package?

While you can do some of these day trip in Kuching options independently, a Kuching tour package usually makes more sense. This way, you don’t have to worry about organising a taxi for the day, working out public transport (where it’s an option) or what to do when you get to your destination.

Bako National Park Telok Paku Trail turn off signs
Exploring Bako National Park

A Kuching tour guide helps you gain so much more from the experience as well. If spotting wildlife is important to you, a great guide will also make this much more likely.

There is a great range of Kuching day tours on Klook and Viator too which makes it extra easy to book an affordable Kuching one day tour.

Compare All The Kuching Day Trip Options

Here’s a quick comparison of all your Kuching tour guide packages.

Tour NameBest For…PriceBook Now
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre Half Day TripAnyone who wants to see orangutans$Click
Sarawak Cultural Village Half Day TourLearning more about Sarawak’s different cultural groups$$Click
Bako National Park Day TourExploring Sarawak’s wilderness and wildlife$$$Click
Santubong Wildlife CruiseSpotting wildlife and fireflies from a boat$$Click
Dolphin Watching Mangrove CruiseDolphin spotting and enjoying mangroves$$Click
Kuching Bike TourActive people who want to see different sides of Kuching$$$Click
Kuching City TourPeople short on time that want a great introduction to Kuching$$$Click
Gunung Gading National Park Day Tour Seeing (and smelling) the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia$$Click
Caving And Annah Rais Longhouse TourExploring both natural and cultural attractions including a huge traditional longhouse$$Click

You can read more about each of these options below.

Best Kuching Day Tours

Here is all the information you need about each of these Kuching day tour package options. I have done many of these tours myself, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of the options.

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre Half Day Trip – Best Kuching Orangutan Tour

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre ruby
Ruby at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

The one thing you will absolutely not want to miss on your trip to Borneo is a chance to see orangutans – and this is your best chance of seeing them in Sarawak. These famous red-haired apes are amazing creatures which can only be found on Sumatra (Indonesia) and the island of Borneo. A trip to Borneo simply isn’t complete without viewing orangutans up close.

Located in the Semenggoh Nature Reserve just 35 minutes from Kuching, the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is the place to go in this part of Malaysia to see orangutans. While sightings can never be guaranteed, at least one orangutan is likely to show up if you visit during one of the feeding times.

I visited during fruiting season when sightings are less common and I still was able to watch two orangutans up close. It was simply amazing.

This wildlife centre rehabilitates orangutans that have been rescued from captivity or were injured or orphaned. It also serves as a habitat for them and as a place for people to learn more about these animals.

The orangutans here are semi-wild. While they can roam the forest at will, they often return at feeding times for a meal. They are fed because the reserve, even at 653 hectares, is not bigger enough to naturally supply food for all the orangutans here.

This Kuching Sarawak tour only takes a few hours in either the morning or afternoon to coincide with one of the feeding times. You’ll be picked up at your hotel and dropped off afterwards. Even better is that you’ll have a guide to walk you through the experience so you learn more about the orangutans, although I found our guide on this tour required promting to talk much.

It’s also a very affordable Kuching local tour which doesn’t really cost much different to going alone. This tour includes entry tickets.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices or click here to read about my full experience on this tour.

Sarawak Cultural Village Half Day Tour

Sarawak Cultural Village
Sarawak Cultural Village

If you want to learn about Sarawak culture, this is the tour to do. It departs at either 8:30am or 12:30pm and is a half day tour so you could spend 1 day in Kuching doing this tour and the one above for an extra great experience.

The Sarawak Cultural Village is a living museum that offers guests an opportunity to experience all the cultures of Sarawak squeezed into just half a day. It’s just 45 minutes from the centre of Kuching.

On your visit, you’ll find authentic replica houses from each of the major ethnic groups in Sarawak such as Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu, Malay, Penan and Chinese. A representative from each group – dressed in traditional clothing – welcomes you to their respective home and showcases their tribe’s culture through demonstrations of unique cultural activities.

After, you can watch the multicultural dance performance – presented twice a day – which highlights the harmonious and peaceful style of living that can be found amongst these Sarawakian groups. 

Having a guide with you will help you learn more about these cultures as you explore the site.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices.

Bako National Park Day Tour

Bako National Park sea stacks
Famous sea stacks. It’s definitely worth taking a boat ride to see these

Another top option worth considering is a Kuching Bako National Park day trip.

Established in 1957, Bako National Park is the oldest national park in the region. It’s located at the northern tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula and is accessed via a 15 minute boat ride from Kampung Bako, approximately 35 minutes drive from Kuching.

Once you make it inside, Bako National Park is particularly famous for its diverse range of ecosystems with seven different types including rainforest, mangroves, swamps, dipterocarp forests and cliff vegetation. All attract a diverse amount of wildlife. 

The star of the show is usually the proboscis monkey, endemic to Borneo, but there are is a lot of wildlife here including wild boar (bearded pig), monitor lizards, macaque monkeys, flying lemurs and more!  There are many different trails to explore this park.

Bako National Park is also famous for its Sea Stacks. The Sea Stacks are a rock formation carved by waves that look quite peculiar (and cool!) sticking out of the sea. You can see one above.

On this tour, you’ll be picked up at around 8am and dropped back off at the hotel afterwards around 4pm. You’ll see the famous Sea Stacks, explore the park and have the best chance of spotting wildlife with your trained guide. It’s a great Kuching walking tour with plenty to see.

The tour also includes lunch, a bottle of water, all transfers and entry fees. It’s the easiest way to visit Bako National Park.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices or click here to read our full guide to Bako National Park.

Santubong Wildlife Cruise – Best Kuching Wetlands National Park Tour

Santubong Wildlife Cruise sunset
It was so beautiful on the boat at sunset

For an easy wildlife-spotting experience, don’t miss the chance to explore the Kuching region by boat. This tour looks for wildlife and is also a Kuching wetlands tour. It departs from your hotel around 4pm to catch animals out and about around sunset.

On these cruises, you sail from the Santubong River to the rivers and mangroves of the Santubong Peninsula, the mouth of the Salek Estuary and the Kuching Wetlands National Park just to the north and northwest of Kuching.

As you cruise along, your guide will look out for Irrawaddy dolphins, proboscis monkeys, silver-leaf monkeys, crocodiles, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards and a variety of birds. As the day darkens, there are fireflies to spot as well.

When I did this cruise, I got to see wild proboscis monkeys, watch Irrawaddy dolphins glide past and see macaque monkeys. We also saw fireflies in the evening. However, it wasn’t just the animals that were great but the cruise itself is very scenic especially as the sun sets and the whole area seems to glow.

Dinner is included as well as your transfer back to your hotel afterwards at around 9pm. The only way to experience this cruise is on a tour.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices or click here to read my full review of this tour.

Dolphin Watching Mangrove Cruise

Irrawaddy dolphin
Irrawaddy dolphin

If you’d rather a morning tour in Kuching Sarawak, you can do this cruise instead. It also heads along the Santubong River and through mangroves to spot wildlife with an emphasis on the Irrawaddy dolphin.

While wildlife spotting can never be guaranteed, your guides will do their best to not only show you Irrawaddy dolphins but other types of dolphins and wildlife that call this area home.

This Kuching tour itinerary starts with a pick up between 8 and 8:30am from your hotel and concludes around 12:30pm. So you can combine this with a visit to the orangutans (see the tour above) in the afternoon if you want.

Lunch is included as well as transfers and the cruise. You’ll have a guide who will do their best to spot wildlife for you. My guide told me that spotting the dolphins at this time of day happens about 99% of the time!

Click here to see more details and the latest prices.

Kuching Bike Tour

Kuching riverfront
Kuching riverfront

This 4.5 hour morning tour is perfect for an active city tour Kuching that not only explores the centre of the city but takes you to some more local highlights that you would never find by yourself. All up, you’ll travel about 17 kilometres by bike.

As part of this tour, you’ll explore the heritage buildings and monuments in Kuching before taking a cruise across the Sarawak River in a traditional Sampan boat.

You’ll then head off the beaten track by cycling to a Malay Kampong (village) along the river. You’ll explore this village and try some traditional Malay foods. It’s quite a contrast to the city you just left.

Next up is the market of Kubah Ria before heading back into the centre of Kuching.

This Kuching city tour price includes your bicycle and helmet, bottled water and light refreshments. You’ll need to get yourself to the starting point which is centrally located.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices.

Kuching City Tour – Best City Tour Kuching Option

Astana Kuching
Astana Kuching

If you’d prefer your Kuching city tour package to be a little less active, this three hour Kuching city tour itinerary could be for you.

You can generally choose between a morning or an afternoon option and you’ll spend your time with a guide exploring the centre of Kuching, its museums and its big landmarks like Astana, the cat statue, the State Mosque and Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple.

If you don’t have long in Kuching, this is the best way to get a great introduction to the city. You’ll be picked up and dropped off at your hotel.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices.

Gunung Gading National Park Day Tour

Rafflesia in Sarawak

This Sarawak Kuching tour is the one to pick to see the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia. These flowers are huge – they can grow as large as a coffee table! And while you may think a huge flower would smell great, these flowers are just as famous for their terrible smell as their size.

To see (and smell) these monstrous flowers, head to Gunung Gading National Park. It’s one of the very few natural habitats for this rarely found flower where you can try to find one in full bloom.

Carefully built raised walkways take you to the area where Rafflesia buds are most commonly found. With a short flowering time of only a few days, the best way to avoid disappointment is to do this tour with a guide.

You will be picked up around 8am from your hotel and will return around 4pm. You’ll visit the park interpretation centre to learn more about the rafflesia flower. You’ll then go on a hike on the trail while your guide does their best to help you spot one in bloom. If there aren’t any in bloom, you’ll hike to a waterfall instead.

You’ll then head to Siar Beach for lunch and a chance to swim before heading back to your hotel.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices.

Caving And Annah Rais Longhouse – Best Kuching Longhouse Tour

Fairy Cave, Kuching
Fairy Cave

The final Kuching day trip on this list is quite a combination. You’ll get to visit some amazing caves PLUS visit the Annah Rais Longhouse.

This full day tour starts with a hotel pick up at about 8am. You’ll head first to the Wind Cave Nature Reserve. This 6.16 hectare reserve has caves you can visit on this tour. You’ll explore Wind Cave, hop back in your transport for a few minutes and then visit the Fairy Cave.

The Fairy Cave has the largest cave entrance in the Kuching area, but it does take a climb up stairs for about 100 feet to enter the cave and then some more stairs in the main chamber.

There is a lot to see with stalactites, stalagmites and columns in an amazing chamber.

The tour itself has two options for your itinerary Kuching tour. You can choose to go to Semenggoh Nature Reserve at this point or on to the Annah Rais Longhouse. This review is focused on the Annah Rais Longhouse.

The Annah Rais Longhouse is about 60 kilometres from Kuching which makes it the closest longhouse to the city. This longhouse is long with more than 80 doors. This means that about 80 families live in the longhouse which is built about ten feet above the ground.

The longhouse has been added to over the years, but some parts are still the original structure which was built without nails, so you can see how this was done.

It’s a very interesting place to visit to help you understand indigenous culture in Sarawak.

This tour includes any admission charges, transfers and lunch.

Click here to see more details and the latest prices.

Final Words

Kuching at night from the Waterfront hotel
Kuching at night

I hope you have found this guide to Kuching day trips and Kuching day tour package options useful.

There are so many great places to visit around Kuching, and I hope you can make it to a few of the ones above.

If you want more information about things to do in Kuching, find our guide here. If you would like to take a Kuching beach day trip, read our guide to nearby Damai Beach here. You can find our full travel guide to Kuching here.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.