18 Top Places To Visit In Kuching, Sarawak

Published Categorized as Kuching
This article may contain compensated links. Please read the disclaimer for more info

Going on a holiday in Kuching and want to know all the best places to visit in Kuching? We have you covered! Below you will find our guide to all the best attractions in Kuching to plan your ultimate trip.

Kuching – the capital city of Sarawak state of Malaysia on the island of Borneo – is the most populous city located along the Sarawak River. Considered a significant gateway for tourists visiting Borneo, there’s a great range of attractions to entice you to stay longer.

Grab your Malaysia Kuching map, and let’s explore this modern city. Wondering where to visit in Kuching, well if it’s your first time we suggest starting at the Waterfront. You’ll find a plethora of attractions in the vicinity, including some of the top 10 places to visit in Kuching including The Astana and Fort Margherita.  

First-timers to the city find it almost comical to see all the cat-related statues, artworks, carvings that are scattered throughout the city (Kuching literally means cat in Malay!), and the city is even home to the world’s first cat museum. 

Sarawak River, Kuching

Being one of the most culturally diverse cities of Malaysia, the heritage trail covers museums focused on different cultures and religions, and many highlight the region’s many indigenous groups. There are so many interesting places in Kuching town that you need to plan appropriately to hit them all within your stay!

No list of where to visit in Kuching, Sarawak, would be complete without mentioning the abundant nature on the doorstep of the city. Only an hour outside of Kuching city you have splendid national parks such as the Bako National Park, the best place in Kuching, Sarawak, to discover those cheeky proboscis monkeys. And another of the places of interest in Kuching, Malaysia, is the awesome Gunung Gading National Park home to the world’s largest flower – the Rafflesia. 

It’s hard for us to pinpoint the best place in Kuching, Sarawak (and we haven’t even mentioned the orangutans yet!) as there are simply so many spectacular adventurers to be enjoyed. You definitely need more than 1 day in Kuching!

Below, you will find our Kuching trip blog guide with everything you need to know about the best places of interest in Kuching, Sarawak, as well as the best places to stay for your ultimate holiday in Kuching!! There is also a handy Kuching attraction map of the interesting places in Kuching, Sarawak.

Travelling to Malaysia? Click here to download your free Malaysia Trip Planning checklist. We’ll help you get ready for your trip! 

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.

Top 18 Places To Visit In Kuching, Malaysia

Here are the best places to go in Kuching. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe.

Visit The Astana

The Astana Palace In Kuching

Astana – a name derived from the Malay word ”Istana” which means Palace – is an interesting Kuching place to visit. This majestic colonial building was constructed in 1870 by the second White Rajah – the dynastic monarchy of the British Brooke family who ruled the Raj of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946. A royal couple, Charles Brooke and Renee Margaret constructed the Astana and used it as their home until the Japanese occupation.

The Astana now serves as the official residence of the Governor of Sarawak, therefore it is not open to the public except during the annual Hari Raya celebration. However, visitors can appreciate this Kuching famous place from a distance, perhaps best viewed from the Kuching waterfront.

Address: Astana, Kampung Istana, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak

Check Out The Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple

Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple Kuching Sarawak

Located at the centre of Chinatown on Carpenter Street, the Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple is the best place to go in Kuching to discover the culture of the Teochew community.  Originally built on the Main Bazaar some 150 years ago, the Temple was moved to its present location in 1863 and underwent a major renovation in 1968.

This ancient temple is insignificant in size but architecturally picturesque, with strikingly colourful artworks and various gold-foil covered deity statues.

An annual celebration is held on the fourth day of the twelfth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, bringing the Temple to life.  Lion and dragon dance troupes parade, traditionally dressed singers and dancers perform, along with a wild battering of gongs and drums that heat up the city until midnight!  

Therefore, we feel that the best time to visit Kuching, Sarawak is perhaps to catch this exciting event at the Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple.

Address: 22, Jalan Carpenter, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak

Have A Laugh At The Cat Museum

Cat Museum Kuching

The name “Kuching” literally means cats, and the Cat Museum is an attraction place in Kuching that amusingly presents the city’s love of cats. And it probably comes as no surprise; it’s the world’s first museum dedicated to our feline friends!

Located only 20 minutes from the Kuching waterfront, there are over 4,000 exhibits. From the conventional display of history between cats and Kuching city, and the introduction of various cat species to the region, to the lighthearted exhibition of all things cat: Maneki-Neko (The Japanese Beckoning Cats), Garfield The Cat, and even Hello Kitty! 

A total must do in Kuching for all cat lovers. 

Address: Bangunan DBKU, Jalan Semariang, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak

Take A Walk Along Kuching Waterfront

Kuching City Waterfront At Sunset

You don’t need to check your Kuching map; tourists are always naturally drawn to the most iconic Kuching sightseeing spot – the Kuching Waterfront!

A picturesque location from where most of the promotional pictures of the city are taken, this 900-metre esplanade offers an excellent view of the Sarawak River, along with many historical sites such as The Astana, with Fort Margherita built along the promenade. 

Also whilst here do not miss the Darul Hana Bridge.  An unusual S-shaped pedestrian suspension bridge with two viewing platforms, this is the best place to admire the magnificent Floating Mosque. Time your visit well, as the sunset view is particularly captivating with beautiful sunbeams shimmering across the spectacular golden crown of the mosque. 

The Kuching Waterfront is most definitely one of the must-go places in Kuching.

Address: 37, Jalan Main Bazaar, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak

See Orangutans Up Close At Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Visiting endangered orangutans is perhaps the most popular activity when travelling to Borneo, and Semmenggoh Nature Reserve in Kuching offers a fantastic opportunity to view these playful and intelligent primates up close. The reserve is the largest in the whole of Sarawak and is just 40 minutes outside of the city, making it a perfect day trip in Kuching. 

The Reserve is home to orangutans that were orphaned, injured or illegally caged as pets. After they are rescued, they live in a semi-wild environment, roaming freely within the jungle Reserve.  However, they are trained to return for meals at fixed feeding times (usually 9 am and 3 pm) which makes for some great fun viewing!  This is definitely the best time for orangutan sightings but do check the up-to-date times online before your visit.

After watching them dine, learn more about these amazing creatures at the onsite orangutan gallery, and there’s also an excellent Botanical Research Center within the Reserve.  

Overall, the Semenggoh Nature Reserve is an excellent Kuching place to go for an interactive and educational encounter with some of nature’s most cute creations!

Address: KM 20, Jalan Puncak Borneo, 93250 Siburan, Sarawak

Click here for discounted tickets.

Learn Local Culture At Sarawak Cultural Village

Traditional Wooden Melanau Houses, Kuching, Sarawak Culture Village

Looking for one of the best activities in Kuching to learn about Sarawak culture? Ensure to drop by the Sarawak Cultural Village, a living museum that offers guests an opportunity to experience all the local culture squeezed into just half a day!

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, be sure to catch the multi-cultural dance performance – presented twice a day – which highlights the harmonious and peaceful style of living that can be found amongst these Sarawakian groups. 

Finally, end your visit by sampling the different foods on offer at the onsite restaurant. We suggest ordering their ethnic set menu which combines signature dishes from each group, giving you a chance to taste them all! 

Just 30 minutes drive from the city centre, the Sarawak Cultural Village is one of the most interesting locations for day trips from Kuching.

Address: Damai Beach Resort, 93762, Kampung Budaya Sarawak, 93010 Kuching, Sarawak

Click here for discounted half-day tour tickets.

Explore The Sarawak State Museum And Natural History Museum

Sarawak State Museum

The oldest museum in the state of Sarawak, and one of the oldest in all of Southeast Asia, the Sarawak State Museum was built in 1889 by the second Rajah. Charles Brooke was known for his love of the region’s natural history and the museum houses specimens the Rajah collected throughout the state, including local indigenous handicrafts and zoological specimens.

The old European style building – also known as the Ethnology Museum – has been closed since 2017, undergoing a massive restoration project and is expected to be re-open as the Borneo Cultural Museum in 2021.  In the interim, a temporary museum has been set up that displays cultural items from the local ethnic groups.

Adjacent to the old building is the Natural History Museum, which is equally fascinating. This features animal specimens such as hornbills, leopards, and those famous wild cats of Sarawak. 

One of the standout Kuching points of interest, the Sarawak State Museum provides visitors with an interesting overview of both the historical and cultural diversity of the region.

Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Taman Budaya, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak

Spot Actual Wildlife At Bako National Park

Bako National Park

Established in 1957, Bako National Park is the oldest national park in the region and is amongst the best places to visit in Sarawak, Kuching. Located at the northern tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula, the park is accessed via a 20 minutes boat ride from Kampung Bako, approximately 45 minutes from Kuching.

Cameras at the ready – even on the boat crossing – for the colossal columns of peculiar rock formations that mark the way to the National Park. These oddly shaped but handsome sea stacks are natural art, formed by nature across centuries.  Best admired from the beaches at the Park or for a closer look join a dedicated boat ride.

The National Park is particularly famous for its diverse range of habitat including rainforest, mangroves, swamps, dipterocarp forests to cliff vegetations, with all attracting a vast amount of wildlife. 

The star of the show is usually the proboscis monkey, endemic to Borneo, but there are many unusual sites such as wild boar (bearded pig), monitor lizards, macaque monkeys, flying lemurs and more!  Visitors can choose from many trek options through the extensive jungle trail-system, the shortest taking only 30-minutes through to serious full-day treks.  

The more adventurous can even spend a night in one of the modest jungle lodges, giving time to tick off more species viewings. A visit to Bako National Park is definitely one of the best things to do in Kuching!

For those who don’t have the time to spend the entire day here, we feel the best time to go to Kuching Bako National Park is late afternoon. At this time of day, you’ll have the highest chance of spotting proboscis monkeys near to the park entrance, plus you can catch the magnificent sight of clouds of swiftlets leaving the cliffs at sunset.

Address: Muara Tebas peninsula, Kuching, Sarawak

Click here for discounted full-day tour tickets.

Visit Fort Margherita

Fort Margherita In Kuching

There are plenty of interesting places in Sarawak Kuching to visit that have historical value, but Fort Margherita is perhaps the most famous one. This English-styled fort was built in 1879 by Charles Brooke during the White Rajah era and was said to protect Kuching from the attack of pirates.  

Named after the Rajah’s beloved wife Renee Margaret, visitors start their exploration of the site by admiring the exterior design of the fort from the waterfront before approaching it by a short sampan ride. 

The fort now serves as “Brooke Gallery” and is a really interesting place to spend an hour at, with heaps of memorabilia helping you understand the influence the family had on Kuching. This is one of the fun things to do in Kuching for history fans!

Address: Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak

See Lots of Sarawak’s State Flower At The Orchid Garden

Orchid park Kuching

Sarawak’s state flower is Normah Orchid and thus it makes sense to find an Orchid Garden in the centre of the city! One of the top things to do in Kuching, the garden is located near the Astana and Fort Margherita, meaning you can easily combine all three within a day’s exploration.

Housing over 75,000 plants, botanists will find this an interesting place at Kuching, in fact most are dazzled by the 82 genres of orchids on display in the gardens. Some of the infamous Borneo native species can be found here, including Bulbophyllum Beccarii – rotten meat stinky orchids – and the rare Lady Slippers that were once thought to have gone extinct.

We highly recommend a visit here, making the orchid garden among the must-visit places in Kuching.

Address: Kampung Istana, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak

See The Famous Rafflesia Flower At Gunung Gading National Park

Rafflesia in Sarawak

The world’s largest flower Rafflesia can, when in full bloom, grow as large as a coffee table… and is famed just as much for its smell as its size – emitting an awful smell that it uses to attract insects. Gunung Gading National Park is one of the very few natural habitats for this rarely found flower.  Let’s hope that you’re lucky enough to catch one in full bloom, one of the most incredible things to see in Kuching. 

Carefully built raised walkways take you to the area where Rafflesia buds are most commonly found. With only a short flowering time – of only a few days – to avoid disappointment, we encourage you to check with the park ranger before making your trip. 

In addition to Rafflesia, Gunung Gading National Park also offers various trekking trails taking you to numerous picturesque spots, including a short trek through seven waterfalls, and a serious summit trail across a large dipterocarp forest to a former British Army Camp. Hiking enthusiasts will note this as one of the top 10 things to do in Kuching.

Address: 94500 Lundu, Sarawak

Explore The Chinese History Museum

Chinese History Museum Kuching Sarawak

Looking to understand Chinese culture? The Kuching best place to visit has to be The Chinese History Museum located at the waterfront, right across the river from Fort Margherita. This educational landmark was formerly the base of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce but was opened to the public in 1993 to help visitors learn about the critical history of the Chinese community in Sarawak.

At the museum, you will find plenty of memorabilia and artifacts explaining the arrival of first-generation Chinese pioneers, early trading activities, the local political environment and today’s Malay-Chinese. There is a particularly interesting exhibit highlighting the various dialects from regions of China, perhaps particularly relatable to Chinese speakers! 

The Chinese Museum is amongst the most educational places to visit in Kuching, Malaysia.

Address: Chinese History Museum, Jalan Bazar, Sarawak, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak

Visit The Sarawak Islamic Museum

Another Kuching interesting place to visit for cultural immersion is the Sarawak Islamic Museum. Originally built as a school offering training to Malays so that in turn they could provide for, and strengthen their community, it opened as a museum in 1992.

Aimed at presenting the honourable culture of Islam to the people of Sarawak, there are seven galleries displaying artifacts. Themes range from Islamic history, architecture, science and literature influences, cultural collections, weaponry, arts and a special Quran collection. Each gallery said to offer a valuable lesson to Islamic culture.

The Sarawak Islamic Museum is an informative, free and interesting place to visit in Kuching, Sarawak.

Address: Jalan P. Ramlee, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak

Experience A Traditional Wooden Boat Ride At The Sarawak River

Traditional Boats On Sarawak River

In the old days, a traditional wooden boat was the primary mode of transportation in Kuching. Today tourists may experience the same journey taking an hour-long boat ride along the Sarawak River.

The traditionally designed boat sails upriver from the Kuching Waterfront and offering you great views of the Astana, Fort Margherita, Sarawak Museum and all the major attractions in Kuching, Sarawak. On the return, sailing downstream will take you along a local stretch of the river, revealing a completely different side of Kuching.

If it fits with your schedule, we highly recommend you do this cruise during sunset. The late afternoon orange glow shimmers across the water and with the Kuching top attractions as the backdrop, you’re sure to grab a few Insta-fabulous pics!

Address: 1st Floor, Lot 42, Section 33, 124, Jalan Tabuan, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak

Look For Cat Statues

the Cats monument Kuching

Being called the ‘cat city of Malaysia’, cat statues are almost a must-have in the city! The most prominent, also considered the city’s icon, is the mega cat monument: the Family Cat installation. Located at a roundabout in the city centre and beautifully lit in the evening, it makes for an unusual entry on our list of best places to visit in Kuching at night. 

The location of the family cat statue makes it iconic, hard to miss, yet in the south of the city sits a white waving cat built in the 90’s. As the very first cat statue installed in the city, it holds a special place in the heart of the local people and would be the very best place to go in Kuching, Sarawak if you are considering to write a Kuching attractions blog post of your time in the city. You’ll find lots of locals hanging out here.

There are many more cat statues all over the city, some strikingly cute and easily spotted around tourist places in Kuching town such as the bronze cats at the waterfront. Others are hard to find, in unusual places such a lamppost or a manhole!  

It’s quite the game trying to spot these pesky cats – keep looking and see how many you can find by the end of your trip!

Address: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak

Visit The Textiles Museum

Textile Museum And An Ancient And Historic Building. Kuching

The Textile Museum is surprisingly an interesting place to visit in Kuching as it celebrates the unique textile-making techniques of the region. It also showcases the intricate designs woven by the Sarakan ethnic groups, taking visitors through the entire textile making process from raw materials to the finished product. 

Also on display are some costumes locally made by ethnic communities, and a newly added exhibit featuring 30 historical garments – including a 100-year-old Kenyah jacket. It is one of the Kuching Malaysia points of interest that offers deep insights into the Sarakan ethnic group.

Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak

Explore Chinatown

Chinatown In Kuching

During the white Rajah era, an influx of Chinese migrated to Kuching and formed what has become today’s Chinatown. Considered one of the busiest and happening places to visit in Kuching town, the two most notable streets are the Main Bazaar and Carpenter Street. Both are packed with charming Chinese shophouses, built with intricate architecture, and Chinese Temples that are decorated extravagantly during major Chinese festivals. This is the best place to visit in Kuching, Sarawak to experience the marvellous cultural heritage of the Chinese.

Amongst and within some of the shophouses you will find all types of eateries, including several specialising in mouthwatering local dishes such as Sarawak Laksa and Kolo Mee (Sarawakian dry noodles), a total must-try! 

For all you shopaholics, be prepared to show off your bargaining skills and snatch up Chinese paintings, handicrafts or antiques at a bargain price. Chinatown is also a famous place in Kuching, Sarawak for bars/speakeasies. Picture yourself sipping on an ice-cold beer on an Asian-warm day… chill, relax and watch the hustle and bustle of chaotic Chinatown!

Address: Padungan Road, Kuching, Sarawak

Experience The Annah Rais Longhouse

Annah Rais Longhouse

Longhouses are traditional homes for most native Sarawakian tribal groups. These are long, narrow houses built from timber and bamboo, mostly elevated off the ground on stilts. 

Many of the traditional longhouses can only be found in remote areas in Sarawak, which can involve lengthy travel. Yet here in Kuching you can easily reach one: The Annah Rias Longhouse. Only an hour’s drive from the city centre, this is a truly exceptional and very popular tourist attraction in Kuching, Malaysia.

The Bidayuh Tribe, who make up 8% of Sarawak’s population, are the key residents at the Annah Rias Longhouse. Believed to be over 100-years old, the Longhouse has been greatly expanded with interconnected walkways forming a proper community village. It is one of the most intriguing places to see in Kuching, Sarawak.

Visitors may roam freely around the area and can see the Biyudah people going about their daily lives. To be fair, the area is relatively developed for tourists, but you can still witness the fascinating Biyudah history and culture through items such as a cylinder made of human skulls – believed to be from caught invaders, wall murals and an old wooden house that is miraculously still standing, and home to families today.

Shops sell local produce and handicrafts, with one of the unique products to test being Tuak – a local rice wine that’s used in rituals and festivals as an offering to the worshipped spirits. This charming village is unique and pretty, making it one of the most attractive places in Kuching, Sarawak.

Address: No. 9, Kupo Saba, Kampung Annah Rais Longhouse, Jln Borneo Height, 93250, Kuching, Sarawak

Kuching Tourist Attraction Map

Top Places To Visit In Kuching, Sarawak map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Best Place To Stay In Kuching, Sarawak

Similar to the wide choice of places to go in Kuching, Sarawak, hotel options are equally vast both in and out of Kuching. 

We have handpicked three properties at different price points, from a luxury resort to a convenient Inn located in the city, providing our recommendations for the best options for all types of travellers.

You can find our full guide to the best hotels in Kuching here.

BEST – Cove 55 Hotel Kuching Review

Cove 55 is a luxury boutique resort located at the foot of Mount Santubong, 35 minutes drive from Kuching city. Upon arrival, visitors are dazzled by the 30-metre exquisite turquoise infinity pool that offers a panoramic view of the South China Sea. 

Rooms are aesthetically contemporary, with a hint of tribal elements to highlight the hotel’s roots as an Iban family holiday home. All rooms feature either a private garden or a balcony that overlooks the pool and/or the sea. Basic room types are perfect for couples and their suite accommodates up to 2 adults and 2 children, making an excellent choice for family travellers.

Three onsite restaurants feature fresh local produce and Sarawakian cuisine, with the option of indoor or outdoor dining, and you’ll find a great gym to work away the kgs at after!

Winner of Unique Luxury Hotel of the Year Malaysia and Luxury Boutique Retreat for the continent of Asia, Cove 55 offers a wonderful stay!

Click here for the latest prices.

MID-RANGE – Pullman Kuching Hotel Review

The Pullman Kuching Hotel is a beautiful property located right above a shopping mall and only 5 minutes from the Kuching Waterfront. Reasonably priced, this international branded hotel offers everything you would expect in a 5-star hotel including a well-appointed fitness centre, spa and swimming pool.  And guests of the hotel have access to four restaurants that offer a wide array of Asian and international food.

All rooms are spacious and well equipped with everything you need, even fitness gear! Whilst superior rooms offer vibrant city views, deluxe rooms come with a spectacular waterfront view totally worth the additional cost  And for families, a family room comes equipped with one king and one single bed, more ideal for those travelling with older children. 

Click here for the latest prices.

BUDGET – Tune Hotel Waterfront Kuching Review

Strategically located, D’Green Hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the Waterfront and is surrounded by major attractions such as both the Chinese and Sarawak Museums. Even though there is no onsite restaurant, you will find some great local Kuching cafes and eateries in the near vicinity.

All rooms are air-conditioned and well equipped with ensuite bathrooms. The excellent sized family room comes with two king-size beds in a semi-interconnecting room setup, suitable for up to 4 adults staying together.

Click here for the latest prices.

How To Get To Kuching

Kuching Road

It’s easy to get to Kuching by flight, bus, or car (if you are already in Malaysian Borneo)

To see all the latest flights and prices, click here.

If you need to take a bus, click here for the latest timetables and bus prices.

You can also hire a car to get you there by clicking here.

Kuching With Kids

Kuching with Kids

There are so many interesting places in Kuching, Malaysia that are excellent to go with kids. Within the city, hunting for cat statues and visiting the cat museum are both sure to get your youngsters excited. 

Children also love the experience of taking sampans across the river to different places of interest in Kuching city, better still, most are educational. Be sure to include the various museums, especially the Natural History Museum for its animal exhibits. And don’t forget the Fort, great for playing Explorer!

Outside of the city, Kuching is surrounded by natural jungle and much nature, all that Borneo is famous for. Young and old have fun exploring the region’s national parks and trying to spot the vast amount of wildlife and especially seeing the jaw-dropping Rafflesia flower. 

And then there’s the feeding of orangutans at Semenggoh Nature Reserve and all the fun at the Sarawak Cultural Village with the locals dressed in traditional clothing and their old-style, unusual, homes to be discovered.

You will not regret bringing your children for a holiday in Kuching, Malaysia.

Final Words

Kuching has the perfect combination of being vibrantly modern with a twist of rich cultural vibe. This is a city where you may casually stroll aimlessly around the streets, taking in the artistic surroundings and admire the diverse cultural harmony. 

Being the capital of Sarawak, it’s a busy city but just half an hour away and you’re in a primeval jungle, full of natural wonders. Truly an amazing city, it makes for a perfect starting point to your Borneo journey.

Read more Kuching guides here and find our full guide to the best places to stay in 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 Julia Rolph

Julia has been in Asia almost twenty years, discovering Malaysia, Borneo, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Myanmar and more! Finally settling in Bantayan Island, Philippines, she enjoys sharing her love of Asia with fellow travelers and helping them plan out memorable vacations.