Corona well behind us we used the opportunity of a Kevin having a day off on a Friday to spend a long weekend in Kuching, Malaysia.
Kuching is the main city of the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo. After a short 90 minutes flight form Singapore we went straight away headed to for a late dinner before turning in for the night.
After a nice breakfast the next morning we headed out to explore the city and soon realized that it’s a rather sleepy affair. As the restaurant we wanted to have an early lunch was closed already (we would return there the next day) we detoured to Garden Café by Bing!Coffee which is lovely situated in a nursery and serves good coffee and cakes.
Well fed we headed to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre about 30 minutes outside the city. The nature reserve is home to wild Orangutans and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see them. The centre provides them with some food on platforms but it’s up to the large apes if they want to visit for a snack. We were very lucky and managed to spot two mothers with their kids as well as two huge male ones. We were very impressed to see these endangered animals in the wild and this alone would have made the trip worthwhile.
After heading back to the city we had a very good local meal at Lepau. Although you can get a lot of good Malaysian food in Singapore we found some new unique dishes.
In general we felt that Kuching has quite a lot to offer from a culinary point of view with a lot of nicely decorated restaurants and cafés.
As the next day was rather rainy we decided to focus on indoor activities. First stop of the day was Ta Wan Kung for some Kolo Mee which is a local noodle dish. The simple noodles with some pork were full of taste and we were not surprised that the shop was popular.
Afterwards we headed to the cat museum. Kuching is the Malay word for cat and so it is only logical that they have their own museum (probably a big ego boost for our feral friends). The museum was a mix of the cute and the bizarre with hundreds of cats memorabilia. It’s therefore no surprise that you can even find it in the Atlas Obscura. Bucket list: ticked.
After studying cats in the museum it was time to pet some real ones in the lovely Meow Meow Cat Cafe (which funnily is the only cat café in Kuching).
Catted out we headed for some shopping (and profited from the very favourable exchange rate between the Singapore Dollar and Malaysian Ringgit which makes everything in Malaysia about a third of the price in Singapore). Shopped out we had some nice Bak Kut Teh for dinner.
On our last day we headed to the Boko National Park about 45 min North of the City. However beforehand we tried Sarawak Laksa at Choon Hui Cafe for breakfast. The place was featured by the late Anthony Bourdain and indeed didn’t disappoint. Sarawak Laksa is quite different from the Singapore version but we definitely liked it.
After a leisurely drive to the National Park Terminal we boarded our small boat for a speedy 20 minute ride to the park entry. As we only had a few hours before heading back we decided on a short 1.5 km hike into the forest.
The hike was surprisingly challenging owing to the hilly and slippery terrain. However, we were well rewarded with sights of big nose monkeys (proboscis monkey), long tail macaque, Malayan colugo and some wild boars. Especially seeing the proboscis monkeys in the wild was amazing.
That already rounded up our trip to Kuching. We can definitely recommend the sleepy destination for a long weekend out of Singapore as it offers a great mix of nature, good food and relaxing cafes.
Where we stayed
The Pullman Hotel – slightly dated but definitely good value for money.
How we moved
We definitely recommend getting a car as sights are well spread out and the city is not pedestrian friendly. There are public buses but they will definitely add to the time needed to travel between places. We used TC Kuching Car Rentals. They are super easy going and provide excellent value for money. We paid only about 80 USD for 3 days rental including insurance.
What we ate
Lepau serves excellent local dishes and provides big portions at very reasonable prices
The Junk is a two story restaurant / Bar with good food (Western/Local) and has live music on some days. We liked the interior.