Things to do in and around Kuching

As the biggest state in Malaysia, Sarawak has much to offer with its abundance of natural wonders.

If you’ve been meaning to travel to East Malaysia but can’t decide on where to start, the capital of Sarawak, Kuching is a good place to begin. Here’s our starter guide to things to do in and around Kuching.

– Sightsee –

1. Fort Margherita – learn about the White Rajahs’ history

things to do in kuching - fort margherita
Image credit: @deinc

Visiting Fort Margherita and learning the history of how Sarawak was formed would ring a bell to most Malaysian high school students who paid attention during Sejarah lessons. The names James and Charles Brooke, after all, have been repeated consecutively in our textbooks and exams.

For those who enjoy history, Fort Margherita is where you can learn all about Sarawak’s birth in great, nitty-gritty detail at their 3-storey Brooke Gallery.

things to do in kuching - fort margherita brooke gallery
Image credit: @kawachan380

Dedicate an afternoon to find out how The White Rajahs came to East Malaysia, how they formed an administration, the battles between the rebels and the supporters, and how the Brooke dynasty came to an end. You can also view exclusive artifacts, original hand-written letters, weapons, and many more.

Fort Margherita was initially constructed by Charles Brooke in 1879 by the Kuching river to guard the area from pirates back then.

After touring it, cross the river via the Darul Hana Bridge to The Ranee Museum at Old Court House, where your Brooke Museum ticket will also grant you entry. Named after Queen Ranee, Sarawak’s second Rajah’s wife, it’ll bring you through her life as queen, her family history, and her memorabilia. Shop the souvenirs here for a takeaway from your Sarawak trip.

All visitors to the fort and the Brooke Museums must be fully vaccinated.

Entrance fee: RM10 locals, RM20 foreigners, free for children under 7 (includes admission to Brooke Gallery)
Address: Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Telephone: 16 310 1880
Opening hours: 9AM-4PM, Daily
Brooke Museums website | Brooke Gallery Facebook page | Ranee Museum Facebook page

2. Kuching Old Courthouse – dine in a historic setting

things to do in kuching - old courthouse
Image credit: @oldcourthousekuching

For those who want to relish in history without having to read long blocks of information, head over to the Old Courthouse near the Kuching Waterfront. A heritage, colonial-style building built by Charles Brooke in 1883, it’s a site that’s teeming with rich history.

It was originally used as a government office and a venue for state ceremonies. In fact, the Sarawak state council meetings were still held at the courthouse up till 1973.

things to do in kuching - restaurant in the old courthouse
You can book the space for weddings or banquets
Image credit: @oldcourthousekuching

What’s in place today are no longer government offices or administrative proceedings, but several fancy restaurants and event spaces have taken root instead – from COMMONS cafe that serves Western and local dishes perfect for weekend brunches to ROOTS bistro with fine dining, including Sarawakian ingredients that go well with evening drinks.

With a classy environment, luxurious ambiance, and ample food options, the Old Courthouse is now a place for special occasions for Kuchingites.

Address: 7, Jalan Barrack, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak
Telephone: 82-417 601
Opening hours: 9AM-12AM, Daily
Kuching Old Courthouse Facebook page | Instagram

3. Kuching Waterfront – soak up the nighttime atmosphere

things to do in kuching - kuching waterfront
Image credit: @tunehotels

Kuching Waterfront is where most Kuchingites gather at night to take a stroll by the river and spend quality time with their loved ones.

Even on a weekday night, you will see a substantial amount of people just sitting with their baes on the stairs by the river, or families hanging around the centre square playing with their kids.

There are also pop-up vendors selling snacks, trinkets, and toys, and roadside restaurants with proper tables and chairs that you can dine in at. You’ll be close to many key attractions from the Astana Negeri Sarawak’s public gardens, the Chinese History Museum, and the Chinatown area with plenty of food options from kolo mee to traditional handmade pau.

Parents with children can entertain them by buying bubble wands from streetside peddlers, while simultaneously enjoying the view of the Darul Hana Bridge and The Astana Negeri Sarawak’s palace where the governor resides – across the river, both lit up beautifully at night.

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

4. Siniawan Night Market – relaxed evening atmosphere with local Chinese eats

things to do in kuching - siniawan night market
Image adapted from: @nicholascsc007

Siniawan Night Market (Pasar Malam Siniawan) is a weekly food market that sets up every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5PM onwards. Located in the tiny town of Siniawan, the night market is operated by the town’s residents, mostly consisting of Chinese Hakkas.

Rows of food kiosks and stalls line up the street of century-old wooden shophouses adorned by glowing tanglungs at night.

The atmosphere is cheery and laidback, with visitors mingling around, enjoying their meals, and the locals happy to entertain and welcome people into their quaint town.

things to do in kuching - pasar malam siniawan

Do head there with an empty stomach and a ravenous appetite as there are plenty of local delicacies to feast on. From standard Malaysian staples such as ice kacang and char kway teow, to unusual finds such as the pitcher plant steamed rice, you’ll be spoilt for choices the whole night.

Siniawan is a 35-minute drive from Kuching city, with Grab fares priced from RM30 one way.

Address: Jalan Siniawan Bau, 93746 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Fri–Sun 4.30PM-11PM | Mon–Thu 6-10PM

5. Satok Weekend Market – morning shopping and bargaining excitement

things to do in kuching - satok weekend market
Image credit: Georgy Malenkov

The best way to get to know a place is to go to their wet market and see for yourself what the locals shop for, how they bargain, and how camaraderie is fostered between the vendors and shoppers.

things to do in kuching - pasar satok
Image adapted from norita yahaya and Jasper Sinau

That’s why there’s no better place to immerse yourself in locals’ daily life than at the Satok Weekend Market (Pasar Satok). The market is set up every weekend from early morning at 6AM till 10PM, so it’s perfect for both the early risers to catch the morning market scene and the night owls who prefer to shop when it’s dark.

You’ll find a plethora of produce and goods sold at Satok Weekend Market. Expect to see and shop for native handicrafts, flowers, seafood, rare forest produce, fruits, snacks, and a whole lot of delicacies. You’ll spend around RM60 if you’re planning to go home with some fruits, produce, flowers, and snacks.

Address: Q309, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 6AM-6PM, Daily

6. India Street – souvenirs, spices, and shopping

things to do in kuching - jalan india
Image credit: @pearly_lim

The name India Street (Jalan India) is a little misleading. One might hope to see a colourful scene with Indian restaurants, snacks, music, and fashion, but the India Street in Kuching is more like a quiet, short al fresco street lined with shops selling different kinds of goods and a couple of Indian Muslim restaurants. Nevertheless, this lane makes for a good pit shop for souvenirs, clothes, jewellery, spices, and textiles.

For those who like to wander through the nooks and crannies, try to spot a narrow passageway halfway through the street. It will lead you to Gambier Road and if you keep following the path, you’ll find a small Indian Muslim mosque called Masjid Bandar Kuching built in 1834, and tucked away from the busy street.

masjid bandar kuching
Image adapted from Google Maps

Address: Jalan India, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak

7. Chinatown – old-school stores and hip bars

things to do in kuching - chinatown
Image adapted from @babeboopsy and @53175

An hub of racial unity in Malaysia, Kuching’s Chinatown is located 5 minutes away by foot from India Street. Here, you will find lots of old-school kopitiams and family businesses passed down through generations, and housed in pre-war shophouses. From its rattan furniture to Chinese ornaments, Chinatown is a rustic street with a strong sense of heritage.

things to do in kuching - kyushigai
Kyushigai yakitori bar
Image credit: @barrylpy and @capricornpisceseats

At night, the place is famous among bar crawlers who patronise their many pubs, bars, and speakeasies, some out in the open, others obscured in hidden alleyways.

Address: Jalan Padungan, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak

8. Sarawak Cultural Village – local communities’ heritage and architecture kept alive

things to do in kuching - sarawak cultural village
Image credit: Ginny Toh

Sarawak Cultural Village (Kampung Budaya Sarawak) is a sprawling 17.5 acre – equivalent to 13 football fields – worth of land on the foothill of Mount Santubong. It’s a one-stop centre where you can learn all about the indigenous people of Sarawak.

things to do in kuching - kampung budaya sarawak
Image credit: michelle Lee

There are 7 authentic ethnic houses in the village, built in actual sizes – each one representing the home of a different ethnic group. You can go into the houses, get a feel of how the indigenous people of Sarawak live, and learn more about the cultures of each ethnic community.

things to do in kuching - cultural village
Image credit: Taman Negara

There are also a bunch of activities you can engage in at the village including a cultural dance performance, traditional games, rituals and ceremonies, and handicraft-making demonstrations.

The village is humongous with lots to see and do. You can easily spend around 4 to 5 hours taking in the sights and participating in the activities.

There’s also a lot of walking under the sun involved so make sure you come prepared with sunscreen, an umbrella, and adequate amounts of water.

Entrance fee: RM60 for adults, RM30 for children
Address: Pantai Damai Santubong, 93752 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Tue–Sun 9AM-5PM | Closed Mondays
Telephone: 082-846 108
Sarawak Cultural Village website

9. Semenggoh Nature Reserve – home to protected orangutans

things to do in kuching - semenggoh nature reserve
Image credit: tien ming hii

Semenggoh Nature Reserve (Pusat Pemuliharaan Hidupan Liar Semenggoh) is a wildlife sanctuary specially dedicated to the rehabilitation of orangutans who have been orphaned or rescued from captivity.

Here, you can spot some of its over 20 resident orangutans that may come out during feeding times, so make sure you head there in the morning around 9AM-10AM or later in the afternoon from 3PM-4PM to catch the orangutans swinging from the trees and towards the rangers on the ground to collect their fruits.

things to do in kuching - pusat pemuliharaan hidupan liar semenggoh
Image credit: Jan Voigt

You can also learn more about the orangutans at the information centre. Visitors will be introduced to the orangutans’ names, their family trees, and even their personalities.

Entrance fee: RM5 for adults, RM3 for senior citizens, RM2 for children 6 and above, free for children 6 and below (Malaysians)
Entrance fee: RM10 for adults and senior citizens, RM5 for children 6 and above, free for children 6 and below (foreigners)
Address: KM 20, Jalan Puncak Borneo, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8AM-10AM and 2PM-4PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-618 325
Semenggoh Nature Reserve website

10. Sarawak Timber Museum – learn about the state’s forestry industry and sustainability efforts

things to do in kuching - sarawak timber museum
Image credit: Bio Diversity Needed Cultural Diversity Save EARTH

Sarawak is known for its vast rainforests – with mining, agriculture, and forestry making up 40% of the state’s GDP.

It may sound like a dry topic, but those with an interest in forestry, traditional wooden crafts, forest products, and the development of the timber industry should definitely head to the Sarawak Timber Museum (Muzium Perkayuan PUSAKA).

things to do in kuching - muzium perkayuan pusaka
Image credit: Bio Diversity Needed Cultural Diversity Save EARTH

Located in the Sarawak Timber Industry Development Council building, the museum offers visitors a view of heritage forest items that are associated with local customs and traditions, and learn more about the efforts to sustain the forests and wildlife of Sarawak.

Entrance fee: Free
Address: Wisma Sumber Alam, Jalan Stadium, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Mon–Thu 8AM-1PM and 2PM-5PM | Fri 8AM-11.30AM and 2PM-5PM | Closed weekends
Online booking required. Book here.
Telephone: 082-473 000
Sarawak Timber Museum’s Facebook page 

11. Sarawak Islamic Heritage Museum – local and world Islamic community, agricultural, and craft history

things to do in kuching - sarawak islamic heritage museum
Image credit: Sarawak Islamic Heritage Museum

The Sarawak Islamic Heritage Museum (Muzium Warisan Islam) comprises 7 galleries, each with an individual theme centered around the history, heritage, and culture of the Muslim community in Sarawak.

Here, visitors will get to learn about the history of Islam in Sarawak, Islamic architecture, weaponry, decorative arts, literature, and more – also look out for the Middle Eastern artifacts dating from the 1800s.

things to do in kuching - muzium warisan islam
Image credit: Werner Luzi

The museum was originally a school called the James Brooke Malay College. Then it changed its name to the Madrasah Melayu Sarawak in 1930, before turning into a museum in 1992.

Entrance fee: Free
Address: Jalan P. Ramlee, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 9AM-4.45PM | Sat & Sun 10AM-4PM
Telephone: 082-244 378

12. Sarawak State Museum – Borneo’s oldest museum

things to do in kuching - sarawak state museum
Image credit: x x

Built in 1891, the Sarawak State Museum (Muzium Negeri Sarawak) is the oldest museum in Sarawak. They claim to be the keeper of one of the best collections of artifacts in Southeast Asia. In fact, visitors can look forward to a plethora of different exhibits, displays, and collections.

things to do in kuching - state museum exhibits
Image adapted from @hrldnyumbang and @azraiozai

You can walk around at your own pace and learn more about the specimens of Sarawak fauna including reptiles, mammals, birds, and other native animals all mounted for display. There are also a wide range of ethnographic collections, historical artifacts, and traditional handicrafts.

things to do in kuching - state museum exhibitions
Image adapted from Paul Lim and iosizham

The exhibits are very diverse, with galleries ranging from the items representing the oil industry in Sarawak, a Heroes’ Memorial, a Botanical Garden, and more.

Entrance fee: Free
Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Taman Budaya, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 9AM-4.45PM | Sat & Sun 10AM-4PM
Telephone: 082-244 232

13. Borneo Cultures Museum – Sarawak’s newest museum

Borneo Cultures Museum - night view
Image credit: Borneo Cultures Museum

The new kid on the block among Sarawak’s museums, the Borneo Cultures Museum has been selling out entrance tickets ever since it opened in March 2022. As the second-largest museum in Southeast Asia and Malaysia’s biggest museum, it boasts over 1,000 historical artifacts and exhibits about the region’s nature, local communities, and architecture.

Museum display
Image credit: Borneo Cultures Museum

Entry is free until the end of June 2022, and lockers and wheelchair-friendly lifts and other facilities are available. Read more about the museum in our article here.

Address: Lorong P. Ramlee 2 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 9AM-4.45PM | Sat & Sun 9.30AM-4.30PM
Borneo Cultures Museum Facebook

14. Cat Museum – because it’s Kuching after all

cat museum kuching
Image credit: Shoestring / Wikimedia Commons

Cat lovers would be ecstatic to know that the city of Kuching is not named so without reason. Sarawak is clearly serious about their tribute to this feline. Their cat statues all over the city and a full-fledged museum dedicated to cats prove their point.

In fact, Kuching’s Cat Museum (Muzium Kucing Kuching) is the world’s first cat museum, and has more than 4,000 artifacts, art, souvenirs, and photos all centered around adorable meowkins.

cat museum
Image adapted from @hannazu and @panenka_michiko

You will learn about how Kuching got its name, different species of cats, famous cats in history, and more. There are also a whole lot of pictures of cats fighting, cats napping, and cats at play, among many others. A purr-fect afternoon for all the cat ladies and gents out there, indeed.

Entrance fee: RM1
Address: Bangunan DBKU, Jalan Semariang, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-446 688

15. Chinese History Museum – the history of migrants-turned-Sarawakians

kuching chinese history museum
Image credit: Mask Trooper

As its name suggests, the Chinese History Museum features the history of the Chinese community in Sarawak.

kuching chinese history museum exhibits
Image adapted from @serapuh_nuing and @arie.azzah.89

Visitors will learn about the initial migration of the Chinese people into Sarawak, the early pioneers of businesses and inventions, traditional trading activities, political history, and more. Actual household items used by early settlers and their descendants are fascinating and well-preserved.

kuching chinese history museum displays
Image adapted from @silvia_leonard

The museum was previously the headquarters of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sarawak, but was turned into what it is today and officially opened to the public in 1993.

Entrance fee: Free
Address: Jalan Bazar, Sarawak, 93100 Kuching
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 9AM-4.45PM, Sat & Sun 10AM-4PM
Telephone: 082-258 388

16. Tua Pek Kong Temple – a scenic spot during festive seasons

kuching tua pek kong temple
Image credit: @pearly_lim

Located right opposite the Chinese History Museum and right smack in the middle of a busy intersection lies Tua Pek Kong Temple, the oldest temple in Kuching.

Believed to have been built in 1843 with some claims saying the temple was founded in 1770, Tua Pek Kong temple is dedicated to the God of Prosperity.

kuching tua pek kong
Image adapted from @lialokollo and @dewisusantijolen

You can visit the temple any time when it’s opened but it’ll be better if you check it out during festive periods such as Chinese New Year and the Wang Kang Festival – a festival to commemorate the deceased – to watch devotees and the vibrant temple come to life.

Address: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 6AM-6PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-237 643

17. DBKU Orchid Garden – diverse blooms in a well-kept park

things to do in kuching - dbku orchid garden
Image adapted from Jeffrey Wong and @lovelybao123

Those who love flowers would thoroughly enjoy their time at the DBKU Orchid Garden (Dewan Bandaraya Kuching Utara Orchid Garden). There is 15.4 acres’ – equivalent to around 11 football fields – worth of space, filled with a collection of 75,000 beautiful plants.

You can expect to admire various types of orchids of all colours, sizes, rarity, and scents – some housed in a cold room.

things to do in kuching - orchid garden
Bromeliads, plants from the American tropics, can also be found here.
Image credit: Chang Tun Kuet

It’s also easy to get to, as the botanical garden is located opposite the Kuching Waterfront, near the Astana and Fort Margherita, so you can easily cross over the bridge to grab a bite at Chinatown when you’re done strolling through the garden.

Entrance fee: Free
Address: Kampung Istana, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Tue–Sun 9.30AM-6PM
Telephone: 082-446 688

18. Talang Satang National Park – a turtle hatchery

talang satang national park
Image credit: @allentan84

The waters of Sarawak boast 5 critically endangered turtle species and you’ll have a chance to spot 2 of those species, namely the Green turtles and Hawksbill turtles, when they come ashore to lay their eggs on the four islands of Talang Satang National Park (Taman Negara Talang Satang).

talang satang national park turtles
Turtles at Talang Satang National Park
Image adapted from @borneo_exploration

The park is so active with turtle activity that it recorded up to 95% of turtle landings in Sarawak. This led the state to gazette the four islands – Pulau Talang-Talang Besar, Pulau Talang-Talang Kecil, Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil – as a marine protected area in 1999, which allows conservation efforts to be carried out.

It’s highly recommended to book a tour as they’ll take care of your transportation and accommodation if you choose to stay overnight. Prices vary but do expect to spend from RM300 per person.

Most tours will pick you up from your hotel to head to the Boat Club, where you’ll then board a boat to the marine park. The journey will take 40 minutes crossing mangrove forests before the boat goes out to the open sea.

If you are staying overnight, you can spend the first day snorkeling and relaxing on the serene beach then wait for nightfall in hopes of a turtle landing.

Those who are only there for a day trip, unfortunately, will not be able to watch wild turtles lay eggs, but you can still drop by the turtle hatchery where conservation efforts are put in place to protect the eggs.

Some tour companies to check out include Borneo Adventure, CPH Travel, and Borneo Travel Network.

19. Damai Beach – evening dinner views

damai beach kuching
Image adapted from @abmc_90 and @ting.kiat

If you’re longing to catch the ocean breeze, you can head over to Damai Beach (Pantai Damai) to chill and stroll along the beach in the evening.

Located right opposite the Sarawak Cultural Village, it’s almost an hour away by car from Kuching city centre with Grab fares going up to more than RM50 for a one-way trip.

damai beach kuching escobar
Escobar, one of several beachfront restaurants and lounges along Damai Beach.
Image credit: @salemaclair

There are a few restaurants in the area with al fresco dining, so it’s best to head there just before the sunset to enjoy some drinks outdoors when it’s not too hot, then stay on till dinner to relax to the sound of waves and the night breeze.

Address: SF3 Damai Central, Pantai Damai, Kampung Santubong, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8AM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-846 113

20. Bumbu Cooking Class – learn local recipes

bumbu cooking class kuching
Image adapted from Kim and Pamela Joseph

Sarawak’s local delicacies are truly one of a kind, and now you can learn to cook them wherever you go by attending a local cooking class.

Bumbu Cooking Class, in particular, offers you the full experience of going to a local market to pick out fresh ingredients, then proceeding to learn how to cook popular Sarawakian dishes with a friendly teacher, Joseph.

The menu changes every now and then, but you can expect to master recipes for sago pudding, ayam masak merah, stir-fried midin, and tako – a type of kuih wrapped in pandan leaves.

One session will cost you around RM190 per person.

Address: 57, Carpenter St, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 9AM-5PM | Sat 9AM-1PM | Closed Sundays
Telephone: 019 8791050 (Joseph)
Bumbu Cooking Class’ website | Facebook page 

– Outdoor activities –

21. Bungo Range National Park – less-trodden forests near the Indonesian border

bungo range national park

Only accessible by boat, the Bungo Range National Park is still relatively unknown as not many have hiked there before.

Located on the border between Sarawak and Indonesia, it is truly a hidden world of gorgeous waterfalls, ethereal jungle landscapes, and a remote Bidayuh village high up in the hills.

The trek begins from the Bengoh Dam where you will first board a sampan that will take you on a short 10-minute ride to a hill to start your hike.

bungo range national park waterfall

The journey is easy and doable for beginners as the ground is mostly flat. You will also be required to cross handmade bamboo bridges across rivers, which can feel a little unnerving especially if you’re scared of heights. But the reward leads you to several breathtaking waterfalls and refreshing streams that you can take a dip in along the way.

Then, if you’re up for it, you can visit Kampung Sting, a Bidayuh village shrouded in the hills – think a 40-minute hike uphill. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and you’re free to take a walk around their village and see their way of life.

bungo range national park rocks

A guide is mandatory for this excursion. Those interested can look for MJ at 010-231 7878, a local Sarawakian who provides native guides to take you to the Bungo Range.

Expect to pay around RM60 to RM100 per person, depending on the size of your group. The guide will meet you at the Bengoh Dam. You will have to arrange your own transport to the dam, easily accessible by Grab for around RM50 for a one-way trip.

Duration: 5 hours
Difficulty level: Easy

22. Silabur Cave – a challenging hike to a huge cavern

silabur cave in kuching
Image credit: Edwin Lay

Silabur Cave is even more obscure, with many locals unaware of its existence till now. This hidden gem is tucked away in the town of Serian. It’s quite a distance from Kuching – 2 hours away by car – so it’s recommended to rent a car. Car rental companies are aplenty in Kuching, with prices mostly starting from RM100 a day.

hike to silabur cave
The challenging hike to the cave
Image adapted from Hua Puiahiong and Hua Puiahiong

The entrance of the hike can be found at Kampung Batu Lin, a Bidayuh village. Upon reaching, it’s a must to hire a guide for around RM80 per person. You have to plan your expedition beforehand, and can contact a local guide or guides to book them for your hike.

From the village, it takes about 2 hours to reach the cave. Once you’re in the cave, there are parts where you will have to navigate in total darkness so it’s mandatory to bring a torchlight with you, better still if it’s a headlamp.

silabur cave
Image credit: Edwin Lay

You will spend more than 3 hours exploring just the cave alone as the cave is massive. The main chamber itself, although not accessible to visitors because of its dangerous descend, is able to fit 3 Boeing airplanes from head to tail.

There are incredible rock formations that look jade green when sun rays illuminate the cave through gaps and cracks from the top. You can also look out for bats, swiftlets, and other cave creatures during your expedition.

It’s recommended to wear rubber shoes for better grip and do bring at least 1.5L of water for one person, some dry food such as energy bars and biscuits to fuel up, and a change of clothes as you may get wet or dirty from bat excretions after.

Guides’ numbers:
Benedik 014-589 8801
Able 011-1939 9146
Marasang 014-591 2964

For those who prefer going with a tour operator, CPH Travel offers the excursion for around RM350 per person.

Duration: 6 hours
Difficulty level: Moderately challenging
Address: Tebakang, 94700 Serian, Sarawak

23. Kubah National Park – cooling, scenic falls, home to wildlife

kubah national park waterfall
Image credit: @_anuar

Kubah National Park (Taman Negara Kubah) is a 2,230-hectare park with Mount Serapi, Mount Selang, and Mount Sendok nestled within its enclave.

kubah national park
A pool popular with hikers cooling off, and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Matang, located near the park
Image adapted from leon bagih and Anbalagan Pitchaymuthu

You can look out for bearded pigs, hornbills, mouse deers, and a bunch of other reptiles and amphibians during your hikes. In fact, the park is known for its rich amphibian species that they have a dedicated frog pond for you to spot those slimy creatures.

kubah national park hill
Image credit: Kavin Agin

There are many trails in Kubah National Park, each with different levels of difficulty leading you to a separate destination. You can trek to the Matang Wildlife Centre, climb up to viewpoints, or go to waterfalls.

Address: 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8AM-4PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-370 264
Entrance fee: RM10/adult

24. Mount Serapi – view the entire city of Kuching from the peak

mount serapi view

The Mount Serapi (Gunung Serapi) trail in Kubah National Park is a steep, uphill climb on a tar road. Trekking on a tar road may sound easy but the continuous, 3-hour uphill walk will leave you breathless with legs soft as tofu by the time you reach the top. It’s an exhausting, but satisfying workout.

Besides, being surrounded by thick trees and breathing in pure fresh air makes the experience enjoyable. And you’ll be greeted with endless blue skies and views of the mountain valleys ahead of you when you make it to the summit.

Address: 93050 Kuching, Sarawak

25. Blue Pool at Mount Santubong – crystal-clear water

blue pool mount santubongImage credit: Ismail Bin Roslan

Mount Santubong is a popular hiking spot among Kuchingites, with amazing views at the top. Not just that, the mountain also boasts a natural blue pool huddled inside its lush greens.

You can access the pool in Permai Rainforest Resort as there’s a trail that specifically leads you there. The pool is the size of a pond, with a gorgeous blue shade that changes colour depending on the time of the day.

You will have to cautiously manoeuvre over rocks, steep tracks, and narrow pathways to get there but taking a dip in the pool is a refreshing experience and a deserving reward that’s well worth the hustle.

Duration: 6 hours
Difficulty level: Moderately challenging
Address: Teluk Penyuk, Jalan Sultan Tengah, Santubong, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Telephone: 082-846 490

26. Bako National Park – free-roaming wildlife and ancient rock structures

taman negara bako
Image credit: B-C Betawi Condet

Bako National Park (Taman Negara Bako) is one of the smallest national parks in Southeast Asia, but rest assured that it has lots to offer.

The wildlife is diverse there, but the main attraction is the proboscis monkey, the big-nosed primate with reddish-brown fur and a long tail.

things to do in kuching - bako national park bearded pig
Image credit: Schuan Khaw

The park is also home to macaque monkeys, monitor lizards, flying lemurs, snakes, bearded pigs, and rare birds that are frequently spotted within the park.

bako national park monkeys
Image credit: alain

As it’s located near the coastline, you can follow the Teluk Pandan Kecil trail to marvel at the rock formations carved by the waves over hundreds of years.

bako national park formations
Image credit: Saieed Rahman

Address: Muara Tebas Peninsular, 93000, Kuching, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8.30AM-5PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-370 434

27. Irrawaddy dolphin tours – see rare dolphins up close

dolphins in kuching
Image credit: Borneo Adventure


Many Malaysians would be surprised to know that there are dolphins swimming in our seas. Although these creatures are a rare sight, there are several tour operators in Kuching offering to bring you on an Irrawaddy dolphin tour.

sungai santubong
Santubong River, or Sungai Santubong
Image credit: Khien Choi Yong

The rates vary depending on the operators, but a ballpark figure is around RM170 per person. The tour will take you cruising through the Santubong River and pass mangrove swamps where you will get to take a closer look at the mangrove ecosystem, and even keep an eye out for other animals such as crocodiles, monkeys, and uncommon birds.

The Santubong area is apparently one of the best places in Sarawak to catch a glimpse of the Irrawaddy dolphins as they are often seen swimming in rivers, estuaries, and around shallow coastal areas.

Here, the dolphins are also accustomed to boats – they have been spotted diving around small fishing boats repeatedly.

As expected with all wildlife sightings, there’s no 100% guarantee that you’ll spot a school of dolphins doing flips around you, so don’t feel too dejected if you fail to spot them.

However, some tour operators claim that the boatmen are familiar with these dolphins and will know how to call out to them, so let’s hope that these adorable creatures are nearby and in a friendly mood on the day you set out to meet them.

Some tour companies to check out include Borneo Adventure, Bako National Park, Bike & Tours, and Mari Mari.

28. Kayaking and canoeing – exercise while hitting the water

kayaking and canoeing in kuching
Image credit: Semadang Kayak

With its number of rivers, mangrove swamps, and creeks accompanied by gorgeous landscapes, it makes sense that kayaking and canoeing are popular activities in Kuching.

There are many tour operators offering kayaking and canoeing for varying levels of fitness starting from around RM180 per person.

You can opt to gently row down the stream and relax to your heart’s content, or try to manoeuver a bamboo raft and have fun falling into the water again and again.

Some popular tour companies to check out include Semadang Kayak, The Rucksack Rainforest Kayaking, Bike & Tours, and Adventure Alternative Borneo.

29. Kuching Wetlands National Park – wildlife-spotting cruises

kuching wetlands national park
Image adapted from @veloka80 and @lee_atin

For those who want to be near the ocean but still stay dry, you can hop on a river cruise at Kuching Wetlands National Park (Taman Negara Tanah Lembap Kuching). The park comprises 6,610 hectares of mangrove forest, small rivers, creeks, and streams.

For around RM200 per person, you can hop on the Santubong Wildlife Cruise that will take you through the park to spot animals such as proboscis monkeys, Irrawaddy dolphins, monitor lizards, eagles, crocodiles, kingfishers, and a wide range of birds.

The cruise will usually take around 3 to 4 hours, and remember to bring insect repellent to protect yourself from mozzie bites when you’re passing through the mangrove forests.

Tour companies to check out include Borneo Adventure, CPH Travel, and Amansar Tours and Travel.

Address: Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak

30. Wind Cave and Fairy Cave – beginner-friendly cave exploration

wind cave in kuching
The Wind Cave
Image adapted from @cchris.tie and @atieyanurha

The Wind Cave (Gua Angin) and Fairy Cave are perfect for those who want to explore caving, without the need to go through hours of taxing hike.

The caves are only 30 minutes away by car from Kuching where you can even drive straight up the tar road that will bring you right at the entrance of Wind Cave.

There are proper walkways and platforms for you to stroll on to admire the extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites.

fairy cave in kuching
Fairy Cave
Image adapted from @teyaambrose

Once you’re done exploring the Wind Cave, you can then head to the Fairy Cave, a mere 10-minute drive away.

There are also concrete stairs and elevated platforms at the Fairy Cave so it’ll be suitable for young children as well.

Wind Cave
Address: 94000 Bau, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8.30AM-3.45PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-765 490

Fairy Cave
Address: 94000 Bau, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8.30AM-4PM, Daily
Telephone: 013-803 5516

31. Gunung Gading National Park – home to the world’s largest bloom

gunung gading national park
Image adapted from @mawarsasmi and @junelow888

Did you know that the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, can be as big as a coffee table when it’s in full bloom?

Those who have never caught the sight of this majestic flower should definitely make a trip to Gunung Gading National Park (Taman Negara Gunung Gading) where you may get the chance to witness the Rafflesia blooming.

The flowers bloom year-round, though it’s highly recommended to give the visitor information centre a call in advance to check if you’ll be able to see them.

You can also cool off by the park’s four waterfalls in between hikes, and also rent rooms from RM40 per room with 2 bunk beds and basic kitchen facilities, though you’ll have to bring your own food.

Address: 94500 Lundu, Sarawak
Opening hours: 8AM-5PM, Daily
Telephone: 082-735 144
Gunung Gading National Park website | Facebook

Where to go and what to do in Kuching

Kuching covers most things a traveller would seek – unforgettable food, phenomenal views, accessibility when getting around, and most importantly, warm and friendly people. It will leave you satisfied, fulfilled, happy, and itching to return.

For more travel guides, check these out:

Cover image adapted from: @tunehotels, Semadang KayakSaieed Rahman, @_anuar, @nicholascsc007, Borneo Cultures Museum

This article was updated by Janet Cho in January 2023.

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