A stroll in the cat-capital of Sarawak (pt.1)

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Kuching water taxi operator ready to pick up passengers. Images: The Bruneian

This article was first published on December 29, 2018 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 17.

KUCHING, SARAWAK

Sarawak boasts its own unique heritage and identity which makes it hard to be excluded whenever one speaks of how priceless cultural treasures could be – especially in Borneo.

More than just stacks of golds and jewels stored in old wooden chests, the western-most state of Borneo actually packs quite an interesting combo.

Having its capital city, Kuching, becoming only two-hour flight away from Brunei rings good news for local travel-junkies who yearns to taste the cultural scenes of the state padded with the fresh aroma of its hornbill-filled rainforests, and its calm-soothing river.

It is a perfect weekend escape for everyone especially when they are many things in store for travelers to explore in this well-known Sarawakian city and beyond – but for the first part of this journey, taking a stroll along the riverbank of the Sarawak river is compulsory as it is the focal point of Kuching.

One of the scenic views at the Kuching Esplanade. Images: The Bruneian

Kuching Esplanade

It is best for one to explore an area by foot in order to observe the local culture, people and its surroundings. The two-kilometre long waterfront is a must-go place for any visitor regardless of whether they are doing it for the first time or not.

You could either take a jog or simply sit by the riverside and enjoy a people-packed surrounding with Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building in the background.

There are various kind of activities you could find like cycling, bubble-blowing, street musicals and skate performances – but you could also choose to indulge in the famous street-style eateries, or simply take breathtaking photos to bring home, among others.

You can never be bored at the esplanade because you could always find something to do.

Looking around the area, you will find many of the houses still retaining their historical structures, with old shophouses, the famous Fort Margherita and distant mountains filling in the canvas.

You would do well to remember that you can always cross the river either using a sampan (boat) or walk on the newly built Darul Hana pedestrian bridge, which connects the northern and southern part of Kuching.

The latest unique landmark of the capital city allows you to take a closer view of the Brooke-era Astana and the assembly building at the other side.

If you want to have a brief experience of a Muslim heritage, make your way to the heart of the city to find the Kuching Town Mosque, known distinctively for its pink and golden exterior.

According to the locals, the mosque is best seen from the river especially when you take a river cruise and enjoy the breath-taking view of the old landmark at sunset.

As you spent a good whole day at the city centre, you might want to travel a little further out and be immersed with the local ethnic cultures at the Sarawak Cultural Village, which will be featured more in the upcoming issue of our weekly e-paper.

A young Sarawakian girl waving bubbles at the Esplanade. Images: The Bruneian
The Bruneian