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Things to Do in Kuching, Borneo | Tips and sights

During our world trip in 2018 we flew from busy Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur to green Kuching, in the Malaysian part of the jungle island of Borneo. Borneo is a huge island (the number #3 of the largest islands in the world), which is almost twice as large as Germany† It is also the only island governed by a trio of countries – BruneiMalaysia en Indonesia, but most of the island is Indonesian territory.

We didn't have very high expectations of Kuching beforehand. The goal was to get into the jungle as quickly as possible! We hadn't really delved into the city itself, we can say in retrospect that it was very bad and wrong. Kuching has a lot to offer and is a perfect base for the many tours and trips in the region.

Want to see what there is to do and see in Kuching and Sarawak without having to read a lot? First watch the video at the top of this page in which we show Kuching from the ground and from the air!

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Tips for Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo

Once we arrived in Kuching, we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful surroundings, the diversity in cultures and the incredibly relaxed vibe. Do you want to know what to see and do in Kuching and the Sarawak region? Then read on quickly!

Also read: How much does traveling in Malaysia cost? † Everything about budget and costs

We love Kuching!
We love Kuching!

Things to Do in Kuching

The city itself is very nice and we could also enjoy ourselves by walking on the beautiful boulevard† The boulevard overlooks the huge state building across the street and the beautifully lit walkway gives it a lot of atmosphere, especially at night. It's cozy in the evening with many people, good food and street music.

Illuminated pedestrian bridge, waterfront boulevard, Kuching
Illuminated pedestrian bridge, waterfront boulevard, Kuching
Daily Fountain Show, Kuching, Borneo
Daily Fountain Show, Kuching, Borneo

Tip: Every evening at 20:00 pm and 21:30 pm there is a fountain and light show in front of the beautiful State Building. Take a seat and enjoy it!

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What is also nice to do is take a taxi boat (for 1 RM) to the other side. You can have a nice walk around in the city park. You can also admire the gigantic state building from all angles from the park.

Taxi boat Kuching, Borneo
Taxi boat Kuching, Borneo
Government Building in Kuching Sarawak Malaysia
Government Building in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
One of the many beautiful buildings in Kuching
One of the many beautiful buildings in Kuching

Accommodation tip for Kuching

We had already booked a night in . before arrival The Grand Margherita hotel, which cost about 30€ and was fine. But it was a hotel like many, so nothing special. We went looking for something authentic, and came across The MARIAN† An old building with a lot of history, recently renovated and on a hill overlooking the city. This seemed like something to us!

The Marian, Kuching, Borneo
The Marian, Kuching, Borneo

In this hotel / lodge the prices vary from about €35 to €150 per night, depending on your room. The cheap options are actually fine, but there are also large suites to book. To give you an idea of ​​what the accommodation really looks like, I made this beautiful 1,5 minute video where you can really taste the atmosphere. Check it out!

Orangutans, palm oil and deforestation

Kuching in Sarawak is a good base for various nature & jungle tours, with the highlight of course spotting the endangered Orang-utan† Spotting Orangutans was a real thing for me for a long time bucket list activity, I am therefore glad that I was still able to admire them in the wild.

The Orangutan is an endangered species and unfortunately their habitat on Borneo is also becoming increasingly damaged and smaller due to deforestation for palm oil. Around Christmas there was a commercial on TV that touched me deeply. The commercial was taken off TV and banned for being too offensive. Unfortunately, the harsh reality for these animals is offensive. The much-discussed commercial can be seen below via YouTube.

According to recent counts, there are only 28.000 to 30.000 Orangutans left in the wild. 95% of the population has disappeared in less than 40 years. So if you still want to see them in the wild, you have to act quickly. There is a chance that this will no longer be possible in a few years.

Semenggoh Wildlife Center

Fortunately, we were still able to enjoy these beautiful animals. We booked a jungle tour in Kuching that drove us 30 minutes out of the city to enter a conservation area.

The nature reserve is called Semenggoh Nature Reserve and is also easily accessible by scooter, Uber of Grave† In any case, it saves a lot in costs if you choose to go there yourself.

There is of course no guarantee to see the beautiful great apes. Twice a day the park is open for an hour during feeding time and outside the fruit seasons you have a good chance to see them. In any case, we were lucky, you can see the beautiful video images below.

Boat tour – Proboscis monkeys, dolphins & fireflies

Unlike Orangutan's spotting in the Semenggoh Wildlife Center you cannot do this tour on your own. You go out on the river and sea in a boat in search of all kinds of animals that can be seen somewhere in the river, the sea, the mangroves or the trees at specific times.

Boat trip through the mangroves near Kuching, Borneo
Boat trip through the mangroves near Kuching, Borneo

A guide is therefore a must, and a boat of course. Here too the following applies: no guarantees, you are in the jungle and it may just be that you are unlucky. Unfortunately we missed the crocodiles, but we did see many beautiful birds, the proboscis monkeys, the dolphins(!) and an immense number of fireflies. All in all a great tour with lots of information, great fun to do. Below is a nice fragment of a proboscis monkey that we spotted along the bridges in the trees. Listen to nature and feel the peace!

Unfortunately we don't have many good images of the dolphins. The dolphins were impossible to capture in the murky waters and the twilight after sunset didn't help either. You can still see the fireflies at the end of the video at the top of this page! For the rest you will have to take our word for it, because it was great to see all these animals in the wild.

More Malaysia tips

From Kuala Lumpur tot Singapore, from island hopping to deep jungles hidden deep in Borneo. We have already been able to admire quite a few destinations in this beautiful country. Want to read more about Malaysia? Then check our Malaysia page!

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