Kuching, Malaysian Borneo

In April 2013, John and I went to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Kuching.

Kuching, Malaysia

You can read about our Crab Feast in Singapore HERE and our time in Kuala Lumpur HERE.

Many of the locals refer to Kuching as “Cat City” from the Malay word kucing, meaning cat.

Kuching, Malaysia

There are several cat statues in the city especially along Padungan Road.

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

The most famous cat statue is the one welcoming visitors to the city in front of the Padungan Road arch.

Kuching, Malaysia

This waving cat is famous for the clothing and decorations she wears related to festivals being celebrated during that month.

Kuching, Malaysia

I don’t know how tall she is, but I am 5’03” . . .

Kuching

Maybe 5’06” on my tiptoes?

Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and the largest city on the island of Borneo.

Kuching, Malaysia

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is divided among three countries: Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.

We only explored the Malaysian part of the island but the other two are on the list!

Kuching, Malaysia

We stayed at The Ranee.

Kuching, Malaysia

It is a stylishly boutique hotel that was once a traditional 19th century shophouse.

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

The Ranee is on Jalan Main Bazaar and faces the waterfront.

Kuching, Malaysia

Main Bazaar is the oldest street in the city.

Here you will find old shophouses filled with souvenirs, clothing, wood carvings, produce, seafood, spices, bakeries, etc.

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

A block from Main Bazaar is an an old Chinese temple, Tua Pek Kong Temple.

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

This temple was built before the 19th century and has official records going back to 1876.

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

My favorite part of Main Bazaar is the waterfront esplanade.

Kuching, Malaysia

Sampans (wooden boats) are the easiest and cheapest way to cross the Sarawak River.

Kuching, Malaysia

We spent a lot of time walking the waterfront and watching the locals come and go.

Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching, Malaysia

Across the Sarawak River is the nine-storey high New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building.

Kuching, Malaysia

Its distinctive payung (umbrella) roof is an iconic landmark for Sarawak.

Kuching, Malaysia

The Astana is the official residence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak, the Governor of Sarawak.

Kuching, Malaysia

The name is a variation of istana, meaning palace.

Another of the city’s striking landmarks is Kuching Divisional Mosque.

Kuching, Malaysia

We could hear the prayers as we walked towards the Mosque.

Kuching, Malaysia

It was beautiful. The prayers, the mosque, the people walking out after worship… all of it.

India Street Pedestrian Mall is a couple of blocks from the Kuching Divisional Mosque.

Kuching, Malaysia

This is the place to go for textiles, clothing, and souvenirs.

Kuching, Malaysia

We bought several colorful head scarfs for our daughter and an amazing muumuu for me.

Kuching, Malaysia

Don’t judge, I love that muumuu.

On our last day in Kuching we went to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre to view rescued orangutans.

Kuching, Malaysia

Our hotel recommended Ooo Haa Tours & Travel and we were very happy with the personalized and friendly service we received.

Kuching, Malaysia

A private tour costs about $22 USD per person and the drive from Kuching to the rainforest takes about half an hour.

Kuching, Malaysia

Our guide was everything you’d hope for: knowledgeable, trustworthy, kind, and funny.

Kuching, Malaysia

The orangutans are not in cages and we were reminded many times to watch our backs.

Kuching, Malaysia

We never felt unsafe, but I think a lot of people forget that the orangutans are wild animals and not zoo animals.

Kuching, Malaysia

A mom and baby made their way through the trees and down to the fruit-covered platform.

Kuching, Malaysia

Next thing you know, the mom started making her way towards us and into the road where we were standing.

Kuching, Malaysia

She wasn’t angry, just curious.

Kuching, Malaysia

Our guide walked us deeper into the rainforest and we patiently waited for other orangutans to come out of the rainforest.

Finally, we heard them swinging through the trees as they made their way to the platform.

Kuching, Malaysia

The word orang is Malay, meaning person. Utan is derived from hutan, meaning forest.

Kuching, Malaysia

Orangutan literally translates to “person of the forest”.

Kuching, Malaysia

Again, a mom and her baby became curious and walked to where we were standing. The staff slowly moved us away from her . . .

Kuching, Malaysia

Just in case.

I’ll never forget our morning with the orangutans. I’ll never forget their personalities, their curiosity, or their eyes.

Kuching, Malaysia

Most of all, their eyes.

I’ll also never forget the new friends I met in the rainforest that day.

Kuching, Malaysia

Maybe one day they will see this picture and we can all reconnect.

Before I wrap this up, I need to tell you about the food in Kuching.

You didn’t think I forgot about that, did you?

James Brooke Cafe & Bistro is on Jalan Main Bazaar.

Kuching, Malaysia

We ate their Sarawak Laksa several times during our time in Kuching.

Kuching, Malaysia

It was delicious!

James Brooke is a beautiful place to go for lunch or dinner on the Kuching waterfront esplanade.

Kuching

Kuching, Malaysia

For a stunning view of the sun setting over the city, go to The Lime Tree Hotel for drinks.

Kuching

Kuching sunsets are worth taking time for.

Kuching, Malaysia

The constant changing of the colors in the sky are outstanding.

Kuching, Malaysia

We mostly ate at small shophouse restaurants.

If you are on a budget, these are the places you should look for.

Kuching, Malaysia

If you love really great food, these are the places you should look for.

Kuching

No kidding, for the best food in Kuching, go to the small family owned shophouse restaurants.

Lunch for two will set you back about $4 USD, including drinks.

We really enjoyed our time in Kuching.

Kuching, Malaysia

The vibe there is vastly different than the city life in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuching, Malaysia

Nothing against KL, we greatly appreciated what both Malaysian cities had to offer.

And although we only got a small taste of the island of Borneo . . .

Kuching, Malaysia

I hope one day we’ll return and soak-up more of that warm, inviting culture.

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