From Singapore, I flew into Kuching, Sarawak. Checked myself into the cheapest hostel, with the cheapest beers in Kuching – Malibu Lifestyle.
Kuching is a very charming city. Home to the first white Rajah of Sarawak it has an ethnic mix of Malay, Chinese, as well as a lot of the local ethnic tribes.
Across the river is the traditional Malay community, in the main town along Carpenter Street is the Chinese Quarter. And that’s just the tourist areas. Kuching is much bigger and more vibrant if you have time to rent a scooter or bicycle and go exploring – full of lots of hipster-esque bars and restaurants.
Kuching is a good gateway to Bako National Park where the Long Nosed Monkey (aka Dutch Monkey, aka Proboscis) can be seen. A bus journey from Kuching takes you to an Orangutan rehabilitation centre. Kuching is peppered with some great restaurants. Across the river, you can taste some of Kuching speciality layer cakes. Best of all, Kuching has some excellent watering holes which let you experience the Sarawakian hospitality.
A few shout outs and tidbits…
I had met James in the Philippines briefly but gave him a shout when I arrived in Sarawak. James had been living in Sarawak for a few months and had spent almost half a year in Borneo over the last year and a half. He’s spent a lot of time conversing with different people and ethnic groups to understand the political, cultural and economic history of Sarawak and their modern day issues. He’s spent an equally long time connecting the dots between what was done and why things are the way they are now. James kindly summarised some of the vast amount of historical information in his head into an article for me, check it out.
Where to stay: Malibu Lifestyle B&B. It has the cheapest accommodation in Kuching and the cheapest beers.
Where to drink:
- Malibu Lifestyle – cheap beers and a favourite for a lot of locals thanks to its cheap beers and air-conditioning
- The Speak Easy on Carpenter Street – Mac, Mac and Mac are three brothers that own and run the bar and are exceptionally friendly. It’s a popular hangout for the local people with some Chinese territory to enjoy a bevy or two.
Fun fact: Kuching means ‘cat’ in Bahasa Malay
I genuinely can’t stress how much I loved Kuching, it’s just really relaxed-laa.