For the visitor to Kuching, the best way to explore this unique city is by foot.
This means, you simply need a pair of good walking shoes and you can walk around the old part of Kuching to see some of its tourist sites.Kuching City is usually the main gateway into Sarawak as the main airport is located about 20 minutes from the city. Often called Cat City, because Kuching translates from Malay to cat, you will easily spot multiple cat structures which are also great for photo stops.I would also like to share with you that Kuching city is a morning city, which means this place is best explored in the mornings when it is not too hot and humid. Most of the businesses close by 5.00PM and by 7.00PM, everything comes to a standstill here.
Tua Pek Kong Temple along Jalan Main Bazaar
Where to start in Kuching?
The best place to start your walking tours are from the Main Bazaar area where the Kuching Waterfront is located. I started in the morning about 9.00 AM and found that this is a great place to walk around, where I visited the Chinese History Museum and the prominent Chinese Temple called Tua Pek Kong.
Kuching’s vibrant Main Bazaar
From these two landmarks, just walk along the Main Bazaar where you will pass through a series of shops that sell ethnic Sarawakian antiques, collectibles and souvenir. This is probably the best place to get your souvenirs for Sarawak.Along the Main Bazaar, you can spot some decades old businesses that are still trading goods like pepper, rice and so on. Once you reach the end, look across the road and you will see the Kuching Waterfront Bazaar, where you can find more authentic souvenirs.
The new Darul Hana Bridge across the Sarawak River on the left
Crossing the New Darul Hana Bridge From there, you can either take the newly opened 335m-long S-shaped bridge called Darul Hana Bridge that goes over the Sarawak River that links Pangkalan Batu and Pangkalan Sapi.Visitors can now walk over to the Old State Legislative Assembly building passing through Botanic Gardens and Orchid Garden and also to the iconic Fort Margherita.After this, head back across the Darul Hana Bridge and walk towards the Brooke Monument for a photo moment. This is also where the old Court House is located at. Walk into Jalan Barrack and you will find the entrance to India Street.
India Street and the covered walkway
Called the India Street Pedestrian Mall, this old area has been given a beautiful makeover and is now a covered walkway. Traders are seen on both sides of the street selling all sorts of wares as I walk through and exit at Japan Power.From the exit, keep walking along Jalan Market to see the old Kuching trading and business communities. While walking around here, do look out for some of the well known local eateries or coffee shops.
Carpenter Street in Kuching
After I explored this part of the city, I headed back to Carpenter Street which is just behind the Main Bazaar. I selected this because by the time I was done, it was lunch time and at Carpenter Street, there is a great place to try which is the Temple Food Court. It is located just opposite the Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple.
Hiang Thian Siang Ti Temple at the end of Carpenter Street in Kuching
After lunch, I continued along Carpenter Street towards the end where I ended my walking tour of Kuching. This I where you will find the Hong San Si Temple, which is one of the most beautiful temples in Kuching.
In general, you can see this interesting part of Kuching in just under four hours on foot and very suitable for anyone who has half a day free in Kuching.
Photos by David Hogan Jr