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Kuching (Malaysia)

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City: Kuching / Country: Malaysia / Country Region: Sarawak / World Region: Asia

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      22.05.2001 22:11
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      ... well, almost. Survivor is all happening on an island called Pulau Tiga (which translates as Island Three - much less romantic in English), which is off the Malaysian coast of northern Borneo, an area called Sarawak. This is an account of my trip a couple of months ago the area's capital, Kuching, which may not have been the Survivor island but is one of the most incredible places I've been in my life. I arrived here from Indonesia and I have to admit it was something of a relief. Malaysia has the advantage of being one of the cleanest and most organised of Asian countries, without being as sanitised as Singapore, and it's great to be somewhere where the plumbing works, the water's clean, there are no open sewers and hardly anything smells. But I digress. This is a review about Kuching, so here we go. Kuching means cat in Malay and the town is supposed to have gained this improbable name when an early colonialist pointed to the settlement it was then and asked what it was called. The locals thought he was pointing at a cat, and were too polite to point out his mistake, so the name stuck. It's a small and very pretty little town on the banks of a river in the northern area of Borneo, which for odd historical reasons is the other half of Malaysia, the rest being Peninsula Malay some 600 kilometers away. It has a huge chinese population, which means lots of yummy chinese food and pretty temples, whose incense drifts over the town so everything smells slightly perfumed. The nicest bit of Kuching is the river front which has been recently refurbished to be as nice a strech of palm trees and cafes and pavilions as you'll find anywhere, the perfect place to drink an iced lemon juice and watch the spectacular sunsets over the river. And they really are something. I don't know how come but the sky here is somehow bigger than almost anywhere I've ever been and at sunset it turns orange and crimson and pink, all reflected
      in the river with this amazing golden light which makes it look like the air's on fire and everything is gilded. Incredible. As the capital of Sarawak, Kuching is also influenced by the indiginous dyak tribes, whose art takes the form of bold, curling abstracted animal and human figures carved onto shields, baby carriers, tables, and all sorts of other things for the tourist market. They are very striking and make excellent souveniers as you can take them home and impress your friends with tales of your encounters with the fearsome headhunters of Borneo (omit the fact they don't headhunt in this bit any more and you'll sound even cooler). If these take your fancy there is a stream of antique shops along the water front which vary from the completely tourist orientated to havens for serious collectors with some very expensive antiques. They are nominally fixed price, but get here in the low season and bargaining is possile - in one shop today I got offered a discount when I'd barely stepped in the door. There's also plenty to see if you just fancy wandering around. There is some impressive colonial architecture, the legacy of the White Rajas, a random family of British colonials who ran this place as their personal kingdom for some 100 years. Fortunately, as they were effectively dictators, they erred on the benevolent side and their main legacy is a set of beautiful white colonial buildings and a bunch of Victorian lamp-posts which look decidedly odd next to the palm trees, and a feeling of warmth towards the Brits. YOu can't go inside either the old fort or the palace as they're still in use but they make pretty pictures and their presence alone adds a lot of atmosphere to the town. The other great thing about Kuching is the day trips. Within a few hours from here I can visit first rate beaches, a crocodile farm, a Dyak longhouse, an orang utang sanctuary and some of the last remaining primal rainforest on B
      orneo. I haven't yet, but you can be sure I'll be updating when I do.... ****** Well, I'm still here - I should have left yesterday morning but it's just too nice. There's just so much to do. Yesterday I went to the orang utan sanctuary, which was well worth the trip. I arrived at feeding time and there were three orang utans wandering around waiting for their daily bananas, including a mum with her baby. I got so close, I can't wait for my pics to be developed and I wish I could post them here so you could see just how beautiful and eerily human they are (then again, I could just replace my pic...). I had to do the really cheesy thing of getting someone to take my pic with one of them cos no-one will believe just how close I was otherwise. There were other animals there too, but all in cages and they were nothing compared to the main attraction. Like I said, well worth the trip if you're here. I also went to a national park called Gunung Gading, which is a special sanctuary for the Rafflesia, the world's biggest flower. There were none blooming when i was there unfortunately, but it was pretty special just being able to walk through the rainforest (paths are well constructed and very well signposted) and the absolute highlight was making it to a waterfall with a natural pool beneath it in which I could swim. Diving into the cool water after such a long sweaty trek, watching the sun fall on to the pool surface through the rainforest canopy, with huge irridescent butterflies and dragonflies flitting across the water... well, that was pretty special. Again I wish I could post pics, but I can't so you'll just have to imagine.

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        13.12.2000 23:33
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        Kuching, which actually means cat in the Malay language, is the capital of Sarawak. It is in my opinion a most delightful little place for a short holiday. There are plenty of international class hotels both in the city centre and further along the coast. One of the main attractions of Kuching is its waterfront. Like most waterfront cities, Kuching has made clever use of its natural advantage by creating a promenade lined with trees and parks, ther are also cafes and handicraft markets to visit whilst strolling along the river walk. Interesting bits of history are highlighted in brass plaques and there are chess boards here and there along the promenade. The view across the river is of the Fort Margarita, once home to the "Rajah" of Sarawak, James Brooke. A quick 2 minute trip across the river by a small 'sampan' and you are at the fort. Other attractions in Kuching is the highly regarded, Sarawak Cultural Village, where you will be able to see first hand the traditional dwellings of the different ethnic groups that make up the friendly peoples of Sarawak. There is also a very lively dance performance at certain times of the day, which should not be missed. If you are a beach lover then there are several resorts at Damai for you to choose from and for the more adventurous, there is the Hilton Batang-Ai resort which is styled after the traditional longhouse of the Iban peoples. Kuching has a lot to offer including nature, shopping, culture, good food and lots more. It is a convenient destination to access and flights from Kuala Lumpur take only one and a half hours by Malaysia Airlines, or Air Asia.

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        29.10.2000 01:50
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        'Kuching' (or more correctly 'kucing') in Malay language means 'cat'. Literally we can call Kuching the City of Cats. There are many attractions in this capital of Sarawak (the largest state in Malaysia). But there are something different about Kuching that I really like, which are not easily found from resources like travel guide books. There's this museum situated on the top of a hill, called Sarawak Museum. It's one of the best museums in Malaysia. But what attracts local people more is not the museum itself, it's the 'aquas' (local language) that hang out on the hill at night. 'Aquas' are young men dressed up like women, and some of them are really of 'top quality' (comparable to Thai aquas). You won't suspect their identity until they speak-- their voice is the one thing that they can't change (and the other 'thing' too, of course). These 'pretty women' usually hang out at the museum hill (or more commonly known as the 'aqua hill' by local people) after 10 at night, waving, flying kisses and chasing cars that drove by, especially if there're blokes in the car. So you blokes beware when you drive by, make sure you roll up your window or one of the gorgeous aquas might grab you at your neck. On Saturday nights, there're always car or motorbike racings (illegal ones, of course) along the highway that leads to the Sarawak Parliament House. You don't have to book an appointment or anything like that. If you're interested, just speed down the highway on Saturday night at around midnight and soon you'll find some challengers coming to join you. Great fun but make sure you fasten your seat belt and step on it when you hear the siren of the police car. You can't miss the Waterfront if you go to Kuching. This is the best place for loafing and fishing if you have plenty of time to kill. So join the loafers at this 1 kilometre park by the Sar
        awak River. If you're lucky, you might see 1 or 2 dolphins jumping at the mouth of the river as you sit on the bench watching the sunset. During day time, skateboarders and roller-bladers like to hang out there. At night, some 'aquas' from the aqua hill might drop by. Going further away from the city centre, you can visit the cultural village for a bit of cultural education about Sarawak. And if you do go to Cultural Village, you might as well stay a night or 2 at the Damai Lagoon, which is just a few miles away from the village. Damai is not comparable to Sunway Lagoon in Kuala Lumpur but it's nevertheless small and decent. If you like animals and would like to experience a bit of jungle life, go to Bako, the National Park. Here you would expect to stay in quite primitive houses where, at night, monkeys jump on the roof tops and wildboars banging their heads on the doors. For eating out, try seafood, which is what Buntal is famous for. Some seafood restaurants in Buntal are built on the sea. Imagine sitting under open starry sky, enjoying fresh cheap seafood and feel the vibration of the wooden floor as the waves keep rushing into the shore. You really can't miss Buntal if you love seafood. August is the month when local people celebrate the Kuching Festival. the celebration lasts for about 2 weeks and lots of activities will be going on in different places in Kuching such as the Kuching Food Festival, Cat Exhibition, etc. However, August is usually the month of the year when the weather is the hottest (above 30C) and occasionally, air pollution occurs in this month (due to the smoke from forest fires), which can persist until September.

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        16.07.2000 21:23
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        Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia and located on Borneo, East Malaysia. It is a fascinating state which is famous of its culture and the wonders of the natural world such as National Park, rain forests, beaches and islands. Kuching is the capital of Sarawak states. If you wish to visit Swarawak, you have to fly to Kuching airport, it will be your starting point to anywhere of Sarawak. Because Sarawak is sparsely populated, you have to access other cities by flight or by boat. Mulu National Park is a must visit. The park is dominated by three mountains - Gunung Mulu, Gunung Api and Gunung Benarat which contain the largest limestone cave system in the world. You can go there first by domestic flight from Kuuching Airport to Miri Airport, then take the flight from Miri Airport to Mulu National Park, which takes 45 minutes or go from Miri to Mulu by cruise and boat, which takes half a day to travel from downstream to upstream. I would suggest you going there by flight and returning by boat, which you can see the life of people on the banks while taking waterway. There are four accessible well know limestone caves in Sarawak, Deer Cave (the world's largest cave passage), Clearwater Cave (the world's longest cave in Southeast Asia), Lang Cave and Wind Cave. Especially the Deer Cave, is the home of thousands of bats. If you are lucky, you will see another natural wonder, the bats flying out from the cave in the evening to look for food. They all flew in groups, batch by batch, led by a leader. All these four caves are famous of its limestone stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors are advised not to touch those growing stalactites and stalagmites, because the acidic hands will stop them from growing. Another National Park, Niah National Cave situated south of Miri, is accessible only through a flight to Miri, a car ride, followed by a boat ride. It is regarded as one of the largest limestone caves in the world. The
        Archeologists found fragments of pottery, stone tools, ornaments, paintings on the wall in the caves and the boat-shaped coffins indicated that the caves is about 45,000 years old. It is also a favourite place for bird's nests hunting nowadays, a lot of inhabitants go there to earn for living. There is a bewildering variety of different ethnic groups in Sarawak numbering more than thirty. The main groups are: Iban, Bidayuh, Chinese, Malay, Melanau and Orang Ulu. The Iban are the best known and most populous of Sarawak's peoples, forming 30% of the state's population and most of them are Christians. The ethnic groups have a strong tradition of hospitality, and a longhouse visit is an unforgettable experience. Many of Sarawak Ethnic groups live in the long houses. There are about 40 to 100 rooms in each long house, and each family is allocated a room. The people live in long houses are all sharing kitchens and bath rooms with each other. You will be served a rice wine (tauk) and entertained with music and dancing while visiting long houses. The long houses, which open for tourist are mainly in Bintulu, which you can go by car immediate after Niah National Cave visit. Besides the national park, the culture village in Kuching is a nice place to visit too. You will know more about the ethnic groups' life and tradition. There are too much things to see and too many places to explore in Sarawak, which I could not write all in my opinions, you got to find out by yourself.

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        11.07.2000 05:10
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        Sarawak - the name alone conjures up images of wilderness, adventure and the unknown. Located on the north-western edge of exotic Borneo, Sarawak is actually the largest state in Malaysia. Sarawak is a land richly strewn with wonders of the natural world. Ancient rainforest covers the land housing an abundance of weird and wonderful animals: tiny deer the size of cats; owls just six inches high; and many species found nowhere else on Earth, such as the strange proboscis monkey, or the gentle Orang-utans, which are found only here and in Sumatra. The world's biggest flower, the Rafflesia, as well as more than 2,500 varieties of orchids. Along the way you will meet warm and friendly people from a patchwork quilt of different ethnic groups, many of whom boast unbroken cultural traditions dating back to the Stone Age. How to go there? You can go to Sarawak by Malaysia Airlines System (MAS). MAS flies direct to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu, Bandar Sri Begawan (Brunei), Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila, Seoul, Tokyo and Pontianak (Indonesia). Most important the seafood is cheap and good. Further information - http://www.sedctourism.com/

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          10.07.2000 08:47
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          Kuching, one of my favourite cities in Malaysia. It is the administration centre of the State of Sarawak in East Malaysia. Kuching, in Malay language, is referring to “cats”. However, this does not mean you can come across an abundance of cats in the city. Funny though, you can see two large sculptures of cats standing tall in the middle of the city centre. I went to Kuching with two friends of mine in 1996. In order to catch the cheapest flight by Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, we had to travel in a group of three on the first flight of the day (5am). The price was about RM275 (about 46 pound) for a return ticket. I like Kuching because it is a big city, but does not have the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur (capital city of Malaysia). It is tranquil, for me, not as chaotic as Kuala Lumpur is. There are a lot of delicious food here. My favourite food here is Fried Wan Tan Mee. It is Mee with the fried meat balls (hope my description is correct). The Sarawak Cultural Village is a superb one. The site contains different houses of different races in Sarawak such as Malay, Chinese, Iban, Penan, Orang Ulu and Melanau. There are staff of different races donning in their traditional costumes and showing their traditional daily routine, playing traditional games, hunting and much more. The houses are so unique and beautiful. Besides that, there is a stage show in the auditorium displaying the cultural events and custom in the state. Besides the Sarawak Cultural Village, there are whole lots of museum, which are exciting and enticing. The Sarawak Museum is a must for every visitor. Semenggok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is equally enticing as you can see Orang Utan wandering around in some of the areas. However, I was nearly grabbed by one of the Orang Utan in the park. I was scared though. In fact, I was told that the Orang Utan was simply making friendly movement. Wow… Ba
          ko National Park is another superb place for a jungle trek. Though it is the smallest national park in South East Asia, the waterfront location of the park means that you can see a large variety of fauna and flora, ranging from aqua to highland ones. Last but not least, this was the greatest place that I have been in Kuching, the Fairy Cave in Bau. We were led by a group of cave expedition experts. We had to take along a carbide filled small tin as the fuel source for the torch fire on top of our cap. We had to wear a cap to avoid hitting the sharp stalactite and stalagmite in the caves. In the caves, we had to swim, climb, twist, and crawl…..some caves were merely the size of a big rubbish bin. Just try to imagine those are the only caves in front of your passageway. Finally, when we saw sunlight, we were already soaked in mud and water. However, the experience was definitely a superb and memorable one. There are too many things to elaborate on Kuching. It is such a lovely city for me. I really enjoyed my 7-day stay in the city. I will never forget that, I wish I could return there one day. For more information, visit the following URL: http://www.sarawaktourism.com

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        Kuching is the capital of the East Malaysian State of Sarawak. Kuching is the most populous city in the state of Sarawak and the fourth largest city in Malaysia. Kuching was elevated to city status on 1 August 1988.