Newest Review: ... and pretty temples, whose incense drifts over the town so everything smells slightly perfumed. The nicest bit of Kuching is the river fro... more
City of Cats
Member Name: HooSoo
Date: 29/10/00, updated on 29/10/00 (101 review reads)
Advantages: great city
Disadvantages: occasional air pollution in August and September
'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.