Kuching is a great base to explore Sarawak, Southern Borneo, and all the scenery, wildlife and cultural sights it has to offer. But it’s a great destination on its own – it has a lot of character and a great place to go for an evening stroll along the waterfront, see the old buildings are have a nice dinner outside.
You can start your evening stroll on the river promenade – it’s nicely landscaped with benches, food and market stalls. You will have a view of the Sarawak State Assembly, the Astana and Fort Margharita on the other side of the river. If you are not up for a walk, you can take a boat for a sunset cruise on the river and see the sights during a leisurely ride. There are musicians and artists in the evenings for your entertainment. Families, couples and friends and what seems like half of Kuching are out for a walk as well or enjoying dinner right on the river.
If you don’t feel like eating at the food stalls, the “James Brook” restaurant has a prime spot on the river with great views, serving local and international dishes. If you continue along the promenade, you will reach the square tower, a former defensive structure, later prison. Head away from the river and you will see the old court house – a well kept historical building. It also holds the Vistors Center, with helpful guides and a great Sarawak Visitor’s Guide worth picking up! A much more modern, hard to miss building is the big mall, Plaza Merdeka, right in the center of Kuching, facing the park. If you turn right, passing in front of the mall, you’ll find the historic police building. Continue around it and you will make your way through alleys with stores and stalls, offering Indian spices and Chinese herbs and many other things your average mall doesn’t have. Enjoy the sights and smells. If you keep exploring, you’ll eventually see the big mosque, overlooking the river, quite a sight!
If you have gotten hungry by now, head to the small Carpenter street on the other side of Plaza Merdeka, with many bars and restaurants in old (some beautifully restored) Chinese shop houses. Wander around and you are sure to find something to your taste! You’ll also find a small Chinese temple set back from the road -worth a stop for photos! You can walk off that meal along the river – once darkness falls the lights all along make it even prettier. I ended up walking along the promenade every evening – lively without being loud, pretty and full of character!