Visiting Kuching Malaysia's City of Cats

Visiting Kuching: Malaysia’s City of Cats

Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, and it’s one that we think everyone should visit during their trip to Malaysia. It’s a unique city where throwback meets modernity, as you’ll find historical buildings and modern skylines.

Aside from that, this city doesn’t fall short on its natural beauty, which is simply second to none, when it comes to cities here in Malaysia.

If you’re looking to travel somewhere new in Malaysia that will keep you interested and entertained at the same time, this is the perfect destination!! Keep on reading to learn more about visiting Kuching, from the hotels to stay in, restaurants to try and activities to do!

Time Zone

Malaysia Time (GMT+8)

Best Time to Go

Kuching doesn’t feature the tropical climate people know and love when they think about Malaysia, as it’s one of the wettest places in the country. Due to its tropical rainforest climate, you’re looking at around 247 days of rainfall per year–that takes up most of the year!

That being said, it would be wise to visit Kuching during the driest season of the year, which is from April to October. Furthermore, you can visit the place during June and July if you want to take part in the annual Rainforest and Gawai Dayak festivals to make your trip extra special!

Things to Know

Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (Check the current exchange rate)
Language: Malay, English, Mandarin, Hokkien
Calling Code: +60

How to Get Around 

Buses: Kuching is considered commuter-friendly thanks to the countless buses running all over the city. All you have to do is wait at the designated bus stands and ride the ones going to your destination.

If you’re travelling great distances, there are also long-haul buses found at the Batu 3 Bus Terminal. Keep in mind that most of the buses in the city are antiquated so expect the absence of air conditioning early on. 

Taxis: Taxis in Kuching are predominantly found near malls and hotels, and they’re a convenient way of getting around. The downside is that they’ll often insist on not using the metre which forces you to test your negotiating skills–be prepared!

Grab/Uber: If you want the convenience of having your driver but don’t want to haggle for prices, you can book a ride through Grab or Uber. Both ride-hailing apps are available in the city.

Car rentals: Several car rental services can be found in Kuching. These companies offer different kinds of vehicles to cater to different kinds of travellers, and they’re mostly affordable as well!

If you don’t know which one to pick out of all your choices, check out our guide on choosing a rental car

Where to Stay in Kuching

Imperial Hotel Kuching

Address: 76, Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli, Taman Seng Goon, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-588 999
Pricing: $$$
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Imperial Hotel Kuching is one of the classiest places you can stay in during your trip to Kuching and for several good reasons. For starters, they feature spacious and comfortable rooms that come with amazing views of the city, especially at night when the city lights come alive!

Aside from that, the hotel also features a myriad of amenities and facilities to provide its guest with more things to do during their stay. Among these facilities are their in-house restaurant and fitness centre, which are both amazing in their own right.

The biggest highlight, however, is the spacious pool, which is perfect for sunbathing, city viewing and of course, swimming! Trust us, no other pool will give you an amazing view of the sunset in Kuching like the one you’ll find here.

Pullman Kuching

Address: 1A, Jalan Mathies, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-222 888
Pricing: $$$
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If you’re not familiar with Pullman, it’s an international hotel chain that can be found in different countries such as Singapore, France, etc. They’re known for being stylish, which translates to their rooms and amenities, and fortunately, the same can be said with their Kuching branch!

Pullman Kuching truly spoils its guests with the amenities and facilities found in the establishment. Aside from the comfort that you’ll get from your rooms, you can also pamper yourselves in the hotel’s spa, which will leave you feeling like a brand new person!

Another perfect example of their world-class amenities is the variety of restaurants that can be found in the hotel that offers different kinds of cuisines. Having these choices means that you won’t have to leave the hotel just to taste the best dishes that the country has to offer!

Grand Margherita Hotel

Address: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-532 111
Pricing: $$
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If you want to stay in the heart of Kuching, we recommend choosing Grand Margherita Hotel as your second home during your trip. We say this because you won’t have to go more than a mile outside its doors to find the best entertainment and liveliness in the city!

This establishment is also the premier place to stay if you want to get the best panoramic views of the Sarawak River, as it’s located next to it! The iconic river can be viewed from some rooms or at the Rajang Lobby Lounge where you can also chill and get a sip of your favourite drink.

Speaking of rooms, the ones you’ll find here are worth highlighting as well because of their world-class comfort. Staying here is like being treated like royalty because of how spacious the rooms are and how complete the amenities are.

The best reason to stay here, however, is the iconic cat statue, which can be found just outside its doors. You can’t leave Kuching without taking a photo with these adorable felines!

Harbour View Hotel

Address: Lorong Temple, 93150 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-274 666
Pricing: $
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Harbour View Hotel is the perfect affordable accommodation option for backpackers and budget travellers alike. While their rooms are indeed cheaper than what other hotels offer in Kuching, don’t be fooled, as they don’t fall short on quality.

For starters, they’re relatively spacious for their price, which is an instant A+ in our books. Aside from that, the cleanliness is top-notch and dare we even say, on par with the more premium choices you’ll find here in Kuching!

Hilton Kuching

Address: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-223 888
Pricing: $$$
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Hilton is one of the most famous hotel chains in Malaysia or around the world for that matter, which is why we have to recommend it. The hotel proves to live up to the hype with its world-class customer service, lavish rooms and top-notch facilities.

Two of the facilities we wanted to highlight are the pool and cocktail bar. These two allow its guests to live their best lives and relax within the unique city of Kuching, and we’re all for it!

Aside from the hotel itself, we also want to recommend staying here because of the unmatched location. Hilton Kuching is located nearby must-visit attractions in the city such as the Chinese History Museum and Waterfront Bazaar.

Where to Eat in Kuching

Earthlings Coffee Workshop

Address: Sublot 16, Soho East Hq Lot 188, Lorong 5, Jalan Wan Alwi, Taman Supreme, 93300 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 11-1003 1208
Pricing: $-$$

If you want to start your day with a nice cup of joe, check out Earthlings Coffee Workshop over at Taman Supreme! This artisan cafe serves a wide variety of coffee and non-coffee drinks such as kombuchas.

What we love about this cafe is that even though they serve artisan coffee, they’re nowhere near expensive, keeping their menu accessible for all people. This a solid spot to sit back and relax, as you bask in the rainy weather of Sarawak so make sure to stop by!

Lepau Restaurant

Address: 99, Jalan Ban Hock, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12-884 5383
Pricing: $-$$

Of course, you can’t leave Kuching without getting a taste of the local delicacies of Sarawak, right? For this need, we recommend stopping by Lepau Restaurant, as it offers some of the most delicious and authentic Sarawak dishes from cuisines such as Orang Ulu and Dayak.

The overall ambience here is pretty chill, which makes dining all the more satisfying. Plus, it also helps that they’re equipped with approachable staff members, which isn’t rare considering that Malaysia is a friendly country.

As for the dishes themselves, they’re worth trying, especially if you’re a foodie like us! Among all their offerings, we recommend ordering the asam broth and ayam pansuh.

Lapis Sari

Address: 3, Lorong Gersik, 115, Kampung Sourabaya Ulu, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 16-576 4420
Pricing: $

Lapis Sari is a must-visit if you really want to taste everything that Sarawak has to offer. This is because it’s one of the best joints to get the famous kek belacan, a decadent moist chocolate cake that’s beloved here in Kuching.

The best thing about this bakery, in particular, is that it’s not afraid to be generous. Plus, their version of this sweet dessert is one of the smoothest and moistest you’ll ever taste in Puching, in our opinion at least.

Ceylonese Restaurant Sdn Bhd

Address: 23 22, 23 22, Jalan Green Hill, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 14-697 3447
Pricing: $$

Ceylonese Restaurant Sdn Bhd is the go-to place for Indian food in Kuching, mostly for one main reason. They’re widely known to be the restaurant that serves the cheesiest and fluffiest naan, and it’s hard to argue with that claim.

Their cheesy naan almost looks like your typical pizza, but triple the amount of gooeyness and creaminess. After breaking off a piece of the bread, the slice will ooze with delicious rich cheese so be ready to get messy!

If you want to try something new, they also serve something called Special Banana Cheese, which you may already picture from its name. It’s sweet and cheesy at the same time, which can be a bit weird at first.

Roots Bistronomy

Address: The Old Court House Kuching, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12-588 7366
Pricing: $$-$$$

Make sure to stop by Roots Bistronomy if you’re looking to experience classy fine dining in Kuching. Eating here is an experience in itself, and it’s safe to say that the food they serve lives up to the fanciness of the restaurant.

Any dish from their kitchen can easily take the cake for being the best, but you have to try the paella. Their version of this dish is said to be as perfect as they come, from the tenderness of the rice to the freshness of the prawn.

Furthermore, they also have a wide selection of sweet desserts that we recommend everyone try!

What to Do in Kuching

Learn about the indigenous groups in Sarawak Cultural Village

Address: Pantai Damai Santubong, Kampung Budaya Sarawak, 93752 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-846 108

Visiting the Sarawak Cultural Village should be on your bucket list in Kuching if you want to be immersed in the region’s culture. It’s here where you’ll get to attain a deeper understanding of the indigenous group that resided in Sarawak and how they lived.

The great thing about this is that the learning process is purely interactive so you and your loved ones won’t get bored! Some of the activities that you’ll be partaking in include bead making, bamboo carving, weaving and other methods of Malaysian arts and crafts.

As for the sights that this village has to offer, there are quite a lot. It’s already given that you’ll be treated to indigenous architecture, but two big highlights are the Chinese farmhouse and Ulu Longhouse.

Take a lovely stroll along Kuching Waterfront

Address: 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Strolling along Kuching Waterfront is something that everyone should do once they visit this city, as it’s such a relaxing activity. This peaceful attraction is open to the public and it’s also filled with cafes that can accommodate you to give you a seat while admiring the river.

Walking here is fun because you won’t feel tired, which can be attributed to the magnificent sights you’re treated to such as the Astana and Fort Margherita. Plus, it also helps that the breeze is naturally colder compared to other areas because it’s located next to the river.

Admire and take photos of the Astana

Address: Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +33 1 44 78 12 33

The Astana (Malay word for palace) is one of the most mesmerising sights you can see during your stroll at Kuching Waterfront. It’s the official residence of the Governor of Sarawak so you can’t really explore it and see it up close.

However, admiring it from afar is more than enough because of its huge estate. It consists of three bungalow-type structures and each one is designed lavishly with white walls and brown roof panelings.

Discover a newfound obsession at the Cat Museum

Address: Bangunan DBKU, Jalan Semariang, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-512 200

The Cat Museum is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to be immersed in the country’s “obsession” with these felines. It’s here where you’ll find tons of items used by cats during ancient times, paintings, drawings and more!

Whether you own one of these felines as a pet or not, it’s not hard to love these cuddly creatures once you see enough of them here. You can even find exhibits that are dedicated to the most famous cats who ever lived such as those featured in movies and TV shows!

All in all, It’s a great place where you can chill and slow down time. Plus, entry fees are cheap and you can spend almost half an hour inside just looking and admiring some cat-centric attractions.

Visit Sarawak Museum and learn more about the state

Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Taman Budaya, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-548 181

Sarawak Museum is a must-visit for anyone who’s looking to immerse themselves in the history of the state. It’s not hard to be instantly hooked by what this museum has to offer, as it features exhibitions of ancient tribal weapons, small-scale models of long houses, reptile models, etc.

Furthermore, the exterior of this museum is just as impressive as what lies inside. It features an old Victorian look that looks straight out of a movie that’s set in the late 1800s with its huge windows and pointed roofs.

The old Victorian look, paired with the antiquities it holds inside, makes it feel like you’re going back in time when you visit this museum. This also makes sense considering that it’s the oldest museum in Borneo, as it was founded way back in 1891 by Charles Brooke.

Explore Bako National Park

Address: Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 11-6572 9229

Visit Bako National Park if you want to experience the natural beauty of Kuching. You will have to do some bit of travelling, but it’s all worth it once you witness the breathtaking views that you’ll be treated to when you arrive!

Spanning around 3,000 acres of land, this national park is home to several ecosystems, each of which house different kinds of plants and animals. For instance, there’s this one grassy area where you’ll get to meet unique animals such as bearded pigs, proboscis monkeys and more!

Other ecosystems you’ll find here include a cliff, a swampy region and more. We’ll leave the others for you to discover so make sure to stop by!

Visit the Old Courthouse

Address: 7, Jalan Barrack, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12-588 7026

The Old Courthouse is a prominent attraction in Kuching that has been around since 1871. It currently serves as the state’s tourism complex where you can learn more about Kuching and Sarawak itself.

It’s interesting to walk along this courthouse because of the structures that it’s made up of, with one of the most notable ones being the clock tower. Aside from being a marvel to look at, this tower holds strong historical significance, as it was built during the colonial period.

From there, you can head over to the Round Tower which was originally built as a fort before being converted into a memorial site for the Charles Brooke.

Several local events are also held here such as fashion shows, buffets, bazaars and more. During these times, you can find local products, pop-up food stalls and live music from local talents, making your trip more immersive and enjoyable.

Take cute photos with several cat statues

Address: Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

We’ve already established how this city is obsessed with cats and you can even get an idea of just how much by seeing its numerous statues. During your visit here in Kuching, it would be a shame to miss out on taking photos of at least one of these cute figures.

The Cat Family is undoubtedly one of the most iconic statues out of the bunch so be sure to check it out while you’re here. Getting to it is easy, as it’s located at the golden triangle of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.

This particular statue consists of multiple cats, each of which features a distinct colour and pattern. They’re sort of a perfect “hello” to the visitors of the city, as it immediately gives them an idea of what to expect here. 

This being said, we recommend taking a photo of these cats along with the skyline behind them as a remembrance of your trip to this cat-obsessed city.

Where to Shop in Kuching

Viva City Megamall

Address: Ground Floor, Jalan Wan Alwi, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82-263 888

Viva City Megamall is one of the premier malls of Kuching. It’s the ultimate one-stop-shop for everything a person may look for while shopping, from clothes to laptops, bags, phones and so on.

Not to mention that it also houses tons of restaurants that serve different kinds of cuisines. You can stop by these restaurants to replenish your energy after walking and shopping all day!

The shops here are constantly updated so you can expect to have the latest brands and products being released in this mall.

Sunday Market

Address: Medan Niaga Satok, Q309, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Phone: +60 82422578

Head to the famous Sunday Market in Medan Niaga Satok if you want to buy the freshest and most authentic local products in Kuching. From fruits to vegetables and more, you’ll be surprised at how many products are produced here in Kuching.

Shopping here is an experience in itself as you’ll get to meet friendly locals as you try and meet halfway in terms of their prices. You can also strike up a conversation about how they create their products if you want to gain a deeper understanding of their way of living.

The Main Bazaar

Address: 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

You can’t leave Kuching without buying something that would immortalize your visit to this iconic city. This is why we recommend checking out the Main Bazaar opposite the waterfront to buy unique Malaysian souvenirs.

From beaded bracelets to fans and of course, cat figures, you’ll find every souvenir you can think of in this massive bazaar. Plus, the best part about it is that you won’t have to pay an expensive price just to bring them home with you!

That being said, we recommend practising your bargaining skills to make sure that you end up with the best possible price!

Which Neighbourhoods to Visit in Kuching

Central Kuching


Central Kuching is the heart of the city, as it’s where you’ll find most of the tourist attractions, malls, restaurants and more in this area. You can consider it as the downtown area of the city, but what sets it apart from others is that it mixes modern and old buildings quite well.

Other points of attraction that you’ll find here include museums and mosques, which are always interesting to visit. These two, along with the aforementioned establishments are close to each other, making it easy for tourists to visit one attraction after the other.

Lastly, it’s also here where you’ll find the famous waterfront overlooking the beautiful Sarawak River.

Mount Santubong


If you want to get away from the city life of Kuching, we recommend visiting the area of Mount Santubong. It’s the perfect getaway destination for nature lovers, as it contains numerous hiking trails and the beautiful Damai Beach beach!

Damai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches here in Malaysia. It ticks all the boxes of what a majestic seaside should be from pristine waters to pure sands and beautiful sceneries.

It’s roughly an hour from Kuching but getting here is worth it. It opens the door to tons of activities such as trekking, picture taking and swimming, and it doesn’t cost much to do them at all!

It’s the polar opposite of Central Kuching because instead of honking horns and busy streets, you’ll be treated to a tranquil environment.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Kuching

Uber and Grab: Ride-hailing and food delivery apps
iOs | Android

Google Translate: Useful word translation app with offline capabilities
iOs | Android Offline map of the world
iOs | Android

Sarawak Travel: Regularly-updated app that provides users with everything they need to know about Sarawak
iOs | Android