the capital city of Sarawak
Kuching, Sarawak's capital, is one of the most
and people-friendly cities in the region. Kuching, its name means cat in Malaysian,
has all the modern amenities without losing its old world charm. The narrow,
bustling streets near the river are crammed with ornate temples, markets,
historic buildings and traditional Chinese shop houses selling local
handicrafts. Nearby is the Sarawak Museum with its beautiful gardens and the
park built round the old town reservoir.
Kuching also lays claim to nine museums, many within walking distance of each
Kuching is a riverside city. Its location on the Sarawak River was chosen not
only for its strategic and commercial importance, but also for its enchanting
natural beauty. In days gone by the river was the city's main highway. The river
still retains its importance and picturesque charm in the modern era. Present
day life is still concentrated on the waterfront.
The colourful Sunday Market
is where household items, souvenir items and exotic jungle produce are
sold in various forms. The Market was started in 1980 by the Kuching
Municipal Council to allow unlicensed hawkers to sell numerous consumable
items like fish, meat, clothing, flowers and jungle produces of various
kinds. The Sunday Market has become so popular over the years that one
looks forward to it.
One of the highlights of Kuching is a visit to one of the few ceramic
factories just outside town. Sarawak is famous for its unusually decorated
earthenware vases of all shapes and sizes. Kuching pottery incorporates
the ancient Dayak designs with a blend of modern colour and technique.
Small vases with traditional designs make good souvenirs and are popular
with tourists who visit many handicraft shops or directly purchase them
from factories. The pottery-making factories have now become a regular
souvenir-hunting place for Japanese and foreign tourists who depart with
Sarawak pottery to remind them of their delightful stay in Kuching.
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Museum is acknowledge as one of the finest museum in Southeast Asia.
Collections include superb ethnographic material, arts and crafts, natural
history, and exhibitions of Sarawak's history and prehistory (including a
reconstruction of the archaeological finds at Niah Caves) and of the oil
industry in Sarawak.
The Cat Museum is a reflection of
Kuching's fascination with its own name (see Kuching section), and houses a
collection of all kinds of feline memorabilia, along with displays detailing the
evolution and natural history of the cat family, and the development of the
different breeds of domestic cat. The Cat Museum is housed in Kuching North City
Hall, across the river in Petra Jaya.
Built in 1878, the fort commands a
breathtaking and strategic position along the Sarawak river. Named after Ranee
Margaret, Rajah Brooke's wife, it was completed the year after, just in
time to defend Kuching against pirate attacks from the river. The fort has since
been renovated and now serves as Police museum.
The Police Museum traces the
development of the police force in Sarawak and has an exhibition of weapons used
during the Communist Insurgency. It also houses the famous "laughing
skulls," which many witnesses claim have the ability to emit an eerie