Thursday, December 29, 2011

Kuching - Kuching Waterfront

Kuching has a lot of wonderfully rich and historical buildings all lining up along Kuching Waterfront. Just like Ipoh and Penang where the presences of the British empire can be seen throughout the cities, the same can be said for Kuching for you can find a lot of neo-colonial style buildings along the streets surrounding the area.

Square Tower which used to be town's jail

You can actually make Kuching Waterfront as your starting point for your Kuching heritage walk. Standing at any spot in the waterfront and looking out across the Sarawak River and you can see there are some historical monuments at the opposite riverbank. Fort Margherita and the Astana are some of the heritages lying over the other side of the river.

Sarawak river with Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) overlooking the river

Meanwhile, back to the waterfront side, just walk along Main Bazaar Street will give you the opportunity of overlooking old shoplots along the street. This is the oldest street in Kuching, dating back to 1864, apparently. Back in the old days, this street was crowded with tin smiths and carpenters. Now, it is the place to hunt for souvenirs and antiques. Other than Main Bazaar Street, Carpenter Street, Gambier Street and India Street are also stretches of roads filled with beautifully retro shop houses. Budding photographers will have a great time trying to capture the essences of it.

Carpenter Street by night

Waterfront is also near to Charles Brooke's memorial and the old court house as well as the general post office. While the general post office still retain its original purpose, the old court house has been converted into cafe and tourism centres.

Sarawak's old court house

General post office by day...

... and by night, hauntingly beautiful

As for museums, there are quite a number of it scatter around or within the proximity of the Kuching Waterfront. The Chinese History Museum recounts back the times where Chinese came to Sarawak in search of a better future. There are stories on how they came here and they integrated into the society. According to the museum curator (at least I think he is a curator), all the artefacts and the constructions and renovations were contributions of the Malaysian Chinese in Sarawak. Therefore, efforts can be seen pouring into maintaining it.

Chinese History Museum

Some of the exhibits in the museum

Other than Chinese History Museum, there is the Textile Museum right opposite the general post office. Known as the Pavilion back in the old day, it was a hospital until 1947. Museums aside, you can also find some Chinese temples nearby. The first would be the Tua Pek Kong which is opposite Main Bazaar (very obvious). Then, there are the Hong San Si Temple which is also nearby Tua Pek Kong and the Huang Thian Siang Ti Temple which is within walking distance from the post office. Further walk along Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg will lead you to St Thomas Cathedral if you find yourself suffocating with Chinese temples. It is right opposite Padang Merdeka and nearby Sarawak Museum which I will blog about it next.

Textile Museum

Tua Pek Kong

I'm guessing a good old 2 hours would do to stroll along these streets. Of course, you can spend more time here taking pictures and simply spend your half day living a simple and historical life. In fact, I spent most of my non-family time strolling and absorbing the atmosphere, taking in the beautiful city. Cars are not too many, making walking a safe and preferred option, at least for me. As I stayed at 360xpress, all these were just 10 minutes plus walk away. My sister did good in searching for a value worthy hotel.


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

Going across to the other side of the Sarawak River is quite easy. There are a lot of sampans along the river that you can hired to bring you across. There are also some larger boats that provide river cruise for those who want to enjoy the breeze. Since I took neither of it, I cannot really recommend any of it but to go over the river, taking the sampan ride is the best. As for the river cruise, it's an hour or hour-half ride if my memories served me right. Around RM 30 or RM 60 per adult. Again, my faulty memories are to blame and I deeply apologize if it is more expensive.

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