The real 24 hours in Kuching

My weekend trip to Kuching from Sep. 15 to 16 wasn’t my most productive trip.

By productive, I mean having a planned itinerary packed with activities from the minute I set foot in the airport to the second I head into the boarding room.

You would think that as the author of 24 hours in Kuching, I would have everything planned out.

Nope, I didn’t.

Instead, I accidentally left my guidebook at home and didn’t really bothered doing much research.

So, here’s what really happened that weekend.

1:18 pm Walk out from Kuching airport

Kuching International Airport
Kuching International Airport
I was adamant to find the public bus into the city, despite Lonely Planet saying it will be a difficult task. I walked from Kuching airport to the east (left) in search of the long-distance bus terminal.

D who took a cab some days before said it’s within walking distance from the airport with an umbrella or else it’s a RM17 ride.

On the way to Kuching Sentral
On the way to Kuching Sentral
So I walked on the side of the road, stepping on broken stones and grass. I don’t think the road builders were expecting anyone to walk on that trail so it was pedestrian unfriendly.

While I walked, trucks and cars zipped pass. Some in the truck would cheer (or cat call, depend on how you see it) me on. I considered hitchhiking.

1:37 pm Reached Kuching Sentral

Finally! Kuching Sentral
Finally! Kuching Sentral
It wasn’t long until I saw the two-storeyed Kuching Sentral. There were loads of shops inside the airconditioned building but I needed to find my bus.

A man working for the long distance bus companies asked where I was going. He pointed to the opposite side of the road and said I can find my bus there.

I asked if there’s a bus stop. He told me to wait at the side of the road which bends in.

1:44 pm Bus that never came

Waiting for the bus that never comes
Waiting for the bus that never comes
I waited for about 20 minutes under the sun, with my umbrella. No bus came.

1:58 pm Had milky cold coffee

Ice coffee
Ice coffee
I gave up and went to a coffeeshop nearby for a drink. The coffee was more milky than the usual ones I have in Singapore.

2:29pm Waited more for bus

Real bus stop but no bus
Real bus stop but no bus
I walked around Kuching Sentral and saw a real bus stop. The bus didn’t come.

2:41 pm Got on cab

In a cab
In a cab
I gave up and took a cab. RM30. I should have saved myself the time and took a cab straight to the hotel.

The cab ride felt really far. I even passed many places I was sure was opposite the bank of where I was supposed to go. I did reach my hotel in the end.

3:10pm Reach hotel

Tune Hotel Kuching
Tune Hotel Kuching
I made a video of Tune Hotel Kuching before heading to the shower. I’ve included the video in my review of Kuching Waterfront Tune Hotel.

3:42pm Checking out Kuching city

Sarawak Regatta
Sarawak Regatta
I walked along the Kuching River. There was the Sarawak Regatta happening so it was really packed.

I checked out the Chinese temple which I didn’t manage to see during my last trip.

Tuo Pek Gong temple, Kuching
Tuo Pek Gong temple, Kuching

As it was the last day of Ghost Month, people at the temple were busy preparing for the night’s event.

Preparation
Preparation

I walked among the shop houses, found two other nice temples.

Fancy temple
Fancy temple

I walked to Padang Merdeka but couldn’t find anything fun to do.

St Thomas Cathedral
St Thomas Cathedral

4:35pm Rain

It's raining (men).
It’s raining (men).
It suddenly started pouring. I had my S$2 umbrella with me so I braved the heavy rain and went to the open air food center nearby.
kolo mee stall
kolo mee stall
Most of the stalls were closed. I ordered a kolo mee which was tasted slightly better than the regular “gan lao mian” I have back home. I am not sure why people are obsessed over it.

Kolo mee
Kolo mee

When I finished my meal, it was still raining heavily. I stood at the sidewalk of the shops, listening to a mix versions of Adele’s “Someone like you” and Psy’s “Gangnam Style“.

4:47pm India Street

I head to India Street while it was slightly drizzling. Only the smell of incense shows that it’s India Street as the wares sold are seen on any other street.

Kid and mom on India Street
Kid and mom on India Street

5:02pm Hide from rain by river

I walked to the river again. My umbrella was collapsing from the wind.

One of the rowers shouted from his boat about my umbrella. I waved. They hoot.

One of the stall owners told me to hide from the rain under the roof of the stalls. I was given a chair later. I chat with the people there. A kid was speaking pidgin Chinese but not directly at me.

Angry Bird balloons
Angry Bird balloons
One of the man asked if I needed a ride tomorrow. RM300 for a day’s tour. I said, No thanks.

When it looked like the rain was slowing, I said my thanks and left the stall.

“We do not want to be colonized.”
State Assembly Building

5:34pm Had bad cake watching Silent Hill

As I walked along the street, I saw a sign for Maria’s Cake House and headed in.

Not so good cake
Not so good cake
My coffee cake wasn’t terribly good. My coffee was so so. But I enjoyed watching Silent Hill.

During my teatime, J, who moved back home to Kuching, asked me if I was free during the night in a text message. I happily said: “Yes.”

I was in the shop for a long while before I went back to the hotel for a nap.

7:43pm Wake up from nap, play Pocket Planes

Woke up. Received a message from J that she was waiting for her friend to carpool.

Played more Pocket Planes.

10:29pm Supper with friend till late midnight

Car came to pick me up. We went to a restaurant nearby for food and gossip.

lamb chop #1
lamb chop #1
Night ended at 1 a.m.

Day 2 in Kuching

The last 6 hours of Kuching was filled with food which is a very good way to end a trip.

Woke up at 9:30 a.m.

Laid in the comfortable bed for a long long.

10:10am Check out and off to museum

Bye Tune Hotel
Bye Tune Hotel
Very surprised that D & M were already at the museum before 10 a.m. I packed quickly and check out.

The Sarawak National Museum was only so-so. There were a lot of stuffed dead animals, if you’re into that kind of thing.

The special exhibition on funeral rites was a lot more interesting.

11:33pm Breakfast of Sarawak Laksa

After the museum, we head to a random kopitiam for breakfast. My Sarawak laksa was great.

Sarawak Laksa
Sarawak Laksa
We walked around the area and to India Street. It was market day so the narrow corridors were cramped with stalls and customers.

12:17 noon Drink at Little Lebanon

Found the Lonely Planet-famous Little Lebanon where we stopped for non-alcoholic drinks. My mint tea was quite good.

Mint Tea
Mint Tea
We walked along the river, among the crowd. Nothing much to do and it was hot.
Regatta day 2
Regatta day 2
Kuching Waterfront
Kuching Waterfront
Kuching waterfront
Kuching waterfront
We went to hide in a shopping mall for the airconditioning. Most of the shops were closed.

1:33pm Lunch

Found a lunch place. Service was very very slow. I had cheap lamb chop.

Lamb chop, again
Lamb chop, again

2:00 p.m. Cab back to airport

Hailed a cab to the airport. RM27.

Have you been to Kuching? Was your trip productive?

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

3 Comments

    1. Cool story Yun Qing.

      Really, a shuttle service between Kuching Airport and Kuching Sentral would be awesome or AT LEAST some pedestrian-friendly paths.

      I remember in 2013 I did a similar trip like yours but in the opposite direction. I have been to Kuching many times but this one time I wanted to try getting to the airport from hotel by bus instead of cab. I checkout out from Tune Hotels and walked to the India Street area to catch a minibus to Serian (I think) that passed by Kuching Sentral. This was a proper bus with tickets and numbers, not a van that picks up passengers. The latter is quite common also around Kuching. At Kuching Sentral I realized there was no connection with the airport except the cab which quoted me RM20 at that time (6pm) for a 5 minute drive. It was then that I decided to just walk with my backpack on the totally not pedestrian-friendly roads but I don’t mind saving RM20 at all lol

    1. Hi

      My flight into Kuching from Mulu at 3 pm next week and connecting Kuching to Klia at 10 pm, meaning I have about 7 hours.
      Would you kindly suggest how to spend these fee hours in Kuching.

      Thanks

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