Sightseeing In Kuching City
THE COMPLIMENTARY CARS YOU HAVE IS AN EASY 30 MINUTES AWAY MAKING YOUR OWN WAY DOWN. HOWEVER IF YOU PREFER YOU MAY CHOOSE INSTEAD A GUIDED CITY TOUR WITH ONE OF THE MANY TRAVEL AND TOUR AGENCIES IN KUCHING CITY
Hong San Si Chinese (Hokkien) Temple
Hong San Si Temple is located at the end of Wayang Street. This Temple was built around 1850 and is the property of Kuching Hockien Association. What it is famous for is its special ancient outlook and sophisticated stone carving. The host deity there worshipped is Kong Teck Choon Ong of Southern Fujian Province China. He is the transformation of a human being born in the 10th century and has a special feature of big round eyes in a square face.
There are a few annual festivals held there, the most important is on the Birthday of Kong Teck Choon Ong on the 22nd day of the 2nd Moon of the Chinese calendar with a grand offering ceremony, a colourful night procession that comprises over 100 contingents of floats, Lion and Dragon troupes attracting thousands of spectators and a performance of Chinese opera at night for one week.
India Street derives its name from the fact that it has always been a street occupied by Indian shops. At first it was called Kling Street in the 1850′s but the third White Rajah of Sarawak, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, changed the name to India Street in 1928. In 1992 the street was closed to vehicles and has been converted into a pedestrian mall.
Fort Margherita is an old fort built in 1879 by Charles Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak situated in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The fort is an important landmark and monument in Sarawak’s history which goes back to the Brooke Dynasty. The fort, built in the style of an English castle, was designed to protect Kuching from attack by pirates. It served as a Police Museum from 1971 before being handed over to the Sarawak state government recently.
Fort Margherita is named after Brooke’s beloved wife, Margaret Alice Lili de Windt, whom he married at Highworth, Wiltshire on 28 October 1869. She was raised to the title of Ranee of Sarawak with the style of Her Highness upon their marriage.
The fort was built on a hill overlooking the Sarawak River and situated on the north bank opposite the then fast expanding town centre of Kuching. The fort was well-equipped to protect the capital from river-borne invasions. The three storey tower block’s battlement includes a watchpoint on top,a courtyard surrounded by a high wall with sharp glass shards inlaid for protection and set into the wall itself are wooden windows from where the cannons were fired. Executions of prisoners were carried out in this courtyard,right up to the Japanese occupation during World War II.
Fort Margherita is situated across the Sarawak River near The Astana, the official residence of the Yang DiPertua Negeri Sarawak. Fort Margherita is accessible by road and is a 15-minute drive along Petra Jaya, or a short river cruise from Pangkalan Batu, in front of Main Bazaar on Kuching Waterfront. It currently sits next to the New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building.
The Excellent Sarawak Museum
The Sarawak Museum was built by Charles Brooke, on the encouragement of his friend, the eminent naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace. Wallace had spent a few months in Borneo collecting specimens. The original building was built in the Queen Anne style in 1891 and extended in 1911 and holds a permanent display of native arts and crafts as well as Wallace’s extensive collection of stuffed specimens of local fauna. During the Japanese Occupation, the museum was put under the direction of a sympathetic Japanese Officer. As a result, the museum suffered very little damage and remarkably little looting.
Today, with carefully planned renovation and proper maintenance, this old building is used as the centre to exhibit collections on the natural history of Sarawak. The ground floor of the museum holds the natural history collection and specimens of Sarawak fauna – reptiles, mammals, birds, etc, all expertly prepared and mounted for display. The west wing of the museum houses a Shell exhibition – petroleum industries of Sarawak. The first floor displays exhibits of ethnographic artefacts such as models of longhouses of the various ethnic groups in Sarawak, musical instruments, various kinds of fish and animal traps, handicrafts, models of boats and others. You’ll find a collection of jars, Chinese furniture and archaeological materials excavated in Sarawak in the new building across the main road via the bridge.
The Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse lies behind the Brooke Memorial and was built by Sir Charles Brooke, the second Rajah of Sarawak, in 1883. It was built of ironwood and embellished with Sarawak motifs. At the time of its construction, it was intended as government offices and a venue for state ceremonies. Sarawak state council meetings were held here until 1973. The site originally belonged to a missionary house which was torn down in 1858. In its place were two other buildings which were also demolished to make way for the Court House. A historical event took place here on 1 July 1946, when Sir James Brooke, the third White Rajah, ceded Sarawak to Britain as a crown colony. Sarawak’s first chief minister, Sir Stephen Kalong Ningkan, was also sworn in here, on 22 July, 1963. Today it houses the National Parks Office, the Tourist Information Center, some tour operators and some high end restaurants..
The Kuching General Post Office
The Kuching General Post Office is a majestic building along Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg. It was constructed by order of Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke, the third and last white ruler of Sarawak. The building was designed by Denis Santry of the architectural firm of Swan & McClaren in Singapore, and was completed in 1932. The facade of the Post Office was in the neoclassical style, which contrasts with the building styles favoured by the two earlier white rajahs James and Charles Brooke. The site used to be a police station and stables for the white rulers.
The Square Tower
The Square Tower is located opposite the Kuching General Post Office and is a white cube-like structure in the shape of a fortress. It is one of those odd looking buildings that is hard to miss. It was built in 1879, the same year Fort Margherita on the opposite bank of the river was erected. Originally, it was used as a prison, and it even had dungeons. Then, it was turned into a fortress, and even into a dance hall.
Tua Pek Kong Temple
Tua Pek Kong Temple, or temple of the god of prosperity, overlooks a busy junction near the waterfront. Officially known as the Siew San Teng, it claims the title of being the oldest building in Kuching. The shrine dates to 1876, but written documents mention it as early as 1846. The earliest known renovation carried out on the temple – at that time nothing more than a small shrine on a hillock – was in 1856. The structure was made more permanent with roof tiles replacing thatch and some brickwork in 1863. The land title for the temple was issued by Rajah Charles Brooke on 29 August 1871.
The Textile Museum
The Textile Museum is located in a building called the Pavilion which was built in 1907 as a medical centre. The ground floor housed the consultation room, a laboratory and officers. On the first floor was the “European Hospital” – that is to say, the hospital reserved for Europeans only. The nurses quarters occupied the top floor. The Pavilion was taken over by the Japanese Occupational Forces during World War II, and was used as their headquarters. Following the war, it was occupied by the Education Department until the 1970′s, when it was given over to the Judiciary Department. The museum exhibits a visit-worthy collection of authentic local textiles and costumes made by the ethnic community of Sarawak. It’s divided into four main galleries depicting the processes of the preparation of raw materials, weaving, costume motifs, accessories and wedding costumes.
The Round Tower
The Round Tower is a distinctive building, built in 1886 following a devastating inferno that razed much of the structures between Carpenter Street and Main Bazaar. It was used as the town dispensary to complement the medical headquarters housed within The Pavilion next door. It is commonly – and mistakenly – believed that The Round Tower was a fortress, especially with its strategic location, appearance and the narrow windows. This is however, not the intention of the building, but rather a coincidence of the design.
The Hero’s Memorial
The Hero’s Memorial is located behind the Sarawak Museum, this monument is dedicated to all of those who have fallen during various military conflicts.
The Chinese History Museum
The Chinese History Museum is a small museum located near the Kuching Waterfront and is housed in a building that was originally the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, built in 1912. This is where a committee sat to solve disputes arising within the Chinese community. This was the directive from Charles Vyner Brooke, the White Rajah of Sarawak, that the Chinese managed their own affairs. The museum opened in 1993 housing memorabilia and old photographs showcasing the history of the different Chinese dialect groups in Sarawak. Also on displayed here are Chinese furniture, musical instruments and costumes.
The Kuching Cat Museum
The Kuching Cat Museum is a cat museum in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. It was founded in 1993. It is owned by the Kuching North City Hall. There are 2000 exhibits, artifacts, statues about cats from all over the world. According to Malaysian and Chinese beliefs, the cat is a lucky animal. The museum covers an area of 1,035.9 square meters in a hill over viewing Kuching called Bukit Siol.
The Kuching Mosque
The Kuching Mosque is located near the open air market which used to be the Fire Station in the olden days. It was used to be the main mosque for Kuchingites and known as the State Mosque until the new one was built. Originally a wooden mosque as far back as in 1852 with striking design which featured a combination of Mid-western and Italian architecture.
The Kuching Reservoir
The Kuching Reservoi is located at Jalan Budaya. Once the reservoir for water storage, Kuching Reservoir is a perfect place for jogging, walking and sightseeing of hilly nature and a big pond.
The Sunday Market
The Sunday Market is located along Satok Road coming alive from Saturday afternoon till the late morning of the next day, Sunday. It is divided into many sections such as food, fruits, vegetables, forest produce, pets, everything! Unfortunately the market is due for relocation to it’s brand new premises across the river.
The Astana is where resides the Governor of Sarawak State. The palace is situated on the north bank of the river, just across from the Waterfront. It was originally built in 1870 by Charles Brook as a bridal gift to his wife Margaret. Next to it is Orchid Garden and beautifully decorated garden with observation tower. A sampan deck, which is named Pengkalan Sapi is also situated within the Astana vicinity.
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Any visit to Kuching City is incomplete without taking a walk along the Kuching Waterfront. It was once a line of old warehouses, loading docks and markets. The Waterfront is the best place to view the Astana, Fort Margherita, adjacent Malay kampungs of Kampung Sinjan and Kampung Lintang There are some food kiosks present here but ignore them for the over expensive charges on food. Along the Waterfront is the Main Bazaar. It’s a very long row of shophouses for you to shop for excellent Sarawak souvenirs and handicrafts. Remember to bargain!