The Borneo Travel Pioneer Since 1968
Kuching is located on the banks of the Sarawak River in the northwestern part of the island of Borneo. The limits of the City of Kuching include all that area in Kuching District containing an area approximately 431.01 square kilometres (166.41 sq mi) bounded from Gunung Lasak (Mount Lasak) in Muara Tebas to Batu Buaya (Crocodile Rock) in the Santubong peninsula following a series of survey marks as stated in the First Schedule of the City of Kuching Ordinance, 1988. As a simplification of the legal statute, the Kuching city limits extend from the Kuching International Airport in the south to the northern coast of the Santubong and Bako peninsulas; from the Kuching Wetlands National Park in the west to the Kuap River estuary in the east. The Sarawak River generally splits the city into North and South. The highest point in the city is Mount Santubong on the Santubong peninsula, which is at 810.2 metres (2,658 ft) AMSL, located 35 km north of the city centre. Rapid urbanisation has occurred in Greater Kuching and the urban sprawl extends to Penrissen, Kota Sentosa, Kota Padawan, Batu Kawah, Siburan, Tarat, Bau, Lundu, Kota Samarahan, Asajaya as well as Serian which is located about 65 km from Kuching.
As Kuching is in Sarawak, which retains control of its own immigration procedures, some additional complications apply and an ordinary Malaysian visa may not suffice. Most visitors, though, can get visas on arrival at Kuching International Airport.
Kuching International Airport is Sarawak`s main gateway. There are near-hourly connections to Kuala Lumpur as well as frequent flights to Singapore, Johor Bahru, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and other cities in Sarawak like Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.MASwings links Kuching with Mukah. International connections are rather limited, although there are a few weekly services to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Pontianak. Flights to Kuching are also operated by AirAsia and Firefly. International airlines operating in Kuching includes SilkAir, Royal Brunei, Tiger Airways, and Batavia Air.
The airport underwent a major facelift in 2005-2006 and is now modern and pleasant. When checking in, note that all flights outside Sarawak are considered "international", even if you`re only going elsewhere in Malaysia. A restaurant is on ground floor at the far end at the right, `OldTown White Coffee` kopitiam restaurant at the other far end at the left and a McDonald`s outlet beside the escalators. There is also a KFC outlet and a Starbucks outlet on the 2nd floor (departure level), left of the departure gates.
Getting there/away: Kuching city is about 20 min away by taxi, a fixed RM26 from the taxi coupon stand just outside arrivals. Ignore the touts, even if they show you price lists. From the city you can get a private vehicle for around RM20 or catch a mini bus (RM7.99 for Tune guests); RM10 for others. must be booked at least 1 day in advance leaving hourly from 8:30AM-evening.
Kuching has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af), moderately hot but very humid at times and receives substantial rainfall. The average annual rainfall is approximately 4,200 millimetres (170 in). Kuching is the wettest populated area (on average) in Malaysia with an average of 247 rainy days per year. Kuching receives only 5 hours of sunshine per day on average and an average of only 3.7 hours of sunshine per day in the month of January (wettest month of the year). The wettest times are during the North-East Monsoon months of November to February and the dry season starts from June till August. The temperature in Kuching ranges from 19 °C (66 °F) to 36 °C (97 °F) but the average temperature is around 23 °C (73 °F) in the early hours of the morning and rises to around 33 °C (91 °F) during mid afternoon but the heat index often reaches 42 °C (108 °F) during the dry season due to the humidity. This temperature stays almost constant throughout the year if it is not affected by the heavy rain and strong winds during the early hours of the morning which can bring the temperature down to 19 °C (66 °F), but this is very rare.
Ringgit Malaysia (MYR) is the currency used in Kuching. Besides cash, most merchants do accept major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard.
Beside being the capital city of Sarawak, Kuching became a business and cultural centre for the Malays of Sarawak. The dialect of Malay spoken in Kuching is known as Bahasa Sarawak (Sarawakian Malay Language), which is a subset of the Malay language. The dialect used in Kuching is a little different from the dialect used in Miri. Since the second largest population in the city is made up of Han Chinese, the Chinese language is also commonly used, particularly Hokkien and Mandarin Chinese. Almost all residents are able to speak English. A number of special private schools that teach English for expatriates child can be found through the city.
The Malaysian Census 2010 reports that Kuching has a population of 325,132. The city population (North and South) consists of Malays (146,580), Han Chinese (120,860), Iban (28,691), Bidayuh (13,681), Non-Malaysian citizens (7,216), other Bumiputras (3,250), Melanau (2,078), Indian (1,626) and others (1,140). The Han Chinese are made up of Hokkien in the city areas and Hakka in the suburbs mainly. Other Han Chinese consist of Foochow (Fuzhou people), Teochew, Hainan people, Cantonese people, Henghua people and others. Most of the Malays and Melanau are Muslim, the Chinese practised either Buddhism, Taoism or Christianity while the Iban and Bidayuh are mainly Christian with some of them still practised Animism. A number of Hindus, Sikhs and a small number of secularists also exist around the city.
A sizeable of non-citizen are mostly coming from the Indonesian area of Kalimantan due to the state proximity with it and most of them consist of migrant workers. Since the British period, a small population of South Asian especially Pakistanis have exist around the city by running their business mainly in selling clothes and spices. Other migrants during the time also included those Bugis from the Dutch East Indies and other races from the neighbour Dutch Borneo. Interracial marriages among those of different ethnic backgrounds are common in Kuching, and the city itself is a home to 30 different ethnic groups.