Kuching - The Waterfront and Old Town

Trip Start Aug 02, 2007
Trip End Aug 12, 2007

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Rise and shine at the Singgahsana Lodge! This guesthouse is possibly one of the best budget places to stay in the Cat City.. not only is it modern and nicely furnished but it's also strategically located just 3mins from the famed Waterfront and smack right in between the old and new of downtown Kuching. Check out the honeymoon suite! My first time sleeping in a 4-poster bed..

That being said, I was a little miffed by the 'welcome reception'.. there was some mix up in the rooms but the counter staff could neither decide on a remedy action nor communicate with us what the problem was.. so there we were just waiting, and waiting, and waiting.. until someone else came to assist us.. and without checking what the problem was, rudely asked us if we wanted another (cheaper) room.. wah! But my other days went by without any unpleasant events, and the staff were quite nice (some albeit a little blur) so hopefully that was a one-off incident..

So after breakfast at this lovely rooftop pavillion, Imp and I took a leisurely stroll down Kuching Waterfront was to take in the sights, which comprise of the ancient Tua Pek Kong Temple, the colourful row of conserved shophouses lining main bazaar (now mainly catering to souvenr-hunting tourists), the Astana across Sarawak River and the little Tambangs ferrying passengers across the river.


At the Western end of Main Bazaar lies not only this ferocious river monster but the excellent Tourism Office housed in the old Court House.. The staff are friendly and helpful and their airconditioning was a respite from the sweltering heat! If you need travel or accomodation information on places out of Kuching, this is the place to be.. Here you can also book accomodation for the Bako National Park (and others too, I think) but if you're going in peak season, it's better to book online.. why, we managed to get the last 2 beds for Sunday night!!

Further west lies the Jalan India pedestrian shopping street.. nice place to stroll, especially on a weekends when baskers and hawkers line the street... But the most striking place here is the Majid & Sons money changer.. Aaah, why do I remember this place? Cos the rates were damn bad la.. S$1 = RM2.22.. dunno why it's listed at so many places.. I will recommend the one on the 1st level of Tun Jugah shopping centre.. S$1 = RM2.28!! That's quite a BEEG difference! (But please don't quote me on this.. this rate was only applicable on 3 and 4 Aug 2007.. Hee..)

Parallel to Jalan India is the India Bazaar Spice Market where they sell, among other things, spices (duh)! But look at the variety! Lovely ain't it?

Just across the India Bazaar Spice Market sits several old waterfront buildings, most of them markets but one which houses barbers, seamstresses and a little no-frills eating place on the third floor with pleasant views of the Sarawak River, the Astana on its opposite bank and the Cat Museum in the far off distance.. a good place for a cool drink and to hide from the bustle of down below..

Efforts in conservation is apparent in Kuching.. such as the old wing of the Sarawak Museum, the Post Office, and the Anglican Bishop House, all nicely located within walking distance in the heart of old downtown Kuching..

The day tour of Kuching ended with a stroll down Carpenter Street, which was pretty much quieter than Jalan India.. but considering that most of the coffee shops are opened in the mornings and a large portion of the shops still serves the carpentry industry, there was nothing much of interest to me.. unlike the bad Imp who was snapping away at the old shophouses with my camera..

Dining at the restaurant (Oops.. forgot the name) along was a let-down.. salty food for a high price.. but the night scene of Kuching as well as a street parade uplifted my mood.. Can't remember what the parade was about but there was scores of people lining the street towards the Padang where each group gets a few minutes to perform an item.. some were pretty entertaining, others were a joke.. and one was plainly bizarre.. Nonetheless, a lovely way to end the evening! :)
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