Places to Go
We went and checked out the rink the other day. Access is from around the back of the Smart Supermarket. Use the lift and go up to the second floor. It is a really well set up place. Air-conditioned, plays music, you can buy snacks there, and the equipment is all new and in great condition. My only issue with it is the price, and the fact that they don’t give you a discount if you bring your own gear (this may change though). Their promotional prices are below, normally it is RM25 per hour, with a RM15 deposit for the gear:
An update on the Skating – as at January 2012 the Supermarket that was below the skating rink has closed. The building is boarded up and looks abandoned if facing the front and the underground carpark is often flooded and derelict looking – do not park here! ….it however is not abandoned and the skating rink is great. They are still having promotional rates – I heard Rm10 an hour or RM25 for the whole day. If you can’t find it, walk around the building and look for a staircase, then you should see the signs and the lift and you should be ok.
There are three movie theaters – MBO at The Spring, Star cineplex in town, and Lotus Cinema in the Riverside (town Parkson) building. A great website that shows all the movie titles, times, and cinemas they are showing in is called showtimes.my access it here.
Bowling can be done at the Riverside building (town Parkson) on the top floor. There are also bowing lanes, Crystal Bowling, above the Everise in BDC.
There are two public swimming complexes, one is the Stampark Water Park in BDC and the other is the Kuching Municipal Council Pool located opposite Kuching Park Hotel and in the MBKS Council grounds (for a map, click here) Both pools have swimming instructors and are able to arrange both individual and group lessons. Stampark is open from early morning until evening, while the KMC pool has sessions and from memory is open from 2-4pm, and then from 6-9pm.
The Sarawak Museum is interesting and the adjoining aquarium is worth a visit. For information on upcoming exhibits, opening times etc click here.
Other Museums are:
Dewan Tun Abdul Razak (Tun Abdul Razak Hall), Jl. Tun Abang Haji Openg (Opposite Sarawak Museum). Formerly the New Wing of the Sarawak Museum, now houses changing exhibitions, a rather good gift shop and the Sarawak Museum Department office.
The Sarawak Islamic Museum. It is located just behind the Tun Abdul Razak Hall and can be accessed via Jl. P. Ramlee. The museum consists of 7 galleries set around a central courtyard garden, each with a different theme. One of the interesting artefacts shown here is a replica of sword used by Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Open daily from 9AM-6PM (closed on Fridays).
Chinese History Museum, Waterfront (east end of Main Bazaar). A small colonial-era museum that used to be the courthouse for the Sarawakian Chinese, then the office of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce It now houses a small permanent exhibition of Kuching’s many Chinese groups.
Fort Margherita, Completed in 1879, Fort Margherita resides at a breathtaking and strategic position at the riverside of Sarawak. It was once a defensive structure to protect Kuching from possible attack. At present, Fort Margherita has been converted into a Police Museum and many of it’s old cannons, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords and other vestiges of its armoury and armaments can still be seen. It can be accessed by road from the other side of the river, which is Petra Jaya, or by ‘tambang’ boat from Kuching Waterfront.
The Cat Museum. This is a large collection of cat memorabilia, since “Kuching” means “Cat” in Malay. The museum is located at Kuching North City Hall at Petra Jaya, on top of Bukit Siol (Siol Hill). Cat lovers will find all range of exhibits, photos, feline art and cat souvenirs. Some interesting cat characters like Felix the Cat, Garfield and Sonic the Cat also housed here. It’s a pretty crazy place but a good ‘time filler’. Free entry. Open daily 9AM-5PM (closed public holidays).
Sarawak Timber Museum. The museum resides in the building of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) Building or Wisma Sumber Alam in Petra Jaya. It houses forestry, traditional wood displays, forest-based products and the exhibition of timber industry development in Sarawak. Open Mondays to Fridays 8.30AM to 4PM, Saturdays 8:30AM-12:30PM (closed Sundays and public holidays). ☎ +60 82 443477
Sarawak Textile Museum. The museum is situated in the Pavillion, yet another historical building on its own right, just opposite of the General Post Office. Open Mon-Fri 8:30AM-4PM, Sat 8:30-12:30PM (closed Sundays and public holidays).
Pua Kumbu Museum. The museum is located at the Tun Jugah Shopping Complex. However, this museum requires early booking/appointment. Refer to the Sarawak Tourism Board for contact information.
The beauty of living in such a hot place is that the necessity of carrying drinking water everywhere (when added with a packet of chips/a muffin) makes anywhere a picnic.
In the suburb of Kennyalang (behind the Spring) there is a cute little bicycle park locally known as the Traffic Garden. It has roads marked out, traffic lights that work, and even a little petrol station. It is great fun for the kids and a good place for them to practice their road skills in a safe environment. The park is called Taman Lalulintas but the signboards are easily missed. Access a wikimap for directions here. There is a canteen and public toilets in the park and a playground is located nextdoor through a small gate.
Parks and Playgrounds
In my hometown we take bread to the park and feed the ducks. In Kuching we take the kids too feed the fish. There are a number of parks around town that have small lakes with fish. The two best ones are the State Library Park (Pustaka Negeri Sarawak) which is across the River in Petra Jaya, and Friendship Park (Taman Sahabat) at Jalan Song. Some of the fish are huge and it is great fun for the kids to sit on the steps in front of the Library and have fish swimming right by their feet. The parks are also very pleasant to walk around are quite a contrast; one being quite manicured and landscaped and the other being a big wide open space.
Riding around the MBKS Park
In the MBKS grounds there is also a lake with some fish though they are not as numerous or spectacular as the parks above. There are also two playgrounds in the grounds. These are proper outdoor structures and one has sponge matting which makes it nice and safe. Unfortunately the other one has had sand put under it. The sand is littered with rocks and can be a bit unsafe. It is a great playground and my kids love it, it is just a shame they have not made the most of it. The lakes here are also nice to walk around, there is one on each side of the council building.
One of the playgrounds at MBKS
Great maze like bushes at Taman Sahabat (Friendship Park) along Jalan Song.
The Chinese gates at Friendship Park.
Taman Budaya/Reservoir Park
Located at Jl. Taman Budaya. Literally meaning ‘cultural garden’ although the cultural aspect of it remains questionable. Once a reservoir for water storage and hence forever named the Reservoir Park, it is a perfect place for jogging, walking and sightseeing and has a big pond. The Kuching Central Prison is just next to this garden, in case you wonder what all the barbed wire is about.
Activities in Malls
The Boulevard shopping mall at 4th Mile has a large indoor
Boulevard’s indoor playground
playground. It is air-conditioned and is well set out with large outdoor play structures indoors. They charge a very minial entry fee of RM1 per child and it is a great place to go on a hot day. They have also just opened a Reading Room next to the playground. For a 50c fee your child can read for as long as they like. The room is light and feels airy, has small tables and chairs and a selection of books, and is supervised. This is great if you have kids of different ages or a child who would prefer not to run around and play.
A couple of cautionary words: The toilets are gross – encourage your child to not have to go;). The playground is to avoided at all cost on Weekends and Public Holidays as it is packed and manic! The playground itself can be quite hard to find. Take the lift from the basement carpark up to the 3rd floor, exit, go through the shop and find the escalators, go up one floor, turn left and head to the end of the building. If you start from inside the mall take the escalators as far as you can and ask for directions.
Sampans crossing the river. An exciting trip for 40 sen each way.
The waterfront is also a nice place to go for a walk there are always boats to watch as they head out to see, and if you are keen you can treat your kids to a sampan ride across the river (note – there are no life jackets on board). It is very hot there during the day but there are plenty of stalls where you can stop to buy a drink or an ice cream. It is also very pleasant to walk along during the evening. There are now a number of street vendors selling glow in the dark helicopter things that the kids can fire into the air and watch come down. It is great fun and my kids spent a good 30 minutes perfecting their aim in the weekend. You could also do a River Boat Cruise – see photos for contact details.
It only takes about 30-45 minutes from Kuching City to reach the Santubong area where there are many great beaches. The beaches are quite safe most of the year but be careful towards the end of the year when the sea is quite unpredictable. Most of the hotels will display flags to show the conditions of the sea, but they do not have life guards on duty so swimming is at your own risk.
Damai Beach Resort charges a small entrance fee which enables you to use their beach and showers and bathrooms, as does Camp Permai which is my personal favourite.
There is a restaurant at the camp (although be warned that we once waited 45 minutes for our meal) and if you have the time it is a very pleasant place to look out over the beach and sea while you have a meal. We were there last week (Mid June) and saw Dolphins swimming just off the beach. It was great!
The road back to Kuching is dotted with eating places in the Santubong and Buntal areas and a nice seafood dinner is always a lovely way to end a great day at the beach. Even something as simple as a whole coconut to drink makes the kids feel like the day has been a real experience.
The hash run is a great way to meet new people and get into areas that you would not normally go. For those unfamiliar with ‘hash’ you follow a paper trail through the jungle running (or walking). It is great fun and is usually followed by an ‘On-on’ or meal. The hash is usually on the third Saturday of the month and details can be found on their facebook page here kuching kids hash.
There are two ways of getting to this park, one is to drive and the other is to take a sampan across the river – please note there are no life jackets on board. The fares for the sampan ride are controlled by the River Board and are shown in the photo below.
The park is a great place for the kids to run around. There is a tower which is fun to climb and check out the views of the surrounding Kampungs (villages) and there are public toilets. The Orchid Garden is a short 100m walk from the jetty and the DUN building is directly adjacent to the park. We were last here on a public holiday and it was lovely and quiet. I imagine that on a normal working day it would be quite busy as villagers use the sampan to go into town.
This garden is beautiful and very pleasant to walk around. There are concreted paths to follow as you stroll around. Strollers would be fine here as there are very few steps. There are covered and uncovered areas and plenty of space for the children to run around. There is a small souvenir shop and a cafe/stall selling icecreams and simple drinks. We were surpised at how much our kids enjoyed this short trip.
The State Library has activities and exhibitions on and off. They recently had an open air movie (the Wizard of Oz) under the stars and it was lots of fun. For info on their upcoming events log onto their website at http://www.pustaka-sarawak.com/Pustaka-Sarawak/
They also have children’s activities and programmes on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Click here to link to their events calendar for children’s activities. NOTE: They are a bit slack at updating the website, often not doing so in time for the events, it may pay to give them a call to ask what activities they have on for kids each weeked.
Please note that there is a dress code to enter the library. You are not allowed to wear slippers (i.e. flip-flops/jandals), and should not be wearing shorts or singlets.
Is located in the Singai Area, Bau. I have not been to the Farm myself yet so am unable to review it. Click on the link to the farm to see what they have to offer. Feeding times are not listed on the website but are from 8-9am and 4-5pm daily. Rayan Deer Farm
Say it quickly and yes it does sound like Disneyland however do not get your hopes up! This small private park offers pony rides, a pool (not clorinated but more a pond), a cafeteria, and small children’s playground. The drive to find it is quite complicated and there really is not much there. Click on the link to see whats on offer and for directions to get there, I love the fact that they list the activities on offer as being extreme…hillarious! The only extreme thing I have heard about it is that one kid got head lice from the horse-riding helmet:(. Disiniland