Kuching is the first city that I visited in East Malaysia. I took a minibus from Singkawang to my accommodation at Woodpecker Lodge, and I stayed in Kuching for 5 days and managed to visit some of the must-visit spots in the capital city of Sarawak, including Semenggoh Nature Reserve and Bako National Park.
Apart from some places that you can visit for a day trip from Kuching, the city is also quite nice to stroll around. Among many museums in Kuching, I got a chance to go to the three museums in the city: Chinese History Museum, Sarawak Textile Museum, and Cat Museum.
If you don't know already, Kuching is dubbed itself as a “Cat City” since it's also the word “cat” in Malay. So, how's museum-hopping in Kuching? Check this out!
3 Interesting Museums to Visit While in Kuching, Sarawak
More often than not, I do museum-hopping whenever I travel somewhere. However, during this Borneo trip, I really didn't pressure myself to travel hard like there's no tomorrow.
Instead, I only visit what I feel like to visit and these are the three museums that I happened to visit while I passed the building. Except for one that was actually my main reason why I visited this city, to begin with.
1. Chinese History Museum
This museum is pretty easy to find, especially when you stroll around the Waterfront.
The building is located by the Waterfront, it's just a small building not so far from the bridge. You could easily recognize the building with the bright pink color not so far from the park around the Waterfront.
The same historical building was operated as the Chinese chamber of commerce until the 1920s. It was a small museum with so many information about Chinese ethnic in Sarawak. I was actually quite impressed as I ended up spending around an hour there to check out the exhibition.
It's free entry, as you only need to fill in the guest book in order to enter the museum. They've got a few sections in the building, from the history of Chinese settling in Sarawak to some notable local figures with Chinese ancestors.
Here, you can also watch a short movie about the first Chinese immigrants in Sarawak. As it turned out, most of them actually came from Singkawang and made their way up to Sarawak to settle in.
It's quite interesting as here, I found out more about how each Chinese ethnics had their own way to live during the first settlement.
While some ethnics mostly worked in the mining industry, some others focused on food and beverages business etc. Well, this might be interesting for you who are interested to trace back the history.
Especially those like me who had almost zero knowledge of how my ancestors came from and why they did what they did. To be frank, I couldn't get any knowledge like this in Indonesia. So it was quite interesting to get the fact straight when I visited this museum.
2. Sarawak Textile Museum
Frankly speaking, I wasn't really interested in visiting this museum at first. I mean, I couldn't really bother to find out anything about textile. I know, I'm that ignorant lady who wouldn't care how I got my clothes and why I had it etc.
But on my last day in Kuching, I decided to stop by the museum as I passed it on my way to Carpenter street. The location is so close to the old courthouse.
It's located exactly across the old post office. Also free entry, so really I had nothing to lose to stop by. And as it turned out, they traced back way far from Majapahit era. So at that point, again I could actually relate.
So, in case you didn't know what Majapahit is, it was once a big empire in Southeast Asia whose region consisted the present parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand and East Timor.
In this Sarawak Textile Museum, the exhibitions aren't just about the clothes, because they also show some jewelry and accessories from way back in the history.
I really could have skipped this Sarawak Textile Museum, but it was a good thing to find out more things that I didn't know before, in terms of the relation between Indonesia and Malaysia in general.
3. Cat Museum
This is the only paid museum that I've visited, but also the only museum that I took extra effort to get there just because I wanted to go there.
So, if the first two museums are only walking distance from my accommodation, this one is a bit far as I had to take a cab that took me there. It didn't cost much, as I spent only 8 MYR (around $2 USD) to get there from Woodpecker Lodge.
The entry ticket is only 3 MYR (around $0.8 USD) for adult visitors.
In case you didn't know, the name Kuching itself came from the Malay word for the cat ‘kucing', so no wonder why they claim to have the first cat museum in the world. And that's exactly why I got this museum on the must-visit list in Kuching.
However, when I visited the museum, I honestly couldn't find anything special about it. Like, I'm a cat lady who might have felt like home when surrounded by anything about the kitties.
But here, allow me to be frank… All the cat statues look lame and awkward, and the pictures displayed, I could actually find them easily on the internet.
But it wasn't without drama that I've visited this museum, because some exhibition in the museum actually got me into tears for a bit.
There was this section about cat funeral and the explanation how for some people, cat is not just a pet but also a member of family that they need an action to show respect when they pass.
As you might have read in my previous post, I've lost Disco earlier this year and then Chiban has gone only a few weeks before this trip, so I kinda got emotional when I read it. I suddenly missed all of my cats and couldn't help my tears at that point.
Yes, visiting this museum got me super emotional. But other than that, really I could have passed the museum as it was slightly boring. No regret though.
Are They Worth the Visit At All?
To be honest, the only museum that I enjoyed the most was the Chinese History Museum. I suppose it might have something to do with my personal interest to understand more about the heritage and history in general.
The other two, I could really pass even though I'm glad I visited them so next time I'm in Kuching, I don't have to. 😛
So, have you been to Kuching? Any museum there that you have visited? Or maybe you've got any suggestion on what museum that I should visit next time I'm in the city?
Let me know your input in the comment section, and cheerio! 😀