Known as the gateway to the natural wonders of Sarawak, Kuching is often seen as nothing but a jumping point by travellers with an inclination towards arts and history. But look a little closer and it’s easy to see that Sarawak’s capital has some really good museums and art galleries, with topics that range from unique East Malaysian history to some quirky ones that would raise a few eyebrows.
1. The Borneo House Museum, Kuching
Don’t let the typical government façade fool you as this establishment is not a museum in the usual sense of the word. Instead, it’s more a trick art museum that will delight the selfie-taking crowd. But history buff shouldn’t despair, as you can still learn a thing or two from the interactive displays which depict Sarawak’s nature, culture, heritage and even its iconic food.
Address: No.1, Jalan Batu 6-7, Jalan Penrissen, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening Hours: Daily 9am-6pm
Admission: Malaysian Adults: MYR19, Malaysian Children (3-12), Students, and Seniors: MYR15, Non-Malaysian Adults: MYR29, Non-Malaysian Children (3-12), Students, and Seniors: MYR15, Free for children under 3 years old accompanied by adults
2. Sarawak State Museum (Muzium Negeri Sarawak)
If you’re more on the traditional side, this one is a must. Housed in an 1891 Normandy-style townhouse, Sarawak State Museum is believed to be the oldest museum in Borneo. A visit to the museum is vital for anyone who’d like to get to know the natives of Sarawak, as the local arts and crafts will give visitors a good insight into their history, beliefs, and rituals. Next door is The Natural History Museum with some interesting taxidermy of local animals.
Address: Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Taman Budaya, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays: 9:00am – 4:45pm; Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays: 10:00am – 4:00pm; First day of major public holidays: Closed
3. The Brooke Gallery
While visiting Fort Margherita, dropping by Brooke Gallery is simply a must, as it will give visitors the essential information of one of the most fascinating parts of the state’s history: the ‘White Rajahs’ era. Probably the best-curated establishment on this list, the Brooke Gallery’s artefacts and images are well presented to send visitors on a historical journey into the unique time of when Sarawak was ruled by the Brookes.
Address: Fort Margherita, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am–4:45pm
Admission: Malaysian Adults: MYR10, Malaysian Children (aged 7-12): MYR5, Non-Malaysian Adults: MYR20, Non-Malaysian Children (aged 7-12): MYR10, Free for children under 7 years old
4. The Ranee Museum
Sure, the white rajahs of Sarawak were successful, but what’s a rajah (king) without his ranee (queen)? After all, behind every successful man, there is a strong woman. This mini museum explores the legacy of Margaret De Windt, who married the second Rajah of Sarawak when she was only 19. Her personal collection includes traditional textiles of the Sarawak Malay like songket (brocade) and keringkam (embroidery).
Address: Block D, Old Courthouse, 7, Jalan Barrack, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am–4:45pm
Admission: Malaysian Adults: MYR10, Malaysian Children (aged 7-12): MYR5, Non-Malaysian Adults: MYR20, Non-Malaysian Children (aged 7-12): MYR10
5. Islamic Heritage Museum
If you’re visiting the Sarawak State Museum, this museum is just a short walk across a footbridge. The exhibits of artefacts and pictures are comprehensive and will bring visitors to the time when Islam first arrived in Malaysia and Sarawak. A good way for visitors to learn about the official religion of the country.
Address: Jalan P. Ramlee, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays: 9am–4pm. Weekends and Public Holidays: 10am–3.40pm
6. Chinese History Museum
Ethnic Chinese make up around 24% of the population of Sarawak, and this museum tells the story of these communities built from the economic migrants of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This well-maintained museum is worth a visit as it is conveniently located near the Kuching Esplanade, which makes is the perfect pit stop in between visiting other attractions around the city.
Address: Jalan Bazar, Sarawak, 93100 Kuching
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays: 9am–4:45pm, Saturdays and Sundays: 10am–4pm
7. Tun Jugah Foundation
At almost 30%, the Ibans makes up the largest ethnic group percentage of Sarawak’s population. If you’re interested in learning more about their culture, head to Tun Jugah Foundation, which aims to preserve and promote Iban culture, arts and language. The museum displays local crafts, bead accessories and some woven products.
Address: 18, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuching 93100, Malaysia
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays: 9am–to 12pm, 1.30am–4.30pm; Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays: Closed
8. Kuching Cat Museum
The city name ‘Kuching’ is derived from kucing which is the Malay word for cat, so naturally, they have a cat museum here. Located on top of a hill overlooking the city’s waterfront, the Kuching Cat Museum houses a massive collection of more than 4,000 feline-related items from the old world of the Ancient Egyptians to the modern world of Hello Kitty.
Address: Bangunan DBKU, Jalan Semariang, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak
Opening Hours: Daily: 9am–5pm
Admission: MYR3 for entrance, MYR5 for video camera
EXPERIENCE KUCHING: AirAsia offers the lowest fares to over 150 destinations. Book your seats, accommodation, holiday packages and activities now at airasia.com