Malaysia: Kuching officially the City of Kuching is the capital and the most populous city in the state of Sarawak in Malaysia. It is also the capital of Kuching Division. The city is situated on the Sarawak River at the southwest tip of the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo and covers an area of 431 square kilometres (166 sq mi) with a population about 165,642 in the Kuching North administrative region and 159,490 in the Kuching South administrative region a total of 325,132 people.
Kuching was the third capital of Sarawak in 1827 during the administration of the Bruneian Empire. In 1841, Kuching became the capital of the Kingdom of Sarawak after the territory in the area was ceded to James Brooke for helping the Bruneian empire in crushing a rebellion particularly by the interior Borneo dweller Land Dayak people who later became his loyal followers after most of them being pardoned by him and joining his side.
The town continued to receive attention and development during the rule of Charles Brooke such as the construction of a sanitation system, hospital, prison, fort, and a bazaar. In 1941, the Brooke administration had a Centenary Celebration in Kuching. During World War II, Kuching was occupied by Japanese forces from 1942 to 1945. The Japanese government set up a Batu Lintang camp near Kuching to hold prisoners of war and civilian internees. After the war, the town survived intact.
However, the last Rajah of Sarawak, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke decided to cede Sarawak as part of British Crown Colony in 1946. Kuching remained as capital during the Crown Colony period. After the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Kuching retained its status as state capital and was granted city status in 1988. Since then, the Kuching city is divided into two administrative regions managed by two separate local authorities. The administrative centre of Sarawak state government is located at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Kuching.
Kuching is a major food destination for tourists and the main gateway for travellers visiting Sarawak and Borneo. Kuching Wetlands National Park is located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the city and there are many other tourist attractions in and around Kuching such as Bako National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), state assembly building, The Astana, Fort Margherita, Kuching Cat Museum, and Sarawak State Museum. The city has become one of the major industrial and commercial centres in East Malaysia.
Kuching features a number of shopping malls. These include Aeon Kuching Central Mall, VivaCity Megamall, The Spring, Boulevard Shopping Mall, Plaza Merdeka, CityONE Megamall, Kuching Sentral, Emart Lee Ling, Emart Batu Kawa, EG Mall, Giant Petra Jaya Mall, Giant Tabuan Jaya Mall, Giant Kota Padawan Mall, Sarawak Plaza, Tun Jugah, Riverside Shopping Complex, MOYAN SQUARE, Genesis Parade, Green Heights Mall, Wisma Saberkas, and many more. More shopping malls are set to open in the city as construction continues. The Satok Weekend Market is located at Medan Niaga Satok and operated in Saturdays and Sundays. A varieties of vegetables and fruits can be found there including other handicrafts, forest produce (such as wild honey), orchid plants, and a whole range of local snacks and delicacies.
There are five cinemas located around the city with most of its located inside shopping malls buildings (The Spring, CityONE, VivaCity, Riverside, Summer Mall). Most of the cinemas are owned by either Golden Screen Cinemas, MBO Cinemas, Lotus Five Star and TGV Cinemas. Bookaroo, a children’s literature festival, travelled from India to Kuching since 2016 and takes place in April on the city every year to featuring the Bookaroo Kuching Fest. The festival invites authors, illustrators, storytellers, and performers from all over the world, urging children to bring books with them.
Photo by: Sakura Engly