For Malaysians from Kuching, Sarawak, there’s a common stereotype that we live on trees or we are living in a third world city where cats roam the streets. The fact that Kuching is in Borneo, which is known for its natural habitat and the fact that Kuching sounds exactly like kucing (which means ‘cat’ in the Malay language) certainly does not help.
If you’d like to know more about Kuching, the beautiful capital city of Sarawak, Malaysia, here are 46 interesting things for you, courtesy of Presstag.
1. Kuching is the first city in the country where motorists can ‘turn left when exit is clear’ legally! (Now started to be implemented in Putrajaya)
2. More than 50% of the houses in Kuching are semi-detached houses and bungalows, significantly more than any other Malaysian city.
3. There are more satellite dishes in the backyard of Kuching houses than other places combined together.
4. Most of the pretty girls in Kuching go out without make-up,wearing simple shorts, T-shirt, and japanese slippers.
5. Kuching is the city where the majority of families here have the motto ‘one person, one car’, and not ‘one family, one car’. When the children get their license, they will eventually have their own car. Form 5 students will drive to school on their own. Even when the fuel price hiked, the number of cars in a family will still remain the same.
6. Kuching’s roundabout is very big compared to other cities. It is nearly equivalent to 1 and a half football fields. They could even build dozens and dozens of houses inside the roundabout and plant thousands of trees in it.
7. The people here often refer to locations in the city by using the word “mile”. Examples are 3rd mile, 4th mile, 5th mile, and so on.
8. Many shops in the cities start to close at around 6pm to 10pm at night.
9. Majority of the people in Kuching are more family-minded than money-minded.
10. Places that a tourist would most probably visit when they are at Kuching are Jalan Song (for the foods), Friendship park (for dating), Waterfront area (for the culture), cultural village (for the culture also), Damai Beach (for the beach), Santubong (for hiking), and various national parks (for the flora and fauna).
11. Foods that should not be missed when visit Kuching are the famous Kolo Mee, Mee Po, Kampua mee, Laksa Sarawak, Kek Batik/Lapis, Kueh Chap, 7th mile Teh C Peng, and most importantly, Tomato Mee.
12. If you order fruit juices at food courts, prepare to face the curious and blurry expressions from the locals there. Why? Local people seldom order fruit juices in Kuching as they are quite expensive. Locals mostly ordered Teh C Peng or Teh C Special (a 3 layer tea drink).
13. Kuching has one of the most luxurious and largest state assembly building or DUN (Dewan Undangan Negeri) building. It’s almost like a palace.
Image Credit: Michael Boon
14. The majority of people here are more civilized compare to other cities in Malaysia and most of them are very friendly.
15. Various languages are mastered by the locals here such as the Sarawak language, Iban language, Bidayuh language, Hokkien language, Mandarin language, Bahasa Malaysia, English, and so on.
16. Don’t be surprised if you see non-Malay speaking Iban/Sarawak language and Malays speaking mandarin. It’s a norm here.
17. Majority of local guys here have a tatoo on their body.
18. Do not expect all the long houses to be made of wood, built in the middle of the jungle, with no electricity and water, surviving with only a river stream nearby! It’s not true. Most of the long houses here are already developed and look like a long terrace house with abundant electricity and water supplies.
19. Most cars in Kuching are imported cars such as Porche, Mazda RX8, Nissan Skyline, Toyota, and Honda (this shows that the people here are quite rich). However, there are also a lot of Perodua Viva and Kancil (for rent and economic usage).
20. Kuching has lots of food courts and perhaps the highest(per sq feet) where muslims and non-muslim stalls are opened together. You can order satay and kolo mee and eat together (“Perpaduan” to the max here!).
21. In Kuching, you can go kayaking in the sea, caving, jungle trekking, mountain climbing, shopping, national park visiting, visiting border town market(Serikin-Indonesia/Malaysia) all within an hour’s journey. You can’t do that in other cities of Malaysia. You can’t do kayaking, mountain climbing, and jungle trekking in KL.
22. Kuching has a lot of churches.
23. Kuching is a city that has 2 Salvation Armies.
24. Kuching has a roundabout with a kindergarten and backpacker’s lodge (Transit point) in it.
25. Kuching has the most beautiful roundabout-flyover, called the Kenyalang Interchange.
26. Kuching has a place called Saberkas which is similar to Low Yat Plaza in KL which sells electronic gadgets.
Image Credit: Michael Boon
27. Kuchingites’ childhood instant noodle is called the “Lee Fah Mee” and not Maggie Mee.
28. Kuching is where you can find “Whitelady” in almost all drink stalls (only Kuchingites will know what it is).
29. Kuching waterfront is where you can find “Gambir” sold legally everywhere (only Sarawakians will know what’s Gambir).
30. “Demak” brand motorcycles are produced in Kuching (that is why we have Demak Laut Industrial park).
31. In Kuching, KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds are not easily found in shopping malls, instead there’s the homegrown fast food chain, Sugarbun.
32. Kuching has a special complex at Kenyalang Park where pirated CDs/DVDs are sold and it seems to be legal.
33. Kuching is the only city in Malaysia which has two mayors (DBKU and MBKS).
34. Kuching people are usually lazy to walk, they will park their cars next to the coffee shop they patronize, preferably by the side of the tables they sit, even if it is illegal.
35. They are not addicted to Tutti Frutti or Baskin Robbins, but Kuchingites will go for a Sunny Hill Ice Cream on a hot day!
36. Kuching has a lot of mixed marriage couples! And they respect all types of religions! You can easily see Malays attending a wedding reception in a Catholic Church, or Chinese lepak-ing with Malays around.
37. The famous 3-layered tea was originated from 7th mile, Kuching.
38. Kuching is the only place where Chinese-made Ais Kacang and Kolo Mee are commonly done by Malays (We have halal Kolo Mees here)!J
39. Kuching has a “Jalan Keretapi” without any signs of keretapi (which means ‘train’ in the Malay language).
40. You know what is “Terubok” and “Midin” if you have been to Kuching or Sarawak.
41. Kuching’s Oyster Pancake is extra-large and very crispy compared to other Oyster Pancakes.
42. Kuching has the most massage parlours per square km in Malaysia. You can normally find AT LEAST 20 ads of different massage parlours in a single page of the Chinese newspaper here.
43. In Kuching, the left lane is normally the faster lane. Please bear that in mind when you are driving around Kuching City.
44. In Kuching, there is no “wrong way” for your routes, because whichever direction you choose, it can still lead you to your destination. There are thousands of shortcuts here!
45. No matter how dirty Kuching is, please accept the fact that Kuching is the Cleanest City in Malaysia.
46. Kuching city was voted as one of the world’s healthiest cities, recognized and awarded by the United Nations (UN), World Health Organisation (WHO), and by the Alliance for Healthy Cities (AFHC).