Getting to Kuching, Malaysia

As Kuching is in Sarawak, which retains control of its own immigration procedures, some additional complications apply and an ordinary Malaysian visa may not suffice. Most visitors, though, can get visas on arrival at Kuching International Airport.

 

By plane

Kuching International Airport (IATA: KCH) is Sarawak's main gateway. There are near-hourly connections to Kuala Lumpur as well as frequent flights to Singapore, Johor Bahru, Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and other cities in Sarawak like Sibu, Bintulu and Miri. MASwings links Kuching with Mukah. International connections are rather limited, although there are a few weekly services to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Pontianak. Flights to Kuching are also operated by AirAsia and Firefly. International airlines operating in Kuching includes SilkAir, Royal Brunei, Tiger Airways, and Batavia Air.

Getting there/away : Kuching city is about 20 minutes away by taxi, a fixed RM26 from the taxi coupon stand just outside arrivals. Ignore the touts, even if they show you price lists. From the city you can get a private vehicle for around RM20 or catch a mini bus (RM7.99 for Tune guests); RM10 for others. must be booked at least 1 day in advance leaving hourly from 8:30AM-evening.

The Sarawak Transport Company (STC) Bus No. 12A no longer serves the 5 daily trips between the airport and the city centre. There is a series of other buses which can drop you off or pick you up approximately 1 KM west of the Airport (turn left as you exit the airport and walk to the main T intersection, turn left again and walk until you reach the big roundabout and catch a bus heading north to town namely 3A, 6, 8G and 9. The most convenient place to catch these buses back to the airport intersection is at the main bus terminal located in the city.

On a list of available busses in Kuching published by the tourist information one can find Bus No. K13 from / to airport (06:30, 09:15, 12:15, 15:00 / 08:00, 10:30, 13:30, 17:30) but also the statement that "public bus service in not reliable or accurate".

 

By boat

The Express Bahagia and Express Sejahtera express boats run an alternating once daily service from Kuching to Sibu, each boat returning the next day. RM38 (RM45 1st class) one way and the journey takes 5.5 hr, with stops at Sarikei and Tanjung Manis. The boats depart from the Pending wharf to the east of the city at 8.30AM. You can usually buy tickets at the wharf. Getting there/away : Chin Lian Long buses No. 1A, 17 and 19 go to the express boat jetty. 60 sen one way. Taxis usually charge RM15.

 

By bus

Kuching's regional express bus terminal is located along Jl. Datuk Tawi Sli, also dubbed as "3 and a half miles", located south of the city, just before the Boulevard shopping mall. All long-distance express buses arrive from and leave for major Sarawak cities like Sibu, Bintulu and Miri, as well as Pontianak in Indonesia. Regional buses for some towns near Kuching such as Lundu (for the Gunung Gading National Park and Tanjung Datu National Park) and Sri Aman also arrive/depart from here. However, buses for some towns and destinations nearer Kuching, such as the Bako National Park, Bau and the Semenggoh Orang Utan Centre, leave from various locations in the city centre, depending on the bus company being used. See the individual destinations below for details.

To/from Bau:

To/from Bako National Park: Petra Jaya Transport(red) bus No. 1 departs from the open air market near Electra House in the city centre. RM3.5 one way, journey time 45 min. There are also public mini buses, more expensive and a little bit faster and more regular. The buses bring you to Bako Bazaar where you pay your RM10 park entrance fee and transfer to a boat to reach the national park. Boat costs RM47 one way and can carry up to 5 people.

To/from Lundu:

Sarawak Transport Company (cream and green) express buses depart from the regional bus terminal at 8:15AM, 11AM, 2PM and 4PM. Buses depart Lundu at 8AM, 11AM, 2PM and 4PM. Travel time approximately 2 hr. At Lundu, take a taxi or van or walk approximately 2.5 km (north) to the Gunung Gading National Park. For Tanjung Datu National Park, catch a connecting Sarawak Transport Company bus to Sematan where you will have to charter a boat to the park.

To/from Pontianak:

Buses depart Kuching regional bus terminal for Pontianak via the Tebedu-Entikong border crossing daily at 7:45AM. RM45 adult 1 way. From Pontianak, buses depart daily at 9PM. Fare is Rp 140,000. SJS Super buses departs the regional bus terminal at 11AM and cost RM70. See the Pontianak to Kuching for travel itinerary detail of this route.

To/from Semenggoh:

Catch the 7:30AM or 11AM bus. Sarawak Transport Company buses No.6 depart from their bus terminal RM2.50, 1 hour, near the open air market in the city centre but are not so frequent (at 1 and a half hour or even rarely). Also there are plenty of mini buses at the open air market that can drive you there, public RM5-10/passеnger) and also more expensive mini bus taxies, bargaining starts from RM100 for the whole bus for return journey.

To/from Sibu:

Various express buses depart from the regional bus terminal. Most of them go via Sarikei.

 

By car

From Indonesia

To travel by car from Indonesia is pretty straight forward. As a member of Asean, an Indonesian driving license is legal and accepted in Malaysia.

Within Malaysia and From Brunei Darussalam

Sarawak is a huge state. The road networks connecting towns and places in Sarawak including Kuching are somehow quite satisfactorily maintained. However, long and winding roads with sometimes no rest stops in between might bore you or scare you. Here are the distance chart from Kuching to other towns:

Sabahan people as well as from Brunei can also commute freely to Kuching using Pan Borneo Highway network. However, it is subject to a lot of stopover at immigration checkpoints. Therefore, travelling to Kuching from Sabah is not advisable. Bruneian commuters should produce driving permit which is simply by filling a form at the Malaysian border checkpoint. Bruneian driving license is a valid, legal and accepted form of document in Sarawak/Malaysia.

 

By helicopter

In case you are in a hurry or desire a bit of luxury, helicopters and other method of air transports are available from Hornbill Skyways.

 

By cruises

There are some cruise liners operating daily between Kuching and Singapore. One of them is StarCruise.