AIR - Malaysia
Regular MAS flights connect Kuching with Bintulu (RM 117), Johor Baru (RM 169), Kota Kinabalu (RM 228), Kuala Lumpur (RM 262, night tourist fare RM 187), Labuan (RM 199), Miri (RM 164), Penang (RM 340) and Sibu (RM 72). MAS Rural Air Service flies Twin Otters from Kuching to Mukah (RM 76), and from Sibu and Miri to a host of out-of-the-way destinations. Connections to other destinations are via Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bandar Sri Begawan (Brunei) or Singapore. MAS has advance purchase fares and 50% group discounts on certain flights (bookable only in Malaysia). The MAS "Discover Malaysia Pass" offers travel to 5 destinations within Sarawak and Sabah for US$ 99, or 5 destinations in East and West Malaysia for US$ 199.
Air Asia operate a daily flight between Kuala Lumpur and Kuching for RM 267 single, RM 435 return.
Transmile Air run daily KL-Kuching-KL charter flights, RM 179 single, RM 299 return. Some restrictions apply to the tickets. Air Asia and Transmile flights operate from the old KL Subang airport, not the new KLIA, so allow plenty of time if you have a connecting flight.
In late 2000, MAS announced that it was considering increasing domestic air fares. Whilst we will try to stay up-to-date on this, please check with MAS for the latest information.
AIR - International
Both MAS and SIA operate frequent Kuching-Singapore services (RM 286). MAS and Royal Brunei flights connect Kuching with Bandar Seri Begawan daily (RM 309). MAS flies to Pontianak, Indonesia three times weekly, to Taipei via Manila twice weekly, and to Perth and Tokyo weekly. Connections to other destinations are via Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Bandar Sri Begawan, Hong Kong or Singapore. Departure tax is RM 5 (domestic), RM 20 (Brunei & Pontianak) and RM 40 (international). Fares quoted are for one way.
Airport Information. Tel: 457373/454242.
Air Asia - Kuching Airport. Tel: 576491/576492. Fax: 576493.
Malaysian Airlines System (MAS),
Lot 215, Jln Song Thian Cheok. Tel: 246622/244144. Fax: 411767.
1st floor, Rugayah Building, Jln Song Thian Cheok. Tel: 243344/ 246288. Fax: 244563.
Wisma Bukit Mata Kuching (Ground Floor), Jln Tunku Abdul Rahman. Tel: 240266. Fax: 238487.
Transmile Air, Kuching Agent: Mohini Travel & Tours, Ground Floor, Hotel Grand Continental, Ban Hock Road. Tel: 237368/250368.
The Trans-Borneo highway connects Kuching to all major cites in Sarawak. Kuching to Sibu takes about 5 hours by car. Roads in and around Kuching are generally good.
There is no main bus terminal in Kuching. Departure points depend on destination and company used. Sarawak Transport Company (STC) (Tel: 242967/ 242579) serve the Kuching area and south-west Sarawak. Their green and yellow buses depart from Leboh Jawa. Chin Lian Long's blue and white buses serve the city and its suburbs. Major bus stops at Jln Mosque, the Post Office and Gambier Street. Petra Jaya Transport (Tel: 429418) serve Bako, Damai and Santubong. Their buses (yellow with black and red stripes) depart from the open air market near Electra House. Matang Transport Company's yellow and orange buses depart from outside the Saujana Car Park and go to Matang and Kubah. Regas Transport's beige buses serve the city and its suburbs.
Long distance buses depart from the Regional Express Bus Terminal on Penrissen Road. The most convenient place to buy tickets is at the Biaramas Express booking office (429418) on Jln Khoo Hun Yeang (near Electra House). Biaramas also have a 24 hour office at the terminal (452139). Other long distance bus companies include Borneo Highway Express (Tel: 619689, tickets also available at Borneo Interland, 63 Main Bazaar, Tel: 413595) and PB Ekpres (Tel: 461277/456261). PB Ekpres also have a ticket counter at the Saujana Carpark (Tel: 244349). Buses to Sibu, Bintulu and Miri often involve a change of bus in Sarikei. Check the classified section of the local press for the latest timetables.
Kuching Airport. STC bus No. 12A. RM 1.00, 45 mins. Every 50 min. First bus (from Kuching) 6.30 am, last bus 7.00 pm. First bus (from Airport) 7.10 am, last bus 8 pm. Or CLL bus No. 8A.
Anna Rais. STC No. 9A. RM 5.10, approx. 2 hrs. At the time of writing the service is irregular and still uses the somewhat bumpy old road to Anna Rais rather than the new road that leads to Anna Rais and the Borneo Highlands Resort. A regular bus service using the new road should commence in mid 2001, cutting the journey time to 45 mins. Check with the STC bus company for the latest details.
Petra Jaya bus No. 6, RM 2.10, 45 mins. First bus (from Kuching) 6.40 am, last bus 6 pm. Last regular bus back from Bako 5.00 pm. White minibuses (bas sewa) also go to Kampung Bako (RM 3 one way). They operate from 6 am to 6 pm and depart from the open air market. There is no fixed schedule - minibuses leave when they are full.
Bau. STC bus No. 2. RM 3 (a/c), approx. 1 hour. Every 40 mins. First bus (from Kuching) 6 am, last bus 6 pm.
See Sarikei for departures. RM 60.
Buntal. Petra Jaya bus No. 2B. RM 2, 35 mins.
Damai/ Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV). A Kuching-Damai shuttle bus service departs regularly from outside the Holiday Inn Kuching with drop offs at the resort hotels and Sarawak Cultural Village. One way fare is RM 10 (adults), RM 5 (children), takes approx. 40 mins. First bus (from Kuching) 7.30 am, last bus 10 pm. Last bus back from Damai 9 pm. For the full timetable check with the bell counter at the Holiday Inn Kuching. The Petra Jaya bus No. 2B to Santubong sometimes goes to Damai (RM 2.80). Although there is a schedule (6 buses daily) it appears that the bus only continues to Damai if there are sufficient passengers. As such, the shuttle bus is the most reliable option.
Matang Transport Co. Bus No. 11. RM 1.60. Approx. 50 minutes. Buses depart from near the Saujana car park. First bus at 7 am, last bus 4.30 pm. Ask to be dropped off at the Park HQ near the Matang Family Park (Stage 2). Note buses no longer go to the entrance of the Matang Wildlife Centre.
(for Gunung Gading) STC bus No. EP7. RM 8.30 (a/c), approx. 2 hrs. Buses at 8 am, 10.45 am, 1.45 pm, and 3.45 pm. Although buses now leave from the regional express bus terminal on Penrissen Road, STC provides a connecting bus service from Leboh Jawa. This costs RM 0.50 making the total Lundu fare RM 8.80. Arrive 15-30 mins before departure in order to catch the connecting bus.
Matang Wildlife Centre. There is no regular bus service to the entrance of the Matang Wildlife Centre. See Kubah National Park chapter for further details. Local mini buses do serve the Matang area and will usually take passengers to the entrance of the centre. These white mini buses wait at the alleyway next to the shops in the Saujana car park complex. There is no fixed timetable, mini buses leave when there are enough passengers. Fare is RM 2.
See Sarikei for departures. RM 80.
Penrissen Rd. Bus Terminal (for long-distance services). STC bus Nos. 3, 3A, 9A, 9B and many more (ask at STC office on Leboh Jawa). RM 0.50. First bus (from Kuching) 6.30 am, last bus 9 pm. If you are catching an early bus you may have to take a taxi to the terminal (RM 10).
Pontianak (Indonesia). RM 45.00, approx. 8 hrs. Buses depart from Penrissen Rd. Terminal. Biaramas/Tebakang Express (Tel: 452139) at 7 am. SJS (Tel: 455155) at 8 am and 1.00 pm. The upmarket SJS "Super Executive" departs at 11.00 am and costs RM 70. This bus has more leg room and meals are included. Kirata Express at 8.30 am and Sapphire Pacific at 12.30 am (book through Borneo Highway Express or Borneo Interland). The PB Express "Economy" (RM 45) departs at 7 am whilst the "super" (RM 60) departs at 10 am.
Petra Jaya bus No. 2B, RM 2.30. 40 mins. Every 45 mins. First bus (from Kuching) 6.40 am, last bus 6 pm. Last bus back from Santubong 6.20 pm.
Sarikei. RM 32. 5-6 hrs. Biaramas Express - departs 6.30 am, 8.30 am, 12.30 pm, 5 pm and 10 pm. Borneo Highway Express - departs 7.30 am, 9.45 am, 1 pm, 5 pm and 10 pm. PB Ekspres - departs at 6.30 am, 8.30 am, 12.30 pm, 4.30 pm, 9.00 pm and 9.45 pm.
STC bus No. 2B to Lundu, then catch connecting Lundu-Sematan bus.
Semengoh. STC bus No. 6. RM 1.50, approx. every hour.
Serian. STC Express bus. No 3 or 3A. RM 5, approx. 1 hr. Every 35 mins. First bus (from Kuching) 6.30 am, last bus 5.30 pm.
RM 40. 7 hrs. See Sarikei for departures.
Sri Aman. STC Express bus No. EP9. RM 17, approx 3 hrs., departs 7.30 am, 9.30 am, 12.15 pm, 3 pm and 7.20 pm. Arrive at Leboh Jawa 15-30 minutes earlier to catch a connecting bus to the regional express bus terminal.
Express Boats (Kuching to Sibu)
Express Bahagia, service departs daily at 8.30 am. RM 40, 4 hrs. There is no longer a ticket office in central Kuching. Tickets are sold at the wharf in Pending. It's advisable to get to the jetty 30 mins before departure. CCL Bus Nos. 17 and 19 go to the express boat jetty in Pending (60 sen). The air-con Regas Bus No. 1C also goes to the jetty (90 sen). Taxi fare is RM 10.
Sampans (known locally as Tambangs)
To get across river take one of the small ferries that connect the riverside kampungs to the town. Place the fare (30 cents) on the seat as you leave. Hiring a sampan (RM 20-25 per hour) is a great way to see the river and the waterfront villages. From the river you'll have great views of the city, get in close to the villages and get some good photos of river life.
Gaya Holidays, 37 Main Bazaar (Tel: 415476/016-8666484), offer river cruises and excursions in high-powered pontoon boats. Rates from RM 30 per person for 1 hour (Min 4 persons).
Airport to town is RM 17.50 - buy a coupon at the taxi stand at the airport. Town to the airport is RM 15. Kuching taxis do not use meters although the authorities plan to introduce them sometime in 2001. No date has been fixed yet so in the meantime agree the fare first. Taxis can always be found outside the big hotels and at the taxi stand where Jln Gambier becomes Leboh Jawa. Alternatively, call 343343/342255 or 348898 for 24-Hour Radio Taxi service. Short distances around town are RM 5-7.
This is a great way to explore in and around Kuching. A number of tour operators provide chauffeur-driven cars, vans or 4WD vehicles, but there are only a few fully-fledged self-drive companies operating in Kuching. Be wary of unlicensed operators as they will not be fully insured. At peak periods it is advisable to book a car in advance.
Cat City Holidays, Lot 2537, 1st Floor, Central Park Commercial Centre. Tel: 412500 (after office hours 019-8881480 or 019-8898028) Fax: 413500 E-mail: email@example.com. Self-drive Protons, vans, 4WD's & luxury cars, chauffeured Mercedes Benz, plus van and coach rental (with driver).
Pronto Car Rental, No. 98, 1st Floor, Jln Padungan. Tel: 236889/237889 Fax: 236889. 8 am-5 pm Mon-Sat. Protons, Mercedes, Vans and Landcruisers. Free collection & delivery. Chauffeur service.
Mayflower Car Rental, Lot 4.24A, 4th Floor, Bangunan Satok, Jln Satok. Tel: 410110, 410117. Fax: 410115. Full range of Nissan & Audi vehicles.
Wah Tung Travel Service, Booth at Kuching International Airport. Tel: 616900, HP 019-8888534. City office Tel: 248888 Fax: 464900. Offers chauffeur driven limousine hire (Proton limousine, Mercedes & Vans).
Kuching has many licensed tour operators offering a wide choice of tours and excursions. Their prices are very competitive, especially if you are in a group, and may even be cheaper than organising the trip yourself. Plus you also have the benefit of a knowledgeable guide to accompany you.