There are lots of museums in Kuching, I only managed to visit three in the time I was there.. but there are many others.. so if you plan on visiting Kuching, decide in advance which you’d like to visit. Those that I missed include the Textile Museum, the Islamic Museum and the Police Museum at Fort Margherita (which my or may not exist now.. based on my conversation with a tour guide).
The Sarawak Museum and Kuching Cat Museum
The Sarawak Museum is OLD. You can tell.. many of its exhibits probably date back to when there was still a White Rajah ruling. The museum is the oldest in Borneo, built in 1891. The museum is divided in two parts with its ground floor dedicated to Sarawak’s natural history and the first floor dedicated to Sarawak’s peoples and cultures. I was amazed at the effort that went into creating and preserving the exhibits, which I assume some of which are over a hundred years old. Photography is allowed with a fee.
Kuching’s Cat Museum is located in Kuching’s North City Hall on Bukit Siol (yes, Kuching has two city councils.. one north, one south). I’m not much of a cat person, but the museum has anything and everything cat related in it. Bukit Siol also has quite a view… much of Kuching can be seen from it. Like the Sarawak Museum, photography is allowed with a fee.
Both museums are open daily (but close on the second day of any public holiday) and admission is free.
The Chinese History Museum
Conveniently located along the waterfront is the Chinese History Museum, which is housed in the former Chinese Chamber of Commerce building built in 1912. The museum was recently refurbished placing the privately donated artifacts in newer showcases. It’s not a very big museum.. in fact it’s tiny, but I think it manages to briefly explain to the visitor how the Chinese first immigrated to Borneo as well as key Chinese traditions and customs. The museum’s caretaker was kind enough to give us a personal guided tour. Entrance is free (visitors are free to make a donation toward the upkeep and maintenance of the museum) and the museum is open daily (but closes on the second day of any public holiday). Photography is allowed, with permission. There’s no mention of whether flash photography is allowed, but with many of the items behind glass displays, you’ll probably get ugly reflections. The black ceiling doesn’t allow for bounced flash either.. so it’s high ISO all the way.
Tua Pek Kong and Sen Wang Kong temples
Just a stone’s throw away from the Chinese History museum are two very colourful and ornate temples. I believe both are Taoist temples and are very well taken care of. The Sen Wang Kong temple in particular has very intricate wood carvings on its ceiling inside whilst the Tua Pek Kong temple has interesting figures lining its roof. In terms of pure photography opportunities, my preference lies with Sen Wang Kong purely for all the detail you can find in the temple.
More to come in part 3…