Exploring the vibrant tapestry of Borneo Cultures Museum, breathtaking Kuching Waterfront and Kek Lapis Warisan’s delights

When visiting the vibrant city of Kuching, three must-visit destinations stand out for their cultural significance, captivating allure and unique taste.

The first is the Borneo Cultures Museum, a treasure trove of artefacts and exhibits showcasing the rich heritage and diverse traditions of Borneo’s indigenous peoples. The museum’s immersive displays offer a fascinating journey through time and culture, making it a top attraction for history enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike.

Another iconic spot not to be missed is the Kuching Waterfront, a bustling promenade along the Sarawak River that offers majestic views of the city skyline and a delightful array of shops, eateries and attractions.

Either go on the Perahu Penambang (flat-bottomed wooden boat) for a quieter and more local experience or try the Royal Kuching Cruise with a 360-degree panoramic view of the waterfront.

Visitors are also encouraged to visit Kuching’s Kek Lapis Warisan, a famous bakery known for its exquisite layered cakes — a beloved treat on normal days and special occasions!

Borneo Cultures Museum: A Testament to the Rich and Diverse Heritage of the Region

This five-storey museum is a gateway to understanding the intricate tapestry of cultures that have thrived in Borneo for centuries; offering visitors a fascinating journey through time, tradition, customs, beliefs, crafts and daily life of its various ethnic groups.

As I arrived at the museum, I was immediately struck by its unique architecture that seamlessly blends modern design with traditional elements of Sarawakian culture.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Each floor offers a unique thematic experience; from a children’s themed gallery ‘Love our Rivers’ encouraging children to recycle, reuse and be more conscious of the environment; the ‘In Harmony with Nature’ gallery featuring native animals of Sarawak from the Omen birds; Manuk Wek (Reddish Scops Owl), Embuas (Banded Kingfisher) to the saltwater crocodile and water buffalos.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Visitors will also be mesmerised by the exhibition ‘Time Changes’ on cave discoveries and the making of Sarawak and the ‘Objects of Desire’ gallery featuring trade and craftsmanship and spiritual designs and status.

The second floor features the children’s gallery themed ‘Love our Rivers,’ while the third floor houses the ‘In Harmony with Nature’ gallery. Moving up to the fourth floor, visitors can explore the ‘Time Changes’ gallery, and finally, the fifth floor hosts the ‘Objects of Desire’ gallery.

As I began to explore each floor, I noticed everything was well organised and airconditioned, making it comfortable for each visitor to be pleasantly immersed in the exhibits.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

From intricately carved wooden masks and textiles adorned with vibrant motifs to ancient tools used for hunting and fishing, every display resonated with a deep sense of history and heritage.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

One of the highlights of the museum is the interactive exhibits; visitors can learn about traditional crafts such as weaving, pottery making and beadwork through a modern approach that offers a glimpse into the skill and artistry of Borneo’s indigenous peoples while fostering a deeper appreciation for their cultural legacy.

As I delved deeper into the museum’s galleries, I was particularly captivated by the section dedicated to the Dayak tribes, known for their intricate tattoos, elaborate headgear and rich spiritual traditions. The exhibits shed light on their animistic beliefs, traditional healing practices and the importance of rituals in their society.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

Apart from the exhibition spaces, the museum also features an auditorium and various event venues available for public rental, adding versatility to its offerings.

With a gift shop on the ground floor, the public can walk home with handmade items unique to Sarawak such as woven bags, jewellery, batik pieces, Adan rice (Beras Adan), coffee, sculptures, stationary and paintings.

Cruising Kuching’s Waterfront: A Serene Voyage Through Scenic Delights

One of the best ways to experience the Kuching Waterfront is by taking a leisurely cruise along the Sarawak River.

I was lucky to try out two different ways to explore the area: hopping on a local Perahu Penambang boat and cruising with the Royal Kuching Cruise. Both experiences are completely different and worth giving a go!

Image: Rafidah Hamit

The local Perahu Penambang is a traditional wooden vessel that has been used by river dwellers for generations.

It offers a quiet journey through the river, giving passengers a serene experience like no other.

Sitting up front, I got to enjoy the best views and saw the boat gently move along with the waves of the water – giving me an insight as to why locals prefer taking the boat over a car or motorcycle.

As the boat gently glided through the tranquil waters, the sun began to set and transformed the hues of the waves, painting them in a mesmerising spectrum of colours.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

I was also treated to spectacular vistas of the city skyline, lush mangrove forests and the iconic Astana; the former residence of the White Rajahs.

The Royal Kuching Cruise provided a different perspective of Kuching allowing me to witness daily life along the riverbanks, from fishermen casting their nets to children playing by the water’s edge.

The 360-degree panoramic view of the Kuching skyline, the soothing rhythm of the boat and the cool breeze added to the experience, creating a sense of tranquillity amidst the bustling city.

Image: Rafidah Hamit

With the capacity to accommodate over 300 guests at a time, passengers from all walks of life basked in the experience while enjoying light refreshments, cultural performances with spirited beats of Iban rhythms intertwined with the graceful movements of the Orang Ulu, the eloquent storytelling of the Bidayuh, captivating customs of the Melanau and exuberant festivities of the Sarawak Joget.

Passengers were then serenaded by the melodious tune of the Sape, a traditional lute instrument that weaves enchanting melodies that echo the spirit of the land.

Savouring Sarawak’s Sweet Layers: Exploring the Delights of Kek Lapis

As soon as you step into Kek Lapis Warisan, you’re greeted by the tempting scent of butter wafting through the air.

The medium-sized building has everything a customer can hope for when looking for kek lapis — from the shop itself offering a variety of cakes to a demonstration area just by the side.

Once you enter the shop, you will not be able to resist trying out the testers and grabbing a few flavours to take home with you!

Kek Lapis Warisan also sells other cooked food such as Tempe Terubok which you can just eat with rice or Dabai Keropok which you need to fry first.

At the demonstration area, visitors can try their hand at making these delicious cakes that are meticulously crafted with a variety of colourful layers, each infused with distinct flavours such as red velvet, chocolate, coffee or yam.

The baking process involves precise layering and baking each layer individually, resulting in a beautifully patterned cake with a rich, moist texture.

According to the staff, 2000 blocks are made daily, with around 50 flavours of the cakes which include Cadbury, chocolate chip, pandan, blueberry cheese, watermelon, durian and masam manis.

The establishment hopes customers will enjoy the new flavours such as the vanilla mint and red velvet as they work on exploring even more flavours for customers to happily enjoy over a cup of tea or coffee with their loved ones.

Kek Lapis Warisan’s cakes are not only delicious but also showcase the craftsmanship and cultural heritage of Sarawak’s culinary traditions, making them a sought-after delicacy for locals and visitors alike.

Kuching is truly charming with cultural heritage, a scenic waterfront and culinary delights.

The Borneo Cultures Museum offers a glimpse into the past, while the Kuching Waterfront provides a vibrant present-day experience, blending history, culture, and natural beauty in a harmonious tapestry.

Kek Lapis Warisan’s cakes offer visitors a taste of local flavours and a hands-on experience of the art of the famous layered cake.

Whether exploring the museum’s cultural treasures or cruising along the river and sampling the local specialties, Kuching offers a glimpse into a world steeped in history, yet vibrant with life and energy.


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