On English-speaking islands you can enjoy island life with some of the familiarity of home. Visit or relocate to any...Read more
The capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, Kuching is located just inland of the northwest coast of the island of Borneo, along the banks of the Sarawak River estuary. Its surroundings offer unlimited opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
Its proximity to the South China Sea and incredibly diverse rain forest ecosystems provide plenty of activities to keep residents busy year-round, yet Kuching is also a cosmopolitan city offering all the comforts of the developed world.
The fourth-largest city in Malaysia, Kuching has a population of just over a half-million. The name Kuching means cat in Malay, and Kuching is a great place for cat lovers. Statues of cats adorn sidewalks, traffic circles, and parks. Kuching city is modern and attractive, with a large Chinatown and a pretty riverside promenade. Central Kuching is small enough to explore on foot and public transportation is available for trips to the suburbs and outlying areas.
Kuching is also home to some of Malaysia’s best museums, devoted to anything from natural history, ethnology, Chinese history, natural sciences, and Islam. There is a fascinating cultural village and, of course, a delightful cat museum. Kuching is near to many of Sarawak’s 16 national parks, as well as gorgeous and remote beaches along the South China Sea.
As elsewhere in Malaysia, the food in Kuching is as diverse as the people. Many restaurants offer excellent Chinese, Malay, and Indian menus, as well as western food. Seafood lovers will be delighted at the abundant and inexpensive supply of ocean and freshwater fish and shrimp. Local specialties are unique and delicious. Try wild jungle ferns stir-fried with garlic. The taste is a cross between young asparagus and mild spinach, addictive to discerning palates. Kek lapis Sarawak is a popular and delicious cake served in traditional Malay celebrations. These are beautiful pound cakes that are delicately layered in artistic patterns and motifs almost (but not quite) too pretty to eat.
The ethnic diversity that typifies all of Malaysia might be more apparent here than anywhere else in the country. Twenty-seven different ethnic groups, many of them indigenous to the region, live in and around Kuching. The most populous groups in Sarawak, however, are the Chinese, the Malays, and the indigenous Iban. With so many ethnic groups, each having its own language, English has become the bridge language.
Kuching may be the perfect off-the-beaten-track retirement destination…
The cost of living is very low, less than US$600 a month for a home-owning couple. Prices in Kuching are inexpensive, even when compared with other Malaysian destinations, such as Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.
Hospitals are well-equipped and modern, and most medical personnel speak fluent English. In addition, health care costs are extremely low, and the quality of care is excellent. Health care is of such a high standard and so reasonably priced that Malaysia is one of the world’s top medical tourism destinations. Retirees from the U.S will find also find medical insurance extremely inexpensive.
Getting to and from Kuching is easy. Air Asia, the region’s fantastic budget carrier, offers frequent promotional pricing from its hub in Kuala Lumpur, and it’s easy to find a flight for a bargain price.
|Gas||RM 78||Used for cooking.|
|Electricity||RM 311||Air conditioning used most days and at night.|
|Telephone||RM 87||Prepaid cellphone, 60-minute overseas call per month plus local calls.|
|Internet||RM 124||Unlimited access.|
|Cable TV||RM 109|
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Vicki and I spent last Christmas in small-town Taiping, Malaysia. I was Santa Claus. We've stayed many times in Taiping, a former tin-mining town set in a rainforest. About 150 years ago the mine ran out, and someone flooded the pit and turned it into a beautiful lake garden. Huge rain trees line the road around the garden. We love that park. I've looked at birds in the spacious garden, while others jog, exercise, stroll, row boats on the lake,...Read more