Sarawak: 8 Insta-worthy Places to Uncover

Sarawak: 8 Insta-worthy Places to Uncover

Sarawak is the go-to haven for Instagrammable cafes, street markets, and beautiful art in every corner.

Filled with old-world charms, lively street markets, and art in every corner, Sarawak is the hidden treasure that every traveller dreams of stumbling upon. You only need to look at the murals blending into the historic streets of Kuching or savour a bowl of Sarawak laksa to realise how precious these experiences are. 

That is to say, the beauty of Sarawak goes beyond surfaces. Any photo you take in Sarawak — limestone caves, rainforests, picturesque cafes — and post to your Instagram feed will see your likes ticking upwards, and you’ll be receiving comments asking “Where did you take that?

Without further ado, these are the top Instagrammable spots in Sarawak that will have your friends eagerly tapping the geotag on your posts, wondering what exclusive places you’ve discovered, so they can follow along too! To top it off, these spots are all found in, or accessible within an hour from, Sarawak’s capital Kuching!

1. Street art and murals in Kuching 

street art wall mural in kuching

Orangutan murals along Jalan Power | Image credit: Sarawak Heritage Society

Between the maze-like alleys and traditional Chinese shophouses, the vibrant murals on the walls exude the charisma of Sarawak’s capital city. And one thing’s for sure: Anywhere you go in Kuching, great art is not very far behind. 

Follow the trail of inspiration along Jalan Power, which showcases young orangutans in a wheelbarrow. This was painted by the Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, who intended the mural to be interactive. Today, many tourists take photos with these scenic walls as backdrops for their selfies within the city. 

 

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Tracking down the local art scene is one of the best ways to explore Kuching’s streets, and the creativity pulsing through them. Most of these murals and masterpieces are scattered throughout the city, so you won’t find them concentrated in one area. Of course, that only makes the search more fun! 

tanah airku street art project murals

Wall murals in Kuching | Image credit: Leonard Siaw MuralArt (top); Sarawak Heritage Society (bottom)

For bright spots of art around Kuching, you should keep an eye out for the following paintings: Wild About Kuching by Leonard Siaw on Temple Street; Children by Mohd Afiruddin and Amey Sheikh Ali on Wayang Street; and famously, Leaping Feline by Sonia Luhong and Amy Amin on Carpenter Street — products of the #TanahAirku Street Art Project by Petronas, a series of collaborations with street artists to reimagine Malaysia through their creative interpretations.

2. Kai Joo Cafe 

dim sum flat lay shot at kai joo cafe

Halal dim sum at Kai Joo Cafe | Image credit: Kai Joo Cafe Official Facebook Page

For impressive flat lays of your food and a cosy ambience, drop by Kai Joo Cafe, one of the most Insta-worthy spots in Kuching, Sarawak. Tucked at the end of the busy Kai Joo Lane, this quaint cafe manages to be both a little-known gem among locals and a magnet for nomadic foodies. And going by the photographs alone, let’s just say that we’re already convinced we should pack our bags and head over there now! 

If you’re looking for a caffeine fix, but you also want a comfortable hangout where you can snap those OOTDs, this is the place for you. With the chic vibes of this hole-in-the-wall cafe, every shot is bound to make your feed stand out among the rest.

various photos taken at kai joo cafe

Outdoor garden seating and storefront of Kai Joo Cafe | Image credit: Kai Joo Cafe Official Facebook Page

Each time you enter the flower-lined premises of Kai Joo Cafe, you can expect to be greeted warmly by the staff, who will quickly learn your name if you return to the cafe again. And if the scenic backdrops and delicious food have anything to say about it, you most certainly will. 

Kai Joo Cafe
Address: 29 Lorong Kai Joo, Kuching 93000, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm on Monday–Sunday; 11am to 6pm on Thursday; closed on Tuesday

3. Bako National Park

bako national park at sunset

A cliff in Bako National Park at sunset | Image credit: gremoni

Did you know that Sarawak is home to animals like the hairy-nosed otter and the bearded pig? Luckily, you won’t have to travel too far to see them in person! 

Within a 45-minute bus ride from Kuching, Bako National Park is the must-visit spot for that extra wow factor in your travels! Scenic footpaths are always marked along the trail, so you never have to worry about getting lost. 

 

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Teeming with verdant forests, limestone cliffs, sandy beaches, and rock formations, Bako National Park is a spectacular destination that’s guaranteed to make your followers curious regarding your whereabouts. This is Sarawak’s oldest national park, and the start of your adventure through the breathtaking landscapes of Borneo. 

Cutting across mangrove forests and streams, you can see the magnificence of the terrain. More than anything, the park is a quiet retreat that keeps away from the bustling noise of the city. 

proboscis monkey in bako national park

Proboscis monkey | Image credit: Gualtiero Boffi

Always have your camera ready, just in case you encounter any proboscis monkeys or colourful exotic birds. As the jungle is the habitat of these animals, the ecology of Bako National Park lets you document nature at its finest. 

Some of the most envy-inducing photographs on Instagram are these rare and spontaneous sightings. All these glimpses of wildlife? They can’t be staged or faked, only caught at the right moment. 

Bako National Park
Address: Muara Tebas Peninsular, 93000, Kuching
Opening hours: 8am to 5pm on Monday–Sunday
Entrance fee: RM20 for non-Malaysians; RM10 for Malaysians 

4. Siniawan Night Market 

sarawak laksa

A perfect, mouth-watering bowl of laksa | Image credit: Sarawak Tourism Board

Did you know that the late celebrity chef-author Anthony Bourdain once hailed Sarawak Laksa as “the breakfast of the Gods”? Look into that heavenly broth and you can see why it left such an impression on him. Simply putNeedless to say, your trip to Sarawak would be incomplete if you missed out on all of its delicious flavours. But how can you get the best of everything in a short period of time? 

Read also: Sarawak Food Trail: 12 Dishes in Kuching You Must Try!

Insanely popular among the locals, the Siniawan Night Market provides the answer to this dilemma. From Friday to Sunday, the peaceful heritage street of Siniawan transforms into a sensational culinary haunt for authentic Chinese, Malay, and Sarawakian street food. You can sink your teeth into manok pansuh (chicken cooked in bamboo), kolo mee (Sarawakian dry noodles), lemang periuk kera (sticky glutinous rice steamed in pitcher plants), and so many famous dishes! 

 

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Enjoy alfresco dining under the stars, while you take snaps of this flourishing market with red lanterns hanging from one end to the other. Or, take your time admiring the rows of wooden shophouses, a nostalgic callback to the Chinese architecture of the 1970s and 1980s. 

Few things will blaze up your Instagram likes than a night out in the streets, bathed in neon lights. Thankfully, with the Siniawan Night Market in full swing, you can leave Sarawak with your belly full — and your gallery bursting with amazing photos, too! 

kolo mee in sarawak

Kolo mee | Image credit: Sarawak Tourism Board

You might want to arrange for your transportation early, as it takes around 30 to 45 minutes to reach the Siniawan Night Market via Grab, costing around RM35. Renting a car is another option, especially considering it will be more challenging to find a Grab driver if it’s late into the night!

Siniawan Night Market
Address: Siniawan, 94000 Bau, Sarawak, Malaysia
Opening hours: 6pm to 11pm on Friday–Saturday; 4pm to 11pm on Sunday

5. Floating Mosque

masjid india kuching at sunset

The Floating Mosque amid a soft blend of colours at sunset | Image credit: Adib Wahab

There are many intricately built temples and places of worship in Sarawak. But for outstanding shots that appear straight out of a postcard, Masjid India Kuching, or the Floating Mosque, offers a climactic vista like no other. 

Newly completed in March 2019, this cultural symbol in Sarawak is an architectural gem located on the banks of the Sarawak River. At dusk, the sunset lights up the cloud-lined sky and accentuates the mosque’s facade — all reflected in the calm waters to create an illusion of the mosque floating, like a beautiful mirage. Isn’t that just lovely? 

masjid india kuching illuminated at night

Floating Mosque glowing in the evening | Image credit: watiefatin_din

As darkness falls, the mosque is illuminated vividly by multi-coloured LED lights, bringing a new glow and ambience to the riverfront. 

As is customary, all visitors should dress respectfully and remove their shoes before entering the mosque. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque during prayer times, but you can still enjoy a view of its architecture on foot or from the river. 

Floating Mosque 
Address: 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

6. Sarawak Cultural Village

sarawak cultural village

Sarawak Cultural Village | Image credit: Sarawak Tourism Board

For an authentic immersion into the culture of Sarawak, you’ll want to make a beeline for the Sarawak Cultural Village. This venue is widely celebrated as a “Living Museum” as it seamlessly integrates the diverse histories, traditions, artistry, and heritage of the many ethnic groups of Sarawak. 

Nestled at the foot of Mount Santubong, the village displays nine replicas of buildings modelled after the traditional homes of the Bidayuh, Iban, Orang Ulu, Penan, Melanau, Malay, and Chinese groups. Such is the architectural diversity of Sarawak, that you are just as likely to find a farmhouse here, as you would a stunning pagoda! 

In each of these houses, you will find a local storyteller, who will tell you fascinating stories about the different lifestyles and cultures in Sarawak. 

 

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As you wander around the village, feel free to explore the varied workshops, activities, and exhibitions in the area. Here, you can also marvel at the intricacy of the local handicrafts, baskets, wood carvings, and ceramics. 

Easily one of the most talked about attractions in Malaysia, the village also happens to host events such as the World Harvest Festival and the Rainforest World Music Festival

Sarawak Cultural Village
Address: Pantai Damai, Santubong, 93752 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily 
Entrance fee: RM60 for non-Malaysians; RM30 for Malaysians 

7. Tease by Jase’s Tea Room

Find your corner at Tease by Jase’s Tea Room, a lovely haunt that specializes in coffee, loose leaf teas, and sweet treats. Like its name suggests, this Instagrammable foodie spot in Kuching tempts you with enticing food, interesting signage, colourful tiles, and huge windows with natural light flooding the room. You know what this means: It’s pretty much a photoshoot waiting to happen. 

No wonder it draws in millennials by the dozens! This tea room has little vintage touches around the place that give it an atmosphere as perfect for casual jamming sessions, as it is for meet-ups with old friends. You can lean back and relax to the gentle bossa nova tracks streaming from the speakers. 

The smell of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, while you dig into their bestselling mango yoghurt cake. It looks so pretty on the plate, you almost feel guilty for wanting to savour it right away.

Needless to say, cafe-hoppers shouldn’t miss out on this sweet hangout in Kuching. This place is still a bit of a well-kept secret, so make sure you get here soon! 

Tease by Jase’s Tea Room
Address: AT110 Block A, ICOM Square, Jalan Pending, 93450 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Opening hours: 11am to 11pm daily

8. Semenggoh Nature Reserve

orangutan at semenggoh nature reserve

Orangutan in a tree | Image credit: Semenggoh Wildlife Centre Official Instagram Page

Earlier, you spotted the orangutan murals along Kuching. Now, if you’re lucky enough, you might encounter one in the flesh! 

The Semenggoh Nature Reserve shelters and rehabilitates orangutans who have been orphaned or abandoned, until they are ready to be released back into the wild. Unlike a zoo, the animals are free to roam the grounds as they please. 

orangutan eating a banana at semenggoh wildlife centre

Orangutan eating a banana at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre | Image credit: Sarawak Tourism Board

Ready to see an orangutan? Be sure to plan your trip carefully, as the best time to visit is during feeding sessions when the orangutans sneak in for a free meal at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, located within the reserve. This takes place between 9am and 10am, as well as between 3pm and 4pm. 

From the viewing deck, you can watch the orangutans swing from the trees and snatch the fruit right out of their caretaker’s hands! 

More than just an orangutan sanctuary, Semenggoh Nature Reserve is also a habitat for other exotic flora and fauna, such as the giant squirrel, gibbons and over 40 different bird species. Challenge yourself and see what you can spot!

Semenggoh Nature Reserve
Address: 93250 Siburan, Sarawak, Malaysia
Opening hours: 8am to 10am, 2pm to 4pm daily 
Entrance fee: RM10 for Non-Malaysians; RM5 for Malaysians 

9. The Culvert Hotel Resort Kuching

When it comes to Instagram-worthy getaways, you can’t go wrong with The Culvert Hotel Resort Kuching!  

Surrounded by lush vegetation in Santubong, the resort mingles with its environment like a serene oasis. Meanwhile, eco-friendly interiors and exceptional facilities work in harmony to provide the best stay of your vacation.

 

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Complete with plenty of open spaces, the resort simulates the feeling of being inside one of Sarawak’s rainforests. This way, it is both a relaxing hideout and a breath of fresh air. 

Not only does the property offer gorgeous views of nature, but it also feels like a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city. Guests can enjoy a private view of the beach, as well as make their way up the sunset deck. 

Perfect for solo travellers as well as families, this resort in Kuching offers a home away from home — a welcoming and dreamy place to rest your head after a day of enjoying Sarawak’s wonders. 

The Culvert Hotel Resort Kuching
Address: Block 2, Lot 285, Off, Jalan Sultan Tengah, Salak Land District, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

10. Kuching Waterfront  

view of kuching waterfront from across the river

Kuching waterfront at dawn | Image credit: DigitalShooter

Among the Insta-worthy spots in Sarawak, this view of the Kuching Waterfront is definitely the showstopper. Spend an evening on a relaxing stroll along the promenade, as you observe how the nearby buildings light up, one by one. When you see how the skyline of Kuching comes to life in the evening, you find a spectacle that can put even the grand cityscapes of Milan or Paris to shame. 

Astana and Darul Hana Bridge at night

Astana and Darul Hana Bridge at night | Image credit: travelphotographer

We’ll let you in on a little secret. The best place to enjoy a view of the waterfront is actually on Darul Hana Bridge, the scintillating walkway crossing the Sarawak River. From there, you can enjoy a panoramic vista of the Astana complex and its golden reflections upon the water. 

Evening at the riverside park in Kuching, Sarawak

Evening at the riverside park in Kuching, Sarawak | Image credit: Sarawak Tourism

And while you’re near the waterfront, why not join a river cruise? After all, there’s nothing more inspiring than that perfect shot of the sun descending over Kuching. 

Kuching Waterfront 
Address: Jalan Main Bazaar, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia 93000, Malaysia

Kuching during sunset

Kuching during sunset | Image credit: Nuar Zakaria

It’s never been clearer: Sarawak is where all the hidden gems in Malaysia are waiting to be discovered. 

And whether you’re soaking up a glorious sunset or gazing up at the stars from the waterfront in Kuching, these Insta-worthy spots in Sarawak will stay with you long after you’ve taken the last photograph. 

For more information, visit Sarawak Tourism’s official website or approach the Singapore Visitor Centres. Sarawak tour packages and transportation are available as well.


Brought to you by Sarawak Tourism Board.

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary.

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