28 June 2024

5 Fascinating Facts About Kuching

By Communications Team

A small city and home to Swinburne Sarawak, Kuching is more than just a great study destination. 

A small city and home to Swinburne Sarawak, Kuching is more than just a great study destination

Photo by Ir-One M on Unsplash

Kuching is also known as the ‘Cat City’
There are a few widely accepted stories about where this name came from. The most popular being – when the British explorers first arrived in this land in the 19th century, his Malay guide thought the explorer was pointing to a cat instead of the riverside town, thus mistakenly replying ‘kucing’ (the Malay word for cat).

Another claim to the name is that the city was named after a tree that once grew throughout the area, the tree was the Mata Kuching tree. The third claim to fame was that James Brooke, Sarawak’s first White Rajah, in 1839, referred to the town as ‘Kuching’, which might suggest the old word for ‘Cochin’, the port town in India.

Whatever the origin of the name may be, the city of Kuching has settled on the moniker of Cat City. Because who doesn’t like cats? Today, it would be hard to miss the cue as cat statues and paintings are scattered all over the city.

>> Fun fact: The iconic White Cat at the Padungan roundabout is dressed up in traditional costumes according to the festivals observed annually.

Kuching is recognised as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO
Kuching is renowned for its vibrant food scene and a sanctuary for those with a daring palate. In Kuching, and Sarawak in general, the sago worms are not merely larvae; it is a sought-after delicacy. This is a testament to the local’s ingenuity in transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary. The locals have also mastered the art of neutralising the lethal hydrocyanic acid found in the almond-like seeds of the football fruit (Pangium edule).

The city’s gastronomic tapestry is woven with the threads of its 34 distinct indigenous tribes, each of which contributes their unique flavours to create a melange of local cuisines. This rich culinary mosaic is what propelled Kuching to the prestigious status of UNESCO’s Creative City of Gastronomy in 2021.

Breakfast of the Gods

Being UNESCO’s gastronomic city is not just a title; it is a tribute to Kuching’s distinctive gastronomic legacy.

>>Must try: Sarawak laksa, deemed ‘Breakfast of the Gods’ by the late Anthony Bourdain and ayam pansuh, chicken cooked in bamboo – an iconic dish typical among the Iban and Bidayuh communities.

Kuching’s backyard are forests millions of years old

Kuching’s backyard are ancient forests millions of years old and is a testament to the region’s timeless beauty and rich biodiversity. With the region’s 67 national parks, 23 of which are open to the public, Sarawak offers a unique glimpse into nature’s grandeur – a utopia for nature lovers.

These forests are not just a haven for wildlife but are living museums of human history. Exploring Kuching’s forested backyard is like taking a journey through time and nature’s splendour.

>>Must visit: Niah National Park a.k.a. Borneo’s ‘Cradle of Life’ is home to palaeolithic burial sites and enigmatic cave paintings.

Kuching is safe and secure

Kuching is known for its welcoming atmosphere and safety, making it an ideal study destination for students. With its proactive law enforcement, incidents of theft are low – of course, locals and tourists alike should observe safety measures at all times.

Kuching’s neighbourhoods are peaceful and close-knit. This fosters a strong sense of community where residents look out for one another. Overall, this adds to the feeling of safety and allows students to focus on their studies without much worry.

With a combination of low-risk and secure neighbourhoods, pleasant weather and affordable cost of living, students can put their full confidence in the choices they make.

>>Good to know: The cost of living in Kuching is lower than in bigger cities like Kuala Lumpur.

Kuching is home to Swinburne University
Kuching is also home to Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. The university is the international branch campus of Swinburne University in Melbourne, offering globally recognised Australian education in the region.

With over 180,000 alumni worldwide, Swinburne ranked 24th in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for THE Young University Rankings (2024) and is among the world’s top 300 universities in QS University Rankings (2025).

Swinburne Sarawak boasts a graduate employment rate of more than 95% with its alumni working for prestigious companies such as Shell, Intel, Ernst & Young, Facebook, Pfizer and Google. This career success reflects Swinburne’s commitment to preparing its students for global careers.

Swinburne Sarawak 2024

Swinburne Sarawak is poised to be the next-generation university at the forefront of higher education in the region

With its upgraded campus facilities offering modern and tech-centric facilities, Swinburne Sarawak offers a supportive learning environment and programs in engineering, business, design, computing and science to those seeking globally recognised Australian education. Being a Swinburne Sarawak student means joining a vibrant campus community and having first-hand access to a network that helps you achieve your career goals.

>>Did you know?: Studying at Swinburne Sarawak is a fraction of the cost of studying in Australia while still granting you the same Australian testamur upon graduation.

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