Sarawak Museum

Top choice in Kuching

Closed at the time of writing and scheduled to reopen in mid-2020 after extensive conservation work, the Sarawak Museum was established in 1891 by Charles Brooke as a place to exhibit indigenous handicrafts and wildlife specimens, many collected by naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in the 1850s. A highlight of the historic old building are the two colonial cannons protecting the entrance.

Over recent decades the museum has focused more on ethnological displays about Borneo's incredibly rich indigenous cultures – including a full-size Iban longhouse – but it is envisaged that in future the museum will restore many natural-history details and exhibition highlights from its heyday a century ago.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kuching attractions

1. Art Museum

0.04 MILES

Closed at the time of writing and scheduled to reopen in mid-2020. This museum featured an exhibit called Urang Sarawak, which deftly and succinctly…

2. Natural History Museum

0.05 MILES

This building, built in 1908 and adorned with Rajah Brooke's birdwing butterfly, so named by famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, is currently being…

3. Museum Garden

0.08 MILES

The landscaped Museum Garden stretches south from the hill, leading past flowers and fountains to a white-and-gold column called the Heroes’ Monument.

4. Sarawak Museum Campus

0.08 MILES

Scheduled to open in mid-2020, the modern and innovative Sarawak Museum Campus incorporates several floors of interactive and hands-on exhibitions…

5. Heroes' Monument

0.11 MILES

Commemorates those who died defending Sarawak in various military conflicts, including WWII.

6. Islamic Heritage Museum

0.14 MILES

Offers a pretty good introduction to Malay-Muslim culture and its long ties with the Muslim heartland far to the west. Displays range from Bornean-Malay…

7. Kapok Tree

0.14 MILES

Huge and ancient tree on Padang Merdeka (Independence Sq).

8. St Thomas’s Cathedral

0.19 MILES

Facing Padang Merdeka (Independence Sq) and its monumental kapok tree, Kuching’s Anglican cathedral (1954) has a mid-20th-century look and, inside, a…