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Population & Religion

Kuching's half a million population is made up of some 26 different ethnic groups.

There is large non-Muslim indigenous communities which are collectively called Dayaks. The ethnic groups within the Dayak community are the Ibans, the Bidayuhs; Kenyah, Kayan, Kedayan, Murut, Punan, Bisayah, Kelabit, Berawan, Penan and Orang Ulu.

Malays, Javanese and Melanaus are grouped together to become the third biggest ethic minority in Kuching.

The Chinese make up the second largest ethnic group and they can be subdivided as including speakers of Hakka, Fu-chou (Hokchiu), Cantonese and Hokkien.

As a multi-religious society, it is common to see mosques, churches and temples built close to each other. Religious related celebrations like Christmas, Hari Raya and Wesak Day are observed in Kuching with a public holiday.

Culture & Tradition

Light and casual clothes as well as a good pair of walking or trekking shoes would suffice for day activities. If you plan to explore the jungle or participate in outdoor activities, the use of mosquito repellent and sun block is advised.

Long sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts when visiting places of worship. Tourists who wish to swim or sun bathe must wear appropriate attire.

Visitors are advised to remove their shoes before entering home or long houses of the local folk.

Language

Most people in Kuching can speak multiple languages.  This is the multilingual uniqueness of Sarawak and its people.

Even though Bahasa Malaysia is the national language,  English is considered the second language in Kuching and is also widely used in the commercial communication.

In the local market, local Bahasa Melayu Sarawak and other languages are being used daily.

A variety of native tongues such as Iban, Bidayuh, Melanau, Kayan, Kenyah, Lun Bawang, Kelabit, Penan and Bisayah are also commonly spoken.

While Mandarin is the medium of instruction in Chinese medium schools, it is also used in public daily communication.  The Chinese community also speak several dialects such as Hokkien, Hakka, Foochow, Teochew, Hainanese, Puxian Min and Cantonese.

Common Phrases

  • Good morning - Selamat pagi
  • How are you? - Apa khabar?
  • I am fine - Saya baik
  • Thank you - Terima kasih

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