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The Darul Hana Bridge in Kuching is the only pedestrian bridge that connects the North and South of Kuching at the moment. The idea to build the bridge was mooted in 2013 by the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud when he was still the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Prior to its construction, the bridge sparked controversy with the Pak Tambang (the traditional boats used by villagers to cross the Sarawak river) expressing worry that the bridge would distrupt their daily commuter ridership.
Nonetheless, with an ‘S-shape’ design, it is indeed unlikely that daily commuters wanting to save on time when crossing the river would opt to use the bridge, hence making the Darul Hana S-Bridge more of a tourist attraction than a bridge to cross the wide Sarawak River on a daily basis.
The bridge, officially opened on 11 November 2017, is Kuching’s latest unique landmark, complementing the Brooke-era Astana on the left of the bridge, and the modern yet unique Sarawak State Assembly on the right.
At night, the bridge is a lovely scene with colourful LED lights animating the shape of the bridge which crosses the wide Sarawak River.
ABOUT THE ‘DARUL HANA’ NAME
During the opening of the Darul Hana Bridge, the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud explained that the name ‘Darul Hana’ means a place of peace and tranquility, in Arabic.
His explanation however didn’t quell questions on why the bridge was given such an ‘Arabic’ name, especially since Kuching is known to be multiracial, and the bridge was seen as symbol of unity by many.
Kuching residents familiar with history noted that Kuching used to be called ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’ when it was under the rule of the Brunei Sultanate, with some saying that the name was used before James Brooke renamed the land to Kuching.
That said, the name ‘Darul Hana’ was said to be chosen because it was a reference to Kuching’s past.
Some have however pointed out that the bridge may have been named after the Darul Hana development project, which is a huge resettlement of 12 traditional Malay villages in Kuching, most of which are located nearby the bridge.
Despite the official name, locals like myself still refer to the Darul Hana Bridge as ‘Goden bridge’, ‘Waterfront Bridge’ and ‘S Bridge’.
COST, ARCHITECTURE & SPECIFICATIONS OF THE DARUL HANA BRIDGE
The Darul Hana S-Bridge cost RM35 million, the S-shape structural design was inspired by the meandering rivers of Sarawak.
The 336m darul Hana bridge measures 3.25m in width and loom 12 meters above the water.
Supporting the Darul Hana Bridge is two cables that are 45 metres high from two 48-degree outward angled steel towers topped out with stylised hornbills, denoting the emblem of Sarawak.
The walkway would appear being held by a web of angled wires — reminiscent of the arched wings of a traditional Bidayuh bamboo bridge.
Two viewing decks, both measuring 30m by 10m and located on each pier, allow pedestrians to stop and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and traditional Malay villages nearby, including enabling them to enjoy closer look at the Astana and the Sarawak State Legislative.
In the evening, expect one of the loveliest sunsets ever.
CHARGES & HOW TO GET TO THE KUCHING DARUL HANA S-BRIDGE
The Kuching Darul Hana S-Bridge is not hard to find as it is located in the heart of Kuching, at the ever popular Kuching Waterfront.
Nonetheless, if you need help, the map below will be a great guide.
Using the bridge is free, and the bridge is open from 6AM to 12 midnight daily.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS NEAR DARUL HANA BRIDGE
Going to the Darul Hana Bridge is not without it’s perks. While you can definitely enjoy the beautiful elevated view of Kuching from the bridge, there are several other attractions nearby.
Before you cross the bridge to the North of Kuching, do consider checking out the Old Court House, the Main Post Office Building, the Kuching Waterfront, and the Kuching Old Quarter, which includes India Street, Jalan Main Bazaar, Carpenter Street and Gambier Road.
On the Northern side of the bridge, which is across the river, the elegant Fort Margherita and Sarawak State Legislative are two icons worth to check out although you may not be able to enter due to security reason.
Since there’s so much to check out near the Darul Hana Bridge, staying at The Waterfront Hotel would be a good idea as well as food is easy to find, and it is located above Plaza Merdeka which is one of the many malls in Kuching.