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Kuching Festival, Sarawak – Guide, details and tips

Kuching Festival is an annual event organised by Kuching South City Council (MBKS) to commemorate Kuching being elevated to City status on 1st August 1988.

According to the MBKS website, the event is held to boost local tourism and food industry, and includes dramatic performances, musical concerts, galleries, exhibitions, essay writing competition and many more.

A food stall within the Kuching Festival – Photo by Cyril Dason

The main attraction within the festival however is the food fair which offers festival goers a chance to enjoy a wide range of mouth-watering and sometimes unique food and drinks.

To get a glimpse of the Kuching Festival, check out the video below.

WHEN TO GO TO THE KUCHING FESTIVAL

The festival gates open beginning at 4PM, but the crowd really start swelling up at 6PM daily, and most stalls are operational by then.  Every year, there’s a a articular dish that becomes the highlights of the festival, and if you are unlucky, it would likely be sold out by 8PM.

The Kuching Festival usually starts in August, but dates can change.  Here’s the dates of the Kuching Festival previously:

  • 2015: 31 July – 23 August
  • 2016: 29 July – 21 August
  • 2017: 28 July – 20 August
  • 2018: 27 July – 19 August

WHAT TO EXPECT

First and foremost, you should know that entrance to the festival itself is entirely free.

Tables and chairs are are available and are free to use, but you must be prepared to share or eat on the go. From my experience, getting a table is hard, so if you are going with a large group of friends, the only way to get a table to yourself is to ‘park’ someone there, and everyone takes turn to buy their food.

Kuching Festival
Canopies are used to house numerous types of stalls at the Kuching Festival – Photo by Cyril Dason

Since the place is packed, light cool clothing is encouraged, and it is advised to bring your own bottled water to stay hydrated although you can also opt to buy drinks at the festival area. The festival area is on sealed ground, so you don’t have to worry about getting dirty. Also, mobile toilet facilities are available around the festival areas and are clearly labeled.

There is no nearby ATM machine, and credit/debit cards are unlikely to be used.  Bring enough cash, and small change.

GETTING TO THE KUCHING FESTIVAL

The Kuching Festival is usually held on the grounds of the MBKS head office, which also has well maintained parks, an open air concert hall, a community building as well as a large parking area.

The iconic MBKS Building – Photo by Cyril Dason

You can get to the festival grounds by asking your cab driver (or UBER/GRAB driver) to drive to the MBKS Building, which is a landmark by itself in the city.

Locals tend to fill up parking spots fast, so unless you really need to drive, it is advisable to take public transportation.  Walking is also a good option as it is not far from the city center, and it allows you to pass by several interesting places in Kuching City.

MORE EVENTS IN KUCHING CITY

Aside from the annual Kuching Festival, a wide range of other events also happen in Kuching City with the award winning Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) headlining the list during the second week of July annually.

Aside from the RWMF, the Rainforest Fringe Festival showcases local art and cultural talents happens in July as well, while the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival (KWJF) brings blues music to the city in September.

For sports enthusiast, the annual Kuching Marathon is usually held in August and it is famed for having one of the ‘friendliest’ run routes in Malaysia, and the Sarawak Regatta features extremely exciting yet colourful boat races in September.

The Sarawak Regatta is not only exciting, its very colourful and lively. – Photo Cyril Dason

FYI, during the month of June to October, Kuching hotels are usually packed as this is the time most festivals are held around the city.

Check out more festivals in Kuching here.

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