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Sarawak River Traditional Boat Cruise

It was a beautiful day and I decided to go on the Sarawak River Traditional Boat Cruise.  Such cruise is available on Malaysia Holiday packages.

The ride starts at the Kuching Waterfront and is quite popular among tourist.  Guest can expect to enjoy a calm ride along the Sarawak river on the boat ride.

I purposely wanted to go on the ride because I felt that as a local, I should know and experience the tourism products available in my home town.


First of all, compared to the Sarawak River Cruise which utilizes the ship Equator, the Sarawak river traditional boat cruise uses a small traditional boat to bring guest for a ride along the Sarawak river.

The boat used for the traditional cruise is slightly bigger than the ones used for the penambang rides.

The penambang boats are smaller in size

These traditional boat have been modified to allow guest to enjoy the scenery when the boats are cruising along the Sarawak river.

The route of the Sarawak River Traditional Boat Cruise is also shorter than the Sarawak River Cruise.  The  experience itself is significantly different.

This comes despite the person manning the ticketing counter claiming that the differences is only in the beverages offered on the Equator.

Those joining the boat cruise that day

Going onto the boat itself gives some sort of excitement to those unfamiliar with boat rides.  The boat rocks from left to right when one enters it and balancing the boat is the task of every passenger.

I’m used to boat rides so it didn’t bother me as much.  Others I noticed were panicking the moment they realized the boat was shifting sideways.  They screamed a bit every time someone new went into the boat.

As the boatman started the engine, the boat cruised up the Sarawak river smoothly.

The view from the boat was indeed spectacular.  It was indeed eye-opening. It was one of those moments you realize you don’t really know your city that well.

The view from the boat ride is spectacular

The soft breeze gazed my face as the boat sailed past the Darul Hana Bridge, the Astana, Brooke Dockyard and many other landmarks I’ve only seen from land.  The view from the river was indeed different.


Since all the views were rather different to me, I was busy snapping photos of the beautiful scenery.  I was so intrigue by he view that I only realized we had reached the end of our cruise up-river when the boat was making a u-turn.

The amazing Kuching sunset reflecting itself on the Sarawak river.

The change of route was greeted by the soft amazing sunset of Kuching.  The sunset was simply mesmerizing as it reflected itself on the glittering shine of the Sarawak river.

Heading down-stream revealed the less explored (and less developed) side of Kuching.  Here large fishing boats were docked.

Fishing boats docked at the Sarawak river.

Fishermen, back from the days trip to sea can also be seen on these boats as some waved to us with smiles.

Our traditional boat ride passed by some high rise apartments and what seemed to be a forgotten waterfront, before the made a come about to the Malay village which was opposite the grand looking apartments.

Plaza Merdeka (from left), Kuching Mosque and Sarawak Museum from the Sarawak river

It was here that the sounds of the Azan (a Muslim prayer) broke the silence of the boat engine as we continued to venture back to the jetty.

Leaving the boat was rather uneventful, but if you want to see a short video I made of the ride, I’ve embedded it below. [Link to video]


A ride on the Sarawak river traditional boat cruise only cost RM19 per adult and RM9 per child (below 12 years of age).  All payment are in cash.

There’s three different boats in service for the cruise; the Orang Ulu boat, the Malay boat and the Iban Long boat. I took the Orang Ulu boat. It was by chance. You can wait for your preferred boat.

Lovely Kuching seen from the cruise

The ride takes about an hour to complete and it starts at 10AM.  The last cruise is at 6:30PM.  You can go directly to the Kuching Waterfront to get a ride.  Booking is not required unless you come in a huge group.  You can also consider an  all inclusive holidays to Asia if you intend to plan the cruise ahead.

Anyway, the cruise comes without any frills.  This means there’s no refreshments or food provided.  You only get the ride on this particular traditional boat cruise.

That said, if you are seeking something relaxing to do in Kuching, a ride on the Sarawak river traditional boat cruise may do just the trick.

For more activities you can do in Kuching, check out our Kuching activity page.


Cyril Dason

Cyril Dason was born and currently lives in Kuching. He loves jungle trekking, clean rivers and chilling out with friends.

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