Getting Around, Kuching Travel, Transport and Car Rental

(Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia)

Travel in and around Kuching is easily arranged, if a little idiosyncratic. Those travelling internationally by air will need to pick up a flight to Kuching from either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, and practical transport options such as car rental are easily available either at the airport or in the city centre.

Long-distance buses from major cities are comfortable and offer value for money, but unreliable local bus transport around the Kuching area is not recommended. Unlicensed taxis are best avoided, due to being overpriced and potentially unsafe. Ferry trips along the coast to nearby towns are enjoyable and various express boats serve the suburb of Pending.

Kuching International Airport (KCH) / Arriving by Air

Address: Jalan Lapangan Terbang, Peti Surat, 1070, Kuching, Malaysia, MY
Tel: +60 032 070 8606
The main air travel gateway to Sarawak is Kuching International Airport, located some 11 km / 7 miles to the south of downtown. This busy facility connects Kuching to Kuala Lumpur with daily flights, and also hosts flights to Singapore and several cities within the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The airport's single terminal can handle up to five million passengers annually, with Malaysia Airlines, SilkAir and Air Asia served by this modern and comfortable newly upgraded facility. Travellers should note that all flights to destinations outside Sarawak, even Kuala Lumpur, are considered international.

Car Rental

Car hire is easily arranged at Kuching International Airport or in advance online, with self-drive the best way to travel around the city and the huge state of Sarawak. Given the consistent humidity, air-conditioned comfort is its best feature. Roads in the state are surprisingly well-maintained as regards the main routes, but the principal towns are a considerable distance from each other. As regards local drivers, extreme or even paranoid caution is highly recommended.

Buses and Coaches

Kuching's express bus terminal is on the Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli, and long-distance buses arrive here from Sibu (eight hours), Bintulu (ten hours) and Miri (14 hours), as well as other Sarawak cities and Pontianak in Indonesian Borneo. Buses for closer destinations leave from various stops in the city centre.

Local buses are old, noisy and uncomfortable, and the timetable and routes can prove confusing, although bus transport is certainly very cheap. Shuttle vans fill the void to some extent, offering various commuter routes around the city, but the unlicensed versions should always be avoided for safety's sake.


Taxi travel in Kuching is comparatively expensive and somewhat of a lottery, as although taxis are metered, their drivers don't use the meter and can (and do) charge any amount they like. Taxis are available for the journey from the airport to downtown and easily hailed around the city itself, but alternative methods of transport are advisable for those staying in the city.

Boats and Ferries

Although there are no ferries sailing from Kuching to the Malaysian mainland, local ferries run to other cities along the coast, including Sibu, Bintulu and Miru, providing express services from the Tanah Puteh Port on the eastern side of the city. Small water taxis ferry people across the Sarawak River.