The Main Bazaar area is a good place to shop for souvenier and collectibles arts as the row of shophouses here specialised on these items.
Souvenir-hunters can seek out an assortment of traditional brassware, pottery, ceramics, tribal arts and much much more. The handicraft shops here are stacked floor to ceiling with cultural curios and antiques, and are a treasure trove of Iban icons, Bidayuh bric-a-brac and Orang Ulu ornaments.
What to buy: Brassware, pottery, ceramics, tribal arts, cultural curios and antiques.
What to pay: Depends on how much you can afford, but always bargain for the best deal.
The Satok Weekend Market on Jalan Satok starts on Saturday afternoon when traders bring produce from their farms and continues on till Sunday. There is are also many unique ferns and plants, wild honey, wild orchids, traditional herbs (used as medicine) and fruits from the jungles.
Look out also for sago worms (considered as a delicacy by the natives), bidin (a type of green fern that is eaten as a vegetable), unique yellow and red pulpy and sticky jungle fruits, bright yellow egg-plant (yes it is edible!), various types of lime, sour sop and the occasional jungle durian which has red coloured flesh, and very thin pulp, and a unique, sharp soap-like taste (not like the normal cultivated durians).
Handicrafts and ethnic carvings are also available.
There are a wide variety of snacks and sometimes SNAKES in baskets! I'm not sure if these are meant to be eaten or to be kept as pets...
What to buy: Wild Orchids
Jungle Fruits & Vegetables (such as Bidin)
Snakes (just a joke, although they ARE being sold here!)
The Main Bazaar (with shops dating back to 1864) along the riverfront is where you will find many interesting shops (tourists and female shoppers take note!) peddling antiques, curios and handicrafts.
If you like, you may put your bargaining skills to test here! There are Old and new antiques, Iban and Bidayuh carvings & handicraft, curios, masks, antique & ethnic jewellery (brass, copper and silver are the most common) and souvenior items.
There are also everyday items (such as plastic pails, wooden clogs, iron woks, Good Morning face towels, brooms, woven mats, etc.) at non-tourist prices.
Some years ago, I bought an interesting silver belt made out of old one-sen coins joined together. It can be worn as a necklace or a belt, and it does add an ethnic touch to my outfits.
What to buy: Iban and Bidayuh handicrafts & weapons
Silver Trinkets, Jewellery
Rattan & wooden crafts
What to pay: Need to bargain and shop around. No fixed prices.
India Street is one of the oldest street of Kuching. In the early days, Indian merchants conducted their business here. Though most of the shops are now Chinese operated, there are still a number of Indian curry-houses, spice shops and textile merchants here.
Before air-conditioned shoppings began to sprout all over Kuching, India Street was the place to shop for shoes, clothings, textiles & foodstuffs.
The old -style architecture of the shops plus the very local ambience of the place makes it worth a stop.
What to buy: No high-end shopping here, but it's a good place to shop for cloth....if you wish to tailor your own dress ( anybody still do that?)
If your shoes are worn out from a walking tour, this is also the place to get some cheap shoes.
It is own by its own owner and famous in selling birds'nests and Sarawak Pepper, besides these they also have local handicraft , local made curry paste, laksa paste, pepper sweets, handicraft, local made T-shirts, etc..
Items and goods here are more reasonable because it is their own shop house with no rental and have quite a number of workers working for them esepcially those with bird's nest section. Tourists also can see how the workers and skill of cleaning the swiftlet's nests. They need younger girls with good eyesight as they have to clean the birds hair from the saliva, they will let you know how the process works by watching the video 5 to 10 mins and later to see what and how the bird's nests are like
What to buy: There are many items besides these , there is another shop specialised in pottery and they are famous for their art work skill, same as the bird's nests they emply younger people to do the art work for the pottery. Situated at 4th Mile from Kuching town, you can stop by if you do visit the Orang Utan rehablititation centre.
What to pay: For Sarawak Pepper there are two kinds, Black and white, and definitely the white are more expensive. Foreigners often buy those black pepper for seasoning. They have different kinds, selected ones are slightly expensive and they have its quality. You can buy them from RM5 onwards per packet. Birds nests also have varieties from cheap to expensive and sell in grams, it all start with the price near to RM200 per packet .
For potteries various kinds to choose from jars, mug, pottery for flowers, peh holder, umbrella holder, lamp shade, stool, etc.. as cheap as RM5 for a small one, and a lamp shade cost around RM120 very reasonable as that is their own factory too and from generation from father to son. Can stop by anytime after a tour to Orang Utan or Fairy Cave, it is 5 miles from town
Would you like to spice up your life? If you answer is YES, shops like these stock a wide range of exotic spices in rich colours. There are different types of curry powder or paste, chillies, tumeric, cinnamon, cardamon - you name it, they've got it ...and more.
To find them, just follow your nose - the aroma of the rich mix of spices on open display will lead you to them.
What to buy: Spices for those curries, marsalas and khurmas.
Main Bazaar are shop houses near the water front where you can buy the Sarawak Matt, Sarawak Layer Cakes, Antiques, Local Craft, Shirts, Pepper and so many other things.
Price is so reasonable here and you can bargain for the price. A few shop here may give you discounted price even if you dont even ask for it.
What to buy: Sarawak Matt , Sarawak Layer Cake (RM18 - Liza brand is delicious), antiques, local craft and even Sarawak pepper.
Kuching is an excellant place to collect art, crafts, artifacts produced by the indigenous people upriver. It is also fun to poke your head inside the spice shops and fresh produce markets. Of course, no trip to an Asian city is complete without exploring the local fish market.
I had converted this decorative bubu into a lamp which can be easily place on any tabletop or any corner of the room.
I stumbled over this miniature bubu (fish trap) It's certainly a great buy & perfectly satisfies after the conversion.
What to pay: Bubu=RM18
Lamp with 3-pin Plug=recycled Ikea lamp holder
Switch=donated by a friend
Along this road you'll find several shops which offer everything from cheap keychains to antique Iban wooden masks and sculptures. Recommended by the locals as the best place to go souvenir shopping.
What to pay: Don't forget to bargain.... you can usually take 30-50% off their initally asking price.
The building is located at 52 Main Bazaar, essentially across the street from the Waterfront Lodge and next to the Square Tower. It was built in 1930, and was previously the offices and warehouse of the Sarawak Steamship Company. The building has been restored and is home to the Kuching Waterfront Bazaar, which includes a restaurant, souvenir stalls, exhibition area and a handicrafts gallery.
What to buy:
Most of the handicraft, souvenir, curio and antique shops can be found along the Main Bazaar. Must-buy souvenirs should include handwoven Pua Kumbu (ceremonial blanket), traditional headgear, Sarawak mats, blowpipes, pottery, wood carvings and the Orang Ulu beads and beadwork.
Those interested to know more about the craft of Sarawak can drop by at the Sarawak Craft Council which is located at the Round Tower, opposite the General Post Office. (See Things to Do tips)
Pepper products are sold at most of the shops here.
Other than shopping for handicrafts and souvenirs, you can also shop at the many travel agencies here. They organise city day tour, visit to long house, national parks / caves.
This shop offers the best selection of antiques, arts and traditional handicrafts in the whole of Borneo, and for exotic jungle produce.
You can even order thru the internet. That way, you don't have to spend and take the trouble to come all the way to Borneo island just to get the things you wanted. All you have to do is contact them via email! Isn't it easy?! :-D
What to buy: (a) Wholesale & retail of new & old Borneon style artifacts, furnitures & souvenirs;
(b) Hand-carved wooden doors, tables, chairs, leases, tiles, lampstands, frames, trays, etc;
(c) Hand-woven textiles, baskets, hats;
(d) Custom order of wood totems, statues, furnitures & fittings.
What to pay: It offers competitive prices. If you check out the price and compare the price, you'll find it very reasonable!
There are many versions of the famous Lapis Serawak, but this one seems to be honest and good.
For information, these layer cakes are very difficult to make. It takes lots of patience to produce the required patterns on the cakes.
They even do a delivery all the way to Johor Baru, but not Singapore yet, as the shipping cost is very expensive.
What to buy: Try the Nescafe Lapis, a mocha flavoured cake
What to pay: RM20 for a small box
What to buy:
This is a type of fish very popular among the locals. The meat is tasty but full of fine bones. Be cautious when eating it. It can be grilled or preserved with salt as an appetiser. Some local tourists even packed it frozen to send home. It can be easily found in market stalls or seafood restaurant.
What to pay: 3 salted Terubok fish for RM10