We enjoyed the sunset cruise which commenced around 5pm heading upstream until it came to a low bridge which caused us to turnaround and go seawards past the town centre and continue on to where many fishing vessels were anchored.
The cruise boat was large and our deck was high above water which gave us an excellent viewing platform to view the riverbanks and the variety of local homes, many from a past era, intersperced by some modern mansions and several magnificent mosques. There was activity on the river with the little sampans ferrying locals across the river, dragon boats training for a big event, and various other local craft including local fisherman hurling his net and immediately retrieving it hopeful that HE has caught his dinner.
The commentary was good and the floorshow by local dancers was excellent.
Cruise cost was 60RM per person (Au$ 21 each) and included soft drink and nibbles.
To me Sarawak River is the most beautiful in Malaysia, you can go river cruising by ferry at the water front. Fare is reasonable, starting from RM25 for adults depending on the package you choose. There will also be cultural show on the ferry. The view of villagers flying kites in the evening at the river bank is amazing....
Sungai Sarawak or Sarawak River flows through Kuching city and serves as the highway for the coastal & upriver villagers in the region. If you have time, it is a good idea to take a leisure cruise along the river and see Kuching from a boat. You'll be able to pass by little villages, the new commercial district, Fort Margherita, Kuching Waterfront, the Astana and the Main Bazaar
You'll be able to take a river cruise from a travel agent and most hotels.
Taking a river cruise on a "tambang" is one of the loveliest and most relaxing experience I had in travelling throughout Malaysia. You can easily hire one on the city centre's riverfront; at time of my visit in Aug 2005, it costed me RM30 for a one-hour ride. Aside from relaxing while the boat takes you around along the Sarawak river, you can also visit the attractions of the northern bank of the river, such as the Istana and Fort Margherita as well as having a good view of the State Mosque, and the riverfront. The pictures attached tell more than words of my experience crusing the Sarawak river of a tambang.
Note that drivers (sailors?) usually speak little to no english, but you will somehow manage to agree on duration and price.
The history of modern Sarawak began when an English adventurer James Brooke sailed up the Sarawak River in his schooner in 1839. Retrace this historic route with a boat ride down this same river, which still bustles with its charm.
The trip offers a panoramic view of the fast developing Kuching City, where the presence of old building standing admist modern ones give the place a quaint character. Although Kuching has undergone much development over the years, its waterfront still retains its old charm. This contrasting picture is readily apparent with a river cruise where one will notice the commercial growth on one side of the river and the idyllic village lifestyle on the other.
The cruise passes through the Waterfront Esplanade, the many historical and beautiful landmarks such as the Fort Margherita, the Astana, the gilt- Domes Mosque, Brooke Dockyards, Market place, Traditional Malay houses built on stilts and a Chinese fishing village.
A great way to spend an afternoon in Kuching is cruising down the Sarawak River. Several companies do one and a half to two hour trips up and down the river in the late afternoon leaving from the Waterfront. Cost is around 80 to 100 Malaysian Ringgit. The cruise will take you up river where you can see some of the water side industry along with traditional villages including houses on stilts right beside the river. Downstream you will see some beautiful buildings including the Astana and waterfront mosques. There are great views of the city from the water and splendid sunsets.
The Sarawak River Cruise goes for 1.5 hours and cost RM60 each, we could have booked a cheaper tour but we liked the look of this big boat. There is unlimited free drinks of orange juice and plates of delicious layer cake and you can also purchase alcohol from the bar.
The cruise was a bit late leaving and we thought it must be tourists who were late but then there was a welcome aboard announcement to the Chief Minister of Sarawak, his wife, children and grandchildren. Of course I took a nice family photo of them all.
We really enjoyed the cruise and the views along the way were beautiful, like the National Assembly Building which was designed using the same principles as the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower, such an incredible looking building.
We cruised past the beautiful Kuching Mosque, Astana, Fort Margherita and little Malay villages and once the sun started to set the colors were fantastic.
The commentary along the way is very good and there is also a small cultural show.
A river cruise is a great way to see the city. It is also a good way to see some traditional Malay Kampungs (traditional villages).
Stroll along it. Take a River ferry across it. Have a meal next to it. In the evening watch the fantastic sunsets over it. Very beautiful.