Sarawak, Kuching Waterfront, Fort Margherita, Mira Kek House, Jalan Padungan Cat Statue

It's almost 2pm after short tour at Chinese History Museum, we walk towards to Kuching Waterfront which is just right in front the Museum. The 1km long Waterfront situated in Main Bazaar, along the Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and along the Sarawak River is the south side of Kuching. 

This iconic building Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building located across the Sarawak river looks stunning even from far because of it's golden roof - you should see it with your own eyes as my camera unable to capture the real color.

Sampan (boat in Malay) is commonly use  to cross the Sarawak river to the opposite by locals or tourist. 

Along the waterfront  there are a few jetty / dock where you can go down and ride the sampan to the opposite of the river - Kampung Boyan. One way is RM0.50 per pax. There is always sampan available along the dock and usually you no need to wait too long to get the sampan.

We took one of the sampan to the opposite of the river to visit Fort Margherita and also buy the famous kek lapis. The boat seems like manually paddle by the boatman,  but the truth is the boat runs with engine. haha

 Me busy capture the picture of the above while my husband capture me with our camera.


First, the boatman paddle a little to make the boat heading to opposite jetty's direction, he then pull the string attached on the roof of the sampan to start the engine and let it run for about 30 seconds to speed up the process of crossing the river. And he off the engine continue to paddle till the boat hit the dock! The whole journey took only 1 minute plus (very fast isn't it? though the river seems very wide!)


So we arrived opposite of the river - Kampung Boyan and standing at the dock looking at the Kuching's Waterfront. 

There long bridge can reach the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building and Astana. We did not walk along the bridge view instead we go opposite directions to go to Fort Magherita. We pass by a Food-court (but most of the shops are closed) and arrived on a main road where we can see Mira Cake House at our right and Dewan Undangan Negeri (Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building) on our left. 

Fort Margherita


We heading to the Dewan Undanga direction, soon we saw the blue signboard which lead us to Fort Margherita. There are some nice cafe and homestay and restaurants in this Kampung Boyan. 

Then we pass by this very secluded path ~ a pathway beside the wire fencing of a primary school (SK Gersik). It is kind of quiet and dangerous for single traveller (in our thoughts).

Keep walking till we reach the school gate, there is this very spacious but empty parking space in front of the school. The place seems like no one clean after a function - rubbish everywhere! And the Dewan Undangan Negeri is just right next to the empty parking space.


And ..we arrive to the fort. The stone pathway and heritage fort makes us feel like we are at overseas.


Built by the second Rajah Sir Charles Brooke, the design of this iconic landmark is based on that of a late English Renaissance castle.

The fort is open, but it is so quiet and there is no sign of other visitor. Not even fort guardian can be seen.

Drinks are selling RM2 each but it was locked. You may refer to the photo for the operation hours of Fort Margherita.

Building model of Fort Margherita.


There are this particular wall inside the fort resembled the original fort barrier in 1878. The original wall has a window-like lookout which is similar to the one on the other side of the wall on the ground floor.

Besides that. there is a spiral staircase to second floor (watch tower) but it was close. Some exhibition boards where placed there with photos and explanation of how the fort being renovated and restored. Also banners with information about the history of the fort.


This door is the entrance to the yard where death sentences is carried out in the past - too bad it was lock due to the Fort is currently under renovation. According to the fort guardian, in 2 to 3 months time the Fort will be convert into Brooks Gallery and all sections are close until renovation is done.

But guess what! We are lucky. The guardian willing to open the door for us to let us visit the yard for a short while since there is only two of us and we are coming from far away. There was a French couple in the fort when we arrived however because there is nothing much to see they has left before we met the fort guardian.

The guardian wasn't able to open the lock at the beginning even he try several times. We were little disappointed and we thank him for his effort and kindness before continue to browse around outside the fort. After 2 minutes later, he called us from far and told us the lock is finally unlock. Apparently the lock is rusty therefore it was stuck.


There are 2 jails between the wooden door and gate. It is dark and empty inside so we did not take a picture of it.
 
After enter to the yard, as what explained in the banner, the fort consists of a square tower which adjoins an yard with eight-sided redout. There are cannon ports and an elevated walkway within crenelated walls.

The hotels and buildings across the Sarawak river can be seen if you climb up to the observatory tower.

We also can see the tombstone of the wives of James Brooke from top.


Opposite the observatory tower there is another tower like a storage room with skull sign on the door.


I read from a blog about Fort Margherita and there are a basket of skulls inside but the blogger wasn't sure if it is real. The blogger even took a picture of the skulls.


So when I ask my husband to open the door the guardian immediately stop us from doing it. He said the skulls inside were real and he do not want us to be curse or bad luck for looking at it. (seriously??) But we choose to trust him. 


Note: please left me a message if you do know about the skulls inside if is real or fake. We are so curious to know! Thanks.

Me and the canon. There are various sizes of canon in the yard. The one behind me is the smallest among all. We left the yard after this photo, the whole visit only takes less than 10 minutes as we don't want to give trouble to the fort guardian.

Anyway sincerely Thanks the fort guardian again. If not because of him, we definitely will not have chance to see all this.


Out from the fort, we stop by the tombstone before we left Fort Margherita.




Inscriptions at the original tombstone to the wives of James Brooke. There wasn't much info can be found about this tombstone apparently. End of visit to Fort Margherita!


Mira Cake House


Before take the boat back to Waterfront, we drop by Mira cake house to buy some Kek Lapis (Layer cakes) as souvenirs. The cake house can be easily spotted from far near the dock and it is crowded and pack with customers. When we arrived, there are many tour vans and buses stop right in front of the shop to drop tourists here to buy kek lapis. 


 We both were very thirsty and tired because the weather is so hot and we sweat alot!

The are many flavours of kek lapis (layer cake) and very colourful too. We bought half dozen of the cheese flavour (RM10) and blueberry cheese flavour kek lapis (RM20). The shopkeeper wrap the Kek Lapis in a box for us. 


The sky is getting dark and looks like going to rain heavily, we did not stay long after left Mira Kek House and quickly go back to Waterfront. 


This time the sampan we took stops at the dock behind the Khatulistiwa Restaurant (the unique round building with Attap roof).

Jalan Padungan Cat Statue


Not far from Khatulistiwa Restaurant, we spotted the Cat Statue. Just look for McDonald sign and you will easily find the cat statue.


Rain starts to pour after we took a few pictures with the Cat Statue. We run across the road to Riverside Majestic Hotel and hang around at the Parkson Shopping centre while waiting for the rain stop. After waited for more than half and hour, rain still pouring. We decided to go back to hotel since we were tired. 


We the take the Taxi in front of the Riverside Majestic Hotel. Spotted the Easy Taxi sticker on the window and the taxi driver uncle told us that Easy Taxi and MyTeksi Apps are available in Kuching (it was launched sometimes ago but not too long). He also told us the taxi rate is fixed at RM25 to travel from Imperial Hotel to Riverfront. 

That evening, we went back to hotel and have our dinner at the Boulevard shopping mall next to our hotel. 

Comments

  1. Hi, I read your blog about ur trip in Kuching. And here's the link to ur curiousness http://www.theborneopost.com/2014/08/24/skulls-returned-to-fort-margherita-following-miring/ . LOL!

    As the head hunter (Iban) in Sarawak, they used to regard human skulls (called antu pala) obtained during headhunting raids (ngayau) as their most prized trophy and possession. If you had visited the Sarawak Cultural Village, there's a place near the entrance (a small hut) of Iban/Bidayuh long house with skull hanging in the middle of the room.

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  2. Hi there, thanks for the info, I actually read that article after I wrote my post :) and this blogger actually snap the photo of the skull --> http://www.lwjuan.com/2010/11/13/fort-margherita-kuching/

    Anyhow I am glad that we did not open the door that day as the skull looks scary :P

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