Street Life of Kuching

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    The Satok Weekend Market, which actually starts on Saturday afternoon, has now moved from Jalan Satok to new purpose  built premises just across the river. It is still renowned for the Bidayu ladies who set up shop here selling fruit and vegetables and there are also many good Chinese and Malay stalls. Goods on offer include handicrafts, forest produce (including delicious wild honey), pets of descriptions, orchid plants, live fish, and a whole range of local snacks and delicacies. The market is a must for weekend visitors, as it is very colourful and teeming with shoppers. The best time to go is Saturday night or early Sunday morning.


    Jalan Padungan is lined with Chinese shophouses, mostly built in the in 1920’s and 30’s during the rubber boom. Some are very elegantly decorated, and a walk round the back of the buildings can reveal fascinating architectural details. The area has some excellent coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, more handicraft shops and some unusual specialist retailers including an entire block of fruit and flower sellers. The Great Cat of Kuching, a monumental kitsch statue, is situated at the junction of Jln Padungan and Jalan Central.


    Jalan India is covered pedestrian area lined with shop selling all kinds of goods, particularly textiles, watches, bags and gold jewellery. Mid-way down Jln India is a narrow passageway that passes by the entrance of the Indian Mosque and leads to Jln Gambier, home of Kuching`s Indian spice traders and Chinese hardware merchants.


    The Malay Kampungs (villages) along the riverside next to Fort Margherita have some beautiful examples of traditional and modern Malay architecture and the residents are very pleased to see visitors. Many families here have developed a thriving cottage industry selling kek lapis (Sarawak layer cake) from their homes and are generous with free samples. There are some more superb Malay houses south of the river around Jln Datuk Ajibah Abol, past the Kucing Mosque. Both these areas are particularly noteworthy as they are self-contained, intact traditional communities existing within a modern city. 

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