AirAsia : has numerous daily flights to/from Kuala Lumpur at bargain-basement prices. They also fly to/from Penang and Johor Bahru. Within Borneo, they fly to/from Bintulu, Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Sibu. Check for prices as they constantly change.
Batavia Air (§rj 082-626299; www.batavia-air.co.id; 1, ground fl, Padungan Arcade Garden, Jin Song Thian Cheok) has flights to/from Jakarta (Java) and Pontianak (Kalimantan) for around US$50 one way.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS; (EJ in Malaysia 1300-883-000, 03-7843-3000, in Kuching 082-220618; www.malaysiaairlines. com;215JlnSongThian Cheok) offers flights between Kuching and Kuala Lumpur (RM259) and Johor Bahru (RM199). They also fly between Kuching and Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Within Borneo, MAS flies to/from Bintulu (RM139), Kota Kinabalu (RM229), Miri (RM139) and Sibu (RM89).
Silk Air ( 082-256772; www.silkair.com; 7th fl, Gateway Bldg, Jin Bukit Mata) has flights to/from Singapore.
Express Bahagia (082-410076) has boats running to and from Sibu (RM45,4V4 hours), departing from the express boat wharf in Pending at 8.30am daily. Note that this is an easier and faster trip to Sibu than the bus, which takes eight hours.
The express-boat wharf is 6.5km east of town in the suburb of Pending. Chin Lian Leong (CLL) bus 1 (RM1.50,30 minutes) connects the wharf with Kuching. It operates from the STC-CLL bus stand near Kuching Mosque and stops on Jin Tunku Abdul Rahman just west of the Hotel Grand Margherita Kuching. Taxis from town cost RM20.
Long-distance buses depart from the Express Bus Terminal (Jin Penrissen), 5km southeast of the centre. There are regular services to Sibu (RM45, eight hours, 10 departures daily between 6.30am and 10pm), Bintulu (RM60, 10 hours, nine departures daily between 6.30am and 10pm), and Miri (RM80, 14 hours, eight departures daily between 6.30am and 10pm).
Numerous Sarawak Transport Co (STC) buses run between the terminal and city for 90 sen. The buses are 3A, 4B and 6, and leave from either in front of the mosque or on Jin Barrack behind the courthouse. A taxi costs RM20.
The closest border crossing from Kuching into the Indonesian state of Kalimantan is located at Tebedu, near Serian. Travellers making land crossings into Kalimantan are required to obtain a visa beforehand from the Indonesian Consulate (1 082-421734; 6th fl, Bangunan Binamas, Jin Padungan; Q 8.30am-noon & 2-4pm Mon-Fri) as the border posts at the Kalimantan border do not issue visas on arrival. Fees and requirements differ from country to country (it's usually RM170); contact the consulate for more information. Visas are granted upon arrival at Pontianak airport - consider flying if you are short on time (around RM184) - overland visas usually take a few days.
GETTING AROUND To/From the Airport
Kuching International Airport (KCH) is 12km south of the city centre. At the time of research there were no public buses connecting the airport and the city centre. If you don't want to take a cab on arrival, then head left (which will feel counterintuitive as taxis head right) and walk for 500m until you hit the main route. Venture across the road to the bus shelter and flag a bus down (all buses in this direction are heading downtown). It may require a bit of patience, but the ride will only cost RM1.
To get to the airport from Kuching, take a Bau-bound bus and ask the driver to let you off near the airport. If the driver doesn't understand you, ask for 'Batu Sentosa' (or 'Mile 7'), but make sure you get off before the bus reaches the junction.
Taxis will cost around RM24. Buy a coupon before you leave at the counter outside the terminal entrance.
lambcmg (small passenger ferries) will ferry you across Sungai Sarawak for destinations such as Fort Margherita and the Astana. The fare is 30 sen, which you pay as you disembark. You can catch tambang at several jetties along the waterfront.
There are several car rental agencies in the arrivals hall of Kuching International Airport. Despite the fact that they have different names, most of them are fronts for the same company, and it's very difficult to play one off against another in the hope of getting a better price.
There are taxi ranks around the city centre and at the Express Bus Terminal. Most short trips around town cost between RM6 and RM10. Taxis in Kuching do not have meters, so be sure to settle on the fare before setting out. Luckily, most of the drivers are fairly honest and you don't have to bargain too hard.
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