Carpenter Street had been known widely in Kuching as the busiest street in Kuching. Passing Main Bazaar, all the way to the old court, you will notice OCBC Bank on your left before turning left. Those who are not familiar with the roads in Kuching might not notice the left junction to China street. There is an archway before the old post office building, which is a white historical building, built when Charles Vyner Brooke was still ruling Sarawak.
After walking through the archway, you will notice few goldsmiths along the road. Cars parked at both sides of the one-way street and there is Popular Food Court, a 24-hour café on your right. Walking further down, you will see another Chinese food court in front of The Teochew Temple. This food court is quite famous among tourists and locals as there is a stall selling pork satay which opens at 2pm onwards, and opens at certain days only. There are also stalls selling Laksa, Kolo Mee and Kueh Chap at the food court.
After walking along the street, you will notice that the shops are quite old. Some of the shops still retains its traditional wooden window shutters the usage of the Roman alphabet, Chinese writing and Jawi on the shop’s sign.
There are few restaurants, lodges, souvenir shops, furniture shops, convenient stores, clinics, drugstores and goldsmiths. I would like to stress that there are lots of goldsmiths can be found along this street.
Somewhere along the street, you will see Kuching Hainan Association. When you see further up the building, you will see The Hin Ho Bio temple (Temple of the Queen of Heaven), which sits on top of the association’s building. There are also Ethnic Tribal Café; which is famous for their live band performances, Saigon Fusion; a Vietnamese restaurant, Speak Eazy The Alternative Bar; a cozy non-smoking hang out for travelers & locals with alternative music all the way, Uncle Bean Café; serving halal Mocktail & Asian Fusion food, Coffee, Tea, Cake, Smoothie and Ice Blended, and more.
There are some backpacker’s lodges along the street such as Backpackers Stay, Tourist Home, Bori Ottok Guesthouse and Berambih Lodge.
About two decades ago, when shopping malls were almost non-existent in Kuching, I remember walking along the street with my mom. She will definitely stop by at Wai Hing Clothing and Accessories to buy her tailoring necessities. We also used to stop by at Benzamine Book Centre, as it is one of the few book stores in Kuching that sells text book at that time. Now, walking along the street, I was surprised to see that both shops are still there, business as usual. Even the interior had not changed much.
This street had been frequently visited by locals, not necessarily just for tourists. Even though there are several shopping malls in Kuching nowadays, people still visit this street to shop. We hope it stayed the way it is now, so that youngsters and tourists can get to know our Chinatown better.