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About Conference Venue

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Riverside Kuching

Strategically located in the heart of Kuching's entertainment, dining, shopping and business district, Crowne Plaza Riverside Kuching is 20 minutes from the Kuching International Airport and minutes away from the city's major tourist attractions. Overlooking the historical Fort Margherita across the Sarawak River, it commands a panoramic view of the city and the Kuching Waterfront; and is adjacent to a 5-storey shopping podium with a Cineplex and bowling alleys. <More>

Transportation from Hotel to Kuching International (KCH):

* Distance: 11 KM / 6.84 MI South West to Hotel
* Taxi Charge (one way): $5.00 (USD)
* Time by taxi: 20 minutes


About Kuching, Sarawak

Welcome to Asia's Best Kept Secret

The state of Sarawak is located in the heart of South East Asia, nestled between Peninsula Malaysia to the west and Indonesian islands to the south and east. Being the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak houses one of the world's richest and most diverse ecosystems. Sarawak and Sabah are separated from West Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia) by the South China Sea. With an area of 124,449.51 square kilometers, Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, making up some 37.5% of the country's total area. The State is divided into eleven Administrative Divisions.

Comprising one third of the continent formerly known as Borneo, Sarawak was famed as a land full of headhunters and longhouses lining lazy rivers. Contrary to these legends, Sarawak has since experienced rapid urban development especially in its major cities. It has emerged as a premier tourist attraction in the region, promoting its richness in culture, adventure and nature.

Despite its growth and development, the state of Sarawak still maintains its reputation as the most exotic state in Malaysia and Asia's best kept secret. Rainforests of Sarawak are among the oldest in the world, boasting the Rafflesia - a plant the size of a coffee table, snakes that fly and bearded monkeys.


Kuching, Cat City of the world

Kuching, in the national language, means cat. This is accentuated by dozens of cat statuettes around the city plus a world-famous cat museum featuring statues, photographs and memorabilia gathered from all over the globe.

The capital city of Sarawak was famed in the early days as a river port ruled by legendary White Rajahs. The olden day stories of Kuching are enchanting, as acknowledged by the dozens of biographies and books published and screenplays written based on its rich history. As the largest city in the state, Kuching is now a rapidly developing city, boasting a population of almost half a million. In the city itself, one can find bustling shopping hubs and eclectic buildings that consist of a mix of modern and post-colonial architecture. Within minutes of journey to its outer boundaries are magnificent mountains, unspoilt beaches and even an award winning "living" museum, the Sarawak Cultural Village.

Kuching's environment is safe and peaceful - ideal for students from any nation. Its topography is free from earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters with a wonderfully tropical climate that is full of sunshine. Voted as one of the most livable cities in Asia in year 2000, Kuching is a superb choice for local and international students to live while pursuing quality tertiary education.


Facts to know

TIME: Sarawak is 8 hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of the U.S. Pacific Standard Time

CAPITAL: Kuching City - population: 600,000 and growing
LANGUAGE: The official language is Bahasa Malaysia but English is widely spoken. Other languages include Chinese dialects, Iban and a number of other native dialects.
RELIGION: The official religion is Sunni Islam. There are also Christians, Buddhist-Taoists, Sikhs and followers of various traditional beliefs. Freedom of worship is respected.
CLIMATE: Typically equatorial with daily temperatures in the lowland varying between 23C and 32C. Rain falls throughout the year but the heaviest falls occur from November to February.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Visitors to Malaysia must be in possession of a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of six months beyond the intended visiting period. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits. Sarawak issues its own visit passes upon entry into the territory. These passes are valid for the rest of Malaysia. For further information please check with Malaysian diplomatic missions or Tourism offices.
HEALTH: No vaccinations are required unless you have been in a yellow fever area in the last six days. Very good overall health situation with most tropical diseases eradicated. Consult a physician if in doubt. Clean and efficient clinics are found throughout Sarawak.
WORKING HOURS: Government offices open from 8.00a.m. to 4.30p.m.; private sector offices from 9.00a.m. to 5.00p.m.; banks from 9.30a.m. to 3.30p.m., Monday to Friday, half day on Saturday; shops generally open from 10.00a.m. to 9.00p.m., Monday to Saturday.
CURRENCY: The local currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM). Money can be exchanged at banks, hotels and licensed money-changers. There are also Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in the towns and at major airports. For the latest on-line currency information go to the The Oanda Currency Converter or The Universal Currency Convertor.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS: IDD phones are widely available, many accepting credit cards. Mobile phones are affordable, with many different packages for pre-paid talk plans.
ELECTRIC CURRENT: Electric supply is on a 220 - 240 volt/50 cycles system, with three pin British-type plugs.
WATER: Safe to drink from taps in towns. Bottled mineral water is widely available.
WHAT TO WEAR: Visitors should bring light, comfortable, casual clothes. A jacket and tie or evening dress may be required for formal wear, but only in an air-conditioned venue. 

Sarawakians appreciate good manners as much as anybody else. Please take care to remove shoes before entering homes, longhouses or mosques. Dress appropriately when visiting places of worship. Pointing with the index finger or foot should be avoided. When refusing food or drinks, the dish should be lightly touched with two fingers of the right hand. Never handle or pass food with the left hand. Public displays of affection are frowned upon as are unnecessary losses of temper. Nude sunbathing or swimming (other than for very small children) is unacceptable.

Probably one of the safest places in the world. Crime rate is very low and there are few animals or plants in the rainforest that may be harmful to people. And because Sarawak is politically stable, kidnapping, terrorism or religious/ethnic internal strife are unheard of.