The Darul Hana Bridge Kuching is the only pedestrian bridge that connects the North and South of Kuching at the moment.
News reports suggest that the idea to build the bridge was mooted in 2013 by the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud when he was still the Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Prior to its construction, the bridge sparked controversy with the Pak Tambang (the traditional boats used by villagers to cross the Sarawak river) expressing worry that the bridge would distrupt their daily commuter ridership.
Nonetheless, with a unique ‘S-shape’ design, it is indeed unlikely that daily commuters wanting to save on time when crossing the river would opt to use the bridge. That said, the Darul Hana Bridge Kuching was more of a tourist attraction than a bridge to cross the wide Sarawak River on a daily basis.
The bridge was officially opened on 11 November 2017. It is Kuching’s latest unique landmark, complementing the Brooke-era Astana on the left of the bridge, and the modern yet unique Sarawak State Assembly on the right.
At night, the bridge is a lovely scene with colourful LED lights animating the shape of the bridge which crosses the wide Sarawak River.
ABOUT THE ‘DARUL HANA’ NAME
During the opening of the Darul Hana Bridge Kuching, the Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud explained that the name ‘Darul Hana’ means a place of peace and tranquility, in Arabic.
His explanation however didn’t quell questions on why the bridge was given such an ‘Arabic’ name. Residents of Kuching say that a more ‘modern’ name would fit better as Kuching is known to be multiracial, and the bridge was seen as symbol of unity to many.
Kuching residents familiar with history however noted that Kuching used to be called ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’ when it was ruled by the Brunei Sultanate. Some said that the name was used before James Brooke renamed the land to Kuching.
That said, the name ‘Darul Hana’ was said as a reference to Kuching’s past.
Other speculations on the name include its ties to the nearby Darul Hana development project, which is a huge resettlement of 12 traditional Malay villages in Kuching, most of which are located nearby the bridge.
Despite the official name, locals like myself still refer to the Darul Hana Bridge as ‘Goden bridge’, ‘Waterfront Bridge’ and ‘S Bridge’.
COST, ARCHITECTURE & SPECIFICATIONS OF THE DARUL HANA BRIDGE KUCHING
The Darul Hana Bridge Kuching cost RM35 million, the S-shape structural design was inspired by the meandering rivers of Sarawak.
The 336m darul Hana bridge measures 3.25m in width and loom 12 meters above the water.
Supporting the Darul Hana Bridge Kuching is two cables that are 45 metres high from two 48-degree outward angled steel towers topped out with stylised hornbills, denoting the emblem of Sarawak.
The walkway would appear being held by a web of angled wires — reminiscent of the arched wings of a traditional Bidayuh bamboo bridge.
Two viewing decks, both measuring 30m by 10m and located on each pier, allow pedestrians to stop and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and traditional Malay villages nearby, including enabling them to enjoy closer look at the Astana and the Sarawak State Legislative.
In the evening, expect one of the loveliest sunsets ever.
CHARGES & HOW TO GET TO THE KUCHING DARUL HANA S-BRIDGE
The Darul Hana Bridge Kuching is not hard to find as it is located in the heart of Kuching, at the ever popular Kuching Waterfront.
Nonetheless, if you need help, the map below will be a great guide.
Using the bridge is free, and it is open from 6AM to 12 midnight.