Kuching and Kota Kinabalu are two Bornean cities and both are the state capitals of the two Borneo states of Malaysia - Sabah (formerly North Borneo) and Sarawak.
Both Sabah and Sarawak have separate histories before the formation of the Federation of Malaysia and therefore their capitals are also uniquely different.
I stayed in Kuching and have been to Kota Kinabalu countless times.
It is always nice to make comparison between the two cities as both are state capitals and are more or less the same size in terms of population. It is natural that both cities have these one uppance attitude.
Below are some differences between the two cities:
* Kota Kinabalu is a coastal city while Kuching is very much an inland city but trying to bring the city closer to the sea (by moving development towards the sea).
* Kota Kinabalu has excellent mountains and islands nearby while mountains and islands in Kuching play a second fiddle to other attractions.
* Kuching has old colonial buildings but such buildings are rare in Kota Kinabalu(as it was boomed flat at the end of the Second World War).
* Kota Kinabalu has better air connection to the Far East (Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan ) while Kuching lags behind.
* Kota Kinabalu has One Borneo Shopping Mall which Kuching has The Spring (not to be outdone)
*Kota Kinabalu has the Oceanarium and Discovery Centre (yet to be completed) while Kuching has only the freshwater aquarium (annex to the Sarawak Museum)
*Kuching has the famed Sarawak Museum while Kota Kinabalu has the Sabah Museum.
* Kuching has the Satok Market while Kota Kinabalu has the Filipino Market.
* Kota Kinabalu has railway link but Kuching has only Jalan Keretapi (a reminder of the remnants of old railway).