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Serikin: Sarawakians’ favourite border market

Located on the border between Indonesia and Malaysia, Serikin is famous among local Sarawakians for its affordable household items and batik-themed clothing.

The reason why prices at the market here are so cheap is due to the fact that the sellers come from neighbouring country Indonesia.

The market is located about 15km from Bau town and 80km from Sarawak’s capital, Kuching city.

It is held every weekend and has been around for more than 25 years since it was first erected in 1992.

Pick your rattan furniture at Serikin Weekend Market.

Is it worth the drive to Serikin?

For foreign tourists, driving for more than an hour to Serikin might not be worth the trip.

This is because most of the items sold are household items such as kitchenware, woven mats, woven food covers, mattresses, pillows and rattan furniture.

If you love woven items, Serikin is definitely a must-visit place.

Unless you are willing to pay for excess baggage fees or ship these items back home, these are not easy-to-carry items you want to haul across the airport.

If you are looking for a memento, you can find more compact souvenirs in more varieties at Kuching city centre than Serikin.

The Malaysian locals including West Malaysian visitors love the market as you can see them bargaining for items like woven mats and mattresses.

Woven mats of different sizes and patterns and rice winnowing baskets.
Buyers browsing through a selection of woven mats to purchase.

But if you are a fashionista visiting Kuching, the drive to Serikin is definitely worth the trip.

Serikin offers a wide range of affordable fabrics with colourful and attractive designs.

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You might find similar designs in and around Kuching and other major towns in Sarawak, but bear in mind that the prices offered in Serikin are slightly lower.

Hence, this makes Serikin also famous among wholesalers.

Channel your inner designer by turning these fabrics into your own style of clothing.

Most of the designs for fabrics and clothing are Sarawak motif-inspired or batik-themed, perfect for those who want a pop of colour or a tribal design for their wardrobe.

A range of batik-themed clothing on display at Serikin.

Some tips and tricks

If you are planning to do your shopping at Serikin, make sure you pack along some bargaining skills.

There is no guarantee bargaining will work in each stall, but it is worth a try.

Besides, the vendors tend to give some discounts if you purchase a large quantity.

Compare the price at different stalls before making your purchase.

Another shopping tip is to always compare prices. Some stalls sell the same item mostly for the same price but you can always ask to double check.

The market stretches over one kilometre so walking from one end to another can be tiring, especially under the hot sun.

Take your time to enjoy your stroll along the one-kilometre long market.

Plan your visit early in the morning or in the evening before it closes at 6pm to avoid the heat.

Even better, carry an umbrella and bring along a bottle of water for you to enjoy your shopping.

But if you forgot to bring your own umbrella or a cap, there are traditional woven hats easily available at the market.

There are grocery shops and small family-run cafes at the market just in case you need food and drinks.

After a visit to Serikin and on your way back to Kuching, you can always drop by to visit other Bau’s attractions such as Fairy Cave, Wind Cave and Tasik Biru.

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There are local farmers trading their produce at Serikin.
A visitor browsing through denim clothing.
Visitors can also pots and other kitchenware at this border market.
Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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