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Borneo’s most cosmopolitan city, Kuching is the capital of Sarawak. It was founded on the banks of the Sungai Sarawak in the 19th century by the British Empire adventurer Charles Brooke, who named it after the Malay word for cat – which accounts for the scores of feline statues and souvenirs in town as well as the lightweight Cat Museum. The dynasty of “white rajas” that Brooke founded ruled from Fort Margherita and the nearby Astana, a palace that is now the official residence of Sarawak’s governor. Kuching has several good museums of which the best is the Sarawak Museum, providing a fascinating introduction to the state’s rich tapestry of ...

Borneo’s most cosmopolitan city, Kuching is the capital of Sarawak. It was founded on the banks of the Sungai Sarawak in the 19th century by the British Empire adventurer Charles Brooke, who named it after the Malay word for cat – which accounts for the scores of feline statues and souvenirs in town as well as the lightweight Cat Museum. The dynasty of “white rajas” that Brooke founded ruled from Fort Margherita and the nearby Astana, a palace that is now the official residence of Sarawak’s governor. Kuching has several good museums of which the best is the Sarawak Museum, providing a fascinating introduction to the state’s rich tapestry of tribal cultures. Chinatown is an attractive part of town to wander and includes the fine Hong San Si Temple. From late Saturday afternoon through Sunday the Weekend Market is a colorful affair. There are several sophisticated restaurants and bars to visit for evening entertainment as well as some of the best shopping opportunities for traditional Borneo arts and crafts. Day trip destinations include the Kuching Wetlands National Park, home to rich birdlife and the Irrawaddy dolphin; Bako National Park, a great place for hiking, wildlife spotting and beach combing; and the top-class living museum Sarawak Cultural Village.

Simon Richmond
About the Expert

Simon Richmond has written Rough Guides to Malaysia and Japan; Lonely Planet guides to India and Russia; and adventure travel guides for Frommer's on Australia, India, South America, and Southeast Asia.

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Simon Richmond for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located in the eastern Malaysian state of Sarawak
  • Language: Bahasa Melayu and English
  • Currency: Malaysian Ringgit
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The season with the least heavy rainfall is March to October. In early July the Rainforest Music Festival is one of the region's best World Music festivals.