Kuching, the Gem of Borneo

 

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Sarawak and Malaysian Borneo Sarawak is located in the northern strip of the Island of Borneo. It is the largest state in Malaysia (approximately as large as the entire Peninsular Malaysia).  It is also home to one of the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystems and has perhaps the greatest cultural diversity.  Over 30 different ethnic groups live together in perfect harmony.

From the old days of the feared tribal headhunters and mythical Borneon legends, Sarawak has since experienced rapid urban development especially in its major cities. Charming visitors with its unparalleled hospitality, this ‘Land of the Hornbills’ is poised to become the eco, culture and adventure tourism destination in Asia and the World.

The vastness of Sarawak reflects its reputation as one of Asia ‘s best kept secret with innumerable ‘discoveries’ to be made by intrepid travellers. Visit the age old dense tropical rainforests and experience gigantic trees, the world’s largest flower,  snakes, lizards and frogs that fly, Hornbills and endemic birdlife, the strange looking proboscis monkeys and of course man’s cousin of the forest, the mighty Orang Utan.

Sarawak’s unique history lends an air of intrigue with the sovereign ‘Kingdom of Sarawak’ in the 17th and 18 centuries, governed by three generations of the Brooke Family from England known popularly as the White Rajahs.

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Kuching – Cat City of the World Kuching, in the Bahasa Melayu language, means cat and thus this capital city  is adorned 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.  However the local Malay word for the cat is ‘pusak’, therefore a more plausible explanation behind how the city got its name is from its location straddling the Kuching River (named after the Mata Kuching fruit also know as Longan which grew abundantly around the area) which has since been filled in to make way for what is now Temple Street.

Kuching was famed in the early days as a river port ruled by legendary White Rajahs and remains today as the capital and administrative centre of the state of Sarawak.  With its idyllic river front location and a beautifully landscaped waterfront esplanade, heritage buildings and quaint old shophouses, Kuching is an excellent gateway to the wilds of Borneo.  Olden day stories of Kuching are enchanting, as recorded by the dozens of biographies and books published and screenplays written based on its colourful history accentuating further the romance of the land.

Today one finds bustling shopping hubs and eclectic buildings that consist of a mix of modern, pre and post-colonial architecture. Within minutes of journeying to its outer boundaries are magnificent mountains, fabulous national parks, wildlife parks, unspoilt beaches and even an award winning “living” museum, the Sarawak Cultural Village .

Kuching is located in a earthquake free zone and has not been affected by any form of natural disasters. Blessed with  a wonderful tropical climate filled with sunshine, it was recently voted as one of the most liveable cities in Asia.  Kuching is undoubtedly one of the best kept secret in the world and an ideal gateway to explore the wilds of Borneo.