Malaysian Borneo has been inspiring explorers and intrepid travelers for centuries, and even today it feels largely uncharted. Thick jungles cover 70 percent of the state of Sarawak. Reigning over the other 30 percent is Kuching, a delightfully compact capital with an even blend of big-city conveniences and small-town charms.
Many hotels in Kuching are housed in beautiful period houses. Local buildings were spared destruction during WWII and have been artfully restored. Few cities can relate such an evocative history. Kuching formerly belonged to the Sultan of Brunei, who ceded the entire area to an adventurer names James Brooke in return for his help quelling a rebellion. The city was ruled by the Brooke family as by a maharaja for three generations, until it fell to the Japanese during WWII.