The Place Kuching, the state capital of Sarawak, in Malaysian Borneo.
The Route Flying in from Kuala Lumpur takes an hour and 45 minutes; Malaysia Airlines operates multiple daily flights on the route.
The Draw The legendary White Rajahs of Sarawak live on in the city’s grand colonial buildings. Among the best-preserved of these are the Astana, built in 1870 by Charles Brooke as a wedding present to his wife, and Fort Margherita, constructed a few years later to ward off pirates.
What Else? Kuching is the starting point for trips to a number of Borneo’s national parks, including Bako, the Kuching Wetlands, and Gunung Gading, where you can hunt one of the world’s largest flowers, the endemic Rafflesia tuan-mudae.
Why Now? The annual Rainforest World Music Festival returns to the Sarawak Cultural Village on June 28–30 with an eclectic mix of acts from well outside the mainstream. Along with the best in local indigenous music, this year’s packed bill includes an american Cajun band, rhythmic Vallenato from Colombia, and a Chinese chamber music ensemble.
Where to Stay The Pullman Kuching (doubles from US$190) is the city’s newest five-star hotel, with 389 well-equipped rooms and views of the Sarawak River. It will also be hosting the inaugural Borneo World Music Expo, a fringe event to the main festival featuring trade fairs, workshops, and concerts.
This article originally appeared in the June/July 2013 issue of DestinAsian (“Sarawak Sortie”)