Along with being the largest city in the state of Sarawak in East Malaysia, Kuching is also the capital. It is the largest city on the island of Borneo, and the fourth largest city in the entire nation, and while it has only enjoyed city status since 1988, it has emerged into the 21st century as a cosmopolitan hotspot on the Sarawak River, sandwiched between the mountains and the sea and culminating in an absolutely stunning vision of Malaysian modernity.
Kuching has a somewhat complicated history, but one that adds to its unique flavor. 200 years ago Sarawak was part of the Sultanate of Brunei, but was handed over to British adventurer James Brooke as a reward for his help in putting down the rebellion at the time. His family ruled as Rajahs until the Japanese took over in 1941, and in 1963 it was one of the founding members who formed Malaysia. Today, Kuching stands as one of the most multi-racial cities in Malaysia, and while it is not exactly a major tourist destination, it does provide one with a personal look at Malaysian life in a fairly relaxed and definitely beautiful setting.
Monsoon season occurs between November and February, so if you have plans on coming you should probably plan your trip around the monsoons. The festivals throughout the year are part of what makes this city so entertaining to visit, but beyond that there are plenty of beaches and the surrounding island itself, not to mention Mount Santubong and the mountains surrounding looming out of the mists. Accommodations and amenities are fairly modern, and many people speak a smattering of English, making it easy for the Western traveler to get around. Remember that the mosques require specific dress codes to enter, so prepare yourself to accommodate like the old saying suggests: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.