Sarawak, part of East Malaysia, stretches along the north west coast of the tropical island of Borneo. It’s a spectacular paradise dominated by dense, lush vegetation, vast caves, white sandy beaches and intense, powerful sunsets. Thick jungles are home to so much life it’s faintly terrifying; trees teem, roots squirm, flowers drip with nectar and carnivorous plants set traps. In the canopy, wobbly-nosed proboscis monkeys swing, and fuzzy, graceful orangutans glide between trees, bending branches and grabbing fistfuls of fruit as they go. Riverbanks are lit by fireflies above and prowled stealthily by crocodiles in the waters below. The remote areas are home to many indigenous tribespeople too; there are 28 ethnic groups in Sarawak, each with their own distinct culture and language.
The capital city of Kuching is a huge contrast, then - inhabited by approximately 325,000 people, it buzzes with modern life and a heck of a lot of cats. The word Kuching is thought to derive from the Malay word kucing, meaning cat, and felines are everywhere, immortalised in statue form and prowling the streets looking for food or a tickle behind the ear.
Wherever you go here however, there is good food. The cuisine focuses on the use of the many abundant native ingredients such as spices, seafood and vegetables, and flavours are full whack, intense with a certain clarity that mirrors the vibrancy of the people, the wildlife and the environment. Here’s what you really mustn’t miss when visiting Sarawak.