Malaysia -> Kuching

Kuching, which means "cat" in Malay, is the perfect name for the capital of Sarawak. The city, sprawled lazily on the bank of the Sungai Sarawak, has its own mysterious playfulness that makes it a stop on most itineraries. In 1841, James Brooke navigated the Sungai Mata Kuching ('Cat's Eye River') and shortened the name for the developing city. The more popular story goes that the first rajah pointed to the village and asked its name. The locals, thinking he was pointing to a cat, replied 'kucing' (cat). Either way, Charles Brooke didn't officially change the settlement's name from Sarawak to Kuching until 1872. Much of the town escaped WWII bombing and expanded after the war, fueled by its rubber resources. Today the city is a booming, energetic city with impressive racial, religious, and social tolerance. The Main Bazaar is the city's oldest street overlooking the river and is the heart of Kuching. Many younger people are moving to the eastern commercial quarter where Western-style restaurants, bars and cafes abound. Kuching has many cultural attractions and serves as an excellent base from which to explore the state.

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