Being the venue of the annual international event Rainforest World Music Festival and located at the foothills of Mount Santubong, I was interested to visit and see for myself the famous Sarawak Cultural Village. I always believe that the culture in a country is what makes a place special and worth the visit.
Although Sarawak Cultural Village is 35km from Kuching, it is worth the trip if you’re interested to learn about some of the main ethnics and cultures in Sarawak. That includes the costumes, music, dances, handicrafts, weapon, history of each races, and many more.
5 Houses at Sarawak Cultural Village
There are 5 houses to 5 main ethnics showcased at the Sarawak Cultural Village. It’s very interesting to see longhouses or tallhouses that are closely similar to how the original homes are. Everything is down to the “T”, including the type of wood used or the colors of art motives on the walls.
What’s more fascinating are having the locals in each home, doing their usual daily work, carvings, weavings, and doing them in their traditional costumes too.
Bidayuh Barok (Rumah Bidayuh)
The Bidayuh, or fondly known as “Land Dayaks” by early European travellers, is a group comprising the Jagoi, Biatah, Bukar-Sadong, Salakau and Lara people of West Sarawak. You can find the Bidayuh people living in steep limestone mountains and because of the location they live in, they construct systems of gravity-fed water supply near their homes.
I absolutely love the shape of their house. The one below is the house where male warriors gather before going out for war or for hunting.
Iban Longhouse (Rumah Iban)
The Iban, on the other hand are once known as the “Sea Dayaks”. A traditional Iban longhouse is built of axe-hewn timber that are tied with creeper fibre and using leaf thatch as roof. Most of their houses are built by riverbanks with easy access to approach the houses via the river.
What usually interest me about the Ibans are their tattoos. I don’t have a tattoo and neither would I ever have one, but reading about how they make their traditional tattoos intrigues me – in the name of tradition.
Penan Hut (Rumah Penan)
The Penans are nomads and they live in the jungle. They built shelters or huts that can last for a few weeks or months and when their food resources diwndles, they shift to another place.
Penans specializes in blowpipes – both making and using them. It requires a great deal of patience to make the blowpipe, taking time to dril, trim and polish them. The dart is then made from softwood whilst the poison for the dart is from the sap of the upas tree.
Ulu Longhouse (Rumah Orang Ulu)
Walking to the Ulu longhouse by myself and climbing a few steps to the top was refreshing for me, partly because of the quiet environtment of the area. The Ulu longhouses are made to last, using solid ironwood because these people practices settled agricultures and find no need to move.
In the past, the Ulus are famous as sword-smiths. But nowadays, they can do other things as well, such as mending a circuit board (which was what one of the Ulu man was doing when I came to the house. We chat a little but I forgot to take his picture, sorry.)
Melanau Tall House (Rumah Melanau)
The Melanau people traditionally lives near the sea and usuLly built their houses forty feet above the ground. What distinguishes the Melanaus from other ethnics in Borneo is the fact that they prefer sago than rice.
In the house that I visited, there are traditional handicrafts sold which also includes the clothes made from tree bark as the picture above.
Malay Town House (Rumah Melayu)
The Malays, like all local houses, use wood for their homes. The similar characteristics of the Malay houses is that they are built on stilts, with a verandah at the front of the house where most strangers waits at before being invited into the house. The Malay houses here are similar to the ones at Peninsular Malaysia too.
Chinese Farm House (Rumah Cina)
The Chinese Farm House is the only house in the village that’s on the ground. This house looks like a common Chinese house found in Peninsular Malaysia, with red lanterns hung at the ceilings and splashes of red around the house – table cloths, signs and such.
The floor is made of trodden earth, the walls of whitewashed sawn timber and the roof is thatched with leaf attap.
Cultural Show at Sarawak Cultural Village
Cultural shows are available here every day at 11.30am and 4pm. You will get to experience and see for yourselves dances by the different ethnics such as :
- Ngajat Lesong (Iban)
- Ngajat Pahlawan (Iban)
- Rejang Be’uh (Bidayuh)
- Tolak Bala (Bidayuh)
- Langgi Julang (Bidayuh)
- Datun Julud (Orang Ulu)
- Kanjet Ngeleput (Orang Ulu)
- Tarian Menyak (Melanau)
- Alu-alu (Melanau)
- Senandong Sarawak (Malay)
- Tarian Royong (Malay)
- Serampang Baru (Malay)
- Lion Dance (Chinese)
Make sure you come early for the shows. Food and beverages are not allowed into the theatre.
I find my visit here fun and interactive. The village is very big which you can have fun walking and exploring with friends or by yourself. And if you feel tired, there is a lake in the middle of the village to sit by.
Entry price : RM60 (Adult), RM30 (Children aged 6-12)
Opening Hours : 9am – 4.45pm
Cultural Shows : 11.30am – 12.15pm & 4pm – 4.45pm
Sarawak Cultural Village Pantai Damai, Santubong. Tel : +6082 - 846 108 / 846 078 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org URL : www.scv.com.my