Sarawak Cultural Village, Mount Santubong

Sarawak Cultural Village

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

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)

Sarawak Cultural Village

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.

Sarawak Cultural Village Sarawak Cultural Village

Iban Longhouse (Rumah Iban)

Sarawak Cultural Village

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.

Sarawak Cultural Village Sarawak Cultural Village

Penan Hut (Rumah Penan)

Sarawak Cultural Village

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)

Sarawak Cultural Village

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.)

Sarawak Cultural Village Sarawak Cultural Village Sarawak Cultural Village

Melanau Tall House (Rumah Melanau)

Sarawak Cultural Village

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

Sarawak Cultural Village Sarawak Cultural Village 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.

Admission Details

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 :

Written by 

LizzaBella is a part-time traveler, amateur photographer and videographer and writer. Connect with LizzaBella through her social medias today!

44 thoughts on “Sarawak Cultural Village, Mount Santubong

  1. I really enjoyed checking out the native houses and was entertained by the cultural show. However, I think the entrance fee is a little steep for locals. Therefore, I would allocate more time inside so as to maximise on the fare.

    1. Yes, I agree with you Emily. I wouldn’t mind spending a whole day here though.

  2. Thats really far from Kuching but worth visiting! 🙂 i gonna take loads of picts there hahah

    1. Yeah it is quite far so if you do go, maybe you can spend a day here. I took a LOT of pictures here. LOL!

  3. talk to the right people and you get some very nice joints from them to stone. Went there once, can’t remember what happened after the 1st house. LOL.

  4. I went there many years ago… Enjoyed it very much! Understand Sarawak culture much much more better!

    1. Yeah, it’s a great way to learn about some of the main ethnics in Sarawak at the Cultural Village. But I think Sarawak has so many things to offer when it comes to culture right?

  5. I never been to Sarawak before. After seeing all your photos, its time for me to plan my trip there. Looks interesting.

    1. Indeed it does. Do read my other Sarawak-related posts to know more about Sarawak.

    1. Maybe you should. With our currency situation now, we should be doing some cuti-cuti malaysia to help the economy. Hehe

  6. Interesting Bidayuh culture. Never been to Sarawak yet, probably I should start planning soon. :p

    1. I’ve been here a few times. Love the pace here, even though Kuching is the capital of Sarawak, it is not as busy as KL

    1. Wow. How many years is that? Hope there are significant changes now in comparison to then.

  7. i actually wanted to visit sarawak quite some time d…but always no chance to really realise my wish to visit there. perhaps next year and this will definitely in my list 🙂 cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. Hope you will be able to go to Sarawak next year then. I’m sure it would be a great inspiration to your art too

  8. Aliza sara says:

    Welcome to my hometown. hehe. And yes, this is like a brief walkthrough our villages.

  9. Wow, I love this traditional and vintage place. I would love to visit Sarawak one day. Thanks for your lovely post about this cultural village. Is time for People like us which are living in town to visit this place!

    1. True. At least we get to see some examples of the culture/costumes of some of the main ethnics found in Sarawak at a place like this.

  10. I love the place! Hope I have a chance to visit East M’sia soon

  11. Wow, I never go Sarawak culture village. Next time my family and I try go ya

  12. wow! I would love to go here one day to experience their culture

  13. Never been to Sarawak even my hometown just beside lol. But your post has make us more easier to understand the place and culture.

    1. Really? Well maybe you could make your way to Sarawak one day when you’re back at your hometown.

  14. You guys seemed have so much fun there, such a wonderful trip for those who’s into cultural and heritage 🙂

    1. Yeah we did have so much fun. It is a pretty and relaxing place to learn about cultures and other ethnicity

  15. Oh wow. Such an amazing visit. Would love to experience it myself one day.

    1. Yeah it’s really nice here. There’s even a lake in the middle. Can relax after walking around to visit the houses.

  16. yay my hometown! i love this place, it’s in my opinion the best cultural village in the world!

  17. Pooja Kawatra says:

    THis is quite a wonderful piece of information as didn’t know about this many variety of dances.

  18. Looks like a great place to go to learn the sarawakian’s culture. Thanks for the information tho~ 🙂

    1. Yeah, it is one of the many places in Sarawak (esp Kuching area) to learn about the ethnics available in Sarawak and the differences in their culture.

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