Sarawak Cultural Village, located 45 to 50 minutes drive away from Kuching City, is a cultural living museum spanning 17 acres of land adjacent to Damai Beach Resort and Hotels. It provides a fulfilling experience for people who wish to learn more about the local culture and lifestyle of the various ethnic groups living in Sarawak.
There are nine replica buildings which represent every major ethnic group in Sarawak. These include the Bidayuh House, a Melanau Tall House, Malay townhouse, a Penan Jungle Settlement, a Chinese Farmhouse, the Iban & Orang Ulu Longhouses. Locals in the houses will wearing their respective traditional costumes and carrying out traditional activities such as knife making, playing music instruments and performing their daily living activities.
Sarawak Cultural Village Attractions
Bidayuh House (Rumah Bidayuh)
Bidayuh is the collective name for several indigenous groups found in southern Sarawak, Malaysia and northern West Kalimantan, Indonesia, on the island of Borneo. The name Bidayuh means ‘inhabitants of the land’. Bidayuh house is called “barok”, a roundhouse, It serves as the granary and the meeting house for the settlement’s community. The Barok functions as the congregation place for the Bidayuh warriors and is ﬁlled with gongs, war drums, weapons and wooden masks. The Barok is connected to the longhouses in which the Bidayuhs live. Bidayuhs areas in Sarawak include Bau, Lundu, Penrissen, Padawan, Siburan, and Serian.
The Ibans are a branch of the Dayak people of Borneo. They live in Longhouses consisting of a long narrow covered veranda with several doors leading off it. The whole village lives under one roof with families making their homes in the different rooms. They are traditionally built from timber on stilts with space for livestock underneath. Ibans are also known as Sea Dayaks.
Orang Ulu Longhouse
Orang Ulu (“people of the interior” in Malay) is an ethnic designation politically into group roughly 27 very small but ethnically diverse tribal groups in northeastern Sarawak, Malaysia.
The Orang Ulu Longhouse is built several feet above the ground amidst lush tropical greenery. Orang Ulus have musical instruments like Sape and Jatung Utang that produce unique and beautiful sounds. Orang Ulu use make iconic body tattooing, Parang Ilang (ﬁghting sword), Kelireng (totem pole) and Orang Ulu ladies are making intricate beadwork.
The Penans are a nomadic indigenous people found in both Sarawak and Brunei. They are hunters and gatherers, perhaps the last of their kind. They eat both plants and animals. In addition, plants have medicinal use and animal hides, skin, fur and other parts are used for clothing and shelter.
Penan shelters are quickly and easily construct to last for a few weeks or months. Penan’s sited near wild sago trees, the Penan’s staple food. Penan’s will moves on after the sago has been used up. Penan’s specialty is the making and skillful use of blowpipes for hunting. At the Penan Hut, you can watch the art of blowpipe making. You will have a chance to try blowpipe shooting with the Penans.
Chinese farmhouse is built on the ground level, built with the timber walls, trodden earth flooring and attap leaves as the roof. The inside house is populated with ancient furniture, a worship altar and farming tools to showcase the traditional Chinese living community in Borneo lands.
Melanau Tall House
Melanau (meaning “River People” in the local Mukah dialect) is an ethnic indigenous group Sarawak. They are among the earliest settlers of Sarawak.
The Melanau build massive houses high above the ground – as high as 40 feet! Traditionally they lived near the sea and had to protect themselves from pirates. The first ﬂoor contains tools and utensils. The second floor houses the bedrooms. You can watch the step-by-step processing of sago and taste the ﬁnished products such as Sago Pearls and Sago Biscuits.
The Malay House is a gracious structure and well adapted to the tropical climate, with high ceilings to keep the interior cool and tall stilts which set the house high enough to shield the inhabitants from tropical rains/flooding. The front room is an area designated for the men and for hosting special occasions and entertainment. Visitors can try playing traditional games such as Gasing (top spinning) and Congkak (a traditional Malay board-like game)
The Cultural Show at Sarawak Cultural Village is where local’s dancers and musicians present their famous multi-cultural performances. This entertaining show introduces each ethnic group and cultures and visitors will be able to appreciate the unique attributes and cultural diversity in Sarawak.
After visiting Sarawak Cultural Village, many visitors will also stop by Kampung Buntal on the way back to Kuching. Buntal is a local Malay fishing village where visitors can experience the local market and the goods offered by local vendors.
It is also a great eating spot where many Kuchingites frequent during weekends and public holidays.