• Monsopiad’s House •
House of Skulls • Sacred Monolith •
Built in memory
of the great and legendary Kadazan Warrior Monsopiad, the traditional village
gives you an extraordinary insight
into their ancient and rich culture.
Some 300 years ago, in a village in Penampang, Sabah, there lived a great
Kadazan warrior named Monsopiad. So great was his power that no enemy could
defeat him. During his lifetime, in order to protect his village, Monsopiad
took the heads of 42 enemies.
and managed by his direct descendants to remember their forefathers, this
historical site is located next to the Moyog River in Penampang about 13km
from Kota Kinabalu - the very land where Monsopiad lived and roamed some three
centuries ago. A visit here takes you on journey takes you to into the past,
to the days of head hunting and spirit worship, to the days when the Bobohizan,
the female shaman and high priestess of the Kadazan and Dusun, who ruled the
villages and took care of the health and spiritual well-being of their people.
A reconstruction of the traditional buildings that the Kadazan tribe used to
live in many years ago. The Monsopiad Cultural Village has been built with
traditional materials used by the Kadazandusun people for centuries, such as
jungle logs, palm leaves and bamboo.
After a warm greeting by your Kadazan host, visitors are greeted with tuak
(rice wine) served in a bamboo container. You can see the various daily
activities in a Kadazan village. Here, everyone wears the traditional black
Kadazan attire. The tour takes in the balai (hall) where cultural performances
are held during weekends and the place where tuak, bubur (porridge) and even
sago are processed.
A big attraction is the replica of Monsopiad’s house, sitting on the original
site, and raised off the ground. You climb up a log with steps cut into it to
reach the bamboo landing before entering the spacious house.
is impressive to see the rhythmic pounding of rice in a wooden mortar by two
young girls, as the long, carved wooden stick is heavy! You can have a go at
pounding rice, if you like. The rice is then stored in a big tangkob or rice
bin. Kadazan villagers also brew rice wine and make sago from the sago palm.
The men make bamboo fish traps, machetes, gongs and blowpipes. The women weave
cloth and mats, do embroidery and beadwork, and make sirung (the conical hat)
and tadang (the carrier basket). The Kadazans are also famous for their
dances, and you can join in the dancing during the performance.
of Skulls (Siou Do Mohoing)
The skulls of the of those killed by Monsopiad, is the highlight of the tour.
A beam across the ceiling holds 48 skulls that the Kadazan Warrior Monsopiad
took from his enemies hundreds of years ago. As well as the skulls the room
also has a number of objects including Monsopiads door from his original house
as well as a number of weapons and clothing. Also displayed arc items used by
the Bobohizans, the high priestesses, who occupy an important place in the
Kadazan community. The Bobohizans continue to look after the skulls according
to old customs and traditions.
Within the village stands a a stone weighing over two tons and standing four
metres tall. This massive stone was placed in its original position by the
villagers, after being commanded by Monsopiad to build a monument in his
honour with the help of The Bobohizans (shaman priestess) and the unknown
forces summoned by the latter from the spirit world.
Monsopiad used the
Monolith as a place to bring the head that he has just taken to be dried up.
This ritual was always done with grand ceremony, accompanied by chanting
Bobohizans singing, dancing Kadazan maidens and war cries from the tribal
warriors. You will also get to hear the stories by the Kadazan guide. So vivid
are the stories that one can feel the presence of Monsopiad. Finally, as a
fitting tribute to a great Kadazan warrior, you can follow the guide and trek
up the hill to view the grave of the mighty Monsopiad.
Other attractions are the Kadazan wedding ceremony staged every Saturday in
December, and the 40-minute Moyog River cruise in a lipa lipa boat to Sodomon
Jetty, during which you can see rice fields, birds and the mystical Mount
Kinabalu in the distance. Within the village you can
also visit the spirit tree and the sacred "Burial Ground" of "Latana" The
famous Kadazan Priestess. Other attraction within the village are the Moyog
River Hanging Bridge, Monsopiad Museum, Traditional Kadazan Rice Barn, Rice
Farming, Souvenir shop and a Jungle trek to Ceremonial Hill.
The Monsopiad Cultural Village is a private initiative that does not receive
any grants from the Malaysian Government, but relies solely on the support of
visitors. Visiting the village, you contribute directly to the conservation of
one of Malaysia's rich cultural heritages!
Opening hours: Mon to Sat - 9am to 6pm
Closed on Sundays, 31 Dec, 1 Jan & 31 Aug (National Day).
Guided tours: 10am, Noon, 3pm & 5pm.
Cultural dances: 11am, 2pm & 4pm.
River cruise: 10am & 2:30pm