With increasing numbers of young tribal people being
tempted from their longhouses into the modern sectors of the economy, many
of Sarawak’s cultural traditions and crafts have begun to die out. The
Sarawak cultural Village or Kampung Budaya Sarawak was developed by the
Sarawak Development Corporation as an initiative to preserve cultural
traditions and teach the old crafts to the new generations.
The concept had the added appeal of creating a ‘money spinning’ instant
Sarawak for the benefit of tourists lacking the tome or inclination to
head into the jungles. This ‘living museum’ contains some superb examples
of traditional architecture and lifestyles of the various tribes and
ethnic groups in Sarawak. It should be on the sightseeing agenda of every
visitor to Sarawak, if only to provide an introduction to the cultural
traditions of all the main ethnic groups in Sarawak.
Each tribal group is represented by craftsmen and women who produce
handicrafts and practice traditional skills in houses built to carefully
researched design specifications. Many authentic everyday articles have
been collected from longhouses all over Sarawak. In one case to preserve a
culture that is effectively dead today – the Melanau people all live in
Malay style kampungs, but a magnificent traditional wooden Melanau house
has been built here and is the only such building in Sarawak. Alongside it
there is a demonstration of traditional sago processing. A resident
Melanau craftsman makes sickness images (blum) – each representing the
spirit of the illness, which were floated downriver as part of the healing
There is also the Bidayuh, Iban, and Orang Ulu longhouses, depicting the
lifestyles of each group. In each there are textiles or basket weavers,
wood carvers or sword makers. There are exhibits of beadwork, bark
clothing and tuak rice wine) brewing. At the Penan there is a
demonstration of blowpipe making and visitors are invited to test their
hunting skills. There is a Malay house and even a Chinese Farmhouse with a
pepper garden alongside.
Visitors are given a "Passport" which contains a description of the seven
authentic ethnic houses built around a serene manmade lake complete with
live-in residents. The tour of the houses, seven in all (you can collect a
stamp from each one for your passport) is capped with a cultural show held
in the theatre which is air-conditioned. There is a restaurant that serves
selected traditional Sarawakian food and the handicraft shop offers fine
Sarawak handicrafts and souvenirs.
The cultural village is also the venue for the fabulous annual rainforest
music festival (www. rainforestmusic-borneo.com) which takes place
sometime between June and August. Food stall are laid on, jamming sessions
are held in the different sections culminating in a great stage show in
the grounds for the evening.
Cultural shows (twice daily) - 11:30 am to 12:15 pm and 4:30 pm to 5:15pm.
Entrance - RM45 for an adult & RM 22.5O for a child (6-12 years old),
Location: Located at the foot of the legendary Mt Santubong, about 35 km
from Kuching, or about half an hour's drive.