Sarawak Cultural Village is a must if you want to know more about the culture and the traditional houses of the various ethnic peoples of this state. Located in Damai, this village covers an area of 14 acres with a man-made lake at its centre and is located 35 km away from Kuching.
It will take you about 45 minutes by road to reach this village. Plan to spend 2-3 hours here. This village is also the location of the annual Rainforest World Music Festival. There are seven type of houses you can see here.
Iban Longhouse is built from timber, fibre from creeper plants and roofing from leaf thatch. The Iban tribe is also known as the "Sea Dayaks" and they constitute 30% of Sarawak population. While here, you can sit down and chat with the elders.The typical longhouse can be as long as 200m with 4-50 family room or "Bilik". The "Bilik" has a bedroom and dining room. The people gathered at the large Verandah or the "Ruai" which is located in front of the "Bilik" for their daily activities. The activities include weaving and ritual ceremonies. They used to be head hunters until the practice was outlawed by the Brooke's family after World War II. Today, they numbered around 600,000 in Sarawak.
The Bidayuh Longhouse.
The interior of the Bidayuh Longhouse.
Bidayuh Longhouse is the traditional house of the Bidayuh tribe. They are also known as the "Land Dayaks" by the early Europeans simply because they stay near the mountains. Their source of water to the longhouse was channeled from the river nearby using bamboo.This gravity-based water supply system was one of the invention then in the absence of motorized pumps. They are known for their ability to make good rice wine or "tuak". Nowadays, they numbered around 200,000 and live in villages near Kuching and Samarahan Division.
Orang Ulu Longhouse shows the dwelling place of the Kayan, the Penans, the Kenyah, the Kelabit and the Lun Bawang. The term "Orang Ulu" means upriver people.These tribes constitute 6% of the total population of 2.4 million Sarawakians based on the census of 2010. They practise settled agriculture hence most of their longhouses were built using solid ironwood that can last for a long time. See the craftwork done by the ladies.Body tattooing is another attraction that you can see here. They are skilled in making intricate beadwork and woodcarvings.
Melanau House is built up high above the ground to protect themselves from the pirates that came from the sea nearby. They Melanaus came from Mukah and Dalat. They have adopted Malay lifestyle and were good fishermen. They build boats which are known as "ALUI" or "SALUI". Today, they numbered around 500,000 or 5% of the state's population.
Malay House can also be seen in other parts of Peninsula Malaysia. Their houses are built on stilts with a staircase leading up to the house. Most of them lived near the coasts around Kuching and Limbang.Their main occupation were fishing. You can also see many traditional Malay houses along the Sarawak River. The Malays constitute 23% of Sarawak population.
The musical instruments on display at the longhouse.
The Orang Ulu House built using solid ironwood.
Chinese House is built on level ground and is divided into kitchen, bedrooms, living room and dining area. They constitute 24% of the population and settled here in larger number during the time of Rajah Charles Brooke in the 1880s. The main clans here are the Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew, Foochow and the Hainanese. In the early days, they worked in the gold mines. Later on they went into farming, rubber plantations and running businesses. Today, most of them are influential and well educated.
Penan Hut is small and simple in nature as it is built to be used only for a maximum of few months due to their nomadic lifestyle. These huts are usually located near the wild Sago trees where they get their daily staple food supply.Once the food has been exhausted, they will move on to other locations. Today, only 200-300 Penans still practise the nomadic lifestyle. Most of them are now semi-nomadic with farming occupying their time when they do not go to the forest for hunting.
There are also two cultural shows daily that you can watch at the comfort of the air-conditioned theatre within the village itself. The first show starts at 11:30am and the second show at 4:00pm.
This multi-cultural show is performed by the natives of Sarawak using colourful costumes accompany by the musical instruments made from the products derived from this tropical rain forest. Each show has a duration of 45 minutes.
Watch and participate at the twice a day Sarawak Cultural Show.
Penan Nature Trail
If you are into nature and are keen to explore the flora and fauna here, head for starting point of the Penan Nature Trail near the Sarawak Cultural Village.
You can try using the blowpipe and make your own traps to capture the animals. Look out for the pitcher plant or the Nepenthes, Tongkat Ali or the Eurycoma Longifolia. Other animals you will probably encounter are the squirrels, birds, lizards and the macaques.
Video of Sarawak Cultural Village
Short Video Of The Cultural Show
Fees and Opening Hours
RM 60/adult RM 30/child from 6 to 12 years old FREE for children under 6 years old
Sarawak Cultural Village Operation Hours
9.00am to 5.00pm daily
Daily Cultural shows:
11:30am to 12:15pm 4:00pm to 4:45pm
You can stay at Kuching and do a day trip here. However, if you prefer to stay near this village, there are a few resorts that you can opt to stay. The Damai Beach Resort, Damai Golf & Country Club, One Hotel Santubong, Damai Puri Resort & Spa and Permai Rainforest Resort are the accommodation that you can choose from.
Most tour operator have packages that include the transport to and from your hotel, admission fee and lunch with price ranging from RM65 to RM95 per person.
If you are in Kuching and prefer to go yourself, you can take the shuttle bus that leaves Holiday Inn Kuching at 9:00am and 12:30pm. The return trip will be at 1:45pm and 5:30pm. Fee is about RM10 one-way per person.