The Sarawak Cultural Village is the place to visit if you wish to be entertained by local performers.
The entertainers make a colourful sight dressed in their respective traditional clothes. The 45 minute performance includes dancing, traditional music and a storyline including a traditional warrior with his blowpipe.
Various dances are performed by the respective ethnic groups which make up the Sarawak community. There are 2 shows daily.
The shows are included in your Admission Charge to the Sarawak Cultural Village RM 60 per Adult.
Visiting the Cultural centre is a good way to see the homes and people of the different ethnic tribes, as well as learning about their different cultures.
The 1st Longhouse we came to, was the Bidayuh, these people account for 8% of the Sarawak population. They live mostly along the water catchments, with their main activities being rice farming, fishing and arts crafting. Their longhouses are very similar to the Iban ethnic group.
We had a look inside and watched the ladies weaving, and the man carving Bamboo, then moved onto the home, a round house (Baruk) made out of Bamboo, as in here was a Dance performance about to begin.
The Baruk is the congregation place for the Bidayuh warriors, and is filled with weapons, gongs, wooden masks and other personal effects. There is a raised platform right in the middle of the Baruk. If you look straight up from the platform, you will see human skulls hung from the roof top, these were once the enemies killed by Bidayuh warriors.
Plenty of loud music and entertaining dancing, we had learnt a little more about the Bidayuh!
Included in the entrance ticket to the SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE
The ethnic Iban longhouse is very similar to the Bidayuh.
The Iban mostly live along the coastal areas, some are inland and further up-rivers. Quite a number live in urban areas such as Kuching, Miri and Bintulu.
We actually had an Iban tour guide on one of our tours. He was very nice, and we learnt from him a lot about their customs.
The Iban have communal living, sharing the longhouse with each other. The longhouse is built of local timbers and often has a raised floor to ensure it won't be flooded if located by the sea or river.
Inside, there were more gongs and musical instruments weaving and more.
In the front yard of the longhouse is an open-air communal area where you can meet Iban ladies and the elders of the longhouse.
Entry is included in the admission price to the Sarawak Cultural Village.
The Orang Ulu live in a raised longhouse, with a big open verandah. It was on the open air verandah that we sat and enjoyed a musical performance and dance.
The unusual musical instrument they use, is called a Sape and a traditional wooden xylophone called Jatung Lutang. On entering inside, you will find quite a few of these on display, and they are made for sale as well.
Afterwards, the Orang Ulu young man, who spoke pretty good English, showed us through his home. He was only too happy to show and explain their customs to us and in return, he was interested in learning about Australia from us!
Their home was different, as they had bags and ornaments made out of beads or shells, and they used the wood shavings instead of wasting them. Gongs were also prominent once again.
Admission is included in the entry fee to the Sarawak cultural village.
Sarawak was obtained from the Sultan of Brunei. Later ruled by the White Rajahs of the Brooks family. So there is no hereditary local king. A Head of State, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak is appointed to serve.
6 April 2007 Friday
Good Friday (Sabah, Sarawak only)
1 & 2 June 2007 Friday & Saturday
Gawai Dayak Festival
8 September 2006 Saturday
Birthday of Yang-di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak
One of the unique native food product of Sarawak is the sago palm.
You can see the making of sago palm biscuits at the Sarawak Cultural village.
They are thin, tasty and sweet and makes a good souvenir to buy back.
The other food product is of course the famous Sawarak white and black pepper which can be purchased at most tourist souvenir shops.
The ethnic Melanau makes up about 6% of the population of Sarawak, and mainly live around the central coastal region of the Rajang River delta. T
There is a difference between these and the other ethnic groups, as they like to eat Sago more than the staple of Rice.
The sago comes from the sago palm trees which are often found in the coastal swamps and marshland in the river delta.
Their home is built some 40 feet above ground and is really impressive when you first catch sight of it! We found out that it is built like this because the coastal areas where the Melanau lived were prone to frequent pirate attacks from the sea, hence the tall house is some sort of protection against the Pirates.
Also, the area they live in, might be flooded occasionaly.
We climbed the staircase to the 1st floor where there is a display of tools and utensils belonging to the Melanau. There is another staircase made of tree trunks to the second floor where the bedrooms are, be careful climbing this staircase!
Behind the tall house is a sago-making outlet where you can see the process of making a local sweet delicacy called kuih tebaloi. You can also purchase this at the shop before you leave.
Once again, when enough people had arrived at the house, we were able to watch a dance performance put on by the Melanau.
Admission is included in the entry price to the Sarawak Cultural Village.
Our next home to enter, was an upmarket Malay home, which was furnished for somebody who lived there and had plenty of money. Once again, it is built above the ground to stop crawling creatures (snakes, centipedes, etc).
On entering (shoes off) we were asked if we would like to play the traditional game of congkak, we had to say no because of limited time.
This home had some nice furniture, and we also watched a lady baking some kind of biscuit. We were allowed to try a sample and thought it was quite nice.
Admission is included in the entry price to the Sarawak cultural village.
The ethnic Chinese in Sarawak account for about one-third of the state population after having migrated from mainland China in the early 1900s under a special immigration programme by the-then Rajah of Sarawak to develop the state's farming industry.
The Chinese farmhouse on display, is built on ground level unlike most tribal houses in Sarawak and is made of basic sawn timber. The roof is made of leaves taken from local-grown Rumbia trees.
There is a communal living area which has the kitchen, dining tables and storage space for personal belongings, as well as the bedroom.
Here we saw and learnt about Black Pepper and the processing of Bird's nests, this was interesting as we didn't know anything about this. The young lady was once again only too happy to share her knowledge with anybody who was interested.
Admission is included in the entry price to the Sarawak Cultural museum
Of all the buildings I saw in Kuching this golden mosque was the most outstanding. You only have to walk along the riverside promenade and you will obtain a good view across the Sarawak River.
I cannot find the name of this mosque. Our time in Kuching was limited to 2 days and we could not find time to take a sampan boat ride across the Sarawak River to visit the mosque.
Should you cross the river you can also visit the grounds of the Astana Palace which is located near the mosque.
The local people and brave tourists use the small sampans to cross from one side of the river to the other. The sampans are covered, an essential for the rainy season, and I was amazed to see how many people got off at the wharf. I counted 9 persons one time and I do not know if that was a full load.
The Skipper kept trying to get me on board for a river crossing, I was in doubt and confirmed when my wife said she would never get into a sampan.
Iban Tribe have a old believe that if their photo was taken, their soul will be sucked into the film and into the photo.
During my visit to a Long House built by the goverment for tourism and living by real Tribal people in outer part of Kuching, we were told not to take photo of the people there but taking photo of their building is okay.
Respect their belief ...
Moon Cake Festival is once a year celebration celebrated in the month of September every year and the moon cakes are made specially for that occassion. One of the Chinese custom for Chinese to celebrate besides the Chinese New Year
Here we still follow some of the Chinese custom like the Moon Cake Festival and the Chinese New Year in which you can see fireworks and hear fire crackers on New year eve at midnight. Everyone will wait for this big occassion and for Chinese it is one of the most grand celebration throughout the year. Business men will spend money on celebration, and spent money on fireworks and red packets for all kids and teenagers, for parents and relatives. The red packets contain money inside and all the kids are always excited to get that red packet and curious to know how much they get each year. A once a year cleaning up and mostly clear up junks and rubbish collected for the whole year. During the eve they will cook good dishes and invite parents, grandpas and grandmas ,uncles , aunties, nephews, neices, etc for the home cook dinner. Drink some wine or any whisky or brandy. Some family may go to restaurant to celebrate.
Many special dishes will be serve on that special day. For Chinese they celebrate their new year for 15 days and some will hold open house on the first or second day. Open house means they will cook some dishes and invite friends to come over on that particular day.
It is good to know one's custom especailly when on is from different race or country.
Besides serving food, there will be varieties of cookies and cakes and other goodies to choose.
Lion dance is most popular during the Chinese New Year. They have Lion Dance competitions every year in Genting. And those skilled dancers are real good in the dance. They normally have a procession on the road in town before celebrating the Chinese New Year and business men normally will invite lion to dance either at their residence or at their business premises.
I know this tip is not important for most travellers. However, for those who travel far to attend a Chinese Wedding of their loved ones might think this is useful. Besides, I thought that this is quite an interesting Chinese Custom to share with those of you who are interested and curious about other races' customs besides their own.
Tea Ceremony is a local custom practise by the Chinese. It's done after the wedding, such as church wedding ceremony. However, on the wedding day, before the bride leaves the house, she will serve teas (holding the cup with both hands)alone to her parents as a sign of respect and to thank her parents for raising her.
Traditionally after the wedding, the newlyweds will serve teas (holding the cup with both hands) to their family members, by inviting them to drink tea by addressing them by formal title, eg Pa, Ma, 1st Uncle, 3rd Aunty, etc. The people being served will sit on chairs. They will serve the teas in order, starting with the groom’s parents then proceeding from the oldest family members to the youngest, e.g. the groom’s parents, then his paternal grandparents, then his maternal grandparents, then his oldest uncles and aunts, and all the way to his older brother, etc. Then this will be followed by the family members from the bride's side. In return, the newlyweds receive lucky red envelopes (“lai see” or 'ang pows' which means “lucky”.) stuffed with money or jewellery. These envelopes are placed on the platter which holds the teacups.
After all the elders have been served, it's time for those family members who are younger than the groom and bride to take over their task, and invite the groom and bride to drink tea. So, the groom and the bride will sit on the chairs and the younger members of the family will serve the tea (holding the cup with both hands) to them by addressing them with formal titles. In return, these younger ones will receive the ang pows which will be placed on the platter.