A visit to Sarawak Cultural Village in Damai near Kuching is one of the most interesting cultural experiences during the visit to Kuching Sarawak. The Cultural Village showcases the traditional longhouses of various tribes that lived in Borneo and Sarawak.
How to plan a half-day trip to Sarawak Cultural Village - Kampung Budaya Sarawak?
The Sarawak Cultural village is built in the traditional jungle setting at the base of Mount Santubong. The village covers an area of 14 acres, and effort is made to create the cultural longhouses in the natural setting capturing the true essence of tribal life, rituals, traditions and other aspects of communal life.
Most hotels in Kuching offers group transport in a shared vehicle to the guest. I stayed in Grand Margherita Hotel near the Sarawak Riverfront in Kuching. The cost of shared transport is approximately RM 20 for a forty-minute return trip to the village.
The entrance fee to the Village is RM 25 and you are issued with a Village Passport which gets stamped when you visit various locations in the massive village. The passport is like a souvenir of your trip to the Sarawak Cultural Village.
What to expect at Damai in Kuching- Kampung Budaya Sarawak?
The Damai cultural village sits at the base of Mount Santubong. The edge of the village touches the coastline commanding distant views of Kuching. The flat land is converted into a large venue for a music festival held once a year. There are a number of cafes, restaurants at the waterfront walk.
I was also surprised to find a very nice budget Bunkers Hostel with shared dorm-like accommodation located on the Damai Waterfront.
The water at the beach area can be quite choppy and not safe for swimming without supervision. However, the views are amazing and this area can be quite windy at times. The open area near the coastline is ideal for family picnics as there is plenty of open space.
Where to stay in Damai Sarawak- Kampung Budaya Sarawak?
Because of its unique location, the area is home to some unique luxury resorts offering 4-Star accommodation for an amazing holiday.
I booked Damai Beach Resort for a day and thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality and facilities at this amazing establishment. The outdoor pool offers a great atmosphere and coastal views.
What are some of the best attractions at Damai Cultural Village - Kampung Budaya Sarawak?
The Cultural Village is divided into various sections. The main entrance has a beautiful auditorium where educational and cultural performances are held.
The baboo walkways as well as the marked route take you through a jungle environment with massive traditional houses built on stilts.
What is the interesting history of Sarawak?
Before the British arrived in Sarawak in Borneo, the tribes of Sarawak controlled the region and lived a traditional life away from the modern world.
The tribal life was full of violence, inter-tribal fights and attempts to control the territories that were sources of food. I came across the interesting history of tribal warfare in Jame Brooke Gallery and a visit to Sarawak State Museum.
The tribes had thousands of years of cultural traditions and were adept in manufacturing weapons as well as making houses from the raw material from the jungle.
Some local tribal women are also seen making clothes (jackets, caps and women's dresses) from the raw material.
Various tribes that lived in the jungles of Sarawak include Iban, Bidayuh, Chinese, Malay, Urung Ulu and a number of other sub-groups.
What are some of the interesting longhouses to visit in the Sarawak Cultural Village?
Bidayuah was the first longhouse I visited with a massive central hall and a tribal chief's room. The location gives a feel of a fully equipped luxury resort with a fireplace in the middle. The walls are decorated with traditional and decorative weapons used in tribal warfare.
The family room and sleeping chambers are made of an all-natural material. The cooking area has basic utensils and the food is cooked by a local woman in a traditional style. Some of the food and sweets can be tasted and bought as well.
The tribal lived a communal life and the houses were built around the tribal chiefs' house. The communal rooms were the centre of activity where all communal issues were resolved. The food hunted by tribals were shared with the community creating a strong sense of community.
In the Iban Longhouse climb up the stairs carved out of the wooden log. The long open verandah gives a sense of comfortable space as the house is built on top of stilts. Various quarters of the house is decorated with weapons and tools used by the tribals. You will be greeted by an Iban elder who will provide you with some interesting stories of the cultural life of the Iban people in the region.
Along your journey in this tribal wonderland, you will find a sword maker making traditional swords, daggers and weapons on a traditional hearth heated by bellows. The traditional art of metal making is quite old and has been used by tribals for centuries.
Now, it's time to relax and have some nice sweets and a cup of tea at one of the houses with a small cafe. You can taste some delights made from rice paste. Most staff members are well trained and are ready to provide useful information about their tribal history.
What is the highlight of the tour to Sarawak Village?
There are cultural performances in the air-conditioned auditorium which is a great way to enjoy the cultural dances, performances, wedding rituals, warfare practises well as hunting techniques with a blow-pipe.
The performance captures the cultural traditional dances and rituals of the social and communal life of various tribes. The performers are dressed up in colourful traditional dresses.
I greatly enjoyed this performance and learnt a lot about the cultural traditions of the tribes of Sarawak. I highly recommend this place of interest in Kuching if you are planning a trip to Borneo and Sarawak.
Read more about my trip to Kuching: 3-Days in Kuching Sarawak